How to Ditch the Worry Rut – Part Two
In last week’s post, I identified the reasons behind why so many of us experience chronic worry. Specifically, I shared ways we can sabotage ourselves into a never-ending cycle of stress and anxiety by the way we perceive and process our worries.
So, I’d like to start this conversation with a couple questions.
Think about the types of things you worry most about. Is it money? Health? Issues with family?
Are most of your worries solvable or unsolvable? Meaning do you tend to feel defeated right out of the gate when you’re presented with a problem and then continue to run the problem over and over in your mind with little hope for resolution?
Or are you the kind of worrier that's more short-term and approaches a problem from the perspective that it can be solved, but it just takes you more time to mull over the issue before moving forward?
I distinguish between the two worry perspectives because they have very different ramifications, both in how long a person tends to focus on the problem and the level of affect it can have physically and mentally.
The first type of worrier typically spends a considerable amount of time and energy thinking about an issue, but won’t have a clear plan on how to move forward. They tend to feel out of control, disempowered and overwhelmed because they feel stuck.
They also may be faced with solutions that aren’t very palatable and there’s an understandable resistance to accepting a situation when it feels they are constantly on the losing end.
But, many times, what keeps them stuck is the unknown. If the solution to their problem is something that is future-based, they often fall back into the self-sabotaging habits we discussed in the last segment. Things like expecting the worst to happen or making negative interpretations about solutions without actual evidence to support them.
This can obviously be detrimental to a person’s health and well-being if their unresolved emotions, like anger, resentment or rage, aren’t addressed and released; especially if it’s an issue that they've been unwilling to let go of for years.
Perhaps a healthier perspective might be the second kind of worrier, who sees a problem as solvable, stays optimistic that they’ll be successful in finding a solution, but may just need a little time to process through their options before they come to a final decision.
These types of worriers can then spend less time fixating on their issue because they’re confident that they’ll ultimately find the right answer. They aren’t self-criticizing or escalating their worry levels. They just want to solve it and move on.
But, what if you can’t stop worrying about an issue, no matter how hard you try?
Interestingly, that could have something to do with the time of day you tend to worry most.
Often, the worst worrier can do perfectly fine during the day, but oh boy, come nighttime when they try to go to sleep, it’s game over!
During the day, we have a lot of activities that keep our brains occupied and distracted away from our problems. But, we’re sitting ducks as we lay in bed fighting off the temptation to review our worry list.
This is where you’re going to have to step up your brain-wrangling skills and show your mind who’s boss!
What you and your brain need is to find neutral territory to slow down the emotional rhetoric, slow the bodies reactive processes and get to a place where you can feel more relaxed and grounded.
So, here are some suggestions that might help:
1. Exercise! Exercising later in the day or early evening can help relax your body AND mind so you can fall asleep easier. Often, a good brisk walk in the evening can be the perfect time to mull over a problem and find solutions, so you don’t have to do it when you’re trying to go to sleep.
I also find that nature is an amazing healer, especially here on the Oregon coast. Walking on the beach, on a trail or just sitting out on your back patio and taking in the amazing environment surrounding us, you can’t help but come from a place of gratitude and peace.
2. Set a boundary. You know I’m a big fan of those! If you tend to immediately go into worry frenzy the second your head hits the pillow, set a hard boundary and make a commitment to stop yourself the second your mind starts heading to the worry shed. Observe your thoughts and if they AREN’T working FOR you, it’s time to teach them a new habit. And, YES, this takes some conscious effort on your part to cut those thoughts off at the pass!
3. Choose empowerment over fear. Approaching your worries from a perspective of empowerment will allow you to be more proactive, more open to the art of possibility and more grounded than any approach coming from fear. Instead of assuming you don’t have what it takes to solve your problems, take stock of the skills and abilities you DO have that can help you work out a solution.
4. Find support. Worries always seem to be much more daunting and larger than life when you’re dealing with them on your own. So, it’s important to share your worries with someone you trust and that you can have an open and honest dialog with.
Often, people are surprised to find they aren’t as alone as they thought in dealing with a problem and it’s extremely comforting for them to hear that they share common ground with others.
It’s also a great way to bounce ideas and potential solutions off others who may have successfully solved a similar issue.
5. Have faith. This is my strongest tool in the arsenal against worry. Sometimes you just have to have faith that things are going to work out ok and for the good of all parties. Whether that’s religious faith or faith in yourself that you are a powerful person capable of handling whatever comes your way, having faith that the right answer is just around the corner can heal the worst of worry habits.
In my next and last segment of this worry series, I’ll share some additional ways to break the worry habit, so you can move forward toward peace of mind and heart.
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!