2 Extra Tips to Stop Worry

Other handy distractions:

These are great when you’re driving or otherwise occupied and you can’t use traditional distractions like puzzles or sports to keep your mind from drifting to worried thoughts. Examples include: Counting backwards in three’s from 100 (ex. 100, 97, 94, 91….); Reciting to yourself boys’ names from A to Z (ex. Aaron, Brian, Carl, David….), and then reciting girls’ names A to Z; Naming cities from A to Z (ex. Austin, Boston, Chicago…); or Finding the alphabet in the letters of street signs (ex. finding letters A and B in the sign for The George Washington Bridge; finding letter C in the sign for the Cross Bronx Expressway, etc….Attention New Yorkers: signs for Queens really come in handy for Q’s and U’s). The object is to use these fun and easy mind-teasers to keep your mind OFF worry. They really work…I encourage you to try them next time you’re driving and fretting. Perfect for traffic jams!

A great way to quiet nerves when giving public speaking presentations:

One thing that works really well involves shifting your mind AWAY from thinking about how you’re doing. The more you can GET INVOLVED with the audience, the less nervous you’ll be. To quell nerves just BEFORE “show time,” think about the audience rather than focusing on yourself and your speech. Think about what the audience is eager to learn, why they might be interested in attending your talk, and what value you can provide to them. Better yet, greet and talk to attendees as they arrive, asking them these same types of questions. Again, place the focus squarely on them. If nerves strike DURING your presentation, again GET INVOLVED with the audience by looking different audience members in the eyes as you speak. You will find your nerves running higher if you direct your gaze over the audience as one large group. Rather, by looking at distinct individuals as you speak, your mind will interpret that you are having a series of individual conversations, and your nerves will calm themselves as a result. These techniques work great for office meetings, too!

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4 Ways to Stop Worrying

(the full article from this week’s ZoomLetter…..To sign up for Jen’s newsletter, click here.)

Many years ago, a dear friend shared a powerful and liberating piece of advice with me. After I had “entertained” her with some worries on my mind — insignificant enough (when judged in hindsight) for me to have trouble recalling them now — she turned to me and said, “You know, you don’t have to believe every thought you have.”

She had lighted upon something important in the way I was worrying. She detected that I was granting my worried thoughts the authority of facts — as if they were sure to occur, or worse yet, as if they had already occurred.

It’s true that some of us worry more than others, but if one thing is true about human beings, it is that each of us worries at least some of the time. And unlike healthy and useful preparation, worry is unnecessary and wasteful “wringing” of the body and mind. Worry gets us nowhere, except for making us feel more upset. It’s no wonder that the dictionary definition of worry begins with the phrase “to torment oneself”.


So, if worrying is a waste, how can we stop doing it?

The following are 4 techniques to end worry.
(and they work pretty well on negative thoughts, too)

1) GET TURNED OFF: As soon as your mind brings up a worry or negative thought, dismiss it. When you catch yourself worrying, picture a bright red STOP sign in your mind. Use the image of the STOP sign to block giving the thought further time or notice. If a STOP sign doesn’t work, try keeping a rubber band on your wrist, and snap it every time you notice a worry or negative thought. The harmless sting will focus you outside your worry and will remind you to stop doing it.

2) GET ARGUMENTATIVE: If the worry or negative thought doesn’t take STOP for an answer, talk back to it. Be your own best defense attorney and line up evidence that runs counter to the invading worry. If it’s helpful, jot down a quick list of counter-arguments to the negative thought. No one has to see your list but you. Keep the list handy, because negative thoughts can be persistent and usually need a good thrashing on more than one occasion.

3) GET DISTRACTED: This technique is one reason why hobbies are so popular. If you’re having negative thoughts or worries, one of the very best things you can do is distract yourself. The human mind has a beautiful way of not being able to focus well on more than one thing at once. Take advantage of this. Occupy your mind with very tangible things that distract your attention. Some of the best distracters include: puzzles of all sorts, needlework, crafts, sports, and cooking. Keep in mind that if you really needed to do something about your worry, you’d be doing it. By the very fact that you are worrying (and not acting), it’s likely you are wasting energy and are better served by keeping your mind occupied in other ways.

4) GET INVOLVED: This one is all about taking the focus off oneself. Volunteering and helping others is a win-win all around. We feel great for two reasons: 1) we bring joy to others, and 2) we keep worry at bay because we shift our mind away from our own negative thoughts when we focus on others.

One thing I enjoy most about being a personal coach is helping clients quit torturing themselves. Clients often remark that through coaching, they get to trade worry for tangible action plans that get results. There are many more tricks where these came from. Learn more at www.JZBcoaching.com.

To borrow my friend’s line, here’s to not believing every thought we have!

Jen

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