Worrying is a part of life. Most of what we worry about is completely out of our control. What we do have control over is our ability to make mindful, healthy choices like not smoking, wearing a seatbelt, going to our annual wellness check ups… There are strategies that can be implemented to interrupt worrying. Each of these strategies interrupt the anxiety producing thoughts and counterbalances them with active self soothing techniques.
Breathe: Breathe in calm and breathe out worry. Breathe in deep full breaths as you say to yourself, “Breathe in calm”. Exhale deeply as you say to yourself, “Breathe out worry”. Repeat.
Identify and practice an empowering mantra: I can and I will. I am strong. This too shall pass. I’ve got this. I can do this. Find one that works for you.
Positive distractions: Go for a walk. Listen to music, funny or inspiring podcasts. Cook or bake. Watch a funny show on TV. Do a crossword puzzle or play a game on your phone or computer. Exercise. Talk with friends or family, (the ones that take away worry not add to it).
Practice active gratitude awareness: Write down or say to yourself 3 gratitude statements: I am grateful that in this moment I am safe. I am grateful that in this moment I am here. I am grateful that in this moment I have choices.
Let go of what you can not control and focus on what you can. Ask yourself, “Can I control this?” if the answer is no let it go and try to identify what is in your control and focus instead on that. I can not control if I get the job but I can learn as much as I can about the company and the position I am applying for and be well prepared for my interview.
Facts over feelings. Try to identify facts to counterbalance your feelings of worry. Feeling: I worry if I drive on the highway I will get in an accident. Fact: Most people do not get in an accident when driving on the highway. Is it possible? Yes, but it is not likely.
Integrating self soothing techniques to counteract worry takes no time at all and the results can be immediate and impactful.
Going with the example of driving on the highway:
Breathe: Breathe in calm and breathe out worry. Breathe in deep full breaths as you say to yourself, “Breathe in calm”. Exhale deeply as you say to yourself, “Breathe out worry”. Keep your eyes open and your hands on the wheel.
Identify and repeat an empowering mantra: I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.
Positive distraction: Listen to music or a podcast in your car.
Practice gratitude awareness: I am grateful my car is in good working order. I am grateful my gas tank is full. I am grateful that I have control over how fast I am driving and how focused I am on the road.
Let go of what you cannot control and focus on what you can control: I can not control how others drive but I can control how I drive. I can stay in the slow lane and drive the speed limit. I can wear my seatbelt. I can keep both hands on the steering wheel. I can focus on the road ahead without distraction.
Facts over feelings: The fact is millions of people drive on the highway without incident.
Fortunately, most of our worries are for naught. Stay in the present with what you know to be true and counterbalance worry with active self soothing techniques.