Managing Worry and Anxiety
Worry. We all do it. Some of us seem to do it professionally! Worrying can be helpful when it spurs you to take action and solve a problem. I get a great deal of work done when I’m worrying over the to-do list. However, unrelenting worry, the constant niggling of worrying thoughts, can paralyze you, keeping you rooted to the problem and preventing you from moving forward.
The hallmark of anxiety is worry; worry about something that hasn’t happened yet and might not even happen at all. Anxiety can be so habitual that you may start thinking of yourself as an ‘anxious person’. We start to identify with it, and it feels as if it takes us over. As you start to practise mindfulness you will begin to see that your ‘anxious moments’ don’t have to mean that you’re an ‘anxious person’.
When I was feeling at my lowest, I would often worry about school holidays. How would I entertain the children on my own for weeks on end? How would I have the energy to keep them happy and go on days out with them all? I learnt to break my problems down into bits, using the tools below to simply focus on what could be done right now, in the present moment, then much of the feeling of stress went away.
At night, when we’re trying to sleep, our worries can often get more out of control and out of perspective. Your thoughts are often out of perspective at night; you’re tired, trying to drop off to sleep but there’s nothing to distract you from the worries. Nor is it a practical time to do anything productive about whatever is on your mind. You need to sleep for goodness sake! This is where mindful breathing comes into its own.
Have you ever been told by someone to ‘just don’t think worry over it’? Telling yourself to stop worrying about whatever is bothering you simply doesn’t work. Infact it can make the worries worse. Think of the ‘pink elephant’ scenario? You know the one…the more you tell yourself not to think about the pink elephant, the more you’re able to see the pink elephant!
Mindfulness can help you to stop all of this worrying and help you to focus on the present moment. Follow these steps below and see how you get on: