How To Stop Worrying So Much - 004

How to stop worrying

Are you self-confessed ‘worry wart’? Constantly stressing the worst-case ‘what if’ scenario and wasting energy trying to control things that haven’t even happened yet?
I think we all can easily fall into the ‘worry-trap’. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In today’s episode I explore how we can stop ourselves from spiralling into anxiety by understanding the power of not draining your brain juice on things you can’t control. 

Worry doesn’t prevent discomfort –
it just brings it on ahead of time!
— Kate Fitzsimons

In this episode you’ll find out about:

  • Why worrying is an outdated but natural part of being human

  • When worrying is useful - and when it isn’t!

  • What you need to recognise to make it easier to let go of worry

  • What’s most empowering to remind yourself to reduce your worry

Show notes & resource links:

Don’t forget:

Full episode transcript:

Well hello hello hello beautiful people. I am coming to you today from Melbourne. I am down here doing some presentations and what not this week and I was really excited you know to have the entire apartment to myself for the week. I was like oh perfect it'll be nice and quiet to record some podcasts on my own and I've ended up next to a construction site and a train station so that plan went down like a lead balloon and I apologize if there is a bit of background noise here with me. We're just gonna roll with it like all the turbulence in life and before we dive in today's topic which is all about ending that cycle of constant worrying and stress and anxiety that often gets the better of us, I just wanna say I've had some amazing feedback which I'm super grateful for on this show but I've had some people listening and say they love it but they're like I'm not a teen. You know they're in their 20's, 30's, 40's and plus and I'm like okay let me just set the record straight. Guys although I kinda market these podcasts pertains you know as I could really say there isn't a podcast that's really titled and suitable for the youth and it's such an age group that I'm so passionate about helping please know that any age can listen and benefit from the show.

First of all adolescence doesn't actually stop until we're about age 24. So I'm really only like two years out of my adolescence and the thing is you really never tackled these issues or probably learn how to deal with a lot of these things like emotional management and all this stuff. If you didn't learn it as a teen then they're probably still lurking beneath the surface or what of these underlying issues no matter what age you are. I know that's definitely the case for me. I love doing these podcasts. I am learning right along side you guys and I am way past my teens, unfortunately. So whether you're about to celebrate your sweet 16 or your 60th, please if you're enjoying the show and getting value from it, please join me here every week and don't be ashamed about it. I absolutely want you here. So now that's all clear.

This week's episode is inspired, thanks Mon. Crazy brain actually and what's been running through it. This past week or so, you know I got an e-mail a big opportunity in regards to my speaking and presentations and I actually had to wait like a fair while for the outcome of whether that was going to happen or not and I am going to make a big announcement at the end of the show as to what this exciting kind of new little achievement is. But my brain really all it wanted to do was just to keep looping on the worry cycle big time about whether it was gonna happen or not, or is he gonna write back or not, am I gonna hear from them again or not? And look, I now know how to really coach myself through these kinds of thought loops but back when I was finishing high school, worry always used to get the best of me until the point where I was pretty much an anxious mess about exams or whether this thing was gonna happen or what that person might think of me if I do this and that.

I know I'm gonna learn in that kind of feeling right. So many of us self diagnose ourselves as just worry warts and we feel like we're almost doomed to disbelief fear of helpless over it because it's just the way we are. But this isn't true my friend. So there's so so much you can do to help get a handle of your worry rather than your worry always having you and that's really what we're gonna discuss today in the show. Sorry by the end of this episode, you've kind of better discovered and understood the root cause of your worry and what you can do to begin to change it.

So first of all, we really need to recognize that worry really serves no purpose. I'm sure many of you would've heard the same that worry is like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain. Sorry I'm just laughing because I do remember I used to do that as a kid. Cause I love walking with an umbrella in the rain. But anyway, let me explain what I really mean by this idea that you know, worry really pretends to be necessary but it's not. For example, in a session last week with my client she was having kinda bit of a dispute or disagreement with a girl who she kinda used to be friends with and she'd spent all last week worried about what they might do like in retaliation. I asked why? She was so worried about it. She kinda just said, "Well I need to protect myself just in case." We all tend to feel like worrying does somehow protect us from something bad happening like it's preventative and prepares us in some way. But if you actually pay attention and slow down and really think about it, worry just sets us off in a spiral of anxiety that often causes us to take action that just perpetuates more reasons to worry.

