Acknowledging worry is so important.
Don’t you hate it when you’re trying hard to stay calm and someone says, “You look nervous; what’s wrong?” My immediate reaction might be something like, “Yeah, whatever. Doing fine. Go about your business and stop looking at me!”
When we try to stuff it down, tough it out and ignore it, worry gets louder and more stressful. It feels like a pressure cooker, right? This pressure cooker effect leads to physical and emotional illnesses like high blood pressure, insomnia, fatigue, depression and more. And “fake it till you make it” is fine, but won’t work consistently until you’ve created a healthy relationship to your worries.
We’ve all had times, maybe as a child, when fear and worry “took over” as we became more engaged in it. So it’s natural to believe that if you steel yourself against worry it will somehow stay away but if you notice it, you’ll dissolve into a big quaking pile of fears.
Notice the words “in it” at the end of the sentence above? These two tiny words make all the difference.
Each reason to acknowledge worry in the list below helps you gain a greater sense of your Self in relation to your worry.
As you practice, you shift from feeling all or mostly worried to all or mostly – YOU!
- When you acknowledge your worry, it’s no longer all of you because you (the bigger whole) can acknowledge it. Voila! You just made the worry a little smaller and less daunting.
- Acknowledging worry out loud to yourself or someone you trust helps you to separate from it. Affirming the worried feeling grants you freedom to acknowledge any non-worried feelings as well.
- Naming your worry enables you to meet the part of you that worries and begin a healthy relationship with this part. (Using the practice of Internal Family Systems. Much more in Calm Your Worries.)
- Finding the sensation of worry in your body and sending your breath and care toward it is naturally, physically calming. The nervous system provides tools to help you calm in breath, vision, touch and more. (See more about Polyvagal practice in Calm Your Worries)
- Sharing your worried thoughts with a loved one (or yourself) provides a natural physical sense of safety.
If you consider yourself a worrier, I totally realize that you have many questions and cynical thoughts popping up for you like:
If it was that easy, I would do it! Or: This is woo-woo and I don’t really believe it will help.
The bullets above are all backed by proven science. And just like… well, everything, they work when you do them correctly. Let me assure you, you can! There are clear and practical ideas in my book to help you along your way.
Sending you a blessing from poet, John O’Donahue: