“Sweetheart, you are in pain. Relax. Take a breath. Let’s pay attention to what is happening. Then we’ll figure out what to do.”
-Sylvia Boorstein, Ph.D. from her book Happiness is an Inside Job
When your brain and body are wrapped up in worry try these tips to help loosen its’ grip:
1. Box-in your worry. Worry has a tendency to spread and take over your thoughts. Try setting aside a set time to worry. For example, decide to worry from 5 PM to 5:15 PM. Every time worry seems creep up before then, remind yourself it’s not 5 PM and set aside the worry until then. At 5 PM worry a ton. At 5:15 PM box worry in again.
2. Try to get a handle on worries by writing them down. Then question worries like they’re on trial. Is there something you can do about it– or are these worries based on our human inability to know the future? Sometimes you need a plan, sometimes you need to let go. In the middle of the night it can be hard to know the difference. Our mind’s editor/ planner tends to go off-line at night allowing wild thoughts to take over. Breathe, accept the thoughts as merely un-edited thoughts, and wait for the sun to come up to make a decision.
3. Mom was right. Counting to 10 taking in slow deep breaths and then letting your breath out slowly does help.
4. Research on worry suggest self-compassion, or self-kindness, may disrupt the worry cycle. Be kind to yourself. You’re only human like the rest of us!