Research shows that on average we think between 38 and 45 thoughts a minute. (Let’s pick 42 for this blog!) We think 42 thoughts a minute, and personal development, the law of attraction, and so on, teach us to think more positively. This was something I struggled with quite a lot when I had quite a few issues going on and when I was in the middle of a career change. When you’ve got a bill you can’t pay, how do you think positively about it? “Whoop-Dee-Doo I can’t pay my mortgage!” Not at all. That’s when I started Worry Time.
First let’s do some maths: we all have 24 hours in a day. Let’s say we sleep 8 of them, so we have 16 waking hours a day. 16 waking hours of thinking time. 16 hours = 960 minutes. 960 minutes x 42 thoughts a minute = 40,320 thoughts in a day. Quite a lot by my calculations, no wonder we are tired at night!
If you are worried about something, how much do you think about it? A lot? I have put some data into a graph to show how when we worry a lot, perhaps 30,000 worrying thoughts a day, it can consume a lot of our waking time.
Worry time, was me making a choice to ONLY worry or stress, at a set time every day. It was a way for me to train my brain and my body to spend most of my day(s) working on the things that were going to solve the problems, not worrying more about them. I’m not great at sleeping on a problem so I had to have worry time every day in the beginning.
4:30pm – 5pm was the time I did everything that stressed me out: opening the post, doing the online banking, returning something that had arrived in the post, having a difficult discussion. Having only half an hour meant 30 minutes of 42 negative thoughts in a day… can you see how different the visual representation of only 30 worrying minutes in a day? It’s quite significant if the rest of the time you can work on positively solving the issue.
One of my issues for a while was money, and that I seemed to have a larger pile of ‘miscellaneous bills’ than I did of cash in the bank and I was constantly juggling them. When I worked in a focussed and happy way (people can hear a smile down the phone, or sense if you are not happy serving them at the checkout!) it was easier to earn money than it was coming from a place of desperation and need.
If someone called me, and I knew it was going to be ‘negative’ I would ignore the call and text them to ring me at 4:30pm then in the click of a finger, train my brain to go back to positivity and focus on what I did want. It’s all very well and good ‘not focussing’ on the bills and I am by no means saying put your head in the sand. There is positive action (ask for some overtime at work) and there is negative action (drink a bottle of wine) in regards to getting to your goals. I had to make sure all that yummy green time in the second chart was spent on positive action.
Once it had been in place a few weeks, I took Worry Time one step further. Once a week. I dedicated my Thursday afternoons to ‘negative stuff’. I would open the post on a Thursday afternoon, schedule in conversations for a Thursday afternoons. This only worked because from all the positive shifts I’d had already, I was finding there was less to deal with on a day to day basis and it became easier to say ‘put this in the Thursday pile’.
A good friend of mine went through a court case recently with a colleague. As difficult as it was to not open her post, except open her post on a Monday or a Tuesday, she got into the groove quite quickly. Anything she then got in the post, she could deal with it in the week. Anything you open on a Friday or a Saturday particularly with solicitors is not going to get sorted before the weekend, which is a perfect chance to mull over things.
Scheduling in worry time is a very ‘healthy’ practice. We all worry from time to time and it is important to monitor when our thoughts are creeping on the negative side, but we can’t stop them, best to give them a place where they can be channeled and dealt with. The affirmation from earlier in the post “Woop-Dee-Doo I can’t pay the mortgage’ now becomes, “I’ve asked for some extra shifts at work and I am going to happily do whatever I can to earn more money, and on Thursday give the bank a ring to inform them of the plans I have in place to be able to pay it.” Schedule that and the phone conversations to ask for financial help all in at the same time. Then forget it, and focus back on the solution.
If you would like to have a discussion about any of this, feel free to get in touch or leave a comment!
With Love, Ellie x