“Don't believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that - thoughts.” - Allan Lokos
It was the first week of 2018 and I'd just departed the Bus, ready to take the short and familiar walk through the City to the Train station. Stepping off the bus, my path was blocked by a woman.
I couldn't see her face at first, as she faced away from me. I stepped around her and as I did, she turned, walking past me. She looked ordinary enough, brown hair, brown eyes. Except I noticed immediately something out of the ordinary, in her brown eyes were tears.
Within a second, she was gone. Walking in the opposite direction from me. I carried on walking.
But I was curious.
Why was she upset? Had she missed her bus? Perhaps she had been to a funeral? I don't notice she was wearing black, maybe she was?
For the next 5 minutes, my mind was racing, consumed with piecing together this stranger's story.
This got me thinking about how one brief encounter can send our minds spiralling away from the present moment and into story-telling-mode, creating stories. Painting pictures in our minds.
Often the stories we create are Nightmares.
I remember when I was younger, discovering what felt like a lump in my chest, and immediately thinking the worst.
Occasionally, when friends don't reply to my messages straight away, a thought pops up saying 'I' must have upset them'.
The following 3 steps have helped me to 'catch' worrying thoughts and distinguish them before they spread like wildfire.
Simply becoming aware your mind has gone into worry mode, creating stories based on limited evidence.
An unquestioned mind is the world of suffering. - Byron Katie.
It's important to reconnect with the present moment before your mind wandered off down a rabbit hole and into imagination.
Questions help us to do this.
What evidence do I have to show this is true?
What else might be true?
What might someone else think about this?
Can I find out the truth?
Having questioned the original worry thought - what is likely to be true?
What does a balanced view look like?
Using my example of worrying I had upset my friends because they hadn't replied to my message, a balanced view may look like;
'They're busy, they may not have even read my message'.
Let the thought go by returning to your breath. As you breathe out, imagine the thought exiting your mind.
Final thoughts on worrying
What has helped me too with de-intensifying worry thoughts is this truth...
Worrying can feel so stressful for us because it isn't real and if it isn't real, we can not respond.
If our worries were to come true, we may be able to deal with them. We have the power to respond for real.
Thank you for reading,
Life Coach helping you to feel POWERFUL, see what is POSSIBLE and live with PRESENCE.
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