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Creating Your Worry Box

Published July 14, 2017 in Blog , The Woman I Love - 0 Comments

​Worry.  We all experience it. 

Sometimes is controls us.  Sometimes is colors our world something fierce.​

How do we shut it down?  How do we learn to control the worry thoughts instead of it controlling us?​

The ability to shut things down, of being able to flip a switch and shift your focus is known as compartmentalization.

You can have the ability to take how your feeling, or what you are thinking about and put it in a box and close the lid. The thing about these strategies, these protections, these coping skills is that they are rarely learned—more often, and especially through trauma, we grab on to the strategy that worked for us—or that our brains and systems naturally gravitate to.

The ability to compartmentalize is a strength and a capacity that helps us function when we feel overwhelmed, the resources to manage and get on with life. We can use this tool when we just don’t have the resources to manage, when it’s too much right now or when we need to get something else done.

We like to call it “creating a box.” My Auntie, in helping me overcome my healing journey overcoming childhood sexual, emotional and physical abuse. She suggested that I create my box. She explained that this “box,” is to be used as a way to allow only so much time for an issue that is eating at me, then write it down, place it in the box. The box goes on its shelf, and you move on to other issues.

It happens to everyone from time to time: a thorny issue sprouts up, a worry takes root. Soon those roots dig in so deeply and spread so wide that they leave little room for anything else to grow.  Worrying, searching for a solution, and forecasting the future, can move from preoccupation to full-time work and that is not a happy place to be.

When that starts to happen, it’s critical to call a timeout. Certain hormones fuel the body’s stress response (also dubbed “fight-or-flight”), speeding breathing and heartbeat, directing extra blood flow to the brain and muscles, perking up the immune system, and triggering other changes that prepare your body to respond to a perceived threat. At times, the stress response is appropriate and necessary, helping us rise to meet physical and emotional challenges. But stress hormones that are triggered too often or stuck in overdrive can fuel worrisome health problems—from headaches and heartburn to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Make a Worry Box

Find any box, decorate it however you like, and keep it in a handy place. (I found that this was a great activity to do with my young children since they loved helping to decorate the box.) Jot down each worry as it crops up on a piece of paper and drop it into the box.

Once your worry gets deposited into the box, try to turn your attention to other matters. The worry box essentially allows you to let go of your mental worries.

Later on, you can throw out the notes without looking at them again.  There have been times I have shredded the notes, other times I have burned them.  (a symbolic action that works for me.)

Other times I have gone back through my notes at the end of the month and discovered that most of my worries had been  unfounded.  A  good lesson that worrying is often fruitless, and unproductive!

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow; it only saps today of its joy.”

Are you choosing to thrive?  It is a choice!

What are you worrying about?  Have you tried the worry box?  What was your experience with using it?

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