How To Stop Worrying Yourself Sick
Are you reading too much into situations or spend too much time trying to make decisions?
Are you going over the same things that have already happened or might happen in the future?
Do you panic at every physical discomfort and suspect some life-threatening disease? (Like the appendicitis scare when you were bloated and crampy because of the Brussels sprouts?)
Everyone overthinks sometimes, but for some people, this is a constant.
Overthinking is rooted in uncertainty and is a way to deal with fear and anxiety. Unfortunately, it can also be like temporary selective blindness, where you see nothing but doom and gloom all around you
Up until my teenage years, whenever there was an event I would look forward to, after the initial positive anticipation, there would come fear.
What if something went wrong? What if X didn’t do what he promised? What if I wouldn’t be good enough? What if my parents wouldn’t be happy about it?
(I know, that was a lot of anxiety for a child!)
I would think and turn things over and over in my mind, without showing anything outside. Because somehow, by expecting the worse, if it came true, it was not as much of a blow. If it didn’t, I could enjoy the happy end.
I was trying to be prepared for everything.
But it cost me a lot of tears, sleepless nights and stress.
Maybe this sounds familiar?
I could give you the traditional, sensible advice, like challenge your worries, stay in the present or focus on the positives. And these things work, of course.
…except when the horse is already out of the barn.
That is, when you’re already so far off into your projections, you are either paralysed and covered in cold sweats, or you’re more hyper than a chihuahua.
Three unconventional solutions
They work great, especially when your overthinking got your stomach tighter than a triple gastric band:
- – Get physical – do vigorous movements or exercise, jump, run, punch, do Pilates. This trick works because you’ll feel a sense of control by taking some form of action. After all, our mind tricks us into believing we can accomplish something by worrying, so why not trick them back? Besides getting a wave of endorphins, you’ll maintain a fit shape – winning!
- – Get musical – voice your concerns and stress by singing it. If the melody doesn’t match the words, that’s even better – it’s throwing your brains off. Baffled, it’ll say ‘Wait, what? Am I happy or am I stressed right now?’ (added points if you can also shake your limbs wildly to the rhythm)
- – Get artistic – sculpt, paint or crochet your worries into oblivion. The focus here isn’t on creating a masterpiece, but on giving form to the invisible monster tormenting you. Chisel or cast abstract shapes, slosh a cacophony of colours or stitch those yarns fiercely! No rationalising, no judgement – just do it!.
IF ALL ELSE FAILS: if you’re tired (whether of ruminating or because of all this exertion), throw it all in front of God, Higher Power, Universe, or Natural Wisdom.
When creating the worst case scenarios made me suffer too much I surrendered my feelings and problems to the Big Boss and told Him to fix them Himself because I surely couldn’t.
And that “Thy will be done” attitude gave me relief.
The conscious transfer of responsibility ended the unnecessary struggle.
(Why carry it all, anyway?)
Which is also why the Serenity Prayer has always been one of my favourites.
I’m curious to know, which of these ideas do you feel tempted to try?
Which sounds so appalling that you wouldn’t be caught dead doing it? (That’s the perfect one for you then!)
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