WHY You Need to Stop Worrying and HOW You Can Do it in Under a Minute

If you have seen the movie Van Wilder, then you know that worrying doesn’t get you anywhere.  Write that down. (hah! get it??? Ok moving on) Who hasn’t heard the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy??” We all know the song, right?  So why is it that we can find ourselves more often than not in a constant state of worry???

Van-WilderConscious creators know that worry is a one-way ticket to crap-town where everything is crappy.  Instead, we need to focus on using our (totally free and always available) ticket to get on the Easy train which takes us to Easy world where everything is easy and delightful and divine.  Think Eden before the infamous apple incident. 😉  Easy world is the place to be.  So the more often we can notice and catch ourselves and turn our frown upside down, we are living in easy world and attracting more awesome into our day.

worry empties today of strength  worrying-wont-stop-the-bad-stuff-from-happening-it-just-stops-you-from-enjoying-the-good-worry-quote

Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles; it empties today of its strength.  It doesn’t stop the bad stuff from happening, it just stops you from enjoying the good.  What you think about, you bring about.

I still remember TO THIS DAY- senior year in high school, we had some sort of music-related school sleepover and so there were a lot of us dinking around in the various theater areas.  I had a good friend who was a male cheerleader and he was showing off in the auditorium- I was so worried, he was doing all these stunts and there were no mats and we were on concrete floor.  I told him, John you be careful, what if you slip!?  I had such anxiety watching him.  Wanna guess what happened not 5 minutes later???  Wanna guess who had a black eye for Prom and a busted up face?????  It wasn’t me.  It was the person I was uber-worried about.  Poor guy.  He totally blamed me for that incident and I don’t blame him for blaming me!

I know it can be a challenge.  It’s so easy to get swept up in these type of thoughts, especially in your pursuit of being a responsible adult.  “How will I pay the mortgage this month?” “We can’t afford that.” “I’m getting too old, I’ll never find someone.”  “I’m so going to get in trouble when my boss finds out about this.” “What if my son fails in school, or worse, what if he is picked on for being different?”  “What would I do if I get cancer?” “I don’t want to die young.”  From the littlest of things to the most serious, some people are masters of worry.  I used to be one of them (those above thoughts are all thoughts I have had, btw).  I always expected the worst and planned for the worst possible outcome.  I always had back-up plans (note- plural).  I was in a constant panic of what could go wrong at any given moment of any given day.  If I saw it on the news, I worried it could happen to me.  It. Was. Awful.  Such a waste of my energy and time and just my life!  I can’t get those moments back!

It’s not that I never worry any more, but I am a proud recovering addict.  The majority of the time, I am rocking a totally different perspective on life and more importantly, I have learned about the crazy power of the thoughts I think.  Want to know what happens if you worry over and over again that something bad will happen?  Let’s just say you are a helluvalot more likely to have something bad happen!  Self-fulfilling prophecies are a real thing.  Anyone who believes in murphy’s law can vouch for me on that! J

The single most important thing that you can do when you feel your body stiffen or you get that nauseating feeling in the pit of your stomach or you feel the heaviness of the worry weighing you down:

Take 3-6 deep breathes and shout, “PLOT TWIST!”

Slow, deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic reaction and literally has a calming effect on our body.  This is not just some stupid old wive’s tale, this is human physiology.  This controlled breathing technique activates the parasympathetic nervous system and also stimulates the vagus nerve.  Your vagus nerve is responsible for mediating nervous system responses and lowering your heart rate.  I like the 4-7-8 breathing technique shown below but truthfully, what you are going for here is deep inhalation through your nose (hand on tummy to feel the expansion in your stomach and chest)- hold it – and then release the breath slowly out your mouth.

4-7-8 breathing technique

Why do I recommend shouting “PLOT TWIST?”

Simple- you’ve got to break out of the funk.  Humor helps.  If you can shout it out, you might even chuckle (for a millisecond) at yourself and that is all we need my friend!  Around other people?  That’s ok, just shout it in your head.  And then watch others get that confused look on their face like, “what is she smirking at???”

If you want to earn some extra credit, you can coach yourself afterwards as well, “That’s not the story of my life.  In my life, all is well and everything works out for my highest good.”

One more strategy that I find incredibly useful if you are being particularly stubborn about the significance of your worry is to play the game, “let’s say that happened…ok now what?”  Worry and anxiety are often linked to fear.  I learned from Jack Canfield to think of the word fear as an acronym for “Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real.”  A lot of times we worry or have anxiety or fear because we don’t feel in control or don’t know how we would handle something.  This last exercise just basically forces you to face the hard questions.  Alright.  So let’s say I knew I could not make my mortgage payment this month.  What would I need to do?  When you give yourself a short amount of time (no dwelling!!) and give yourself the peace of mind that goes with knowing that you can handle anything that shows up in your life, you can relax into the situation more easily.

One final note- If you are exceptionally worried or anxious about something – and I cannot emphasize this enough – feel your feelings.  If you are having a hard time, don’t hold back your tears.  Crying is actually an incredibly powerful and cathartic mechanism for your body (and mind and soul) to release resistance.  Do not rob yourself of that experience.  If crying isn’t your thing, napping might be!  If you are both physically and emotionally exhausted due to worry, a good nap could be just the ticket to allowing your body to let go of tension and wipe the slate clean.  I would highly recommend you sprinkle in a few meaningful affirmations before going to sleep to really set the “easy” train in motion.  “Every experience I have is for my highest good.  I have faith, I trust, I believe.  Out of this situation only good will come.  I am safe!”

Next time worry creeps up, put this stuff into action and be sure to let me know how it goes for you!

{Side Note: If you haven’t seen Van Wilder, well, I mean, as a 33 year old mother of two I’m not sure I can officially recommend it, but it has Ryan Reynolds (yum) and it was as obnoxiously inappropriate and hilarious as it could get circa 2002.  But I digress.}

{{Second side note: Easy World is a concept I learned about from the book Choosing Easy World by Julia Rogers Hamrick- I loved it and would recommend it!}}

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2 Responses to WHY You Need to Stop Worrying and HOW You Can Do it in Under a Minute

  1. Lisa says:

    I love this! My favorite one is, “Worrying is like meditating on shit.”
    Thanks for a practical guide for how to break the habit!

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