WORRYING is something we all do and are experts at. To be concerned about things is natural, but to worry about them endlessly is not.
Most often worry is about past events —– what went wrong or what you should or shouldn’t have done, or focusses future-imagined possibilities or outcomes, none of them positive or pleasant. Thus, you lie awake at night ——- worry being the primary cause of insomnia. We fail to realise that by maintaining our mental hold on every detail, we may actually block creative ideas that lead to fulfillment.
A quote from Leo Buscaglia goes : “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”
One way to deal with this is an idea that has worked so well with children. Actually, this has its roots in the popular Guatemalan little boxes with six or so tiny ‘dolls’ within ; you are instructed to assign one worry to each before you go to bed, and you are freed from the anxieties that would otherwise hamper your sleep.
The WORRY BOX is a simple, yet powerful strategy of acknowledging and coping with worry and anxiety. Working with the ‘worry box’, children place their worries in there each morning, and move on with their day, hopefully feeling more calm and free. They can choose to talk about it or not.
In therapy, children and adults can write and draw each worry on a separate slip of paper, place it in the box, and then decide for themselves when they want to talk or work with each one. This is incredibly freeing, especially as they feel a bit more in control, and can sense their own readiness to deal with troubling issues. In fact, sometimes, by the time one gets to a particular worry, the person has already developed strengths and strategies that can either make the problem a non-issue or easier to handle.
Some people call this a Surrender Box, for letting go of worries and desires by giving your burdens over to a Higher Power. You can make a ‘worry box’ yourself. It is simple. All you need is a ‘box’ and something to decorate it with ———– paper, pictures, stickers, glue, glitter …… Then, write each worry on a slip of paper and drop it in the box. The ‘worry box’ allows you to mentally get some space between you and your worry, bringing not only more calmness, but also fresher ways of relating to an issue. Once your worry is deposited in the ‘box’, try to turn your attention to other matters, give yourself permission to not concern yourself with that problem for now.
Separating yourself from worrying by this symbolic action, doesn’t mean that you have given up. Instead, you free up space in your mind to see things differently, or build up necessary skills, or to just let go. The energy you tied up or dissipated in fruitless worrying is freed up to help you shape your desired outcomes.
——- Marguerite Theophil