by Kristi King-Morgan, LMSW
- Schedule a Worry Time!
Now if you look at your list you will likely see that many of the items you were worrying about are marked out and you can focus your attention on the things that are within your power to change. Hopefully, seeing your list become significantly smaller will help reduce your anxiety. Seeing that there are not as many things on there as before feels good. It also feels good to be doing something about your worries. The items still on your list are within your power to change or control, and you can use this worry time to start putting steps in place to correct these things in your life so you don’t have to worry about them anymore. Once your worry time is over, put your list away and don’t look at it again until the next day at your regularly scheduled worry time. Then when you start to worry about those things as you go about your day you can remind yourself that you will worry about them at 6:00 p.m., but until then you have a life to lead and chores to do.
You may succeed in keeping yourself so busy that you can keep your mind off of things during the day, but the problem with not scheduling a worry time is that it catches up with you when you try to go to sleep. This is the time when all those thoughts race through your head, making it difficult to fall asleep. Scheduling a worry time will help you deal with these thoughts so that you can rest easier at night.
2. Go on a Mindfulness Walk!
Spend at least fifteen minutes every day on a walk outside, and pay close attention to what your five senses detect on your walk. You may even want to bring a notepad and a pencil so you can jot down your thoughts. Clear your mind of the troubling thoughts you have been having and focus on these questions while observing the world around you:
- What do you see?
- What do you hear?
- What do you smell?
- What do you feel (touch)?
- What sensations are you experiencing? (heat, cold, wind, heart rate increasing with the exercise, any feelings you have.
Certain people may be more focused on what their senses are detecting while walking, others might be more focused on observing the behavior of others around them, and some may be more aware of feelings they are experiencing while walking. That’s okay, bringing all of this together is a great way to experience mindfulness. Try going on a mindfulness walk with other people and comparing notes at the end of the walk. You may be amazed at the different things people will notice.
How can this help your relationships?
Going on a mindfulness walk with others will help you realize that not everyone sees the world the same way that you do. Although you experienced the same thing (in this case a walk) people will have seen it in different ways. Different does not mean better or worse, or wrong or right. Bringing this awareness to your relationships can give you more patience and empathy during disagreements and misunderstandings, and, hopefully, help you resolve them more quickly.
Edited by Larissa Banitt