As the Swedish proverb goes, “Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.” Worry exaggerates, expands and accelerates. It creates catastrophes where there are none. Worry is convincing and loud. It is an avalanche: One worry leads to another which leads to another which leads to a hundred. Before you know it, your head is a subway station at rush hour.
What can you do when your mind is packed with worries?
Writing is a powerful way to let go of our worries (and to make sense of them). Because when we write worries down, they no longer play bumper cars inside our minds, and swirl through our bodies. We no longer carry loads and loads of doubts, troubles and concerns—or at least the luggage is lighter.
The journal Write It Down: Let It Go, written by therapist Lindsay Kramer, contains a calming, wonderful and unique visualization to release our worries through writing. You can record yourself reading the visualization (on your phone, for instance), and listen to it when you’re struggling:
Imagine your stressful and worrisome thoughts spinning uncontrollably through your head. Now visualize yourself lassoing those troublesome thoughts and feelings and pulling them down to the base of your skull and then out of your head completely.
Identify where the other vexing words are within your body and collect those as well. Search your chest, your stomach, your shoulders, your back, your legs, and your arms to find any remaining stragglers. Notice where this group is located within your body.
Now that the worries are all rounded up together, imagine that they are making their way through your chest to your arms, and through your arms down to your fingers. Then, from your fingertips, feel them trickle through your pencil or pen and breathe them onto the page. Sit with your feelings and thoughts as you write and experience what it’s like to see them on the paper as you let them go.
Now, decide that those worrisome and stressful words are imprisoned on the page, never to make their way back into your body. Allow them to be held captive on the paper because they have found a new home and a new space to fill. Praise yourself for having taken the time to write down these woes…
It is not easy to name our worries, to identify them, and to work with them. But doing so is freeing. We feel lighter, like we’re no longer moving through mud.
If this visualization doesn’t resonate with you, remember that there are many, many, many, many ways to deal with worrisome and anxious thoughts. You don’t have to struggle and suffer. You will find something that works well for you.