Spring is a great time of year to think about renewal and permanence, change, and giving ourselves a fresh start. So this week, we’re talking about our thoughts and worries and letting go of them. Would you love to let go of worry?
Worry is defined as giving way to anxiety and unease and allowing one’s mind to dwell on difficulties or troubles. I used to think that worrying meant that you cared, but it doesn’t. You can care about a situation without giving way to unnecessary anxiety and discontent.
Listen in this week as I share how your thoughts affect your worrying. Hear some questions to ask yourself to check in with your worry, what you can do when you catch yourself in a thought that causes you anxiety, and how to feel good in your body regardless of external circumstances.
Hey y’all. It’s springtime, and it’s the great time of year to think about renewal, impermanence, change, and giving ourselves a fresh start. Today we’re gonna talk about our thoughts and worries. Worrying doesn’t mean you care. Let’s get going.
Welcome to the Unlock Your Life podcast, a podcast for highly successful visionary women who want more out of life. If you feel that ache of unfulfillment in your soul, you’re in the right place sis. Join life mastery consultant Lori A. Harris as she teaches you how to stop living for others and finally put yourself first. Let’s dive into today’s show.
So this springtime, wouldn’t you love to let go of worry? What is worry? Worry is defined as a verb to give way to anxiety, unease, allow ones mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.
When I was little, or younger, I thought that worrying meant that you cared. So if there was trouble or a difficulty happening I thought that I should be able to tell by looking at another person that they cared. There was something about their countenance, the way they held their facial expressions, that indicated to me that they knew that there was a situation going on, and they were thinking about it and that they cared.
It’s really backwards thinking. One, you can’t really tell what another person is internally thinking, what they’re processing, and how they’re dealing with any given situation by their outside appearance. Two, that just may not be their way of handling a difficulty, and that doesn’t make their way wrong. Three, worrying simply doesn’t mean that you care. One can care about a situation without giving way to unnecessary anxiety and discontent.
So what do we do with the things that are going through our minds and causing us concern? Causing us to dwell upon this situation and how it might impact us in the future.
So the truth is that we’re gonna have some thoughts, and those thoughts may give way to some difficulties internally, which can have an impact on our psychological body as well. The main reason I want us as listeners and people in our community not to worry is it makes it difficult to come up with creative solutions. There are going to be circumstances, situations, conditions that we will color as problems. If we are to come up with a good creative solution, worry slows down the process if not creates an entire block to it altogether.
I’m reminded that not all worry is negative. Some worry allows us to imagine into the future and not do it in a toxic way, but to imagine into the future which allows us to exercise foresight and imagines situations and setbacks and challenges and then make a place. So if we can characterize our thoughts as exercise and forethought rather than worry then we can effectuate a better state of being in the moment and come up with effective problem solving skills.
So as a lawyer, it’s interesting because people come into your office. They describe a set of circumstances, a set of facts, and they may not know what that comes to as a cause of action. They may not be able to put it together and say, “This is what I want from you. I want to sue, or I want you to defend me. Or I want you to draft a contract or whatever.”
It’s the job of the lawyer to listen to the facts described to us as a lawyer, and then interpret and glean from the client what is the goal? What is it that they really want? To try to come up with a solution that will get the client what they want.
However, there’s an aspect of legal practice that involves a fair amount of trying to look into the future and anticipate problems. Not just the client that the problem has walked into the office with, but looking down the road and saying, “How can I protect my client in this moment and in the future moments?”
So if you’re in a relationship with someone who’s actively practicing law, it can be very difficult because rarely is a lawyer mind only thinking about this moment. So once I realized that my lawyer mind would go off into the future then I also noticed that it really went into the future with positive plans. It often was the sky is falling. Everything’s gonna go terrible. We’re gonna be in big trouble. That’s kind of my default that I have to work towards not going there.
So if worry has a role in our life where it tries to signal to us places off in the future that could be problematic, that could be a threat to our safety, and it allows us to come up with creative solutions in anticipation of something that’s a real possibility.
So the first question to check in with yourself is is this concern a real possibility? Second, is there any productive action I can take right now? Action is going to quell anxiety. Action is going to shift worry. So whenever you find yourself in a situation where your brain is churning and considering possibilities that amount to worry, check into yourself. Is this just a toxic thing that’s taking me to crazy pants? Or is this something that’s a real possibility?
If it is a real possibility? What are also some possibilities or option for dealing with it? A productive action that I can do in the future to deal with the situation should it arise?
Another thing we can do when we find ourselves caught in a thought that causes us anxiety is to check in and consider, “Well, what if it all worked out?” We have the catastrophized versus. Let’s consider what if it all worked out. What might that look like? How might that feel? What would I love about that? How might I effectuate that scenario? How might I make that good outcome come about?
So if you find yourself in a thought loop that can be categorized as worry, first check in. Is it a real possibility? Two, is there something that I can do that creates an action playout to absolve that feeling of worry? Get into action, and that will help.
Second is just to inquire. Is there another way to look at it? What if it all worked out? Play that thought out in your mind. Paint a picture of that resolution. Then the third resolution or coping mechanism that I want to suggest to you is called staring back at your thoughts.
So you’ll notice sometimes when we have a thought and it’s a negative thought, we can get into a spiral and start thinking about all the ways that it could go wrong, and it happens very, very quickly. So if you can train yourself to pause and just look at it, stare back at your thought. So when you notice that a thought has arisen, you can just watch it. Look at it, and think hm, where did that thought come from? Then investigate the nature of the thought and see if that seems accurate. Is it solid? Is it reliable?
You don’t want to try to block the thought. Just let it come up and look at it, and then consider it. Then you will often find and likely find that it will go away, but the most important thing is that you’ve used your power of awareness to pause yourself. To stop yourself from going down a negative thought spiral. Just by stopping and looking at the thought.
So you paused a potential thought spiral, and that’s going to take some element of practice. Some element of mindfulness, which is why we engage in mindfulness on a regular and repeated basis so that when we are in crisis, we have that tool to rely upon, and we can call upon it with more ease, grace, and efficiency.
So it’s springtime, and we are monitoring our thoughts. We’re cleaning up, and we’re starting first within. We remind ourselves that everything is impermanent, everything changes, nothing stays the same, and springtime is a great reminder of that. With that we are monitoring our thoughts for worry. Are we worrying?
If so, is it a toxic unhelpful kind of worry? If not then we want to check in with ourselves by asking is this a possibility. Is it a real possibility? What are possible action steps I can take to avoid this thing that has come up to cause me concern. Action beats anxiety over and over again.
Second, we can offer ourselves another way to look at the situation. Another way to interpret it. It’s a replacement thought of sorts. So you can check that out. Finally we can stare down the thought. We simply look at it, interrogate it, where does that thought come from? Why do I think that?
Then by doing so, actively engaging with the thought, we stop ourselves from going down the path of thought spiral that will send us in a direction that will be more difficult to get out of. Give ourselves the gift of feeling good. Feeling good in our body regardless of outside circumstances.
So you’ve done it. You’ve reached the end of another episode of the Unlock Your Life podcast. This was episode number 41. I’m your host Lori Harris. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast, I’d love it if you would offer a review. You can find us at Apple podcast or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Stop, follow, rate, and review the show. It doesn’t have to be a five star review, but I would love it if it was. More importantly, I want to hear from you as to what we can do to make this show even better. Thanks for listening and remember, it’s your life. Make it a great one.
Thanks for listening to this episode of the Unlock Your Life podcast. If you want more information on how you can transform your life and do it quickly, visit loriaharris.com. See it on the next episode of the Unlock Your Life podcast.