1. Schedule a worry time!
What does it mean to schedule a worry time? Pick a time of day, say 6:oo pm or whatever works for you, as your scheduled worry time. You will do nothing for 30 minutes but worry. It helps if you make a list of everything you are worrying about. The first thing you will do after you make your list is ask yourself if this is something you can control, change, or do anything about in any way. If it is not, practice acceptance of this item on your list and mark it out as something you will not worry about anymore. This will take a lot of practice but with time you will learn to let these things go.
Make a worry list
Now look at your list and see that many of the items you were worrying about are marked out and you can focus your attention on the things that are within your power to change. Hopefully seeing your list become significantly smaller has helped reduce your anxiety already. Seeing that there are not as many things on there as before feels good. It also feels good to be doing something about your worries. The items still on your list are within your power to change or control and you can use this worry time to start putting steps in place to correct these things in your life so you don’t have to worry about them anymore. Once your worry time is over put your list away and don’t look at it again until the next day at your regularly scheduled worry time. Then when you start to worry about those things as you go about your day you can remind yourself that you will worry about this at 6:00 pm but until then you have a life to lead, chores to do.
Why scheduling a worry time
The problem with not scheduling a worry time and going through your day trying to push those thoughts away but never really facing them in a productive way is that you may succeed in keeping yourself so busy that you can keep your mind off of things during the day, but what happens when you try to go to sleep? This is the time when all those thoughts are racing through your head. They finally catch up with you and now you can’t sleep. Schedule a worry time to deal with these thoughts so that you can rest easier at night.
2. Go on a Mindfulness Walk!
Spend at least 15 minutes on a walk outside. Pay close attention to what your five senses can detect on your walk. You may even want to bring a notepad and a pencil so you can jot down your thoughts. Clear your mind of the troubling thoughts you have been having and focus on these questions while observing the world around you:
– What did you see?
– What did you hear?
– What did you smell?
– What did you feel (touch)?
– What sensations did you experience? (heat, cold, the wind, heart rate increase with the exercise, any feelings you had.
Some people may be more focused on what their senses are detecting while walking, and others might be more focused on observing the behavior of others around them, while others may be more aware of feelings they are experiencing while walking. That’s okay. Bringing all of this together is a great way to experience mindfulness. Try going on a mindfulness walk with other people and comparing notes at the end of the walk. You may be amazed at the different things people will notice.
How will this help your relationship?
Going on a mindfulness walk with others will help you realize that not everyone sees the world around you the way that you do. Although you experienced the same thing (in this case, a walk) people tend to experience things in different ways. Different does not mean better or worse, or wrong or right.