Hands up if you worry sometimes. Worrying is a completely natural human protection mechanism. In a lot of instances, it is good for us.
Worrying helps to protect us from harm and from future danger. Have you ever found yourself having a flip inside your stomach as you look over a precariously high ledge of some kind? That’s your bodies ways of telling you that this is a potentially dangerous place to be and you shouldn’t continue any further.
Just like most mammals, we have an inbuilt protective mechanism to help ensure the longevity of our species. So, when we worry, it’s a product of survival.
Of course not, because sometimes worrying can take our minds spiralling out of control into a whirlpool of unrealistic impending doom.
Our head starts with one thing that could go wrong, and before we know it, we have one hundred things that could go wrong, whirring round our minds like ten rollercoasters all mixed into one. A stomach full of butterflies and a head full of aches.
We do it for the very same reason that our stomach flips when we walk to the edge of a high ledge. It is for our protection. It is a defence mechanism to help us to prepare for a perceived threat.
Think about it. Once we begin imagining something going wrong, we start to consider what our response would be to that specific scenario. And to a certain extent, that’s really useful to us. However, what can we do when it goes beyond useful and starts to become a hindrance?
We can begin to work on our mindset. But what does that mean I hear you ask? How can I work on my mindset? Well, let’s begin by practising when you notice yourself negatively forecasting your future.
The more you practice noticing when you’re doing it. The easier it will become to start helping yourself to do something else instead.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Right now I’m worried. I often write my blog posts inspired by own feelings in the current moment, or inspired by what others have asked me to help them with. Today I am worried. The interesting thing is that I am not negatively forecasting my future today. I’m anticipating some news later and it is going to be news that upsets me.
How much it upsets me, depends on so many things. I can’t deny the fact that it definitely will leave me feeling upset. And that’s okay. There are times in life when we can’t control what is happening around us, but what we can control are our thoughts surrounding the situation.
So, although as a write this (I wrote this a few months ago, so don’t be worried, I am okay) I am controlling my thoughts surrounding the event. I’m doing that because I’ve chosen an activity that will help me in this moment – and help others too, I hope. I have chosen to write this blog.
The more I write, the easier the butterflies in my stomach become. I fully appreciate that my current response is completely normal under the circumstances I am in, and that this will pass. Life will go on, and I will be okay. So, what I’ve done here is not only distract myself, but I have put things into perspective.
Have a little think about what you would do to distract yourself. Would you binge watch a TV series? Maybe you might read a book or do some gardening or online shopping.
What works for you is likely to be very different to what works for me but when we break things down into small and achievable steps, we begin to take back control of our spiralling thoughts.
So far we have looked at you noticing the thoughts spiralling out of control. Next we have covered distracting yourself. What about putting things into perspective? I often find that it is a struggle to put anything into perspective if you leave it all swirling around your brain being mixed up and mixed in with unrealistic perception. So, how about we write it down instead. Write down what is true, what you know to be fact, and this can help you disregard the protective mechanism that’s gone a little haywire inside your brain today.
If you want help with worrying, get in touch. I’d love to help to change your life in the ways you want.