Oh boy, if you’ve been following me or the news in general you may have heard that here in PNW we just got hammered by not one, not two but MANY storms! (I actually lost count and we are waiting on another as I write this) A couple of these storms which brought really heavy snow, high winds and messy roads.
You see, we are not all that good at dealing with snow around here if I’m honest lol. We just aren’t used to it! Having grown up on the east coast I can easily spot the difference. Not only are the folks in town not quite sure what to do, how to drive in it, often don’t have the tools to manage, the city hasn’t been all that efficient at clearing roads, bridges get closed…you get my drift (no snow pun intended there ha!)
It doesn’t help that it’s never the nice fluffy stuff either. It’s heavy wet snow often mixed with freezing rain. This time we had rain, freezing rain and then snow so walking or driving was pretty treacherous. Oh and BOY was it cold! Really unusual for this area to be so cold.
So why tell you all this? Not just in the hopes that someone brings me a hot mocha, but for some context so when I share with you an exchange I had in a group text with a couple of my coaching clients you’ll understand why they are feeling anxious. (Of course I’m going to change a few details to protect the innocent 🙂 )
Needless to say, some real worries came up around the storm and what the morning would bring. It was still snowing like mad and there was ice under the snow that had fallen, so the worries were genuine and for real.
We have a group text chat we can support each other with whatever is going on. Its truly full of love and compassion!
This was the exchange as the evening wore into the night and onto the second day of the storm wondering what things would be like in the morning. Worry can be really detrimental to your well being. In this case, one of the ladies was worried that her worry would keep her awake! ugh! Not great. Check out my response.
You see, here is what I’ve learned about worry. It’s not all that helpful. Worry is most often just wasted time and energy.
Not that I don’t sometimes find myself worrying! Of course I do! I’m human too!
You see at one time a bit of worry was perfect for our survival. However, when we heard a weird noise ages past, that old saber tooth tiger was either there outside our cave and we fought it off (or didn’t gulp!) or it wasn’t and we could relax a bit.
These days we have worries that don’t quit. Our brilliant minds can keep it going all day and all night! We worry about what ‘might’ happen and build into that a thousand possible scenarios – most of which will never happen. Worst of all, we KEEP going over and over these possibilities. It becomes a stress-filled loop we can’t seem to break out of.
We even worry about stuff that happened in the PAST. What possible good is that? We can’t hope to change it can we?
What ends up happening, is we are getting stuck in a constant state of alarm. To the point where a frightening number of people are so used to it that being relaxed and calm is a strange feeling that…yup…causes them to worry something is wrong.
This constant state of what is essentially fear, can end up with what is known as generalized anxiety and it is really bad for your mental, emotional and physical health. I know, I lived it.
Listen, I can’t TELL you how many times I’ve actually had this conversation with myself. Occasionally many multiple times in one day!
If you find yourself in a worried state ask yourself the following:
1. Can I do anything about this? If you can..go do it. Otherwise, there is no point to the worry. You can stop now and just remind yourself you can handle it if/when anything changes.
2. Is there someone who can help me do something about this? If there is..go ask them! Set up an appointment or whatever you need to do (see #1)
Another way I’ve handled my worry or anxiety that has ended up helping other too, is to write the worry in all it’s glorious detail on a bit of paper. And I mean detail…really write down exactly what it is you are worried about.
Quite often seeing it in black and white and no longer swirling around in my imagination is enough for me to hit a wall with the worry and realize its not such a big deal after all. Or if I’m really honest, sometimes it is just ridiculous to be worrying about. And that’s OK, I just put it down to having a fabulous imagination!
However, if it IS still bugging me I set a time when it is OK to start worrying it about it. Using the storm example, I decided that there was no point worrying until I saw what the morning brought and then I could figure out what to do and worry about driving when I was actually going to drive. I mean, that makes sense! Once I got where I was going I could relax about it.
I heard from the two lovely ladies in the chat the day after by the way. Both told me the slept fine that night. 🙂 That was so good to hear! Telling your mind when and how you’ll deal with something worrisome does work!
Listen, your mind is going to do things not in alignment with what you want and sometimes bring up thoughts that aren’t helpful and you can either be in control of that, or let it control you. It’s a never-ending practice but I promise it gets easier and quicker to recognize the sabotage from our own thoughts and be able to put them in their place!