Yes, write a list of your worries and/or fears down on a piece of paper and look at them. Keep the list focused on your biggies, probably not one, but not more than ten. Once you’ve done this put them away in a container or box.
Many religious, spiritual, and secular traditions around the world use worry mandalas, images, icons and figurines to allow people to mentally deposit their worries and fears and then move on with their day and their life. It’s a way of acknowledging their existence, treating them with the respect they deserve (meaning, they are of real concern to you) but also allowing you to LEAVE them be, for a time, and free yourself to get on with regular living.
For you it might be as simple as a daily or weekly list, folded and stored in an old shoe box or plastic container. You can replace the old one each time by throwing it away and depositing the new list. However, you may want to date them and keep them all. Any practice that works for you is what will work!
Try it! Just doing this simple activity can actually help you do better work, and enjoy relationships more because as you no longer carry the fears inside you the odds of them leaking (or screaming) out at random times is lowered. Leaking your fears onto others can inflict pain or confusion on those you love.
This isn’t denial. You are accounting for all of them by placing them on a list in a container – you are also creating a situation where they don’t upstage what you need to do (perform your best) for the present moment. You are taking back control of your choices and thoughts and giving space for the thinking you need most in the moments of your life you really want them to be pure and undiluted.
This is a practice, maybe too simplistic for some, to regain personal peace. But the very essence of freeing yourself from excessive fears and worries is an act of courage over something most within your control – your thoughts, how you animate them (with fears, emotion, wisdom, anger, etc. etc. etc.) and your choices around how to respond to, manage or simply influence them to regain a moment of peace.
Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., L.P.C.
Better By Monday is a blog about one thing you can try, over the weekend, to feel a little bit better by Monday.