We are at war. Everyday. We are not even aware. We wake up and try to smile at the day ahead. Almost immediately our dutiful brains remind us of challenges, old debates and grudges we continue to hold. Tapes begin to play in our heads. We are not even aware of them. We dress to disguise any trace of unrest, and get on with the day.
This worry, no matter how short-lived within our days, takes it toll on our bodies: our muscles, bones and organs; our blood pressure, blood sugar and ability to fight off infection. Often we engage in worrisome thoughts, emerging from one worry to another. We think this is life. We think we are destined to be concerned. This is the adult thing to do. But worry is a state that keeps us from our true happy selves. Worry is a state that damages our body. Worry is the war we need to win. Here are five ways to replace worry with confidence, smiles and general, overall happiness.
- Look in the mirror every hour.
You can use a mirror or your iPhone/iPad/computer camera. Look carefully. Each time you use the restroom, look, really look at your facial expression as you pass the mirror. It may surprise you! Where’s your smile? Where’s your ease? Where’s the person you think you are? The answer is, probably lost in some concern or worry. Easy enough fix! As soon as you recognize the worry, let it go and turn it into a smile.
Hi there! you say to yourself as if to a best friend. How’s it going! I sure love you!. Now that will get you smiling because you will feel foolish at first, but it will work. The more you become friends with yourself, the stronger, more confident you will become.
Put your timer on and do a spot check every hour for the first week or two. See if things won’t turn around almost immediately.
2. When you catch yourself worrying, give it a category.
It is thought that there are three ways to handle worry. One: see if you can change the situation. Two: see if you can set yourself apart from the situation. And, three: accept the situation and go on.
Once you hear yourself lost in a concern (and you may see yourself faster than hearing yourself, so use the mirror every hour), decide how you will proceed. Stop the tapes immediately. For example. You see a worried person in the mirror and ask what is going on. You’re thinking about a water bill that just came in the mail. You decide to categorize the worry. You choose to change the situation by going to your checkbook or computer and paying the water bill. You have freed yourself from worry.
But what if you do not have funds for the water bill? Then you will need to dig a bit deeper and see what situation is causing this. Once you identify the situation, (perhaps you spent all your money on a party last week), then you need to change your way of living in the future to make room for your expenses. You can forgive yourself for being human, call the water company and ask for an extension and then pay the bill. If your situation is more complicated with lots of months or years of making decisions that cause you worry, then you will need to take one worry at a time and sort them into categories and act on each worry, one by one, until you find peace.
3. Do something out of character.
When you live within the same situations every day, it is hard to find solutions for your worries. Give yourself a new character when you find yourself worrying. Put on a crazy hat or shirt. Put your plates where your drinking glasses are, and your glasses where your plates were. Change things around and get your brain occupied with something other than chewing and re-chewing your current worry. This is especially important when you have chosen to accept the situation or person who is causing you worry. Put on some music and even listen to a type of music that you seldom hear. Let the light in! If you don’t wear shoes in the house, wear shoes. If you don’t dress up in your house, dress up. Do anything out of character and you’ll see an improvement. The part of your brain previously sending feelings of worry, will stop sending the worries and pause long enough to listen for a different directive.. This is enough time \ sort out your worries in a happier state. Quickly solve your concern and move on. Life will all of a sudden become fun.
4. Let nature calm you: take a walk, stroll, or drive
Nature is a free gift that is everywhere. Nature waits to calm you! It’s just outside your door. Sit with a flower, bush or tree. If you are quiet enough, nature will speak to your heart and in no time at all you will be feeling great. If you want to tell nature all about your concerns, go ahead. In moments you’ll be putting them into the categories and feel 100% better.
Walking is good for your body and good for relieving stress caused by worry. A walk a day can keep the doctor away!
5. Forgive yourself and others daily
Once you start thinking about the process of forgiveness, you can take advantage of the extraordinary opportunity it provides. Letting go of resentment is a powerful tool toward letting go of worry. Resentment imprisons us. Worry provides us with feelings of resentment. It compares our lives to others and resents that we do not have the surplus of funds that seems so available to our friends. Resentment goes on and on. It provides us with a zillion reason this is so unfair. We are lost and victimized through resentment and the worries continue.
Forgiveness is an often misunderstood and therefore under-utilized. Lose the resentment of others when you perceive you are being threatened or disrespected. Lose the resentment of perceived situations resembling hard times. Lose the resentment of self when you do not measure up to what you perceive you should be. Forgive, forgive, forgive. Be generous in your for-giving!
When you are doing your hourly mirror checks, take a moment to forgive whatever is going on in the moment. Forgive yourself, others and situations and you will become stronger, able to achieve more and happier.
Practice these five methods to decrease worry in your life. I hope they help you and I hope they help to make a better, happier world. I welcome your comments.