Worries often oppress us and manage to ruin even those moments of relaxation that we have conquered with so much effort. In this post you will find practical tips to get rid of them.
Imagine the scene: you are on vacation, the sun caresses your skin, everyone around you seems to be having fun, yet your mind is a broken record that does nothing but go round in circles around a thousand concerns.
Perhaps it is because of the last exam session that went to be fried (by the way, to start the academic year again in the best possible way read this post), maybe it's because of the money that is never enough or the work that, when there is, does nothing but generate stress. It matters little, each of us seems to cultivate our own "garden" of worries with particular dedication.
How can we get rid of these mental viruses? How can we learn to create a barrier on which anxiety, stress and worries crash before even affecting our inner stillness? How can we get rid of worries once and for all?
Before I give you some practical anti-worry strategies, let me tell you a story I recently received via email ...
The tree of trouble
"Get rid of your worries as you get rid of your clothes before going to bed."
A few years ago I hired a carpenter to restore an old farmhouse. I particularly remember one of his very difficult days: he had just finished a grueling shift and the surveyor had made him lose another hour of work, that same day his electric saw had stopped working and, the icing on the cake, his van. run down he refused to leave when he was finally ready to go home (and who is this ... bad luck-man ?!).
So I decided to take him back in my car. He sat beside me in a stony silence. When we arrived he invited me to come in to meet his family. As he walked towards the door of his house, he stopped briefly near a small tree and touched the tips of the branches with both hands.
When he opened the door his tanned face smiled happily: he looked like a completely different man. He hugged his two small children in a tender embrace and kissed his wife. The evening passed quietly between chatter and laughter.
Later the carpenter took me back to the car. We passed by the tree again and I could not hold back my curiosity. “What's special about that tree? One minute before entering the house you seemed immersed in your worries and immediately afterwards you were another man “.
“Oh, that's mine trouble treeHe replied. “I know that I can't avoid the troubles and worries at work, but one thing is for sure, it is nowhere written that I have to take this boulder home and share it with my wife and children. So I take my troubles and hang them on the tree every night when I get home. Then in the morning I take them back again. The funny thing is that "the carpenter smiled" when I go out in the morning to pick them up, I find less and less of them than I remember hanging the night before "and then, with a knowing look, he concluded" there must be some animal that takes them away: but I don't think I will set traps “.
That evening I too learned to hang my worries on the trouble tree.
3 practical strategies to overcome worries
"Worries allow even small things to cast long shadows"
Did you like the story? I find that metaphors and storytelling are very effective tools to talk about Personal Growth, but they are not enough. From the very first GetPersonalGrowth post I've always tried to provide you with practical strategies: techniques to be implemented immediately and whose results can be concretely tested. Here are 3 to free you from worries:
- The ritual. The trouble tree, mentioned in the story, is a great example of an anti-worry ritual. There are many others: actor Bruce Lee for example used a "list of worries" (I suggest you read this post to find out what he did with this list). The key message I would like to convey to you is that if you don't want to succumb to your worries you must necessarily create a daily ritual that allows you to let them slip away. Mine? At least 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation every night before going to bed: this habit allows me every time to bring the stormy mental "sea" back to a state of calm. Recommended.
- The mnemonic exercise. Another way to free yourself from worries is to put them in perspective. So I propose a little mnemonic exercise: relax and try to remember what you were worried about exactly 365 days ago (last year). Man, if these worries were that important, you can't have forgotten them in just 12 months, right ?! Come on, make another little effort: what was bothering you last year, on this date? Nothing, you just can't remember ?! Here: in a year you will not even remember what is stressing you so much right now. And if you don't even remember what you ate for breakfast this morning, I recommend these memory exercises ;-)
- The appointment. Last but not least, I reserved for myself one of the most powerful techniques ever to get rid of anxiety: the appointment with worries, a strategy tested among other things by some researchers at Penn State University in a 2011 study. worried 24 hours a day, it's time to make an "appointment" with your worries: every day, for 24 weeks, set aside 2 minutes (at the same time and possibly in the same place) to think deliberately about your worries. In this period of time you will have to think exclusively about what worries you and you will not have to do anything to diminish its scope, quite the opposite. You magnify these concerns, until they are almost ... "grotesque". Carrying out this activity for 30 minutes straight is not easy, but you will have to strive to recreate the worst fantasies until your "date" is over. If you accidentally find yourself thinking about your troubles during the day, write it down and deliberately postpone your worries to the next appointment. Ps. if your constant worries and anxiety have sharpened, turning into real panic attacks, I have already explained to you what my position is and what you need to do in this article.
Before saying goodbye, I want to leave you with one of my favorite worries quotes, a quote that has always made me reflect on the uselessness of these mental worms:
"Worries are like a treadmill: they tire you, but they lead you nowhere."