I mean think about it. Do you show up as your most clear minded, empowered, creative self when you're feeling worried? Maybe not. My friend, sorry my client ends up telling me she'd kinda been, I guess more snappy with her Mom and her sister, and she'd kind of gone off track with her studies so she was behind with that now because she's kind of constantly messaging her friends and stressing about it and then she really didn't feel like going out and hanging out with her friends because she was so worried about what might happen and guess what all this created for her? More reasons to worry right and in the end it turns out her friend, the retaliation never even happened. In fact, the friend ended up being as cool as a cucumber about it all. Can you relate to that feeling of looking back over and thinking oh my goodness, I just wasted all that energy stressing for nothing. It all worked out okay in the end. I mean, pretty sure we should all have two hands up in the air right now. I know how many times I've been there and this happened to me again this week with what the outcome ended up being and it was like oh my gosh I just used so much of my brain just thinking about this.

So as much as you feel like worrying is necessary, if you pay attention to how you show up and act when you're worried, you'll find you're pretty much as productive as like a giddy old kid on their last day of school. You can't really concentrate properly, you kinda like fumble around or if you stress you're being late when you worry then you dropping your keys and you're forgetting things and you can't lock the door properly. Your a bumbling mess. Well that's me anyway. Of course, I think it's valuable, worry can actually have some purpose sometimes when you're worrying about something within your control like whether you remember to save your assignment before you went to bed. You can go in, oh wait, did I do that? You can go and check that you've done that or worry like hang on, when you leave the house, did I turn the hair straightener off properly. You can go and do something about that. That's useful because it can inspire some sort of productive action that creates a result that you do want. But nine times out of ten we really are just dwelling and worrying about stuff that's completely beyond our control and that friend is totally pointless right?

One of my favorite sayings is, if you're stressing about something, ask yourself can you do something about it? No. Then don't worry about it. Can you do something about it, yes? Then don't worry about it. Cause go do that thing and then just let it go. Either way though, there's no need to worry about it so that's something I was constantly reminding myself of this week every time my brain wanted to spiral into that but what if this, and what if that and is he gonna write back and [inaudible 00:07:17] It was like ssshhh, let it go. So now I've established that there's no real use to worry.

The second thing that we also need to recognize to help us kind of begin to unwind, all that worry cycle is recognizing that worrying isn't a fault in your DNA. It is simply actually a feature of your DNA and actually a part of being human. So before you beat yourself up for being a negative Nancy, depend to be a bit of a worry wart, I want you to understand that our brains have an ingrained negative bias. It's an evolution thing that kept us alive and evolving for hundreds of millions of years. So you can actually kinda be grateful for it because you know what, your great Uncle times a thousand didn't spot that tiger or that snake coming for him or he didn't remember fire meant danger, you wouldn't be here. It's a natural human instinct to jump to the negatives when there's something you perceive as a threat. But in this new age where we thankfully don't have lions sleeping on our back doorstep and if you do, go do something about that. It's again really showing us that worrying really is completely unnecessary. The greatest the same [inaudible 00:08:36] for most of the time now, unless you're being chased by the boogie man is literally just emotional harm.

Humiliation, rejection, shame and because these emotions are pretty damn uncomfortable to us, we often go to great lengths to hide from them and deem them worry worthy to our emotional life. Almost like it is that tiger chasing us. If you're paying attention to it your brain's gonna spiral in all different directions. What if I completely mental blank in front of that speech I've gotta give at class next week? How humiliating, I better worry about that or what if I don't hear back from that job interview I wanted so bad. That'll hurt, I better worry about that or what if the girl I met on the weekend never writes back to that message I just sent. That is so embarrassing, I better worry about that. It makes sense, your brain is trying to protect you from emotional discomfort but think about this guys. How comfortable does worrying feel? It's not so awesome right? The knots in your stomach, the tingling in your palms, whatever it is, worry doesn't feel awesome. And it also causes you to then act out in not so awesome ways right?

Which we kind of discussed and so it's quite ironic when you think about it. I'm trying to protect myself from the uncomfortable emotion but all that does is cause me to spin out in uncomfortable emotion. Now do you get what I mean by worry serves no purpose. So, now do you understand that naturally your brain just wants to jump to worse case scenario and you no longer have to judge yourself for that.

