Try not to worry about it

Are these the most annoying words ever spoken?

What do these people think? Do they think you’re really trying your best to worry about it? No, in fact you’re almost certainly trying your hardest NOT to worry … but it’s constantly on your mind.

But the truth is that the more you try NOT to worry about something, the more you do worry about it! Yes, it is indeed an annoying vicious circle!

So how about trying a novel approach?

The old approach isn’t working so you’ve got nothing to lose! I’m going to tell you that it’s ok to worry about it but you need to do it in a specific way.

Here’s why

I believe that your unconscious mind has a positive intention for you. It is trying to tell you that whatever the worry is, you need to take it seriously. It thinks that because you keep trying to put it out of your mind it needs to remind you to give it your full consideration.

SO here’s the thing … you need to have a mental chat with your inner mind (I call it your unconscious mind) and strike a bargain.

Here’s the bargain

This may sound a funny idea at first but just do it anyway! First of all just imagine that you are having a conversation with the part of you that is reminding you about the worry.

Secondly, silently (or out loud if you prefer) tell that inner / unconscious part of you that you really appreciate its efforts in trying to help you … tell it that you understand it’s trying to help and you’re grateful. But also explain that, in fact, this way is just not working for you. It’s gone a bit over the top with all the worry reminders! And it’s getting you down! So please can it help you in a different way by striking a bargain with you.

Explain that from now on you will keep your side of the bargain. You will consciously take the issue so seriously that your plan is to write it down in a special worry book / note on your phone. Every day at regular time, you will open the book or your phone and you will give this issue your full consideration.

So now, ask it if it will please agree to stop reminding you (as part of the bargain) because you are going to keep to your plan. You could even ‘mentally shake hands on it!’

This is your planned worry time

At 10 am, for example, you will think about the issue to the exclusion of all else for the next ten minutes. You could make it five or fifteen but ten is usually about right. Think of consequences and solutions … maybe at the present moment you can’t find a solution but think all around the subject and at precisely your finishing time, STOP. No more worrying until your next appointed time which could be in the afternoon, early evening or the next morning.

In return ask your inner mind to please stop giving you these constant reminders to think about the issue because you are going to stick to your part of the bargain

Here are the rules

Stick to the appointed worry times

The times should be in the daytime not late at night

Begin the process even when you don’t think there is a great deal to worry about

Stop even if you are in mid worry and take it up again at the next appointed time

Only stop when the particular worry has gone or you are so bored by it that you absolutely can’t bear to do it ever again

Keep doing it as long as the worry exists; you are the one controlling the limits

Hint: You break the rules at your own risk!?

Results

  1. You have taken control of your thinking, your thoughts are not in control of you!
  2. You may find a solution
  3. You may find that there is something you can do to cope better with the situation even if it doesn’t disappear altogether
  4. At the very least you limit the continual obsessing about the issue and give yourself a break!

I introduce this idea regularly to ‘worriers’ and ‘obsessive thinkers’ in my hypnotherapy sessions and we usually have the mental conversation in hypnosis. But you don’t need hypnosis. Just do it as I suggest above and it will be fine. The important thing is to keep to your side of the bargain!

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