Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tips for Slaying Your Worry & Conquering Fear

I am an avid estate sale prowler and love buying great linens and vintage from the hundreds I've perused over my lifetime.

One of THE most valuable purchases I've EVER made from an estate sale is this old classic "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" I purchased for $1. This book was first published in 1948 and my reprint copy looks to be from the 1970s.

I am not necessarily a person who deals with constant worry but it definitely surfaces when I get fearful about being single, not having any parents or grandparents alive, and when I feel squeezed financially.

When I feel worry creeping up, I pick up this book and read a chapter. Afterwards, I use my gratitude knot and force myself to focus on three things (one for each knot) I'm immensely grateful for.

I might have to do this practice daily for a week until the worry and fear subsides but it always works!

What's different about this book is that it's not just information or theory. Like my writing style, it gives you applicable methods that helps you face and deal with worry and fear. 

Here are three of my favorite time tested methods from the book for dealing with worry:

Method #1: Live in "Day-Tight Compartments"
I can't tell you how many conferences I've attended where success Coaches talk about how successful people focus on the 24 hours in front of them. Every time I hear it, I think in my head...that's from Carnegie!

What is the thinking behind this method? This method forces you to "compartmentalize" (FYI, as a woman who relates everything, this is extremely hard for me to do!) your life into what actions and beliefs you can do for the next 24 hours. Not next week, not next! Just 24 hours.

Modern success Coaches have expanded on this principle to be related to time management and focusing your energies but technically, the principle is rooted in helping us deal with worry.

Method #2: Use the Magic Formula
The Magic Formula Carnegie suggests has been reiterated by several psychological publications. The Magic Formula is rooted in asking yourself these three questions:
  • Ask yourself, "What is the worst that can possibly happen if I can't solve my problem?" Step: Analyze the situation fearlessly and honestly and figure out what is the worst that could happen as a result of the failure.
  • Prepare mentally to accept the worst--if necessary. Step: After you figure out what the worst that could possibly happen, reconcile yourself to accepting it if necessary. (Note: doctors have found that after people face ansituationswhat could be the worst case scenario of what was causing their worry, they relaxed and faced a sense of peace.)
  • Then calmly try to improve upon the worst--which you have already mentally agreed to accept. Step: Calmly devote your time and energy to trying to improve upon the worst which you already mentally accepted.
Y'all, when I first read this I was like "Why would I want to think of the worst???"

Remember, this is not the only-positive-thoughts-on-steroids book. It's about time tested methods to deal with worry.

The genius behind forcing yourself to conjure the worst case scenario is it has a way of grounding you. Seriously.

No matter if it's potentially impending financial ruin, job loss, health crisis, etc., this method empowers you to process what's at the root of your worry.

This is one of my favorite methods in the whole book. Why? Because of the Coaching work I do, I see too many times where people use their faith ("God will just take care of it") and positive psychology ("I don't want to be around any negativity. ") as excuses to run from dealing with some of life's biggest challenges. This deeply concerns me.

I maybe the only one that ever tells you this but I speak truth in love: there are some things in life you will HAVE to deal with. 

No one's coming to save you. You can't just mentally think positive thoughts and it all goes away.

And don't get me wrong, I am a Christian AND I'm a member of the Harvard/McLean Medical School's Professional Coaches Association that has positive psychology as one if it's foundational pillars. So I believe in using your faith and positive psychology to navigate life...just make sure you are not using it to run from your fears and hard situations. Use your faith and positive psychology as a (important) catalyst for courageously facing the situations that are causing your worry.

Method #3 Take Charge of Your Worry and Live in Health
This method had a quote at the very beginning that was eye opening...

"Those who do not know how to fight worry die young." -Dr. Alexis Carrel

I won't get into great detail because the book certainly makes a convincing case of how worry (and fear) is the root cause of a large percentage of diseases that kill millions per year...from heart disease, ulcers, diabetes and hypertension.

The famous Mayo brothers declared that more than half of the hospital beds are occupied by people with nervous troubles. Their "nervous troubles" are caused by futility, anxiety, worry, fear, defeat and despair. We destroy our minds and bodies by anxiety, frustration, hatred, resentment, rebellion and fear.

Are you as amazed by these statements as I was upon reading it?

A famous specialist in the book who had his own issues with worry created this plaque in his waiting room that I thought was brilliant:

Relaxation and Recreation
The most relaxing recreating forces are a healthy
religion, sleep, music and laughter.
Have faith in God--learn to sleep well--
Love good music--see the funny side of life--
And health and happiness will be yours.

I hope this post blesses you and please share it with those you love who maybe living with worry...practicing these methods may be the life line that creates a new normal (and truly a New Year) for them!

I believe in you, Curva-Lish

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