The next step to breaking free of worrying is making that decision and that choice you no longer allow yourself to just freak out and catastrophize every feature, what if? Because it's about using that gift that we have as humans to manage our own thoughts where we can gently but intentionally redirect it to what's thought that just feel a whole lot better. So you can begin to show up in each situation, purposely and clear and confidently in a way that you want to rather than just at feed based kinda default way that your brain wants to go to. Because, the truth is guys, you never know what the future holds. None of us can have that ability to predict it 100% accurately right. But the best you see is you get to believe what ever you like about it. Your future is your property. As much as we think we know what's gonna come next, honestly, your future is as blank as a blank piece of paper. It's a blank canvass and you get to believe and draw whatever you like about it. The future literally only exists in your mind. It's crazy when you think about it.

So that means that you get to choose whatever you like about it and really recognizing that is when I made that decision now, I choose to believe in my life and key redirecting to whatever tomorrow holds, it is gonna unfold in the way that it's supposed to for my greatest good and it might not go to plan how I hoped. But it will all end up unfolding in the way that it's meant to and it's up to me to be committed to looking for the good in whatever that reason is. Doesn't that just feel one thousand times better than spinning out that something terrible is gonna happen and it's gonna ruin your plans and it's all gonna go to waste. Even just saying that out loud to myself really helps me feel so much more at peace and I know that when I make that decision everyday to show up from this place, I'm showing up as so much more empowered and productive in my time and energy and putting it towards what's gonna serve me most today, tomorrow, and ten years from now.

The thing is when I say this to people I know a lot of the push back is, they think positively about the future, you're diluting yourself. You're just being delusional. But guys I want to point out, either way, you're diluting yourself. We never know for sure what's gonna happen. So don't you think you might as well focus on the positives because positive emotion is far more likely to feel positive action and clear thinking for you. Without worry kind of spinning in our brains, your far more likely to stay focused in the present and to keep putting one foot in front of the other towards your goals and taking that next step and accessing your own creativity and putting your energy towards creating or finding solutions to things that are within your control or problems that you can solve and redirecting it away from this thing you might be worrying about which you have no power over. Cause remember guys when you're in a negative mindset, when you are in worry, literally stress hormones, your chemicals flood your brain and it literally shuts down your ability to think outside the box and to see what could be very obvious solutions to simple problems when we're in worry, it completely spins that out and we lose that ability.

But if we take back control over that primitive part of our brain that's spinning out of worry and decide deliberately that we're gonna trust that whatever happens next is happening for our greatest growth then we get that ability back. And in the meantime, remaining far more patient and loving towards your friends and your family and less snappiness around the house and less taking it out on your Mom or your boyfriend or that person you care about, trust me, speaking from experience here, it was something I could see me beginning to fall into this week when I was letting worry get the better of me and that's when I had to sit down and really work through all this stuff and that's why I wanna share it with you guys and don't get me wrong. Not worrying about your future or what could happen, doesn't mean you don't take actions towards planning and protecting yourself.

You may still go along to that tafe information evening if you think, you know what, perhaps I won't get into Uni and I should look into what other options there are or handing out and just still giving out those extra resumes in case you don't hear back from that store manager which sound promising but just in case. Or of course getting a travel insurance in case, your [inaudible 00:14:26] gets stolen or you lose your luggage while you're overseas, or you happen to be in an accident with big medical bills, you can still take action towards preparing and protecting yourself but you do it from a clear space of care and confidence and looking out for yourself rather than from that place clouded with fear and stress and anxiety. Another thing I kind of get kick back from when I teach this is people say, "What if my life gets flipped upside down over night?" Well, mine did and I can tell you that even if I had spent the prior 20 years worrying about my sister dying, it wouldn't have protected me from the pain in any way once it happened.

And that is really why, honestly, I don't worry about something like that happening to me again because I understand that it would only cause me anxiety now and save me no pain or anxiety later on. I can't know for sure exactly what might happen tomorrow but I know for sure that whatever happens, worrying about it now, isn't gonna solve it. In fact, it just sends me back to it. So, my lovely people, my challenge for you this week, is to think about that event, that situation, that person, that what if, that you can feel you're currently worrying about and it's really playing over every worse case scenario in your mind and now just ask yourself, if I knew for sure everything was going to work out totally fine, how would I act and feel differently? How would I act and feel differently if I knew for sure that I was gonna stand up and ace that presentation, if I knew for sure that that girl was eventually gonna write back to me, if I knew for sure that this chronic illness weren't to cause me to miss out on things in life and I can still have a fulfilling, healthy life?

