- Take a moment to get clear on what precisely you are worrying about.
- Ask yourself, “what is the unwanted outcome that I am imagining?”
- Now, deliberately, MAKE UP the most constructive positive solution that is possible. Literally, deliberately consciously construct it in your mind.
- Notice, what happened to the anxiety? It went.
- Repeat as frequently as is necessary.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Why worry is bad and how to stop
Do you know how some people use anxiety to motivate themselves, or believe that worrying makes sure that you don’t miss important things to be done? It doesn’t actually help, and I’ll explain why - which also suggests the solution.
In a recent article I explored how some worriers inadvertently undermine others, and suggested a way to win them around. This time we are talking about how to stop the worrying itself.
The core feature of worrying is fearing some unpleasant or unwanted outcome. This actually means that it is being imagined, either consciously or subconsciously. There are three key facts to realise now. The first is that you can’t NOT think about something that you are trying NOT to think about, without actually thinking about it. If you think about it. It’s like the old tease that goes “don’t think about a pink elephant”, and realise that you had to think of it.
The second point is that psychology and neuroscience have shown that you are most likely to achieve those outcomes or goals that you visualise and obsess on. Thirdly, realise that obsessing on something you wish to avoid is, in fact, equivalent to obsessing on the very unwanted outcome, and making it more likely to happen. So worrying tends to make things worse, apart from how unpleasant it feels.
How do good worriers avoid the unwanted outcome? Well, they worry right up to near the deadline and then frantically throw all their effort into heading off towards some preferable outcome. What a tough way to operate!
Can you see the solution? It couldn’t be more simple.
Is this a good idea? Yes. Are you deluding yourself? No. Because what I didn’t spell out to you, is that your mind is now focussed on the constructive outcome. If there is any bad news, it’s tongue-in-cheek, in that you will now have to seek out ways to make the positive outcome happen instead of worrying.