Do you ever find yourself caught up in “what if” or “why” or “if only” thoughts? If so, you might just be worrying. Worry often tricks us into thinking that we are problem solving. We spin out worry thoughts that often start with these phrases, or phrases beginning with “I wish” or “when” or have “should” in the statement. These phrases can be clues that we are worrying because we tend to get entangled in them, rather than finding true solutions for the situation.

Other clues that we are worrying rather than problem solving can be physical sensations we are experiencing or our emotions. If we feel relaxed, calm, or confident, then we are likely problem solving. If we feel tense, anxious or nervous, or even nauseous, then it is likely we are worrying. Other physical clues to worry can include feeling jittery, like there are butterflies in our stomach, tense muscles, a sense that it is difficult to breathe or there is a weight on our chest.

Taking a few deep breaths can help to decrease the worry and accompanying physical sensations. Doing so will also help to clear our head so that we can try to solve the problem rather than worry about it.

Helpful questions that can lead to problem solving include:

  • Is this something I can control or change myself?
  • Is this a current situation or something hypothetical?
  • Is this something I need to address now or in the future?

We all worry from time to time. It is a normal human response; however, when it becomes a way of life, it can be overwhelming. By taking a few deep breaths and asking helpful questions, we can learn to identify the worry and not be tricked by it!

Peace ~ sjv