Ask yourself that and then start acting that way now because that belief is actually just as true as everything totally not being okay right? But being at peace feels way better than worry right? And you'll be far more proud of the human you're showing up in the world as when you're fueled from that place of confidence and courage rather than fear and anxiety. I'm sorry ancestors, but your mindset is way outdated for the life that we are now privileged to live in this world where we are not up against physical harm, potential threats every single day and we have the ability to coach ourself through the discomfort of the emotional discomfort. If we are willing to step up and to learn how to practice managing our thoughts so I want you to pay attention. Remember we can't change what we're not paying attention to. So you need to stop focusing so much out there trying to control the future and the uncontrollably you can't control and just be like, what is within my control right now and what is always within your control is the story you tell yourself that what could happen next?

Being delusional along with me, I'm telling you, life favors those who are delusional in belief of their dreams and what is possible and the lessons and the opportunities of what could come. Effective choice guys, I just always tell myself, you might as well focus on it in a way that empowers us because worrying isn't gonna save your tomorrows it's just wasting away your today. Another one of my favorite sayings that kinda bring me peace instead of worry is, everything works out okay in the end and if it's not okay, it's not the end. So remember sometimes, it's just about putting a comma instead of a full stop and go this isn't the end of my story. In saying all that, I am excited to take a moment to quickly announce the next chapter of my story and what gave me another big opportunity to practice coaching myself through worry is I received the e-mail that confirms that guys, on the 10th and the 11th of December this year, I will be delivering my resilience presentation and sharing my journey to students at schools over in America.

Yeah. America. You know that big country on the other side of the world? Yup. Somehow, by some miracle, a school reached out and said they'd love for me to come over. I'm going and speaking at three schools over there and guys I can't tell you, this has blown my mind. I want to remind you this whole journey I started on my own with just Microsoft PowerPoint in my bedroom and not getting a cent for my work after leaving behind a huge pay cheque and for so many schools, not even taking any notice here in Australia and then to see that over the other side of the country, I mean the world, I'm still going to get my head around it. There's a school that's taking notice. It's unbelievable. I'm just so grateful for the opportunity to stand up in front of these students and to become an example of them that you know what, beauty can come from even the ugliest times in our lives and to be that person I really needed when I was at my darkest hour, that someone who can show me that there is a way out of this and that suffering can still have a purpose and it's a purpose that we each get to choose as a God given right.

We get to decide what we're gonna make our suffering mean and I hope you know, just like standing up in front of those kids I hope if you're listening to my podcast, you're always learning that we can choose to make it mean something that empowers us and to stay focused on the lessons and the value that we can take from that experience. It's humbling to go through hardship. It's humbling to realize that none of us are entitled to an easy life but what is that one thing we can do to make someone else's life easier? In saying that, that is then leading to my last little announcement I'd like to make in case you didn't listen to the episode before and if you didn't, what are you doing? But I have launched a campaign to, well first of all to grow reviews on my show to help at least get in front of more people but most especially to make a difference while I'm doing it. So it is a review for a farmer campaign where I will give a dollar towards the Scrubbers Ball which is raising funds to the struggling farmers out in Baradine, New South Wales for every review left on my show.

One review equals one more dollar towards a struggling farmer who are going through one of the toughest droughts that they've seen in decades and mentally, emotionally, financially these families are struggling and with the podcast it's all about building resilient mental health and getting through these tough times. Let's get together and show them that that OK Now What Community is behind them. I'm going alone to the fundraiser on the 27th of October and I'm gonna say a few words to them and I'd love to let them know that we have also raised some funds. So share this with your family, friends, Mom, Dad, sister, Auntie, even labor of behalf of your dog if you'd like. But please I hope to raise, I put a maximum of a thousand but my goodness, if we got a thousand reviews on this, my mind would be blown for the second time. I do hope you take a moment out of your day just to jump on and see the review button, whether it's on iTunes or Stitcher and just write a quick review and you will know that you are not only putting a smile on a farmer's face but also helping someone just like you find the show so they can benefit from it as well.

So that is it from me this week guys. But the big image I'm gonna leave you with someone said they love my metaphors, well the next time you're worrying just think about how strange you'd look to someone if you were walking around outside just with an umbrella and not a cloud in the sky. Don't be that fruit loop. You can always find an umbrella if it starts to rain but until then, I'm telling you it feels so much better to feel the sunshine on your skin and get out there and live life with the attitude that no matter whatever happens, it's unfolding for your greatest good and being committed to looking for the good in whatever that reason is.


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