I’m always amazed at the skill we have for carrying around a worry that cannot be solved and that furthermore may never even become reality.
There is no logic in it. But then logic has no rôle in fear. When you think about it closely – and the time to ponder this is when you are in a worry-free zone – where is the sense in fretting about something which you know may not happen? Why do you allow yourself to get clogged up with the supposition that it will? It’s a bit like laughing out loud at a non-existent joke. Or miming to a song. Yet for some of us, our minds seem to have a natural predilection for the negative.
Here’s a quick tip to help you stop this waste-of-time practice.
Make a note, mental or on paper/screen, of the last time you put yourself through this wearisome hell. Note what was your concern, re-live the tossing and turning in bed, the near-anxiety attack in the wee hours. Live through that awfulness again. Then chart how it was resolved. You woke up in the morning feeling almost nauseous. As the feeling receded you came to your senses. You made contact with the person (Mary) who could resolve the problem. And in communicating with them you realised that the problem had scarcely existed at all in Mary’s head. It was all of your own creation. All of your own nonsense. Now remember this ritual when next you feel a problem taking up too much space in your head. Think back carefully about how you worried and that worry came to nothing. Re-live the emotions that you went through. But this time, shout STOP. Pledge to yourself that you’re not going down that old road again.
Surely fretting about something that may never happen is in essence a waste of happy times? But have you ever done it? Yes. Now you must practise the above ritual to help you prevent it next time. Because there will always be a next time. But it’s how you deal with it that will determine the experience.
I remember years ago opening a new wing of a hospital in Donegal. I got talking to a medical person there. I don’t remember how the topic came up but he told me this sentiment which I have heard and read about many times since. He said: “Whatever is worrying you today, just remember that in a year’s time it won’t even exist. So why worry about it now?”
These are simple but powerful tools. I hope they help.
Bibi Baskin is a Motivational speaker, a teacher of Public Speaking and a Wellness advisor. Contact her for bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org