“Don’t worry, be happy.” Really? Cut me a break. If only it was that easy. Try telling that to the legions of people out there who are chronic worriers – maybe you are one of them or know someone who is. Anyone who suffers from anxiety is all too familiar with it. Even those of us who may not be hard-core worriers still experience some worry pangs from time to time.
When you worry about some future event, you wrench yourself right out of the present moment. You spin your mind into some kind of unpleasant imagined scenario that, quite frankly, isn’t exactly taking you to your happy place.
Basically, worrying is a mental rehearsal of an unwanted outcome. You might imagine feeling, seeing or hearing something that you do not wish to experience or witness. You may even be such an expert worrier that you are convinced that this vision is possible or true. In fact, if you’re really good at it, you can get yourself worked up to actually feel all the negative emotions associated with it! But that’s only if you’re that good.
Sounds like fun, no? Okay, maybe not so much. Worrying doesn’t make you feel good when you do it, and it also fuels the possibility of creating those negative outcomes since you are putting your attention and feelings towards what you don’t want.
So why do you do it? For some, worrying is simply a bad habit, especially if you come from a long line of worriers. For others, it may serve some deeper purpose such as a sense of protection, a distraction from present circumstances, or maybe feeling like you are somehow showing that you care.
More importantly, how can you stop? The answer to this depends on why you worry. If it’s just a habit, then it may be changed quite easily; if it’s more deep-seated, some digging and clearing may be required to break the cycle. Here are some ideas and tools to start you on your way.
Replace that thought
Think of the thing about which you are worried. Then think about something completely unrelated – an image or scenario that brings up a more positive feeling. Set your intention that whenever the worry pops into your mind and you find yourself stumbling down that path, that you’ll STOP and replace it with this other image. You can even imagine a stop sign to make the shift more pronounced. After doing this several times, you may find that you no longer are worrying about the initial concern.
Clear the worry with EFT tapping
Bring up the worry in your mind. Check in and see how intense your emotions are as you consider that unwanted outcome. Give it a rating on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being very intense. Now begin tapping around your EFT points as you vividly imagine that worry. If it is like a movie that plays out with different scenes, stay with one scene at a time until you bring the emotion down to a zero, then move on to the next scene, again tapping until your feeling about it comes down to a zero. When you are finished, replay the entire scenario in your mind and check to see that it is all at a zero. If not, just continue tapping until it is.
Another method for those of you who like to journal is to write out the worry in detail. Ask yourself what emotions are attached to it, and then give them a rating as in the previous approach. Using this written information, tap around your EFT points as you read each part of it aloud, continuing on until each section is cleared to a zero.
Visualize a positive outcome
This is most useful after clearing the worry completely with EFT tapping. Now that the specific worry is free of emotional charge, bring up the present circumstance about which you were imagining that negative outcome. See if you can now imagine a more positive outcome and let your mind play it out completely while tapping through your EFT points. This will help to reinforce that new, more positive image.
If you are a chronic worrier, working with these techniques may take some time, but with persistence you will find that the fears and underlying patterns holding the tendency to worry in place will dissolve. If the worry is serving an important purpose in your life, it may be necessary to address those roots directly with the assistance of a practitioner or through your own EFT practice.
I hope you clear out those old patterns and actually do find that “don’t worry, be happy” is within your grasp with a little tapping help.
With love, Stephanie