Schedule Time to WorryMay 20, 2022
In 1988 there was a catchy little song titled, Don't Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin. Of course, I'm singing it in my head right now, LOL. While the song's title isn't bad advice, we can't unconsciously steamroll ourselves with positivity.
Most of us were told to smile, put on a happy face, stop worrying so much, and count our blessings in subtle and not so subtle ways. All that did was make us feel worse because it didn't address what was bothering us, and it taught us to sweep our 'negative' feelings under the rug, but at some point, the underside of that rug was pretty full from everything we put there.
I'm here to tell you that there's a much better way to manage and process life so you don't end up with a big lump under your rug.
First, you need to know that our amazing and beautiful brains are phenomenal problem-solving machines. That's their jam, and they will actually create problems, so they have something to work on. Silly little buggers!
So when something comes along that is out of your control, or you've done everything you can do to improve the situation, your brain will still want you to worry about it because it thinks if you're worrying, you're doing something to solve the problem, but we both know how genuinely unproductive and harmful worrying is.
To the primitive parts of our brains, worrying is helping you solve the problem and will make you feel better, but logically we know that worrying just keeps us treading water in the issue and nowhere close to a solution.
What is a smart, intelligent gal supposed to do to work around this part of our brain?
Schedule time to worry
Is that the strangest thing you've ever heard? Stay with me because I'll explain why it's actually brilliant.
When a caregiver ignores a child's attempts to get their attention, the child gets louder.
The same thing happens when your brain tells you to worry about something. It's trying to get your attention and warn you about something that could cause you physical or emotional harm. When you sweep those warnings under the rug, they may initially get quieter, but they're on a constant hum and in the back of your mind 24/7, which can look like daily anxiety.
Slowly but surely, those warnings will get louder and more inconvenient.
Acknowledge them with a scheduled time to worry
Set your phone's timer for 10 minutes or whatever amount you'd like to start with. There's no wrong amount and go to town worrying. Grab your journal and write it all down. Just free-write and get it all out.
Writing it out is more cathartic than just thinking it. Go to worst-case scenarios, and write out everything for the entire scheduled time.
When the timer goes off, put your pen and journal aside, take three deep inhales and exhales, and return to your day.
When your brain wants to go back to worrying, compassionately thank it for the heads-up and remind it that you will tend to its worries tomorrow during your worry time. Try this for a week and see what happens for you.
It will take practice to constrain your worry to the scheduled time, that's ok, and it's a lot better than having it on a hum in your brain 24/7. Don't you think?
Jenn Baron is a Certified Life Coach. She helps women see what's going on in their brains, decide if it's working for them, and share easy-to-implement tools that get them the results they want. Fast.
To learn more about how Jenn can help you, check out her site or IG.
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