“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.” ― Randy Armstrong
Sometimes I get caught in a downward spiral of worry, especially when I’m busy and it feels like there is too much to do and not enough time. Scheduling a constructive way to address worries is a way to combat this anxiety and to sleep better!
Step 1: Schedule
Dedicate 5-10 minutes for deliberate worry. Choosing the same time everyday is an important signal to your brain. It helps me to do this before I meditate, so I can have a clear mind and meditate without distraction.
Step 2: Brain Dump
Simply list everything you can think of that is concerning or worrisome, as big as a global pandemic or as small as laundry. Go fast. Physically writing them down is key.
Step 3: Highlight Actionable Problems
Identify what is in your control and what is out of your control. Anything out of your control can be eliminated- physically cross it out! Highlight the things that you have direct control over that are urgent yet actionable. You are clarifying what is an actionable problem vs a hypothetical worry.
Step 4: To Do List
Write down the next smallest action for each actionable problem. If the thought of completing that action gives you anxiety, break it down into an even smaller action.
Step 5: Set a Reminder and RELAX
Plug this short list into whatever you use for reminders. I use the Reminders app on my iphone, google calendar, or good ole sticky notes. Then relax and rest easy knowing that you have a time and place to worry, and a trusted system for addressing real concerns.
If you often lay awake worrying, it's because your mind doesn’t trust you to get the important things done. This is natural for our problem solving minds. Deliberate worrying is a way to build trust that our worries have been given attention. You are setting effective boundaries that will eliminate the stress of constant worrying for our problem solving minds!