As women, we are great at worrying — our brains are even wired to do so! It makes us GREAT problem solvers and proves how dedicated we are to supporting the welfare of others. But we can turn off that switch and try using these 5 Cs to keep you moving in a positive direction.
Confine your worry to a ‘worry time”
Set aside a ‘time to worry’ and confine your worries to that time period. Whenever you have a worry throughout the day outside of that ‘designated worry time’, briefly write it down or tap it into a note on your phone. Come back to it during your ‘time to worry’ and when it’s time, worry! And really worry hard! Write down all your worries. Or feel it in your body and go to a safe place where no one can see or hear you scream, cry, etc. Allow yourself to have your feelings. You can also write down all the possible solutions you could think of or who you could ask about to solve the problem, etc. The point is to confine your worries to a designated time period so it doesn’t eat away at you for the whole day. Then use this time to move it through your body or to come up with solutions.
When you are in a situation that you don’t like, usually you focus on the negative aspects of it. It’s helpful to try to take a step back and see ‘the whole context’. Sometimes you don’t know ‘why’ this situation is happening. Great examples of this are when you lose your job and you think your world is over, but then you have a little more time to do a hobby you love. This might lead you to start your own business and fulfill a lifelong dream. Or when you end a relationship and think no one will ever love you again, but from that situation, you learn to love yourself more and meet a person who treats you with the respect you deserve for a lifetime.
It helps to ask questions that start with the word “what”. Usually, this will focus your brain on aspects of the situation that you can control. For example, “What can I control?”, “What is the outcome I want in this situation?”, “What is the first thing I could do to move this in a positive direction?” or “What could I do while I’m waiting to hear back?” Asking this question shifts your mind away from the part of your brain that is in emotional hijack and instead puts it back to the part of your brain that can think clearly and constructively.
When you worry, you are using the part of your nervous system that keeps you on a cycle of emotion where you keep seeing the negative and getting worked up about it. Instead, find calm in your mind. It will enable you to see that bigger picture and feel more space between you and the problem. It will help you have more trust in yourself to be able to solve the situation. Try this breathing technique that will calm your mind. Enjoy the exhale!
Find someone you feel safe with to share your thinking and feelings about the situation – not someone who will dismiss you. It generally makes you feel better when you feel seen and heard. Also, train your brain to focus on what you are grateful for instead of what you see as negative. There’s great research by Shawn Achor which suggests this exercise: each day for 21 days, spend up to two minutes reaching out to someone to describe what you appreciate about them. Write them an email, send them a text or give them a phone call. Once you do this habit for 21 days, it will significantly increase your happiness and train your brain to look for the positive!