Late at night, I know I should be trying to sleep and I am watching a rerun of NCIS. It is the episode that Gibbs persuades Timothy that after an ordeal he should seek counseling. The counselor listens to Timothy’s concerns then states, “Worry is a bully.” It was like a huge light bulb moment. House was quiet I was totally focused on hearing this one sentence. I didn’t hear the rest that was said because I was visualizing Worry as a big bully and thinking about what I learned about dealing with bullies.
- Stand up to bullies, therefore, stand up to worry.
- Call the bullies bluff, therefore, look hard and long at what I am worried about.
- Take away a bullies audience, hmmm…..what is worries audience…..Ooooo insecurity, fear, and doubt…..take away those and worry has no audience.
- Team up against a bully, ask others to help me defeat the things I am worried about. Remind myself I am not alone.
These were just a few of the things that came to mind when thinking about Worry is a Bully.
Another person posted an article called 10 Anxiety hacks Therapists use.
(I’ll share my perspective on the 10 items, follow the link to read their views.) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/anxiety-tips-therapists-swear-by_us_5b2bf149e4b00295f15a91bf
1. Put your anxiety on ice – literally, plunge your hand into ice water or splash cold water on your face. The sensation cuts through thoughts and feelings. Your body is totally focused on the cold.
2. Clench your fists – Nicole O-Pries, a therapist based in Richmond, Virginia.
“Place your hands on or beside your legs. Ball your fists like you are really mad and tighten your hands as much as you can. Take a deep breath and loosen your fists a little bit at the end of the out breath,” she said. “Continue to take deep breaths and loosen your fists until your hands are completely open. Then stretch your fingers outward as much as you can. Now notice your body again and the lessening of the anxiety points you felt earlier.” I found that a fist feels threatening and sometimes a temptation to use it inappropriately, press your hands to the side of your legs or against each other have similar affects.
3. Repeat a calming phrase – I find certain poems or short phrases or mantras that I believe are the most beneficial….telling myself I am safe when I don’t feel safe smacks a bit of lying to myself…not helpful in the long run.
4. Allow yourself to feel anxious – That’s right. Anxiety is an emotion it needs to be allowed sometimes, but I like to keep in mind that like any other emotion it can be invited to leave. When DH was on business trips I would set a time when I would allow myself to start to worry. I usually added a half an hour later just in case of slow traffic. I learned that 9 times out of 10 he would be home before I was scheduled to worry.
5. Let the tears flow – highly recommended but is tough for me to do. When I do cry, I no longer fight it but let the tears flow. I way underestimated the value of crying for real. (Fake tears are still on my trigger list. My mother manipulated our family pretending to cry.)
6. Shut down your social media apps for a bit – Taking a break from Facebook, Twitter, news, and many other forms of negativity. Also if you are worried about getting somethings done it is amazing how much time can be available when you take an electronic vacation and turn off TV and computer. News is usually bad or sensationalized to up the anxiety level. Take a break. I do this but I also know that internet keeps me connected to people that encourage and cheer for me. I do the same for them. Might be a case of re-evaluate how you use it. Do I use internet to escape or engage? Does it add or put more negativity in my life? Am I using it for a purpose or as a time killer or to procrastinate something I should be doing?
7. Take stock of your surroundings – Mindfulness of looking around you and naming 5 things you see, 4 things you touch, 3 things you hear, 2 things to taste, and 1 thing to smell….choose wisely on the smell since this one can be a hidden trigger.
8. Jot down your feelings – Write about what you are feeling. Sometimes go into depth about the sensations, thoughts, and feelings that all are spinning around inside. It is a form of letting the wild things out to get a different perspective on the issues.
9. Face what’s causing your anxiety in the first place – I mentioned above that worry is a bully, facing your situation with courage and determination goes a long ways to beating down worry.
10. Seek help from a professional – I don’t think they added this to drum up business. I took my anxiety to counseling. We sat down together and worked out a few things. One that I did not know was sometimes the feeling of anxiety is a symptom to medications I am taking or some illnesses trigger the emotion. I also learned that my counselor had a lot more that just 10 ideas on how to face up to and cope with anxiety.
Meme’s like “Don’t worry be happy” are so annoying because I felt like I was locked out of some secret club of people that could not worry. Then I realized that worry could be my friend. Worry might alert me to a situation with planning ahead I can have a more successful experience. I watch people and I observed that people that don’t worry tend not to plan ahead either. The story I do like is the cowhand that said he could sleep when the wind blew.
When the wind blows!
Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands, however, most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.
As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals. Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. ‘Are you a good farm hand?’ the farmer asked him.
‘Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,’ answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help decided to hired him.
The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt well satisfied with the his work. Then one night the wind howled in loudly from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, ‘Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!’
The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, ‘No sir, told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.’
Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coop and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew. http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au/stories/attitude/When%20the%20wind%20blows.shtml
Worry reminds me I need to be prepared for future events. Once I am prepared then setting worry aside and moving on with living is what I call thriving.