We are big Disney fans in my house. So last night when I was hunched over my desk with furrows in my brow wondering what to do about a complex issue I was worrying about, my youngest daughter came over to where I was sitting (and staring off into space mind you deep in thought). She burst into song beaming forth the theme to Frozen, “Let it go, let it go”. She also twirled on the spot at the same time I might add.
This made me smile in spite of myself. She leaned over and hugged me and said “Let it go Mum, you worry too much.” Well I couldn’t argue with that, told her she was right (which all my kids love hearing) and promptly got up and gave myself a break from worrying.
Worry often tends to consume us and quite frankly it is often such a waste of time.
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened” (Winston Churchill)
So how can you “Let it Go, Let It Go” (you just sang that didn’t you!).
Try these tips and see if you can “let it go” a bit more successfully.
1) Recognise When You Are Ceaseless Striving
So many of us hold on to our issues and fall into the trap of ceaseless striving. It’s often good to consider where you are on The Personal Power Grid. Are you constantly ruminating and attempting to take action relating to an issue which you in fact have no control over and as a result simply ending up frustrated? And conversely, are you giving up in frustration on issues you can in fact control, but have not been motivated to get down and dirty and plan what you are going to do. So ask yourself, “where am I?”
2) Just Ask
We often worry particularly about our relationships with others and what they might think as a result of a certain course of action we decide to take. We often just try and guess what they “might” be thinking. Of course nothing bad has ever happened as a result of trying to read someone else’s mind right?
Trying to read someone’s mind can very easily lead to creating an exaggerated and even disastrous scenario in your mind.
So choose a way that is less likely to lead to worries and misunderstandings. Just ask. Communicate and ask what you want to ask. By promoting openness in your relationships with others, you often avoid unnecessary conflict and negativity and your relationships are likely to be a lot more positive.
3) Build up a sweat
When your brain feels like it’s scrambled, give it a bit of time off and do some hard yakka exercise. Few things work so well and consistently as working out to release inner tensions and to move out of a headspace that is causing problems.
Working out with some dedicated focus, for example setting a goal to increase your time planking, or the number of sit ups you can do can often make you feel more decisive and focused.
4) Share it
My Nana used to have a lot of great sayings that she used to spout at me on a regular basis. One of my favourites was “Michelle, a problem shared is a problem halved”.
Often we are so close to a problem that “we can’t see the woods for the trees” (this was another of Nan’s favourites) and we are confused by the scenario, options, decision etc etc.
Talking the problem out with a trusted person can often really help. By letting your big worry be “exposed” it often does not seem quite so big and a trusted friend might be able to give you the perspective you never had, and drive you toward some dedicated action which allows you to put that ever present worry down. Plus venting can be good as well!
5) Don’t look back – you’re not going that way.
We seem to spend a whole lot of time looking back over our shoulders to ruminate on all the things we have done which typically feeds the worry monster. However, spending too much time in the future can also feed that same monster and we can get caught up in all the disasters we imagine “could” happen.
So focus on spending more of your time and attention in the present moment. Reconnect with what is occurring in the moment and “be mindful”.
Slow yourself right down and take notice of what’s going on around you. Focus on disrupting your worry and ruminative thoughts and reconnecting with what is going on around you right at that moment.
6) WWW – What’s Working Well
Think specifically about what is working well for you right now. What’s working well in your life? What’s working well at work? What’s working well in your relationship? What happened today that you were proud of? What skills or strengths did you use today that you might not have noticed?
You need to recognise that not everything is doom and gloom. You can very easily get caught in a trap thinking that “everything” is going wrong (can you just hear that catastrophising). But often, “that just ain’t so.” So consider WWW.
7) What’s One Thing You Can Do?
To move out of the worried head space I find it really, really helpful to just start moving and taking action to start solving or improving whatever I am concerned about.
So ask yourself, “What is one small step I can take right now to start improving this situation I am in?”
Then just focus on taking that one small step forward. After that I find another small step and I take that one. Then another and then another. And gee, look at that… I’m moving forward.
So now…… sing it out loud “Let it gooooo, Let it gooooo”
Want to know more about managing your worry time? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about coaching to build your self-confidence and manage your thinking and increase your goal setting capacity.
Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner. Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing. You can find her at www.bakjacconsulting.com or email@example.com