We discussed in the last blog ‘Worries’, about these pesky worry habits, plus the way you are living your life which could be increasing your internal worry and anxiety levels. This blog will look at how to fill the spaces, that worry, reassurance, denial, and avoidance, may have left within you. Worrying about things can take up lots of time and if we are choosing to break from these habits then it is important to make the most of that time in ways which won’t inadvertently allow our inner mind to continue to worry. The key to not worrying is to distract yourself, if you are fully distracted you won’t be worrying. But it has to be a full distraction or it won’t have the results that you are hoping for. Being distracted is not about just being busy doing something, we can all easily be busy but still be worrying at the same time. Being distracted is when our mind is so involved in the moment that we just don’t have room for worries. This is one of the most important things in helping us to become worry-free. These are the key things to understand; if we can take the time to understand how our minds work and if we are fully distracted, then we can’t worry. Getting our minds on our side is the key to helping us in every area of our lives, as our minds are the most powerful force we have in our lives.
There may be lots of different times that we may have been worrying and it is important to find different distractions for these different times. For instance, if we are in the car then we have limited things that we can choose to do as we have to be mindful of driving. Or if we are in a meeting, the things we can do in the car are not the same as being in a meeting. The first thing we have to do is look at the areas where we are most likely to worry. This might include some of these times, in the mornings, in the car, in meetings, before we go to sleep, or when we do things that scare us, and all those other times that are trigger times for us.
Create your heading for worry trigger times, so that you can create a list of distractions for each of your trigger times. If say you have the car on your list, here are a few distractions that might work for you. Do remember that we are all unique and what might work might be very different for all of us. For the car, you can have things like a talking book, and your personalised playlists, it could be telephone calls you need to make, or you might make voice notes of things to do. If you have on your list, the mornings, then this might be split into two sections, a normal time to get up and then waking too early, as there will be differences. If it is the wake too early list, then you will need very relaxing things that allow you to stay in bed until a normal getting up time. These could be using all the resources on the MindHealth app, relaxation music and sleep support resources – at these times don’t try to get up early, as this might lead to a pattern of waking up early. Our mind is a computer, and it is constantly looking to form new habits and patterns. If we start regularly doing things in our lives, always remember that our minds will start forming habits even if these things are the things we don’t want to be doing that much of. If our worry time is a time, we have more freedom to do things, then we could go for a 5-minute run, do a quick HIIT class, play games with the family, such as the name game or just a game of cards. Start thinking about what will work for you.
When we get worried it can sometimes push us to points where we can struggle to think of a way to help ourselves, that is why the lists will help you as they can be your support system in those trigger times. If we activate those distraction techniques, it will not only help us in the moment but will help us over time to form new and positive habits in these previous worry trigger times. It takes time to form new habits so set your goals for the next few months as this will help you make the long-term changes you need to become worry-free.
If you find that you reach for reassurance, avoidance, or denial, more than overt worrying habits, then there are other things that can help you, but the distraction list will also be a great thing to have in your armoury to support you in those. The next few blogs will help you with techniques and ideas that will help you to find your path out of worry and into a calmer happier life. Sara x