Monday Makeover: Confessions of a Giant Worry Wart

www.brayola.com

I wake up. I rub my sleepy eyes and walk slowly down the hall to the kitchen. I take my thyroid medication. I fill a cup of coffee and I sit down at my computer, and I worry.

Was I too loud when I woke up? Will my babies stay asleep? What will I write today? My head is so foggy, and what if I can’t feel my characters? What if the pictures I pick are not exactly what I mean?

   What if…

I see my babies. They crawl into bed and beg for snuggles. We cuddle a bit, and suddenly a new string of worries grabs me: what if they don’t always have their health, what if they get sick, or go to school and someone bullies them? What if I didn’t show them the right values? Did I love them enough?

   What if…

I go to work. I sit at my desk sipping coffee. The phone rings. I answer and hang up after making sure the person on the other end of the conversation felt listened to. My brain runs off again: What if I didn’t say the right thing, or I didn’t give them what they wanted to hear? What if I don’t make my personal deadlines for the day, or I don’t communicate well? What if I walk down the hall and I talk out loud or accidentally sing a song out loud that’s running through my head and someone laughs?

I do talk out loud. I don’t know if it’s a mom thing and having two small children where I’m constantly talking out loud and explaining and animating the choices I make to teach my kids important values. I do wonder about what to write and where the creativity will come from. I wonder if I’m saying the right words. I wonder if people understand me. I’m worried about my kids because I see them as the two precious clean slates gifted right into my hands. I wonder about my message every moment and if I’m also asking the right questions.

So what next?

First the mind creates the worries. Then the body reacts. My stomach gets tight. My breath becomes shallow. I could go on with my list, because if I’m not careful, they start to race through my mind again.

Worry is my biggest vice. It sends me into a downward spiral where I over-think the easiest solution, and the funniest thing is, I was born with this vice, and I believe, we can change behaviors. We can teach ourselves newer and better ways to react. It’s hard. It’s not easy and that’s why I’m tackling worry this week as my Monday Morning Make Over.

So what will I do about it?

First thing first: I acknowledge my worries. I tell myself to stop. I take several deep breaths. Sometimes I have to distract myself. I look at quotes. I look at pictures. I smile really big at myself in the mirror. My training in 7 habits comes in handy and I draw out the circle of influence diagram. I’m attaching a link to a YouTube video if you’d like to see how this diagram plays out.

Have you heard of the circle of influence? It’s a really great graphic organizer to get your thoughts out there and map out what you can influence and change.

Movement: I learn by moving. When my stress and worry takes control, I have to do something physical to get it out. I go to the gym. I practice Yoga or Pilates in the living room with my kids. I know I mentioned in my last post, emptying the dishwasher helps redirect my thoughts.

Hugs: Ever not felt better after a hug? Maybe it hasn’t taken away the pain or the worry, but for me, there’s something about a really great hug that helps me find an instant smile. When I smile, my mood changes. I don’t feel distress. That’s why I love to spread them.

Trust: I have found sometimes, by turning over my worries to my prayers, I feel a certain comfort in knowing it’s out there. I feel release. I feel hope. And when my worries slip away at some point because they usually do, I think it’s because He is always up there listening, helping carry the burden right along with me.

Last thing: I talk with my friends. I reach out to the people who love me and can help anchor me back on planet earth. My best friend T helps me, my good friend Tracy. Both of them are practical, and to the point, and remind me to let it go.

I’ll check in on Sunday and tell you how it went! And by the way, here’s a list of some of my tricks and some others to try!

About Erika Beebe

Author, dreamer, and a momma to a couple of wonderful kids, I try to live life everyday in hope and inspire others along my way.

Posted on April 15, 2013, in cloud nine girl, Dreams, Erika Beebe, how to stop worrying, worries. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. And don't forget-be thankful! Philippians 4:6,7

  2. Thank you! You are right! We should always be thankful for every moment we have. To love and let it guide us at times when we need it the most.

  3. I worried last night. Lying in bed feeling excruciating pain in my abdomen, resisting my husband’s pleads to take me to the ER, I contemplated my future and what’s next for me. What’s causing this pain? What will the doctor say at my appointment Wednesday? What if the path I was headed down takes an unexpected turn and I watch my dream vanish into thin air? What if this is really what I think it is? What if it’s further along than we know? Are we prepared for such a life-altering change? Did I expect to deal with this at 35 years old?But wait. I don’t officially know anything yet. My appointment is tomorrow. I know what it feels like inside. I know what I’m preparing myself for. But I don’t know that’s what it is and worrying about something I can’t change isn't going to propel me forward. It’s not going to add a second to my life. It’s not going to make dreams come true. Then God reminded me that everything that happens is part of His plan. He isn't going to let me down or let me go. I’m His daughter and He will take care of every need, desire, hurt, struggle, pain, and emotion I feel. He reminded me that everything that happens in my life is a story to tell… a testimony of His amazing love and grace! He doesn't want us to worry or be anxious. He gave me peace when He reminded me to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6I now rest with the assurance that my life is in His hands and He will carry me through!

  4. Oh, my dear sweet friend, I am so sorry for your pain, and I'd be in the same boat, worrying just as fast and furiously like you. You're doing the right thing. Trust in love and in faith and keep saying your prayers. Hugs to you! I'm sending you tons and tons of flying hugs your way!!!!Erika

  5. O, I hear you. But "what if" thoughts — like "if only" thoughts — are pointless and lead us nowhere good; don't waste the "now" that you do have and know with any sort of certainty. This "now" you're in is as perfect as it could possibly be 🙂 This reminds me of something I posted over a year ago; perhaps you might find it helpful: http://bikbikroro.blogspot.sg/2011/11/why-worry.html

  6. Thank you for your wonderful thoughts and reflections! I will definitely check out your post. I especially love your reflection of living right now and believing it to be "as perfect as it could possibly be."Erika

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