How to Worry Less
Today, we're going to play a game.
It's called, "The Story In My Head vs What's Actually True."
This is a fantastic tool, which I heard about from Brene Brown.
Whether you play this with yourself or with someone else - friend, colleague, partner - it works to clarify your thoughts and create perspective.
Anxiety is so powerful/pervasive because it causes us to lose our perspective.
It makes everything seem BIG and IMPORTANT and URGENT.
Regaining perspective, making things normal sized again, is crucial to interrupting and redirecting your anxious feelings.
So, how to play this game?
1. The Story In My Head
Say it out loud. Write it down.
What are the thoughts, the stories, the fears happening in your mind right now?
By acknowledging that it may well be a story and not cold hard fact, you already create distance.
By looking at those thoughts on paper, or by speaking them out loud to another person who does not have your current fear-based perspective, you gain even more distance.
It's also critical to allowing yourself to say this is what I'm experiencing right now.
This is just what your brain is thinking.
It doesn't have to mean anything about you as a person.
By trying to stuff these thoughts down, to ignore them, or to try to reason with your brain inside of your brain, you're increasing the pressure and the anxiety.
Just call it like it is.
This is what I'm thinking right now.
2. What's Actually True
Now that you've gained some distance from your anxious thoughts, now that you've acknowledged what's going on in your brain and given it a voice, now you can begin to reason with it.
What's actually true?
What do you know for sure?
What are the facts?
Show your brain the evidence.
Make the "catastrophe" smaller, more realistic.
This is grounding yourself in what's actually happening.
What you know for sure.
What's the truth in this moment.
It's also giving your mind something else to think about.
Something a bit more productive.
If you're doing this game with a partner, have them help you here. Ask them to fill in gaps with FACTS. Have them confirm the facts you've come up with.
Two brains together create even more distance from your anxiety-thoughts and get you back on solid ground.
So, let's all play this.
The best way of learning new tools is thought using them.
Learn by doing!
Zero judgement here.
In your notebook, write:
"The story in my head is: " "What's actually true is: "
If you'd like to get some feedback on your first attempt with this game, feel free to email me your exercise.
I've just shared one of my most powerful tools for creating immediate changes in your anxious feelings.
For getting relief.
For getting out of your head.
Let me know how it goes!