Calm Your Worries: Part 4
It's not uncommon, especially in the winter, to wake up feeling worried and negative. I hear this from my clients every week. Just as often, they’ll say that they are not even sure what they’re worried about. I can certainly relate to this problem as it used to happen to me all the time!
You know what's really frustrating? If no obvious explanation for the worry exists, the next common thought is: I am simply an unhappy, miserable person.This thought feels truly frightening! So now we have accumulated the feelings of worry, unhappiness and fear! What next?!
Well, with all of these difficult emotions happening first thing in the morning, it is no surprise that it's tough to face the day. And because these difficulties can block motivation, the next logical thought for a worrier is, I guess I don’t like my life.
When this logic ensues, every day starts to feel like a chore. Add in the natural lethargy that many folks feel in late winter, and you’ve got yourself a serious case of the blahs.
You know what’s really sad to me? A simple feeling in the body can become a life dilemma about one’s existence. I have heard countless new clients report, “I don’t think my life is that bad on the surface, but I don’t like living this way.”
What can you do if you’re experiencing life as a chore?
Let’s begin with three easy steps to get you on the road to loving life again. Use these steps each morning (or whenever you must wake for your personal schedule).
- Breathe and check your body right away if you think you are worried or negative. When the body activates even a small amount of the Sympathetic Nervous System, (Fight, flight or freeze response), it can feel to some of us like we are worried. The heart beats a bit harder, respiration increases, muscles tighten and the mind races. Notice if this is happening to you, and before you decide there is something wrong with you, define it as a body sensation. Get curious about this feeling.
2. Ask yourself: Do I need a little more energy right now, just to get myself going? Movement first thing in the morning is tough! The sensation of worry may actually be a physical need for increased energy.
- In the winter, you may need a bit of extra energy to get out of your warm bed and into the cold environment. (Of course, if you’re in a warm climate, this may not be as much of an issue.)
- You may have learned to rev up in the morning from years of waking up to get to school. Anxious memories of a parent or alarm waking you for another day of getting to school can surface even later in life.
- You might have been sleeping soundly or actually need more rest and your body is trying to help you get upright in any way it can.
Thank your body. I know it sounds silly, but really, offer a simple sincere “Thank you.” If your body did not create a sense of movement for you, you might miss the day entirely!
- After you thank your body, ask yourself if any parts of you have questions or problems right now. These questions are likely old or automatic thoughts coming from parts of you that have been around for years. Often these parts express worries from when you were much younger. The good news is, if you take a moment and breathe, you can almost always answer these questions or problems in a way that makes sense inside and gives you a satisfying feeling of calm and capability.
- How will I get my work done today? Show this part that you are grown and get things done every day. Run a little internal video, letting your inner worrier see you accomplishing tasks in your day and letting it know that you have more choices as an adult.
- How can I get going when I’m so tired? Show this part any sleep or rest you just experienced during the night. Even if it is an hour sleeping or a few hours lying down, or some time with your eyes closed, let this part know that you are offering your body rest. Remind this part that you will get to bed again after your day and have even more rest.
- I don’t think I can handle people today! Ask this part to show you who it can’t handle. (It may be someone from the past that is not in your present day). Let this part know that it can stay in bed or in a happier space in your imagination while you go to work.
Okay, so I said three “easy” steps. But really, they boil down to this:
The morning jitters are often just ways for the body to get moving. They don’t mean that you are actually worried about anything. Breathe and let them move your body! If you do have actual worried thoughts, listen. Prepare yourself for the possibility that the worry or problem expressed comes from a part in your past. Offer that part some love and care, answering questions in a simple and straight-forward manner.