Friday, April 30, 2010

Delay Your Worry!

A great first step to dealing with worry/anxiety is doing something that seems like it wouldn't be effective but has proven incredibly so. The odd thing about most of our worries is that they don't ever really occur. Here is an example:

Mandy is going to give a speech in her Introduction to Communications class. This is her first college speech/presentation and since it was assigned she has had a "pit in her stomach" about it. Public speaking has always been difficult for Mandy and this is no exception. She knows that to receive her grade she has to complete the assignment and the speech is only supposed to be 3-5 minutes long. This seems like the longest 3-5 minutes she has ever thought about. When she practices her speech she notices that her heart races, she sweats a lot more than usual, and even finds that her breathing becomes shallow. She thinks ruminating thoughts like "I am going to totally freeze in the middle and lose my way," "I will probably throw up in front of the whole class," and "I can't do this."

The reality is that it is unlikely that Mandy will throw up, back down from doing it, or freeze in the middle. She clearly has symptoms of anxiety. This would lead me to direct Mandy to do a simple exercise when she comes upon this anxiety. I would advise her to "delay her worry" This means telling yourself " I am going to choose to worry about this tomorrow. There is no need to worry about it today because it won't happen for quite a while anyway." Whenever a problem comes up in your mind that worries you or causes you considerable this simple exercise of giving yourself a time to worry about it and that now is not the time. Most of the fears that we have don't happen, so it's a way to redirect our mind to stay productive since worry is not very fruitful.

I will leave you with what Jesus says about worry...

"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -- Matthew 6:34 NASB

I hope everyone has a worry-free day!

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