Taming Your Boogeyman
What keeps you up at night? Is there a list of things that keeps running your own little horror movie in your head? As a parent you worry about your children. Are they safe? Will they get over that cold or will their broken bone heal correctly? In uncertain economic times you worry about your job, your investments and saving for retirement.
My husband has often said to me, “Worry is a payment on a debt you may never owe.” Wise words indeed. So how do you let go of worry when it something that we are so good at? Perhaps worry can never be eradicated but there are some tools that can help tame its power over us.
1. Recognize the Monster Tromping Through Your Mind.
Sometimes we aren’t really aware of what our thoughts are and how they are setting the tone for our day. The first step to taming the worry and rumination habit is to help yourself become aware of your thoughts. Set an alarm on your watch, computer calendar or phone to go off 2 to 3 times per day.
When you hear the alarm, ask yourself what you are focused on. If you are thinking about what could go wrong, make a note of that. At the end of the day see how times your alarm caught you worrying.
2. Shift Your Thoughts to What YOU Want.
Now that you have noticed your tendency to focus on the negative, you can start to practice shifting your thinking. You have heard the expression, change your thoughts, change your life.
Here is a little way to apply this idea. When you notice yourself agreeing with the boogey man that things are bad – Stop. Take a deep breath. Now tell yourself 5 good things that are happening right now. They may be as simple as, I got out of bed today.
Or I had a good cup of coffee just now. Look for what is working. As you do this the power of the negative will tend to dissipate.
3. Change Your Environment.
The other day my list of things to do for seemed to get longer by the hour. I was tired, grumpy and feeling overwhelmed. Instead of digging in and trying to do the next thing on the list in my negative state, I shifted.
I went outside for a little walk. The fresh air, the birds, the flowers, the mountains and sunshine distracted me from myself. When I got back to my desk – surprise! I was able to focus and be more productive.
4. Call in the Reserves.
When the above strategies don’t seem to help very much, call a friend. A conversation with someone who knows you well can help tame your boogey man. I call my BFF’s who know my little idiosyncrasies of going down the road to worry land. Funny how a few minutes on the phone with them can sift my perspective.
Even when the boogey man seems to loom large, don’t let him, or her, take charge and ruin your day.
A little practice, and you will be on your way to having more of your day be filled with peaceful, productive thoughts.
Let me know what works for you. I love hearing from you.