August 26, 2015

How to Wrestle Worry Down.

Charles Harry Mackenzie/Flickr

Experiencing a dark bout of worry  in the middle of the night or while trying to relax is something most of us are no stranger to. Here’s how to get yourself out of it and back toward peace again.

Worry is something we’ve all suffered from in life, because fear is part of the human genetic experience thanks to our adrenals and the brain’s limbic systems.

Unfortunately, worry and fear have become well-learned habits, versus the well-intended guidance systems we were born with for keeping the human species alive.

In our fear based culture, it’s become second nature to worry daily (and nightly).

Instead of questioning the who, what, where, and whys we learned back in grade school, today most of us are questioning what if, what if, and what if in our over stimulated and adrenaline flooded mind.

Who hasn’t found themselves wide-awake in the middle of the night wondering: What am I doing?  Where am I going? and Where the heck is my future heading?  

Lying in bed in the middle of the night worrying is probably the most painful and non-productive thing we can possibly do because it does nothing to relieve the angst.

The good news?

We may not be able to escape our primal fear, but we can learn to manage it, instead of letting it manage us.

When we worry, we’re living in the past or the future. We’re tapping into old situations and old beliefs we were taught, instead of living in the now. In the now moment, worry doesn’t exist. If a lion is chasing you, you’re not standing there worrying, right?

When we think about what could be or what might be, we’re in the possible future.  

When we think about what once happened or what we were told could happen, we’re living in the past. 

Navigating this road is your key to squelching worry. Another way to squelch it? Change your state. 

This morning, I woke up filled with angst and worry and realized starting my day this way, would guarantee a day of strife versus success. I knew that if I didn’t make a major change inside my headspace immediately, I was going to ruin the whole day and probably my night’s sleep too.

So I changed my state. Your state is how you feel, how you walk, the position your body is in. It’s also how you’re thinking.

Instead of trudging up the stairs to make my bed and get ready for the day, I made myself run up the stairs and jump in the shower as though I were on a tight schedule. Just the burst of new energy involved in running up the stairs with purpose rather than moseying up to start the day had me immediately feeling different.  

As I took my dog for her morning walk, I forced myself to notice the beauty all around me and count my gratitudes for what was working in life. I returned home with a completely different state of mind.

So what’s your takeaway?

When you find yourself experiencing worry or fear:

  • Stop and realize you’re either living in the past or thinking about the future and neither of those put you in the now moment. Fear and worry are guideposts letting us know we’ve veered down a road leading us far away from the peaceful now moment.
  • When you find yourself in fear or experiencing worry, take a look around your life and do a reality check. Count your gratitude’s and notice what’s working in life. If there’s something to truly worry about, then take action on what you can control.

If you find yourself awake in the night and there’s an action you can take to thwart your worry from happening, get out of bed and write it down on a to-do list for the morning. If there’s no action to take to prevent your worry, know that you’re living in the future land of what if and get yourself out of there through gratitude.

  • If worry hits during the day, change your state by suddenly walking faster than you need to or burst up the stairs versus meandering. Take a shower, go for a walk, start breathing deeply or stand up straight and smile.
  • Have a little faith. Whether your faith is in the divine or in your own abilities, sometimes letting go a little and letting faith take over is what helps the most. Worrying is like dreaming of a future you don’t want to experience.

Faith and fear live on the same hand, the only difference is a flip of the palm. The good news is, that palm to flip is within your control.  


Adapted with permission from Daily Transformations.


Author: Tamara Star

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Charles Harry Mackenzie/Flickr

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