I started worrying less after I turned 40. I believe what helped is that I became more intentional about what I want to create in my life on a daily basis. I now wake up every morning saying positive affirmations and setting my intentions for the day, before even getting out of bed. I also make a point to think about one or two things that I am very grateful for.
We all know that worrying is counterproductive and can be very hard on our health and bodies. And yet, there are periods in our lives that can just be stressful and anxiety-causing. Have you ever paid close attention to how worrying actually feels in your body? When I worry, my entire back and shoulders tense up and it feels like I am wearing a heavy backpack that is pulling me down.
The Body Always Knows
I have discovered some helpful tools to shift my perspective and transform those worries into something positive. First of all, when I find myself stuck in a worry thought pattern, I take a moment to bring awareness to what is happening in my body as I am thinking those thoughts. There is something about the simple act of connecting with our breath and then spending a few minutes acknowledging and “being with” that feeling of anxiety in our body that actually helps to release it. It is like connecting with our inner wisdom. I like to imagine that if that feeling of tension in my back could speak to me, what might it be saying? Try this for yourself and see what happens. It is not a magic bullet, but it’s a practice that can subtly shift your energy.
Secondly, I take that “worry thought” replaying in my head, and I ask myself “what is it that I actually want?” (instead of focusing on what I’m afraid of, or what I don’t want). Then I write it down. Getting really intentional about WHAT I WANT and writing it down can be very transformative. Suddenly my old worry becomes my new affirmation! I find it especially powerful to write down what I want to be feeling instead my constructed idea of the best solution to the situation I was worrying about. Think about it…if I end up feeling exactly how I want to be feeling, does it matter how the situation resolved itself? The act of writing it down is especially important as it reinforces the new thought pattern. Once I have written down this affirmation on a scrap of paper, I fold it up and I throw it into my “Vision Vessel” for safe keeping.
If you are wondering what a Vision Vessel is, think of it as a symbolic container of your hopes, dreams and aspirations.
When I decided to make my Vision Vessel, I just found a large glass pitcher in the house and declared its new purpose! Now every time I start to worry about something, I go through the process mentioned above: I connect with how it feels in my body and think about the message it is giving me. Then I flip my worry by asking myself what I really want. I re-frame the worry into a positive affirmation, write it down and throw it in my Vision Vessel. For example, when I was stressed and worried that I wouldn’t find anyone in time to rent my apartment and cover the costs of my mortgage after I moved, I re-framed that concern into what I actually wanted and wrote it down: I have found my dream renter just in time, who takes good care of my place and covers all of my monthly apartment expenses. Just the act of tossing that piece of paper in my Vision Vessel and imagining that it is now being taken care of, helps to free up my mind and supports my pro-active behavior. I feel like that container is actually “Holding My Vision” and now it is my job to trust this intention, take action, and be open to being surprised about how it all works out!
This post was originally published on Medium.com