At times, worry can seem like the whole world. It can darken everything and make you feel like there’s no way out. Whether you are afraid that people might treat you differently because of your health challenge, or are frustrated that there is no clear path to getting well, know that your worries are completely legitimate. But, their being legitimate doesn’t mean that they have to control you or your life. Worry isn’t so much the world as it is a mindset, or a way of thinking. There are ways to manage your fears so that your worry doesn’t get the best of you. Here is our A. E. I. O. U strategy to help you take charge and find a way out of your world of worries.
A) Accept the Ambiguity
Nothing is black and white, though Worry will make you think that it is. Instead of fretting about not having all the answers, try welcoming the ambiguity. You can choose to believe what YOU want to believe. Even when you aren’t totally clear which direction to take, you can still choose a path and take a step in that direction. Worry loves it when you don’t do anything, so taking a step in any direction is a step away from Worry.
E) Embrace Self-Efficacy
This means that YOU have the power to handle your Worry. Even if you cannot control the situation, you CAN control your reaction to the situation. Worry wants nothing more than to make you believe that it has total power over you. However, the opposite is true: you own your Worry. So, take ownership of your reaction in order to find your way away from Worry.
I) Invent a Back-up plan
Worry will try to convince you that plans will go wrong, or that you must stick to any plans that you make. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Inventing a back-up plan can help you to feel more secure, especially when you don’t know what’s going to happen next. Also, making a plan doesn’t mean that you have to use your plan. Instead, it can be comforting just to know that you have a back-up if you need it.
O) Open up
Worry likes to make you think that talking about your fears will make you more afraid. It really doesn’t work that way. Talking about your troubles helps you to label your feelings and to share the burden. Together, this helps to reduce your anxiety and move Worry out of your way.
U) Unburden yourself from things outside your control
Worry tries to link itself to others’ Worries. It likes to make you believe that you are responsible for the concerns of your loved ones. Trying to protect those you love from Worry will suck your own vital energy, which will make both your Worry, and your loved ones’ Worries, even stronger. Just as it’s up to you to tackle your own Worry, it’s up to others to battle their Worries.
Worry will stop at nothing to tell you that it owns the world. Fortunately for us, the exact opposite is true: you own your Worry, and you absolutely can kick it out of your world.