My hubby, Guy, explained how to tackle worry and anxiety.
“First of all, set aside fifteen minutes twice a day to worry.”
That sounded pretty easy. I could do that, no problem!
“For the first five minutes, you can worry about whatever is bothering you. Then, for the next ten minutes, you flood your brain with memories of things that made you feel happy. Playing with our grandchildren, gardening, photography, whatever. Then, the next time that you’re worried about something, tell yourself you will worry about it at the next set time of the day for worrying.”
Apparently, you can train your brain to focus on the good things more and on the things that bring you anxiety less. I wondered if I could fool my brain. Then, I remembered a recent dream. I was standing in the second storey of my childhood home looking out the bathroom window to peer into the neighbour’s backyard. The sky was full of dark clouds and sunflowers as large as my neighbour’s house were swaying—dancing actually!—back and forth. I called out to my youngest daughter, “Quick! Come and see!”
When I woke up, I was happy. I love sunflowers and it was such a treat…to see gigantic ones dancing.
My brain convinced me that this was real at the time. In reality, if I looked out the second-floor bathroom window, all I could see was our elm tree. My neighbour, Mrs. Burfield planted a row of canna lilies every summer, probably to deter us from cutting through her yard.
She never planted sunflowers. And, if I was in my childhood home, I was still a kid myself. My daughter wasn’t born yet.
Yet that dream made everything seem real at the time. So surely if I think of good memories, I can overcome anxiety. I can convince my brain I am still in a happy state, not an anxious one.
It takes practice because our brains tend to default to negative thinking but it can be done! Try it and see for yourself!