3 min read

Beating Worry

Beating Worry

Worry runs in my family; it's a generational trait. My mother worries, as did her mother. This behaviour, observed and mimicked from childhood, becomes ingrained, almost like a hereditary legacy.

On a visit to India, my grandmother's anxiety was palpable. She guided me through crowded streets, her worry evident as she navigated us like a canoe through a tumultuous river of people.

I could feel the worry—her constant adjustments.

The tension when I would stray too far. Her relief when I was close.

Reflecting on my past, I've traced the roots of my habitual worry, a blend of life experiences, learned behaviours, and personal beliefs.

Understanding the origin of worry is one thing; the real challenge is how to address it.

You need a Worry Fix

A worry fix is a tool you can use whenever you encounter worry. It helps you re-frame and course correct so you don't get swept away by its current.

The "Worry Completion" Method

This method is a worry fix that I swear by.

Here is the process at a high level:

  1. Complete the thought
  2. Acknowledge the worry
  3. Complete the
  4. Worry Set
    • Well Set
  5. Protect your downside

1/ Complete the thought

Whenever your mind worries about something, take the time to complete the thought.

For example, your mind might say, "OMG, What am I going to do about that..." – you may know where the mind is trying to go. But you must fill in that "..." all the way to the end of the sentence.

If you don't, you'll begin to create internal pressure in your body. Emotions of overwhelm, fear, and anxiety will mount as the uncertainty looms over you.

So, complete the thought.

"OMG, What am I going to do about that assignment that is due in 2 weeks that will need a lot of studying."

Encourage your worry to think in complete sentences.

2/ Acknowledge the worry

By completing the thought, you've already started acknowledging it.

But don't do this.

"Ah! Whatever, I'll ignore this."

"I can't handle this."

"Not my problem. Let's leave it."

Your worry is not wrong. It is there for a purpose. It has a job to do.

It will only return if you don't let it do its job.

Give it space to breathe.

Sense where that worry appears in your body. What sensations come up? Feel a warm outline around that worry. It's doing something to protect you.

Let your gratitude be the space that your worry takes up.

3.1/ Complete the Worry Set

It's now time to collect more data about your original worry.

"OMG, What am I going to do about that assignment that is due in 2 weeks that will need a lot of studying."

What else are you worried about?

  • I fail the assignment (Why? How?)
  • I get a bad class grade (Why? How?)
  • I will feel uncomfortable (Why? How?)
  • I will feel sad (Why? How?)
  • My friends will judge me (Why? How?)
  • I won't graduate (Why? How?)
  • ...

Keep asking, "What else?" and follow up with, "Why am I worried about that?" and get your brain to complete this sentence: "I am worried about this because..."

The point is to get clarity and coverage around WHY and HOW we're worried.

3.2/ Complete the Well Set

Next, ask yourself, what could go well?

What else could go well? Keep asking yourself that.

  • I pass with flying colours
  • I feel good about myself
  • I get a passing grade
  • I feel excited to learn more
  • I feel accomplished
  • I can evolve and grow as a student
  • ...

You'll find that far more things can go right than you might think.

This way, you can find a more balanced view of the situation. There are many more positives. It takes time to consider them.

It's now time to take action.

4/ Protect your downside

The worry is coming up for a reason.

It's time to find your biggest downside and protect it so you can retire worry from its job.

Ask yourself, "What is my biggest downside here?"

"If I don't get 3-5 hours of studying in. It's unlikely that I will be able to complete the assignment."

You now have a goal. Get 3-5 hours of studying in and do it.

Whatever it may be for you, you'll feel more in control and able to do something about it.

Panic, overwhelm, and anxiety tend to recede by 50% or more by doing this.

Complete, Consider, Collect, and Command

Employ this four-step approach: Complete, Consider, Collect, and Command. By doing so, you can effectively redirect your thoughts and manage worry.