Simple (but deep) trick to fight worries
This post is going to be the first one to cover my journey of understanding my inners self, working through worries and anxieties happening in life. I've been going to a therapist for several years now and it's been quite bumpy. Sometimes I stumble upon interesting techniques / tricks that anyone might find useful and I decided I'll try to share them here from time to time.
Jokes aside, this technique is really simple but powerful. It might not work for everyone, as we all are on different levels of self-awareness. But if it helps one one person I can consider sharing this a success.
All of us go through moments of stress, worries, anxiety. This can happen every other day / week / month but it does happen to everyone without exception. Usually what happens is something triggers these feelings and one starts focusing attention on them, making things worse.
I'm a perfectionist by nature (or is it my upbringing?) and, as you might guess, I tend to worry about small things and do it quite often. What this brings me to is constant swirl of thoughts of how things could go bad, what I did wrong or how I can let someone down. As I shared in my post on sleep, this is one of the reasons I have lots of thoughts and problems falling asleep.
I've tried different things to overcome these feelings. Some helped and some were useless. The technique I'm about to share includes one step that always seemed to partially help — becoming aware of your feelings. Nevertheless it didn't fully eliminate the worry. Turns out there are some additional steps to take. Let's go over them one by one with my personal example.
As it turns out we have our inner children inside ourselves who have tons of things to be afraid of and worry about. In this step you need to identify who is it that's worried right now: an adult you or a young / little you?
- if it's an adult you, it's relatively easy as you can have a rational and logical conversation with adult yourself and identify the next steps re current situation, and you're done, situation resolved.
- if it's a little you / your inner child (which is going to be the majority of cases, to be honest), rational and logical will not work — it's the emotional piece that's important. This is where Step 2 comes in.
I mistakenly missed an important team meeting this week and received a message from my manager asking if everything's ok. She didn't mean anything bad, she was genuinely worried something might've happened to me that I missed the meeting. I, on the other hand, immediately felt worried that I missed the meeting, let her down and so on.
Having analyzed the situation I quickly realized it's not adult me who's worried, it's my inner child who's frightened, so I went to step 2.
As you will quickly realize while talking to your inner child the feelings of worry have nothing to do with the current situation (well, at least directly) — they come from the situation or conditions of your childhood and the emotions your inner child was feeling in this particular situation.
In the case with my manager messaging me I came to a realization that my inner child of age 5-7 felt scared that he made something wrong and he is going to be told off and maybe even punished. Remember 99% of our worries don't come true — even in childhood, but we still have them.
I can't stress the word emotional enough. Your inner child has no rational understanding of situation, so trying to talk rationally to him / her will not work. It's like explaining importance of customer development to a 4-year old: he will understand it's something important, but will not understand why and what exactly.
Try to support your inner child by having a conversation in plain words, talk about feelings and try to be there for him / her. You will feel something at some point of time during this conversation, trust me.
When I understood my inner child is afraid of being told off or punished (or even hit) I quickly told him the following: "Darling, I'm here with you and you don't need to be afraid of anything. I'm here with you forever and I will help you out in any situation no matter what. Should someone be talking bad to you, I will be there to protect you and will not let that happen. You will stay safe and healthy with me. If someone wants to make something bad to you, I will stop them. I love you, don't you worry about anything". And then I hugged this little boy with all my heart.
This is not an ideal technique, nor is it a professional advice from a therapist, but it worked for me and it helps me out more and more as I keep using it.
The main thing to remember is trying to be aware of your feelings and understanding that you are actually in a state of worry right now and the technique is something you should do. Most of times we skip the self-awareness / understanding yourself part and continue with our lives, letting worries live along with us. Stopping this circle is the first step to helping yourself.
Stay healthy, stay safe.