The later half of 2016 was really bad for me when it came to how much I was worrying. It got so out of control that it was consuming my days and leaving me a shell of a person as I was so pent up with worry and anxieties. Whilst I don't think I'll ever be able to stop worrying completely I know that I can work really hard to not let it take over me as much as it was last year. And if you're a chronic worrier you will know the horrible vicious cycle of worrying [mostly unnecessary] and then becoming worried with how much you're worrying and it's something that can be neverending. So in today's blog post, I wanted to talk honestly about dealing with worry and overthinking.
BEING BUSY DOESN'T ALWAYS WORK
It's a big misconception that if you're worrying it means that you're not busy enough and have too much time on your hands. And to a certain extent, I agree and I know the busier I am then the less likely I am to worry about pointless rubbish like shady tweets on Twitter but sometimes you can't help it and no matter how hard you try to keep busy the worry comes in unstoppable waves. For me, being busy helps if I'm physically busy which isn't always the easiest thing to achieve
Because if you work from home or in an office then you're not going to be physically walking around all the time. And even when you're crazy busy with work that doesn't mean those thoughts can't creep in and cloud your mind.
WORRYING IS PART OF LIFE BUT SHOULDN'T TAKE OVER YOUR LIFE
As much as I'd like it if worry wasn't part of my life at all. It is and normally when you worry it's because you care. But irrational all-consuming worried thoughts is something we could all probably do with less of. Something I have to remind myself constantly of is that worrying most likely won't change anything. Making myself miserable and pent up with emotion over something that I can't change might seem like my brains idea of having fun but it's certainly not mine and I hate feeling that way. Talking to someone can be difficult and I know personally when I'm struggling with something I'm very internal with it and don't like to talk to others, even my most loved ones. And finding people that you can talk to and they'll listen without judgement isn't easy. But sharing the load with someone as cliche as it is can help so much and it takes the power away from the thoughts. Sadly worrying is just part of life but it should never be taking over your entire life.
FIND OUT HOW YOU COPE
Everyone has different methods of coping with the things that bother them. For me, when my mind has gone into overdrive and I'm paralysed with worry and I'm overthinking absolutely everything I try to get outside. And normally things get really bad when I've not left the house enough and got my body moving around. Which is hard and sometimes it's not always possible for various different reasons so when it is I really take every chance I can get. For some, that's their worst nightmare and can often make the worry worse but for me, it clears my mind completely and makes me feel free which sounds very dramatic I know but it's true. There are so many posts about self-care and looking after yourself online but very rarely do I find they offer anything more than telling you to slow down and take a bubble bath. Which personally when my mind is going a hundred miles a minute getting in a bath to be completely alone with nothing but my mind for company isn't a great idea. And finding out how you cope with worry and overthinking is such a personal journey and one that takes a lot of time but it's something that's so important to try and do.
CURB YOUR THOUGHTS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
There were points last year where I got really good at curbing my thoughts and retraining my thought process. Sounds like it's relatively simple right? It's without a doubt one of the most difficult things I've ever done and something you have to work hard at doing every day. Whenever I feel anxious, worried or that incredibly irrational thoughts are creeping in I try to ask myself the following questions?
- Is this a rational worry?
- Will worrying about it change anything?
- Is it something that I have any power over?
And by asking myself these things it helps me stop things from becoming completely uncontrollable and they don't evolve into something they were never meant to be.
LET YOUR PAST WORRIES BE THE PAST
One of the worst things about my worries is that they're so often about things that have already happened sometimes years and years ago. And whilst I know in the logical part of my brain that it's silly to be constantly living the past sometimes my mind can't help it. Then there is the other side of it where you worry about things that are yet to happen and will probably never happen either. Living in the present has become this almost laughable concept online but it's so important. Living too far in the past or in the future means you're only going to miss out of on the things that are happening right now which probably need your focus a lot more.
YOU'RE NOT WEAK FOR WORRYING
When you're not feeling your best and you're consumed with worry it's all too easy to be really cruel to yourself. Which is something I'm sure we're all guilty of doing in some sort of way as it seems to be easier to be cruel than to be kind. Having a mind that's more prone to worry than other people doesn't mean you're a weak person who can't handle things at all. It just means your mind works a little differently to other peoples and that's not shameful in the slightest.
LIVING BY THE WHAT IFS IS NO WAY TO LIVE
Something we all know to be true is that we can't live by the things that may or may not happen because it's really no way to live. Thinking about every single thing that could go wrong is only going to end up in a negative thought pattern that's near impossible to break free from. There are so many that could happen in this world and if we dedicate all our time to thinking about them we'll never get to enjoy all the good things that can happen too.
How do you cope with worry?
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