Learn the 8 steps for 'worrying well'
'I've always been a worrier.' 'I tend to over-think things' 'I'm too analytical' These are some of the statements clients often make at the start of a first session. The trouble is, worrying can get to be a habit, and every worrying thought has an effect on how we feel emotionally and physically. It affects our behaviour too.
Endless worrying thoughts can be like annoying worms that wriggle their way into our everyday life, making us feel anxious and distressed. If you find you have the same worries going round and round in your head, draining your energy, the reality is you’re just not worrying 'efficiently'. A worry worm uses energy and can eat its own weight in serotonin, your feel-good hormone.
So, if you're going to worry, at least learn to 'worry well' and make stress really work for you.
The Worry Book. Instructions for use
Set aside some time every day when you do nothing but worry and problem solve.
If you are bothered by worrying thoughts outside your worry time, STOP! and notice what the worry worm is saying. Put it down in a 'worry book' and assure the worry worm you will give it attention at the designated hour. Now your worry worm can settle back down and stop tapping you on the shoulder to get your attention.
Remember, our emotions are our very best friends and are always trying to help us in some way. Even the worry worm (let's call him William for fun) has your best interests at heart.
William, the worry worm is actually quite wise. He understands your innate needs and will let you know when they are not being met, but he won't necessarily know what you have to do to resolve the situation. You will have to do that for yourself!
So when William the worry worm pops up, notice what he is saying, then... STOP! write it down and let it go....for now.
At worry time, open the book and start to sort through all the current worries. Now use the 8 step formula for 'worrying well' which includes the 4D approach, 'Do, Delay, Delegate or Ditch.'
8 steps for worrying well
- What is the worry?
- Scale significance 1-10 where 10 is urgent
- What's my worst fear about this?
- What's the best possible outcome or scenario?
- Do I need to 'Do' something about this now?
- Can I 'Delay' a decision?
- Can I 'Delegate' this worry to someone else?
- Do I need to 'Ditch' the worry and accept there is nothing I can do about this situation ?
If there is something you can do, do it!Make a plan of action and break it down into bight sized chunks. Have a strategy for resolution. What can you do to resolve this problem?
If there is nothing you can do about this worry, let it go or 'put it on the back burner.'
Repeat this exercise every day until you have tamed your worm and become a truly efficient worrier and, if you can put into practise the philosophy of the ancient Tibetans, you will truly have the secret of Zen-like inner peace and serenity.
Tibetan serenity meditation
‘Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference’
Frances Masters MBACP GHGI FRTC