Putting Worry to Work for You

A “good worry” habit can serve as a powerful tool for improving your life. When you use your capacity for worry as a means of problem-solving and developing creative solutions to difficult problems, you are using it in a positive way. Repetitively focusing on healing, problem-solving, confidence in yourself, and your intentions lifts your mood and keeps you oriented towards the positive. Here are six steps to worrying well:

  1. Clarify Your Worries
    Write down all the things you worry about, and sort them into things you can do something about and those you cannot. Prioritize the ones you can possibly take action on, whether you know what to do or not. Notice how many of the things you worry about are really likely to happen. Research says over 85% of them never happen!
  2. Calm your mind
    Find a safe space and get into a comfortable position – whether sitting, lying down, or even gently rocking while standing, according to the needs of your body. Become aware of your breath, and let it move in and out of your abdomen, inviting your body to soften and relax. Imagine that you are in a beautiful, safe, peaceful place, whether it’s somewhere you’ve been or a place you just imagine. Notice what you imagine seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling in that place and when your mind wanders, gently bring it back to that place and enjoy the feelings of relaxation you find there.
  3. Transform Your Futile Worries
    Focus on a worry you cannot do anything about, and simply acknowledge any feelings that come up. It’s normal to feel fear, anger, sadness about these things. Imagine how the situation would come out if it were up to you. Create an affirmation or a prayer about this, and silently say to yourself, ”If it’s up to me, this is what will happen.” If you believe in a deity or higher power, ask for its help, and then let it go, knowing you’ve done what you can do. Repeat as needed.
  4. Plan for Action
    For worries you can do something about, get practical. Brainstorm your options, and then pick the one most likely to succeed. If you get stuck for ideas, imagine what your wisest self would say or do in that situation. Think about resources available to you and how you can access them. Think about the help you’ll need to implement your plan and who you can rely on to support you in this capacity. Write out a detailed plan, and rehearse it in your imagination until you can imagine being successful with your plan.
22 New Year Resolutions
14 Ways to Stay Sane for the Holiday Season