What if all of the things you worry about are true?
What if they don’t like you?
What if they are mad at you?
What if you have failed?
What if you are messing your kids up?
You would feel terrible.
You would feel shame, embarrassment, and disappointment.
Humans dislike feeling terrible, so usually they try to avoid it at all costs. On default, this turns into worry. Worry feels useful. It feels like if you worry enough, you somehow prevent the failure.
It’s a trick your brain is really good at.
It’s a trick because worry doesn’t really help. It doesn’t prevent the bad thing from happening. All it does is take you out of the current moment and into the potential future you’re trying to avoid.
Instead of enjoying what is happening right now, you are stuck in the future you don’t want, thinking about it, practicing it, and exploring all of the problems it would create.
Worry feels useful.
It feels like worry helps prevent the bad thing from happening. And it feels like it would help you if it did happen, because at least you would have rehearsed the situation and therefore you would be prepared.
Worry does not prevent the terrible feeling in the event of disaster, it just makes it so that you feel terrible in advance.
Not only does worry not feel good, it has negative consequences.
Worry robs you of the moment you are currently in.
Instead of being focused on what is happening right now in your life, worry causes you to focus on what “might be”.
Worry is the dress rehearsal for the potential disaster.
Did you know that you don’t need a rehearsal?
If the thing you are afraid of happened, you would be ok.
You would feel terrible, and then your life would continue.
Practicing in advance to feel terrible later is an awful game plan.
Worry feels awful! Why would you want to feel it on purpose?!
Your brain does not think it is choosing worry on purpose, but once you become aware, you see worry for what it really is. It is not the only option. It wastes your current time as you think about your future time.
Worry makes you feel terrible on the journey AND when the terrible thing happens.
Now you just feel awful twice.
If you’re ready to stop worrying all the time, here are some simple steps to take:
1. Realize that you have nothing to fear. If the worst case scenario happened, you would feel a negative emotion. That means that the worst that could happen is a feeling. The end. Your life would continue.
2. Practice feeling your feelings. This will teach your brain that you would survive. Most people aren’t feeling their feelings. They are escaping them through buffering. Think getting on your phone and overeating. Instead of escaping boredom, frustration, and disappointment, just sit with them. Allow them. It is not a problem to feel negative. Promise!
3. Recognize that worry is a thought error. Your brain will still offer you worry thoughts. Relax! It’s just doing it’s job. Thank it and move on. If you believe the worry, it usually halts your current progress and plans. Acknowledge the worry and continue with what you’ve decided to do with your life.
You got this.
Set yourself free!
P.S. Read about how I am ashamed of myself here.