A Tip for Finding Freedom From Worrying

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I was recently listening to a podcast recommended to me by a friend who happens to be a runner. It was episode 188 of The Running Lifestyle Show. The topic was actually acupuncture, which I'll definitely be sharing more about in the future. The thing that really grabbed me was right at the end, and I knew I wanted to share it with you!

Health is SO much more than nutrition. It's also about sleep, movement, taking time for yourself, finding joy in life, and reducing stress.

Worrying can be a source of stress for many people, including myself from time to time. You know that feeling when you lay down to sleep and your mind starts racing? Or you wake up in the middle of the night and that flight you have to take or important conversation you need to have pop into your head? Here's an approach shared by Kari on the podcast to help calm your worrying, reduce your stress, and improve your sleep.

When a worry arises, acknowledge it and determine a specific time you'll dedicate to thinking about it. If it's the middle of the night, you might determine you'll think about it at 7am when you wake up. This will hopefully allow you to fall back to sleep without trying to get rid of the worry completely.

When the time you're dedicating to the worry arrives, do the following forecasting exercise:

Worst case scenario: what is the absolute worst thing that could happen?

Best case scenario: what is the best thing that could happen?

Most likely: What is the most likely thing to happen?

Chances are, the worst case scenario will rarely happen, but this exercise will help you think through and prepare for whatever you're worrying about.

Here's an example of how this could be applied in real life based on something that often causes me to worry. Job interviews always tend to be stressful for me, even when I know I'm a great fit for the job. It feels like there is a lot of pressure to be absolutely perfect in these situations.

Worst case scenario: I don't get this particular job and I have to continue my search.

Best case scenario: The interview goes amazingly well and I get offered the job on the spot.

Most likely: There are things I could've done differently, but overall I feel good about how it went and I'll hear back from the hiring manager soon.

Now, whenever I'm starting to worry or hear someone else worrying, I can give this forecasting exercise a try. I hope you find it as useful in your life as I've found it to be in mine.

Posted on August 22, 2017 and filed under stress, mindfulness.