Worry is persistent negative thoughts that repeat themselves. You can gain control over your thoughts. These thoughts fool you into believing that you are thinking because they are thoughts about problems. But each time you “think” about the problem, the same thoughts recur. These thoughts never solve the problem, nor do they advance your situation in any way. Worry follows a pattern:
• Your thoughts repeat what you already know about the situation by describing what happened or defining the problem.
• You gather evidence to defend your feeling by finding other negative statements from experiences in your life to build a case to support the conclusion you have reached or the emotional position you have taken.
• You feel justified in having feelings such as blame or resentment because of the situation. You might actually be proud of being victimized by this situation and defend it.
Exercise to Break through Worry
The first step is to listen to what your mind tells you. This is called “self-talk”. Carry a notepad and pencil and write it down for a few days. Ask your guardian angel to help you have the courage to see this part of yourself clearly:
negative thoughts controlling my mind.
Teach me to gain control of my thoughts and stop worrying
so I can find real solutions.
Following are a few of my actual thoughts that I wrote down when I was trapped in worry:
I’m always thinking, but my position never changes. My situation is impossible. Why do I make such bad choices? There must be something wrong with me. I am such a fool. Why do I listen to people who lie to me? I am dying of loneliness. Why am I so alone? I feel so lost. I hate my life. Everything is a struggle. Why does everything have to be so hard? I keep searching for answers that never come. I’ve made so many mistakes. I don’t have anyone close to talk to. I feel hopeless.
There is hope. It takes determination and persistence to change negative thoughts habits. Worry is seductive because there is always some truth in it. The mind spins that tiny grain of truth into a whole scenario of failure. Look at the sentences you have captured using the following four steps and my example of self-talk:
Step 1: Find the grain of truth. “I’m always thinking, but my position never changes.” Both parts of that are true.
Step 2: What feelings does it trigger? I feel stupid that I make bad decisions. I feel hopeless, lost, and alone. I am frustrated that nothing changes. I am angry with God for not giving me what I want. I blame others for my bad situation. I feel angry that no one is rescuing me.
Step 3: How do you generalize? “I’m always thinking” is a general statement. Once you find the generalization, ask yourself questions like: Am I searching for questions about specific parts of my situation and then seeking answers? Am I trying to find people who are trustworthy and could help with my situation? Or am I repeating negative thoughts about past events and calling that thinking? “My position never changes.” This is another generalization. Search for some truth: There must be some small change that happens. I could look to see specifically what has changed.
Step 4: Think of 5 actions you can take to change.
(1) My emotions are a powder keg. I could ride the exercise bike every morning for 15 minutes and release the feelings in the intensity of pedaling. Then I can start the day in an open and receptive state.
(2) I could reach out to a friend who could support me in making positive change.
(3) I could think about my situation and break it down into pieces.
(4) Then I could focus on the most important piece first.
(5) I could make that list of things that have changed in my life as inspiration and keep adding to it as new changes occur.
Let Go and Move On
After you have examined the content of what you are worrying about and found helpful actions, let it go. Decide to stop worrying. The letting go starts as a desire in your heart and becomes a shift in your attitude.
Close your eyes and imagine how different you would feel inside yourself if your heart were open to feel love. While you may not be able to change your circumstances for some time, how would your life change if you focused on positive, productive thoughts?
Focus on a bigger picture to find lasting change. What does God want for you? He wants you to turn to Him with your pain. God wants you to seek His love to fill your lonely, aching heart. He wants to comfort you and help you to find healing. He wants to guide you through difficult changes to find more truth and freedom. He wants you to seek His ways of love.
Be serious and vigilant about this change. Each time you catch yourself worrying, remember the bigger picture of your desire for love and call to your guardian angel for help. Your endeavor is bringing change. Move forward and don’t look back.