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How to Stop Your “Worry Wheel”

March '15

I don’t know about you, but I occasionally find myself traveling on what I call the “worry wheel” – you know that place you go in your mind when sudden feelings of frustration, resentment, or sadness spark a series of worrisome thoughts that go on and on like a gerbil on a wheel. And leave you feeling more and more frustrated, resentful, or sad.

These cascading thoughts take you out of the present moment and into the future where you speculate on negative things that might happen, or into the past where you wrangle old problems and feel even more frustrated, resentful or sad.

When you’re stuck on the “worry wheel” all you want to do is get off – but how? Awareness of where you are is paramount. When you sense your “worry wheel” going round and round as your mind tumbles into one troubling thought after another, pause, and take a deep breath.

Then to move out of the future or past and into the present moment, you can embark on a mindfulness meditation called 5-4-3-2-1.

Start with a deep breath in and out. Simply count to four as you breathe in and five as you breathe out. Then …

(5) Look around the room and name 5 things you can see.

Remember to continue to breathe and if a judgment or an unwanted thought comes into your mind – simply observe it and let it go

(4) Move your focus into your body and what you feel and name 4 things you can feel.

Remember to continue to breath and if a judgment or an unwanted thought comes into       your mind – simply observe it and let it go

(3) Bring your attention to your hearing and name 3 things you can hear.

         Remember to continue to breath and if a judgment or an unwanted thought comes into          your mind – simply observe it and let it go

(2) Pay attention to things you can smell and name 2 things you can smell – or imagine two things you like to smell.

         Remember to continue to breath and if a judgment or an unwanted thought comes into          your mind – simply observe it and let it go

(1) Name 1 thing you can taste or like to taste.

Remember to continue to breath and if a judgment or an unwanted thought comes into your mind – simply observe it and let it go

Hopefully you are now off the wheel and enjoying the present moment, if not, simply repeat the exercise.

If you’ve used this 5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness approach, or try it, I’d love to hear about your experience.

May you have a happy, happy spring!
Bonnie

 

4 Comments

  1. Maria Lorenzo said on March 31, 2015:

    Another simple effective tool that I will now have in my tool box. Thank you Coach Bonnie, for your wisdom and your words. I look forward each month to your blogs. XO

  2. Bonnie said on March 31, 2015:

    Thanks, Marie! How wise of you to notice the simplicity of this approach.
    Bonnie

  3. Beth said on April 13, 2015:

    Hi Bonnie…it’s Monday 4/13/15…I just did the 5-4-3-2-1 meditation and it absolutely brought me back into my now! This is such a gentle exercise in mindfulness… Thank you. I just turned 57 years old on Easter Sunday. Thanks again for sharing!

  4. Bonnie said on April 30, 2015:

    Hi Beth!

    How fabulous! (Sorry I didn’t reply sooner – somehow I didn’t get notified.) And a belated Happy Birthday to you!
    Bonnie

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