Will it help?
This is such a simple question and so very helpful when it comes to worry.
If you saw the film The Bridge of Spies, you will have seen it was the Russian Spy’s response to the American lawyer’s question ‘Aren’t you worried?’
When you (or a friend) are dealing with change, it means, in some form, changing a habit. Changing a habit can cause you to feel the strain from stress, however this only deepens the pain as you feel the world going in a different direction. Ask yourself ‘Will it help?’ and the answer is no! For a while why not just ‘float’ a little. Fill your lungs with air and let the water gently carry you until you feel ready to paddle in your direction.
Next time you hear a friend (or yourself) worrying over something, going over and over the same territory in chicken circles just stop for a moment and with concern ask, ‘Will it help?’ The answer will be no and in fact it is counter-productive. When your brain perceives that it is under threat in some way, it goes down a gear to basic functioning. Your brain prepares for the classic fight or flight response. You are ready for physically managing an emergency, but not the higher level frontal lobe consideration and decision making that the situation would require.
Next time you (or a friend) are complaining or getting frustrated about something – about which you cannot usually actually impact – and those same chicken circles of negative thinking are occurring, just think or say thoughtfully, ‘Will it help?’ Of course the answer is that it will not, meanwhile you have got yourself all upset and filled with the bad chemicals and the situation is still as it was. Now that was a waste of your precious energy and builds up to suffering the strain from this stress.
Next time you hear a friend (or yourself) feeling guilty and talking about how they feel so bad because of so and so… Gently ask, ‘Will it help?’ I think you may be seeing a pattern here! Yet we all can take up much precious time and waste our energy resources with these behaviours. Guilt is a very heavy and totally useless emotion, it can grey a whole section of your life and cause you great stress and strain, guilt also easily leads to depression, a pandemic in today’s world.
Next time you (or a friend) are ‘awfulising’ or using the ‘always’ or ‘never’ words with some behaviour or other, just wait for a little while and then considerately ask, ‘Will it help?’ Really push for an answer, because if you are adding some constructive ideas or creative solutions it IS helpful, however if you are just going round and round and painting everything with the ‘awful’ colours, then realising that not only is it not helping in any way, it is actually very destructive for your wellbeing and constructive thinking.
What TO DO?
After you have answered the ‘Will it help?’ question – and the answer is inevitably ‘No!’ Then a very simple action and one that WILL help is this:
- Keep a running list of those things that take up your mind, every time you find you are thinking or talking about them, write them down. If it is the same thing again, add a mark. Write them down and put them aside for now. Because you know you and those items will have a special time, later that day.
- Pick a time, say between work and your evening, or after supper when you can take 20 minutes to yourself. Find a comfy place to sit and take an ‘empty book’ or some nice paper, or your journal and a favourite coloured pen and the list you created from the day, because now you have a whole 20 minutes to worry / fret / guilt / awfulise about them. Write it all out, round and round, down and down. Rather like the ‘lines’ you had to write at school, ‘I will be polite to the teacher’, 100 times!!
- At the end of the 20 minutes put it all away and you will find your brain feels very satisfied, because you have given it attention for these things. If, perchance any constructive thoughts should occur, you need to put those on a separate page and consider them later. This is just for useless, inept, worthless, waste of time, inadequate thinking.
- Many times you will find that it is so ridiculous that you are unable to fill the 20 minutes, in which case register this as you waste all those moments in your day and give less and less power to them. Most importantly you will have positively managed the situation, so as to not cause you (and those about you) strain from the stress they were causing. If you are able to fill your 20 minutes, then you may wish to join the ‘worried man bloggers’.
AND remember step 3 of the Mind Chi Basic 8 steps, where you look for things you wish you had said or done differently in the past 24 hours. You are looking for what you would rather do if they occur again and to start to put the new behaviour in place. Then let go and let the past be PAST.
Then look for the small success steps, this is probably a well-rehearsed habit and so may take a time to change. Be sure to celebrate your successes in step 4 of the Mind Chi Basic – looking for what went well in the past 24 hours. The link above explains all of the Mind Chi Basic 8 steps and here is a link to the Mind Chi App that will time the full 8 minutes for you. This is how to build your resilience, so you know you can handle ANY situation – such power and joy!
Please let Chi & I know if this was a help for you: Email Vanda & Chi