By: Rebecca Perlman Coniglio, LCSW, LTD Contributor
Author of Lily’s Little Life Lessons, available at www.amazon.com
Who out there worries? I am pretty sure most people would say that they worry from time to time, but I am talking about the real worry warts that make worrying seem like an Olympic event. I am not ashamed to admit that I was born worrying. I remember sitting in Elementary School and watching the clock because I was so afraid that I would miss the bus. What did I think would happen? Did I think I would have to sleep over at school?
You can imagine how my worrying escalated when my parents argued. I worried sick that they would get divorced. Sure enough they did and then more worries. I worried about what my friends would think, I worried about if we would have to move, and I worried about my mom going back to school. Those are a lot of worries for a girl who was only ten years old.
Since those days I have spent many years studying how to help other people handle their worries, and I have learned many helpful strategies and techniques along the way. I hope sharing them here with you will help you realize that you are not alone with your worries. There are plenty of people worrying right beside you. You may not know it because everyone deals with theirs differently. So here are some effective tools that I have come across to help ward off the worries:
1. Identify your triggers. What makes you feel nervous or worried?
2. What happens to your body when you feel worried? Do you get a stomach ache or a head ache? Do you start to breathe fast?
3. When you start to feel this way, try to tell yourself to calm down. Take a deep breath.
4. Pick a slogan such as, “I am ok.” or “this too shall pass.”
5. Think about what is the worst thing that can happen. Often times the things we worry about either never happen or if they do are not as bad as we imagined.
6. Find your confidence. Know that you are competent and capable and you can handle whatever comes your way.
7. Find someone to talk to. Asking for and getting reassurance is a great way to ease what worries you.
8. Write your worries down. Get a nice notebook and each night write three things that you feel good about and three things that you are worried about.
9. Find things you enjoy doing that can serve as healthy distractions such as, reading, listening to music, taking a walk, talking to a friend, or watching TV.
10. Get plenty of rest, worrying is exhausting.
If worrying feels like a full time job, try some of these ideas. Building your confidence is a big one. It is important to feel good about yourself and believe in who you are and what you can do, even if you are a worry wart. You are in good company. I still worry, but not about missing the bus or about my parents fighting. I think that ten year old little girl would be proud. Over time you will learn to understand your own worries and how best to cope with them.
So what do you worry about? What are some ways that you have found to ward off your worries? Try not to ruin today by worrying about tomorrow, and I will do the same.