How to Ditch the Worry Rut – Part One
Are you a chronic worrier? If you are, 2020 has probably put you into hyperactive overload! Life will always involve dealing with unpleasant things or situations that create anxiety or stress, but we obviously haven’t seen anything like this year in recent history.
So, how do we deal with the added emotional drain of worry during times of extreme stress? How can we shift ourselves out of the worry state so we can give our bodies and minds the rest they so desperately need, now and in the future?
I’m not going to suggest that this is always easy, especially if you’ve been directly affected by serious issues like a job or business loss, a death of someone you love or the loss of your home due to a fire.
But, for the purposes of this segment, I’m going to focus on the more common, everyday kind of worry patterns many of us experience out of habit.
There is so much content to this topic, though, that I’m going to cover it in multiple segments. In this first segment, I want to focus on the most common ways we self-sabotage ourselves into a perpetual worry rut and how to make awareness and perspective work for you, so you can start to put your worries on the backburner.
Worry is defined as “allowing one's mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.” The key word here is “dwell”.
Worry becomes unhealthy when you are unable to either control the about of time you spend dwelling on an issue, you're stuck and unable to decide how to move forward and/or it’s starting to affect your health, sleeping patterns, relationships, or other life circumstance in a detrimental way.
You’ve often heard me talk in previous blog posts about the power of perspective and how a simple shift can start to break the power of any habit to make way for better choices. Controlling or changing habitual worrying IS also largely driven by your thought processes and how you perceive the world, especially when it comes to expectations.
So, are you a person who sees a glass as half-full or half-empty?
Neither interpretation is wrong. But, it’s interesting to ask yourself why you selected one or the other. Perhaps those who see the glass as half-full might be described as coming from a position of being more hopeful or optimistic.
A person seeing it as half-empty could be construed as being a person who’s factual and tends to process information on what they see, not what it has the potential of becoming.
Which of these perspectives do you think supports a chronic worry habit more than the other?
Those that see the world in a less hopeful manner tend to have a higher instance of worry, mainly because they can’t see much beyond the issue or pain they are experiencing.
The adage “It is what it is” doesn’t encourage a willingness or openness to considering that the right solutions or ideas might be just around the corner, even if we can’t see them right now.
Without the perspective of hope, people can develop various types of self-defeating behaviors that feed the never-ending round-robin of worry with growing expectations of failure, rejection or unhappiness.
Usually, these expectations are loosely based from something unpleasant that already happened in their past, even if those experiences had no direct correlation to the current challenge or circumstances.
Examples of self-defeating perspectives might include:
1. Focusing wholly on one's personal weaknesses or perceived faults, instead of their strengths.
2. Automatically expecting worst-case scenarios to occur and a refusal to consider there may be other more viable solutions available.
3. Allowing unsubstantiated beliefs or expectations of failure to prevent them from feeling they have what it takes to deal successfully with a problem.
4. Assuming they have no control in a situation, thereby creating an ongoing ‘victim’ mentality.
Legendary motivational speaker Wayne Dyer, who dedicated his life to helping people overcome self-defeating thoughts, had a quick and easy test for those who felt they were trapped and without options.
He would ask the person if their assumption or belief, about what they were most worried about, was absolutely 100% true. He would also ask them what evidence they had to substantiate their statement based on the circumstances they were experiencing here in the present, not from the past.
What was fascinating was that in every case, even though the person had convinced themselves of the reality of their statement up until that moment, when it was held up to the light of absolute truth, they couldn’t honestly say it was 100% true.
Now, think about that.
How many of us have convinced ourselves that our problems, our worries or our self-defeating perspectives are 100% true without asking ourselves what it’s based on?
Was it based on what others have communicated or taught us over time? Was it based on an assumption of failure without having even given it a solid try?
One of my recent blog posts was about the “Yes, But…” excuses that we give ourselves when we refuse to be open to considering that there really COULD BE other solutions, opportunities or answers to our problems if we’d just give them some serious consideration.
So, if you’d like to start to get a handle on your worrying habit, take just one issue that’s been keeping you up at night and give it the Dyer Truth Test.
Are you 100% sure that there are NO other solutions, more positive scenarios or successful outcomes that you could just as likely experience versus the worst-case scenario you originally envisioned?
I understand that sometimes those solutions aren’t always easy. If every solution was, odds are you’d be sleeping much better at nights. But, often the best choices we need to make to solve life’s issues, are born from challenge and taking risks, requiring courage and faith that they will eventually lead us to better circumstances than what we left behind.
Have the Courage to be open to ALL the possibilities that the world holds for you.
Have the Faith in yourself that you have what it takes to wipe away the worries and find the solutions that are best for your life.
Always have Hope that there are better things ahead, even if you can’t see them right now.
Keep an Awareness of what is true in the here and now because your future is fresh new territory, untouched by the past.
I’ll leave you with an excerpt from Dyer’s book, Excuses Begone, one of my all-time favorite books, which said:
“Don’t use up the Now with thoughts of regret or worry; the experience of higher awareness is your reward. When the Ego (mind) is in control, virtually every thought is making an excuse, focusing on what has always been or what you fear will always be.”
If you’re wrestling with a lot of worry that you can't seem to kick, I encourage you to take advantage of one of my free 20-minute introductory phone coaching consults to see if I can help or schedule a full, regular session.
Sessions are done by phone or via Zoom for the health protection and safety of my clients. To schedule, go to:
In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong!