Do you get worried about things?
Do you find yourself stressing over things you have no control?
Before you read any further, close your eyes a moment, take a deep breath, and then think of a current issue that is creating the most difficulty in your life right now. Please write it down.
Now, take a look at what you wrote and ask yourself: Do I have control over the ‘effect’ of what is currently happening? If the answer is no – then it’s time to shift your focus to ‘the root cause’ of the situation, and it is the ONLY way for you to really alter any thing.
Newton’s Third Law of Motion States
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Basically, this universal law (like gravity) states that there is a natural cause and effect to everything. So, if you want to know how the brick landed on the ground in front of you, it doesn’t make sense to stare at the brick (Effect) and ask it to explain itself. You have to look up and see if you can discover why it fell (Cause).
Have you ever heard the old saying, “worrying is like praying for what you don’t want?”
Well, it’s true.
Focusing on the effect (or what you’re worried about) is actually creating more of that effect for you.
So, what’s your worry?
Instead of focusing on the worry, let’s focus on the cause…
From this vantage point, we may find a wee bit of freedom, power and control.
When you worry, it often begins between your two ears as a thought.
And thoughts alone are powerful.
But – did you realize that your thoughts are what drive your emotions, beliefs, actions and habits?
So the saying really is true that if you change your thoughts, you change the world.
By examining whether your worry is truly just a thought, a belief system, a habit or an emotion, you can find some power over what is happening in that head of yours…
So, let’s explore.
Your Thoughts Are Powerful
Focus on the thing you wrote down when you began reading this post. Now, ask yourself:
What negative or unhelpful thoughts am I having that may be creating the effects I am experiencing.
- “I can’t seem to make enough money.”
- “I just don’t have enough time in the day.”
- “Why can’t I get my children to cooperate while I’m trying to work?“
When you focus on thoughts like these, you are really focusing on the effect. And just like looking at the brick to explain itself in the analogy above, if you focus on what you don’t want… you’ll tend to create more of what you don’t want!
Instead, recognize when ‘effect’ thoughts occur for you and then ask yourself,
- What can I do differently that would change the effect of not having enough time or money, etc.
- What am I doing, saying, being that is causing this to happen?
- Where am I contributing to this case?
Your Habits Are Powerful
Focus on the worry you wrote down when you began reading this post. Now, ask yourself:
- What habits do I employ every day that are constructive (moving me closer to my goal)
- What habits do I employ every day that are destructive (keeping me from my goal)
- I always go to bed too late and never quite feel rested when I awaken.
- I plop down on the couch and eat ice cream almost every night and complain that I can’t lose weight… but I LOVE my indulgences!
When you focus on thoughts like that, you are really focusing on the effect (brick in the road).
Instead, recognize when you’re having these kinds of thoughts and then ask yourself, how you can do things differently in order to get a different result. Change your thoughts and ask yourself questions such as:
- What little shifts can I make to create new habits?
- What new habits can I adopt?
- Which should I drop in order to move closer to my goal?
When you focus on habits that create more sleep, room for exercise, time for healthy cooking and eating habit, consistent routines, good time management practices such as calendaring and prioritizing your days, you can focus on smaller, bite-sized changes and create lasting and positive habits.
Consistently focusing on one new behavior every two weeks can have a profound effect on your life. There is no need to be overwhelmed about creating new habits. Just focus on one, create a new habit for 14 days, and then move on to the next two weeks later.
Your Emotions Are Powerful
Now go back to the beginning of the post again and focus on the worrisome topic you wrote down when you began reading this post. Now, ask yourself:
- What are the emotions that I’m actually feeling when I think about this topic?
- Where are my emotions tying up?
- “I don’t have enough time to catch up with my friends right now and I feel __________.”
Are you overwhelmed, stressed out, anxious or fearful?
Any feeling you have is “normal”. Feelings are our navigational tools as human beings. They are there to give us cues about what we want and don’t want.. BUT (and this is a BIG BUT) it is up to you to determine if the feelings you have are actually helpful to you at this point in time, or not.
It is important to acknowledge how you feel. Once you do, you have the power to make a different decision as to how you will feel. You really can change the way you feel if you push back to the “cause” – your thoughts.
To do so, attempt to literally shift your feelings by changing your thoughts! Here’s the formula to follow:
- First feeling what you feel
- Then identifying and naming your feeling
- Then thing about how you care to feel (if it’s different)
- Then focus your thoughts on the new feeling you desire. This thought (cause) will allow you to shift and actually feel differently (effect).
This exercise helps you to focus again on the cause of what is happening and gives you space to determine what it is you want to change.
Your Beliefs Are Powerful
One more time… refer back to the beginning of the post again and focus on the worrisome topic you wrote down when you began reading this post. Now, ask yourself:
- What beliefs do I have about my ability to achieve my goals?
- What core beliefs are being evoked, triggered and sensitized when I focus on this worry?
- “I believe that not having enough money means that I am not worthy.”
- “I believe that I’m not worth living and eating healthy.”
Your beliefs are clusters of related thoughts you repeatedly think. Thinking of them repeatedly creates connections in your brain that you have grouped together and ‘named’ your beliefs or ‘belief system’. Most people’s beliefs stem from the web of life experience that began in childhood to either ‘fill in’ or ‘not fulfill’ the belief. Through life experience, you obtain evidence. When you see evidence of a belief, you believe it more strongly (because that’s what our brains do – it’s part of the survival instinct!) And this process actually reinforces your beliefs and makes them stronger. It is an endless cycle and often a very strong belief system will not even allow new evidence in.
Until we gain a different perspective and evidence for the new perspective.
So, to change your worry – consider that you really do have control over your belief system as well. And perhaps it’s time to review your personal beliefs.
Some beliefs are deep and private. Some are so close and vulnerable that we are afraid to share them. Some of them are even scary when we verbalize them. It is a common human condition to believe one is not worthy, less than, not good enough… the challenge here again is for you to determine if your beliefs are really true. Just as you have control over your thoughts and the power to change your emotions, it is up to you to determine if the beliefs you have are actually helpful to you at this point in time, or not.
Do you really believe that you’re unworthy? Stupid? Too old? Not good enough? Too young?
Consider that each of these common beliefs of unworthiness could be false beliefs that exist only in your own mind and in your memory.
Often beliefs are projected to us from others of influence from our younger years and are not even our own. Your life experience is unique and yours alone. Perhaps someone in your past did or said things to you that you were taught to believe were true… BUT I’m here to tell you, they were wrong!
If your beliefs are the cause of your worries, I suggest you rewrite your beliefs according to the way you WANT to live your life right now!
Acknowledge how you feel, then make a new decision as to how you want to feel. You really can change the way you feel.
So, of the four ways to release worry discussed in this article, which stand in your way and and are more the cause of your worries… your thoughts, your habits, your emotions or your beliefs?
Look the causes in the face and recognize them. Feel what you need to feel in order to recognize what is happening for you.
Now, create a new, more powerful thought, habit, emotion, or belief and be actively engaged in your new outlook.
Afterall, your thoughts, beliefs, habits and emotions are powerful… and you are the only one who has any control over them. You don’t need to simply hope for a change, you are the creator of your life. You can choose what you think and feel, which habits you employ and what belief systems you uphold.
Remember to choose wisely. Will you stare at the bricks in front of you that are blocking your way forward… or will you turn to discover where they fall from?
It is up to you.
What do you think? Which of the four areas seem to be most difficult for you to re-program? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for the inspiration for this post (and most of the content) to my beautiful friend Terri Goetz of HealthyBeing.Com