The Worry Tree
Some of us spend large parts of our day worrying, others may be days or weeks without a worry. But from time to time we will all find something which causes anxiety and leads to worry. Whether we are worrying about something that has happened, is happening now or something which might happen in the future our ability to manage these feeling can help to reduce our levels of anxiety.
What does worry look like?
The Worry Tree is one way to help you deal with worrying thoughts and put them in the right place in your mind at the right time whether past, present or future events. Allowing you to move passed your current feelings by creating time to process your thoughts and changing your outlook.
You may already have coping techniques which involve a happy place you can go physically or mentally free of negative feelings, or you may have activities which act as a distraction to your negative feelings. These activities may include a peaceful walk, mindfulness or simply colouring.
Will it help me?
Without a way to work through a situation you may lose control over these feelings, creating an ever growing feeling of dread unable to control how you feel, and having no control over the event itself. The Worry Tree, can help if you spend large periods worrying about ‘what ifs’, worrying about future events or things you cannot change or control, if you spend your time thinking about possible outcomes and imagine the worst possible outcome the Worry Tree might help you out.
How it works…
The first thing you need to do when you get worrying thoughts or feelings can seem simple, however it is vital. Notice the worry. Acknowledge your feelings and rather than hide from those feelings look to address them.
So, once you know you have feelings of worry, the next thing to do is to ask yourself What are you worrying about? Once you know what you are worrying about you can decide if the problem is a current one or a hypothetical situation and consider can you do anything about the situation.
Hypothetical Situations are the ‘what if’ thoughts in which you map out the worst possible situation for yourself. Usually using powerful imagery to see what that worst-case outcome looks like. While these situations can cause a lot of anxiety, the reality is there is usually very little you can do to control the event. Making the time spent worrying and planning all possible outcomes less helpful and usually more detrimental to your mental well-being.
So if you cannot do something about it, the Worry Tree approach would be to let go of the worry as you cannot control the outcome and to change your focus to something else. You may postpone your worry until the event happens or you have more information which allows you to gain control over the situation.
Current Problems are real situations and importantly you can do something about them. So now you know what you are worrying about and that you have the ability to do something about it. You can make time to decide what you can do, when it needs done and how you will do it. You may choose to do this straight away or make more time later and schedule in a time to work through your thoughts but once you have processed it completely and have a plan in place, let the worry go and change you focus onto something else.
Using the Worry Tree the goal is to move passed your feelings or worry, to let them go and change your focus onto something else, rather than becoming overwhelmed with worry.
Reproduce by kind permission of OD