Worrying excessively about something without changing it drains us of energy. Only if we decide to act will we find a way out. These two guidelines will help you.
Life has great contradictions. Among them, a very significant and surprising one is the fact that people we think are lucky and happy are considered, deep down, unhappy; Conversely, others who seem to have no source of joy experience great life satisfaction.
Napoleon Bonaparte, a prototype of a man who had everything one could materially desire – glory, power and wealth – confessed towards the end of his life that he had never known six days of happiness. That contrasts sharply with the words of Helen Keller – a blind and deaf-mute author and activist on whose autobiography the film The Miracle of Ana Sullivan was based, claiming to have experienced the beauty of life.
WORRY SERIOUSLY HARMS YOUR HEALTH
In my daily therapeutic practice I perceive, persistently and intensely, the effects and consequences of extreme concerns of various kinds. This constant makes it clear that worries are inherent to life and that no one is exempt from experiencing them at some point in their life trajectory.
We all know from our own experience the paralyzing effects of worry, which can override our ability to concentrate and make decisions. But there is more ulcers, even, hypertension, heart conditions, arthritis, asthma, hypothyroidism and even dental cavities can be a direct consequence of negative emotions sustained over time, in the same way that they are the frustration, anxiety, fear, hatred, bitterness, rebellion or despair. Once, a young man came to my office concerned about a myriad of thing his limited ability to clarify his ideas regarding his studies – he had changed careers twice the possibility of losing his girlfriend, of getting sick. If anything, this case clearly showed, it was that any physical pain is preferable to the boundless anguish of a tormented spirit. He could barely articulate a few words in a row, he did not control his thoughts, he felt a terrifying panic and he cried constantly.
DON’T WORRY: 5 STEPS TO GET GOING
With the results and the consequences of worry being so devastating, how can we lower the level of tension and reconvert our concern to be able to properly understand a problem and find the optimal ways of solving it? How do we avoid spinning it crazily and inefficiently?
This sequence can help you:
1. FOCUS ON THE PRESENT
Does this mean that we must erase any memory of the past or that we must not plan responsibly and illusionedly our future? Absolutely.
The past is an inexhaustible mine of experience from which to draw valuable lessons. And the expectations generated by thinking about the future give meaning to our past, while guiding and regulating our present actions and decisions.
Allowing, however, that the memory of the past or the look towards the future lead to uncontrollable sensations (remorse, guilt, anguish or anxiety) reduces our competencies and skills to focus our attention on current problems.
The goal of this emotional control is to find effective solutions to problems. In this way you will be able to release an energy that you can invest in the search for constructive possibilities through healing thought.
2. THINK OF THE WORST-CASE SCENARIO
Asking ourselves what is the worst thing that could happen to us if we cannot solve it prepares us mentally and emotionally to improve that situation, in case it ends up happening. It consists of assuming the problem and analyzing it constructively.
Although common sense tells us that the worst scenario will increase our anxiety, my practice of all these years in therapy corroborates the claims of authors such as Dale Carnegie, the father of authentic self-help assuming the worst of possibilities in a well-oriented way gives us peace of mind and heart. In psychological terms, such acceptance supposes, in spite of the effort that it requires, a liberation of energy.
A patient who had just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease was deeply disturbed by the idea that she would no longer be able to take care of her work or household chores.
To prepare for her imminent future, we start from the moment when she was no longer practicing her profession or doing housework.
Two days after that session, I received an email in which he expressed his relief after our conversation: he said he had slept a few hours in a row the night before, after weeks of insomnia, and announced that at home they had already planned the gradual incorporation of his husband and adolescent daughter to the home administration. In addition, she had decided to consult with a lawyer to better negotiate working conditions with her company and to become familiar with her husband’s business so that she could be in business for as long as possible.
Paradoxically, this visualization will unlock a potential retained within you that will allow you to guess solutions. Until now, your concern did not let you advance because fear of the course of events paralyzed you.
3. ORDER WHAT HAPPENED
Think of all the facts, put them in, and make small decisions about them.
Sometimes, your first decisions must refer more to yourself than to the facts in question: “I will try to stay calm”, “I will think positively”, “Whatever happens will be for the better”. These thoughts will allow you to prepare for the next decisive step.
4. GET GOING
After lowering stress levels, a bit, we must make decisions and act. Surprisingly, the hardest part for us is not so much knowing how to proceed in the face of adversity, but translating our already deliberate decisions into action.
However, it is action that shapes our attitudes. Most people think of it the other way around: they hope to change their attitude and then act accordingly.
Many families who come to my office underestimate the effects of the tasks that I propose to them because they understand that, since they are my proposals, they are artificial and incapable of generating the expected change. Psychologists know that they are wrong, because a constructive action generates the necessary stimulus to internalize a change in attitude, which, in turn, positively affects the action.
Arrangement change in the abstract is rare. Attitudes don’t improve based on nothing; They are changed by the stocks underlying the fund. Therefore, act with enthusiasm and you will feel joyful.
5. EVALUATE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE
Value your action and its consequences. Identify and incorporate into your mind the lessons that lie behind your decisions and actions to be able to make use of your own learnings in the future.
As for the young man who remained sunk in his worries, he realized that his thoughts had to work for him and not against him and, therefore, that the cause of his suffering was within him. No matter what the problem is, what is important is the mental attitude with which we approach it.