Does your mind automatically tune into the worry-and-fear channel? Are you suffering from worry about your loved ones? What tools have you found to help escape from constant worrying?
Gigi joins Spencer to talk about strategies and tools to worry less. We started with some of her story of codependence and worry.
She identifies “whispered lies” as a primary source of worry. You may be familiar with the “committee in your head” that tells you all the things you are doing wrong, and all the things that could go wrong.
The 4 strategies to worry less are
- Get honest (with yourself)
- Claim power (a higher power)
- Choose a new future
- Use your growth practices (aka tools)
These connect to the 12 steps roughly like this: Get honest is Step 1, where we admit that the way we have been living isn't working for us (so well). “Claim power” is Steps 2 and 3, where we become aware that a higher power can help us, and ask for that help. We choose a new future in Steps 4-7, and take action to affirm that choice in Steps 8 – 12. And there are tools that help us in getting honest, claiming power, choosing a future, and worrying less.
Gigi discovered these strategies and tools for herself, and has shared them with us in her book Worry Less Now. The book describes 50 tools, and we certainly don't talk about all of them. Gigi does give examples of how she has used some of them in her journey to worrying less.
Once she got honest enough with herself to break through her denial, she thought “there must be a way to live other than by my will” (because her will was not bringing her happiness). What power could help? We talk about sources of power such as a program of 12-step recovery, the God of your religion, a divine spark within yourself, and a loving community. These are not exclusive — it's possible to reach out to all or any of them.
A few tools
Mindfulness Meditation is a key to self-awareness and self-honesty, as well as a great tool for getting off the “worry train”. Part of mindfulness meditation is to “watch” your thoughts. And as you're doing that, you might wonder, “who/what is it that is watching my thoughts?” and perhaps realize that “my thoughts are not me!” (Which, of course, means that “my worry is not me”.)
Finding a community of support. Many of us find such a community in our recovery program. In fact, this may be the first place we find such a supportive community. But it doesn't have to be the only such place. It is important to pick your “support people” carefully, though. One important characteristic to look for is the ability to listen fully, without interrupting, without injecting their own experience, and without giving unwanted advice!
The Serenity Prayer is something that many of us are already familiar with. It is a tool for claiming that positive power we are looking for.
The Golden Key is a practice of turning your thoughts away from the problem and towards positive power. If you have a Higher Power called God, then for you it might be a practice of “bringing God in”. Another term is “living in the solution” instead of “living in the problem.”
Readings and Links
We did talk about Gigi's book Worry Less Now. We could not have covered all 50 tools and the supporting strategies in the time we had together. It is available directly from Gigi, or via other online merchants such as Amazon.
Gigi also mentioned and talked about some other books that helped her:
- When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodren
- A Course in Miracles
- Each Day a New Beginning daily meditation book for women
- Thought for the day online
- Buy from Hazelden
- Buy from Amazon
- The Twelve Steps For Agnostics: How to get happily sober without a belief in God
- The Power of Now
Please note that links to Amazon above are “affiliate links” and gain us a small commission, but cost you nothing extra.
An upcoming topic is Grief and Loss. How have you experienced grief for events small or large? How have the tools of recovery helped you in your grief and grieving? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.