How do you deal with worry? Do you overeat or drink? Do you binge-watch TV or social media? Perhaps you get irritable and impatient with your loved ones.
Feeling concerned is a normal and necessary part of being human. It keeps us safe from potential threats. However, when we worry, we tend to ruminate in an unhealthy cycle of thoughts or future imaginings about what can go wrong, usually focusing on the worst-case scenario.
If we are able to change our relationship with worry, we empower ourselves to get out of the sinking sand of fear and “what ifs” and make choices from a place of clarity.
If you are feeling worried, it may help you to use these prompts. I highly recommend that you write your answers down, in a journal, or even just on a piece of paper. There’s something very powerful about getting all your thoughts out of your head and onto the page.
1. Find Your Worry
Did you know that our emotions are stored in our bodies? Start by scanning your body and explore where you are holding the worry. Do you have a knot in your stomach? Are your shoulders tight? Are you clenching your jaw? Take a moment and breathe deeply into all of those places where you are holding your stress.
2. Feel all your feelings
We tend to say “I am worried” but an important shift happens when we realise that we are not our feelings.
You might be feeling worried or anxious. Perhaps you are feeling sad or lonely. Frustrated or angry. Maybe you need to mourn or grieve a loss, a change caused by the pandemic.
I am feeling…
3. Name Your Worry
Sometimes we get used to living with a vague sense of unease. Actually identifying and putting your worry into words is a powerful way to acknowledge it. Doing this helps to lessen the fear around it.
I worry about…
I worry that...
4. What Is Your “Worry Story”?
What stories are you telling yourself about those worries?
What words are you using?
What images are you replaying in your mind? Are they true? Are they likely? Is there another possibility?
What is the best possible outcome in this situation?
5. What Do You Need?
At the root of all anxiety and worry are needs that aren’t being met.
What is the need that underlies your worry? It could be a need for safety, stability, security or predictability.
Write out all your needs without judging or censoring yourself. Here is a list of universal needs if you are feeling stuck.
Look at the list of needs you wrote down. Focus on taking action with things that are within your control.
What actions can you take that will help you meet those needs?
What can you ask for help with?
Where do you need support?
Simple Ways To Take Care Of Yourself When You Feel Worried
- Ask for help or support, talk with someone whom you trust
- Get enough sleep and eat healthily
- Ask for a hug or give a hug to someone else
- Do something creative (cooking, drawing, sewing, woodwork etc)
- Do something relaxing (a bath, do a puzzle, read, yoga, meditation etc)
- Help someone else
- Use The No-Fault Zone® Game to understand and process your feelings
- Remember that you have been through hard things before. Think about how far you have come in life. You will get through this too.
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