If you think you are a “worry wart”, chances are you are. And if so, YOU may be making YOURSELF sick!
Worry may seem like something natural, a characteristic we are born with, or a genetic thing that runs in our family. And we just live with it because it’s “who we are” and “what we do”, so of course we can’t change it. Well, the fact is, that is just not true!
Studies have shown how worrying is a habit. What?! Yes, a bad habit of course. And we are in control of this habit of worrying. The truth of it is anything we learn, we can unlearn. So just like you unconsciously picked up the poor habit of worrying or becoming anxious, you can condition yourself not to worry. This is NOT an easy task. Nothing so important ever is. But it is possible! And it is important to our overall health and well-being. Our attitudes, quality of relationships and longevity all depend on how we handle stress in our lives. And here are a few of the things I’ve learned along the way to help me keep serenity at the center of my life.
My best method of de-stressing, calming myself and keeping balance even when things are at their worst – starts in my head. I have to intentionally play a “tape” of good things, and positive thoughts so I can turn the bad talk about myself into loving language instead. The secret is to talk to myself as if I am someone who LOVES me (not always an easy task.) We are usually willing to put in the effort to comfort a loved one, but we don’t generally make the same effort to be our own best friend. That really is the key. We need to do this same loving act for ourselves when we need it. And if you believe in a universal force or higher power that is an all-loving entity, it is very helpful to imagine what gentle and loving things such a compassionate being would say to you.
And this may sound silly, but I just read how petting your beloved animal (for me, it’s a shiny, sweet, black cat named Maxwell) can help lower your blood pressure. And in particular, hearing the purrs of a cat may have physiological benefits. Read more about that here.
Another course of action I take is diffusing a wonderful blend of Spruce, Rosewood, Blue Tansy and Frankincense essential oils. This blend is called Balance and it is extremely calming. It smells of the aromatic earth. In addition to having this in my diffuser almost nightly, I occasionally put a few drops on bottoms of my feet, heart, wrists or neck. The scent works in a very real way to bring me to a place of peace. There is a very scientific system at work when inhaling essential oil aromatic scents. Click here to discover more about this. To find out how to obtain some incredible essential oils, leave a comments here and I’ll be in touch with you.
Another important action I take to help relieve stress or anxiety is reciting the words or the Serenity Prayer. And actually not just saying it, but truly thinking about the meaning of each of the words. You’ve heard it before: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” The wisdom of that short prayer is really incredible. For instance, when I used to become enraged at “dumb drivers”, I began to realize that I can’t control their bad driving habits. So I would have to ask for help to accept that I am driving in a major metropolitan area, and traffic is what it is. If I want to take another route, I may. And that may work out or it may not. But that is all I’m in control of at that moment: my attitude and my actions. So the anger at bad drivers serves no good purpose for my health or well-being.
This concept is actually so simple. But we tend to complicate it or talk ourselves out of following through with this simple prayer. Sometimes it may seem as if we just WANT to be angry or frustrated. And we may fool ourselves into thinking that if we are angry enough, the bad drivers will stop. Or even worse yet, we may think that allowing our anger to come out is actually healing and healthy for us. But I believe the opposite is true. And the sooner we know that, the better off we will be. I am not suggesting we stuff our bad feelings down and refuse to address them. I am suggesting we change how we think about things, so that the bad feelings don’t hit us in the first place.
I believe it takes years or even a lifetime of practice before “letting go” of the little things can seem easy to do. I mean, if it took years to build up bad habits of anxiety, anger, frustration or stress, it may take just as long to turn it around to achieve peacefulness and serenity in the face of challenges. But every time we try it, the worst thing to happen is that WE’RE TRYING IT! So after practice, practice and more practice, it may eventually transform into a good habit we have developed.
Is my serenity something that came naturally with no effort, and no worries ever? Heck no! There is no magic here. But over the past few years in particular, I have very intentionally surrounded myself with positive audio tapes, affirmations, uplifting radio programming, inspirational books, positive people, my favorite hobbies, etc. All of this fills my spirit, my head and my consciousness with good ideas, strategies, and thoughts so that when I get depleted, I don’t run on empty. Bad things can happen when we are running on empty. I make very real efforts to keep myself positive when things are GOOD, so that it’s less of a challenge to stay positive when things go BAD. Believe me, it’s easy (and habitual) to go down the dark path of negative thinking, and have the “bad tape” play in our heads. I did this and still do. But now when that starts happening, I can turn it around in my favor. I’m not perfect at this by any means, but I am far better at it today than I used to be.
My prayer and wish for you is that you put some new habits into practice. And learn more about it from these experts: Dr. David Hamilton has great information about worrying here. And more great help found here.
I invite you to share your experiences. I would love to know what tips you have found valuable for minimizing stress in your life.