In today’s society we’re constantly worrying. At times it can become so overwhelming it feels like you’re drowning. While a certain amount is okay sometimes it becomes unbearable. I’ve always been a “worrier” although I’m gradually learning not to continue labeling myself as one. Learning is the key word in that sentence. Learning about myself, learning about mindfulness, learning about self awareness and self compassion. Becoming aware of my thoughts and observing them as opposed to engaging with them has been a turning point in my own mental well being. Reacting to our thoughts is a reflex. It’s like a chain that can add link after link after link in a matter of minutes if not seconds often finishing at the worst possible result. So, a worry is born that can linger in our minds for hours, days, weeks or even months.
Eventhough I have gained some self awareness in terms of my thought patterns and worrying, I’m by no means invincible. My mind seems to have a way of chasing worries. Just when I accept that everything is actually okay it seems to bounce on to another or revisit a previous one without my awareness or knowledge. It’s as if my mind feels safer when worried about something. It’s familiar and allows me to continue trying to plan everything. Often, I won’t notice that my own mind has out smarted me yet again until I’m in the depths of another worry. When I’ve become worked up, when I start to re-run the whole situation or possible situation in my mind, when I stop being present in the moment I’m living and when I’ve become consumed with the “problem”. The mind is clever, subtle and stealth and manoeuvres until it gets its way
When I realise that I’ve spiraled into another worry, it takes me a little while to accept that it has happened again. I am, more often than not, frustrated with myself for not recognising the signs earlier. I can be quite harsh on myself but I’m getting better at just accepting it and moving on. Once the initial acceptance has happened I tend to try and regroup and ground myself. I think about all the things I have learned up to this point. Everything I have learned about myself, tips I have picked up over the years and everything I have learned about the mind/body connection. I try to reconnect with those aspects of self care. Yoga and walking are always my two forms of exercise that ground and calm me. There is nothing more beautiful to me than stepping out into nature and just observing it. The colours, sounds, views. Combined they are incredibly soothing. The slightly hippy side of me is often a side not many people see but it is there and I love it!
Being realistic, we’re never going to completely stop worrying but what we can try and do is reduce the amount that we worry and what we choose to worry about. There are things in life we can’t control, despite our best efforts, and accepting this is no easy task. There are times when you will just have to step back and hope that things work out. Personally, my biggest worries are about finances, health and security. Often these become interlinked also but I won’t delve into that. Ultimately, worry doesn’t achieve very much and people say that it’s a waste of good imagination. If only there were a switch we could flick when we over think and worry. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been an app designed for that yet but I’m sure some day in the not too distant future there will be! In the meantime all we can keep doing is try and stay grounded, observe thoughts rather than engage with them and instead of wasting that imagination, harness it to create something better and more productive.
Image – Yahoo images.