Are you a ‘Worrier?’ Do you find yourself in perpetual cycles of worry often? Try these five simple ways to break the bad habit of worrying.
A popular yet controversial CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Technique) is to wear an elastic band on your wrist and ping the band every time you catch yourself experiencing worrying thoughts. This technique literally helps us ‘snap out of it’ and is a technique that I have used in the past. The slight discomfort to the skin from the ping of the elastic band will send a signal to your brain every time to alert you to the pain\discomfort. If you replace the worrying thought with a positive statement it will break the pattern of worrying thoughts because it gets your attention and is a reminder you are choosing a new behaviour. The rubber band technique is controversial to some as it is seen as a mild form of self-harm but personally I have used it and highly recommend it because it is very helpful when needing to ‘snap out’ of worrying and negative thoughts.
2. The Worry Tree
The worry tree is widely used, and another popular CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) tool that helps us deal with worrying thoughts that we experience often. It is separated into categories of hypothetical and actual problems. If your worry is hypothetical, then there is nothing you can do about it and you are encouraged to change your focus and let it go. If, however your worry is an actual problem you are encouraged to deal with it now or schedule a time to deal with it later. Like many self-help tools, the more you use the worry tree the more you will train your brain to change the habit.
Check out my version of the worry tree taken from my newly released self-help book ‘Be a Warrior Not a Worrier’ you can download a free PDF version of my tree on ‘Free Exercises’ page on my website HERE.
3. Write It Down
The simple act of taking pen to paper and jotting down your worries is a great release from all the negative self-chatter that comes with worrying. Writing down your worries clears your mind of all the clutter and allows you to off load. If you spend just 10 minutes writing down your thoughts when you are worried you will feel more encouraged to let it go and refocus. Studies have proven that writing down our worries before stressful situations such as sitting exams can considerably improve performance. Check out this article by the Telegraph HERE for more fascinating information on these studies.
Regular exercise profoundly impacts our overall well-being and mood. Even a short 10-minute brisk walk will help you release your mind from worrying. Exercise increases your energy levels, mental alertness and positive mood. I personally love Yoga, Pilates and Pole Dancing and practise regularly. There is a noticeable drop in my mood if my practise slips and I am always at my mental best when I am in a good routine with exercise. Yoga in particular focuses on the breath, allows you to immerse all of your attention into your body and therefore distracts and calms the mind. It’s amazing how a good hour of exercise can lift your mood and have you feeling like a new, worry free person afterwards.
5. Be a Warrior
Simply asking yourself ‘What would a Warrior do in this situation?’ is a great way to put an immediate stop to the habit of worrying. A Warrior is courageous, confident, strong and disciplined therefore when you ask yourself this question you will normally have an answer.
When you listen to the Worrier in your head you are not really listening to your true self. The real you is the Warrior who lives in your heart and is your true, best self. Place your hand on you heart, breathe deeply three times into your heart and ask the Warrior within what you should do. I guarantee you that a rational and positive answer will be there, then you need to follow through with what you hear and be brave no matter if the answer is uncomfortable.
Example: I was worrying about asking a friend who is also a very successful leadership coach to introduce me at my recent book launch. I put it off for weeks because I don’t like to ask for favours and help. I listened to the Worrier in my head asking ‘what if he says no, what if he is offended?’ and then I stopped in my perpetual cycle of worry and asked myself ‘What would a Warrior do in this situation?’ Obviously, a Warrior would pick up the phone and just ask, so straight away, that is what I did. I had no choice even though I felt uncomfortable asking this amazing man to do something for me, because the answer was obvious when I asked the Warrior in my heart. Of course he was more than happy to help and even honoured to introduce me.