Untangling Worry

Worry is a sneaky, insidious emotion.

I know! That’s a pretty harsh statement, one you don’t often hear from me. The reason it’s sneaky, is because it never just stays at one worry. You start thinking about one problem, and then another one pops up. Soon you are thinking about 15 different things, your mind is buzzing, yet you can’t seem to get traction on any one single item. You’re good and stuck in worry, and can’t move forward.

Sounds a lot like stress, doesn’t it? Well, you are stressed-out because you have several problems all competing for your time and attention. Is worry the source of your stress?

This is your brain on worry. A big tangled mess.

This is your brain on worry. A big tangled mess.

If I were to draw worry, this is what it would look like when you are good and caught up in it: a giant ball of tangled yarn. 

Thankfully, worry does have a good side.

The Purpose of Worry

All emotions are neutral, and serve a useful purpose. Worry is designed to make you think about or consider something. To ‘worry’ over a problem is to find a solution to it. You need worry to prompt you to deal with various life situations. Some don’t need a lot of thought process, while others need quite a bit.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, worry is the domain of the spleen, and it’s also the connection between the conscious and the subconscious mind.

Have you ever noticed that when you can’t remember someone’s name, if you just stop consciously thinking about it – let it go – the name will magically pop up for you? That’s because your subconscious knows you are looking for that name, and when you get the conscious mind out of the way, your subconscious can go to work finding it for you.

To worry then, is your bodymind’s way of finding a solution to something. It’s allowing your conscious and your subconscious mind to work together to help you find a solution.  That’s a powerful and necessary emotion, when you can keep it under control.

Untangle the Mess

Fortunately, worry has a surprisingly easy antidote. It’s called decision-making

The trick though, is to first break your worries down into single identifiable threads.

When you break down your worries into individual parts, it's easier to see what you are dealing with.

When you break down your worries into individual parts, it’s easier to see what you are dealing with.

As you separate out each worry, you will see that what used to be a tangled mess, is now several independent worries, all piled together.

Now, take each worry on it’s own and think about the problem. Then, think about several possible solutions, and pick the best one. You have made a decision about how to handle your worry (problem) – and the worry now leaves your mind.

Decisions, decisions….

But, we are not completely done. There are several types of decisions:

  1. Decide to take action. This is some direct action that you take to solve the problem. Please note, this is not deciding that someone else ‘should’ do something.
  2. Decide to get more information. You can involve others, do some research, or seek advice from a professional.
  3. Decide to delay a decision. This is still a decision. Some issues are really big, and you need to wait to see how things shake out. Give yourself permission to wait 6, 9 or even 12 months to decide. Or, you can delay making a decision until some other more pressing problems are dealt with first.
  4. Decide to not decide. Sometimes, the problem is not even yours. It’s not up to you to solve. If the problem belongs to someone else, simply give it back to them. You can do this physically by having a conversation, or energetically (doing it within yourself).

    Some people will be scowling at their computer right now, but solving someone else’s problems is NOT helpful. People need to learn their own lessons, to solve their own problems, so they can feel good about themselves. If you take away someone’s ability to decide for themselves, you are robbing them of a valuable learning opportunity. And yes, this also applies to your children.

  5. Decide it’s not worth it. If it’s not your problem, nor is it anyone else’s in particular, then decide to let it go. For example, if you get frustrated when contemplating world peace, do what you can realistically do – sign the petition, write a letter, buy the rain-forest coffee, etc. – and recognize that you’ve done what you can.

As you work through each one of your worries, they magically untangle themselves. Instead of a heap of yarn, you now have neat little rows, all easily dealt with.

By separating out your worries, and making a decision on each, you now have neat little rows.

By separating out your worries, and making a decision on each, you now have neat little rows.

Ah, much better, right?

Before I created this technique for dealing with worry, I was overwhelmed with worry. Saying ‘just let it go’ apparently doesn’t work.

Does the worry come back? Of course, because I’ll always have problems to take care of. But worry doesn’t stay very long because I’m able to recognize the emotion sooner (instead of just thinking it was ‘stress’), and I have an effective tool for quickly and easily dealing with it.

Try this out for yourself or contact me for a session and I will take you through it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much work you’ve already done on each of your worries, and how close you are to being worry-free.

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