If you have anxiety, you are probably very familiar with feeling worried. You might go to bed and worry, you might wake up and worry, and you might find yourself worrying all through the day.
Getting ready for a presentation at work; you’re worried.
Driving home and trying to get dinner on the table; you’re worried.
Unexpected bills show up and you don’t know how you’ll pay them; you’re worried.
Life is always changing and those changes can be anxious. Sometimes, it’s not the big things which overwhelm us, but the small things, one after the other, that pile up.
If you are feeling anxious and worried, it’s very likely that you’re spending a lot of time in the past or the future- meaning either you’re looking ahead and really wanting something to happen (while being afraid that it won’t) or you’re looking behind at something you did or said (that you wished you hadn’t).
For people who worry, most of their life is lived moving back and forth between the past and the future. This is why learning how to be present and mindful of this moment, right now, and the next, and the next can be a powerful strategy for managing anxiety.
Another powerful strategy is the power of wondering. Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., in her book, Embracing Uncertainty, shares an exercise that can help reduce your worrying mindset.
It’s pretty simple to do; but will take practice.
All you have to do is when you wake up, or when you find yourself worrying about something, just ask yourself, “I wonder what will happen in my life today.”
You would state this, rather than saying something like, “I really need this to happen today” or “I really want this to happen today” or “I really hope this happens today.”
Replace any of those phrases with “I wonder…”
So, let’s say that you have a performance review meeting scheduled for today. When you wake up, instead of saying, “I really hope it goes well”, try replacing that with “I wonder how it will go today.”
Most people will feel a positive, and welcome, energetic shift when they move from hoping/needing to wondering.
In a way, this simple statement can help you better manage what life brings you, and can help reduce your need for control.
As we move into the holiday season, add “I wonder” to your skillset of worry management tools, and see what a difference it makes for you.
If you feel you could benefit from additional strategies to manage stress and lower your anxiety, we can help! Give us a call at (716) 926-6009 or click here to schedule an appointment.