Once upon a time, I called my mom daily to share my worry of the moment. Bless her heart. Sometimes I’d be practically hyperventilating, talking so fast because I was certain the world as I knew it was over.
I was a worry wort, an over-thinker. To worry, was my comfort zone. If things were going well, what was one thing I could find to be upset about?
Some days, my worry was that my friend didn’t like me anymore because she’d been a little short with me. I’d create an entire narrative in my head that we wouldn’t be friends anymore and I’d be left out of group activities from here on out.
Other days, my worry was that I wasn’t getting scheduled enough hours at the pizza shop. Suddenly, I was going to be broke and unable to buy new clothes or do anything fun with my friends ever again.
Silly problems? Absolutely. But, to a person who can’t stop ruminating, the fear is real. You’re a prisoner in your own mind as you throw your worries against the walls of your brain over and over, again and again.
Learn to tell yourself a new story.
Feeling stressed, worried, and anxious all the time? It’s not sexy. When I started experiencing chronic digestive issues that were induced by stress, I knew I needed to make a change in my life.
So, I dove headfirst into the world of self-help and personal growth. I devoured all the content I could get my hands on because I was so desperate to just feel better.
Things really began to shift for me when I discovered mindfulness. When I understood that we create the thoughts in our minds, I was introduced to an entirely new way of looking at the world.
Wait, I don’t need to believe every thought in my mind? Crazy!
I realized that if we have the ability to create these worrisome, fearful thoughts, we also have the ability to create positive, uplifting thoughts.
How to choose a thought that feels better.
Spiritual teacher, Gabby Bernstein, has a powerful tool for creating better feeling thoughts called the “choose again” method. The way you practice this method is simple. When you notice yourself thinking a thought that doesn’t make you feel good, you simply choose the next best feeling thought.
Let’s say you keep thinking, “I always have some new expense. I’m never going to save money.”
Maybe you’ve realized that continually having this thought is giving you a lot of anxiety. The next best feeling thought could be, “I am grateful I have the money to pay for these expenses and I’ll save more money eventually.”
The idea is to simply choose a thought that feels better. And the key is to choose a thought you actually believe. If you were to try and change the thought to something like, “I’m rich and have no expenses to worry about,” the method wouldn’t work because it just wouldn’t feel believable.
So, be realistic and reach for the next best feeling thought. When another negative thought comes to mind, choose again, choose again, choose again.
You aren’t in this alone.
When I used to ruminate and worry all the time, it was because I assumed I had to figure it all out on my own. I thought I was being prepared and looking out for myself by thinking through every possible scenario.
In retrospect, I understand that my attempts to control every situation and “always be prepared” were coming from a place of fear. This need for control was the root of of my anxiety and stress. If I wanted to truly be at peace, I needed to trust that a higher power was guiding me along the way.
The support of The Universe is available to us always, but it’s up to us to have faith and trust that it’s there.
What does putting faith and trust into The Universe look like? It looks like taking a deep breath in those fearful moments. It’s listening for the quiet, calm voice in your mind. It’s choosing to rewrite the story instead of staying on the merry-go-round of ruminating thoughts.
When you notice yourself getting caught up, choose again. Try asking yourself these questions. What thought would feel good instead of this? How can I tell myself a better story? What other scenarios have worked out for me in the past? Why wouldn’t this scenario work out, too?
No amount of worry, rumination, or stress is going to change the outcome of a situation. With that in mind, why not tell yourself a story that feels good?
When you feel good, things tend to work out better for you. When you feel happy, grateful, and filled with ease, you naturally attract good things.
Give it a try. I promise you’ll begin to feel more relaxed.