Worrier or Warrior

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Metal statue of "The Thinker" by Rodin

“Don’t worry … Be happy” … thus sang Bobby McFerrin in 1988. But what if you can’t stop worrying? It’s all very well saying that you shouldn’t worry about things you cannot control, but what if you do worry and can’t control your thoughts?

Thoughts that we cannot control come from the unconscious part of our brain – the bit we are not aware of. If the unconscious decides that you need to be made aware of something, it will send a message to the conscious part of your brain, and you experience this as a thought or feeling popping into your head.

Now, when the unconscious part of your brain gets used to reminding you of things that might go wrong (even when you can’t control them), you start to worry. The thoughts go round and round in your head, thinking of all the disasters that could happen (but probably won’t) and this makes you anxious.

So how do you stop the unconscious part of your brain creating worry? After all, worry is only useful in order to get you to do something about the potential problems; after that, it’s no use at all.

You have to train the brain to think more calmly, and this might take time. A simple trick is to find something to do that absorbs your mind … which you can do when you notice that you have started worrying. Distracting the mind is the simplest way to start retraining the unconscious part of your brain.

In the longer term, find ways to de-stress your life. The less stress you are under, the less your mind will worry, and the less anxiety you will have. As the worry lessens you will become more of a warrior than a worrier.

And don’t worry … you are not alone. I meet people everyday who are worriers, not only in my hypnotherapy clinic, but in everyday life. It’s my job to turn worriers into warriors.

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

Tim Maude

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