Compelling Reason – worry-free diet


I’ve been wanting to write in about my struggle with useless worry. So many of your past podcasts have contributed to my thinking around a solution for this issue. Podcast #14 – Overcoming Anxiety (obvious); Podcast #47 – Change and Your Brain (need to wear new pathways); Podcast #54 – Useful Emotions (worry is indulgent)

In several past podcasts, you mentioned your worry-free diet from a few years back and how it changed your life. I NEED to go on a worry-free diet! But I think over-worrying has to be handled differently than over-eating or over-drinking in that I don’t understand how to allow an urge in worrying without worrying? Thinking about the thought that causes worry, just causes worry. I think I need to interrupt my thought with a new thought. That is what I’m having a struggle with. What new thought is strong enough to overpower and displace the thought loop I’m in?

I wanted to ask you what you did when you first started on your worry-free diet? I know that you got better and better as you went along till the new pattern in your brain did not include space for worry. But what about the first few (or 20) times?

I decided that I would visualize it this way:
I have put up a Road Closed – Bridge Out sign on the trail of useless worry. I have been down that trail so many times. Turns out, it is just a loop, in a dark forest. There’s nothing pleasant to see, no scenery – just darkness and very rough terrain. I have tripped and fallen so many times hiking that trail and there is no upside to it. I don’t even get anything out of it for my efforts. So, instead of continuing to go there, I’ve put up this sign to remind me to stop, before I get hurt. (BTW – this sign is a tiny post-it on my computer monitor)

Right next to that trail is an entrance to a trail that is less worn. I can see the way, but barely. I’ll have to trample over it a few times to make a real path. But when I’ve gone down that trail before, it led to a clearing where there was a peaceful pond and a stunning view of nearby mountains. The sign at the beginning of that trail says: Deliberate Thinking Ahead.

I decided that would have the following two reactions to a worry thought. 1-Stop – there’s no room for that here; 2-Wow, it feels good to choose me instead

I actually listened to Podcast #54 just this morning. When you mentioned Insecurity as an indulgent emotion, I remembered that I went on an insecurity-free diet about 12 years ago. I wondered to myself today – “how did I do that?” I remember saying over and over – “I can’t give that thought life, I don’t have room for it.” and it worked! Back then, I had none of the skills I am learning now. So how did I do that? I figured it out: what I DID have back then was a very compelling reason to get rid of insecurity. It was threatening a valuable relationship – and I wouldn’t allow it. So I did it. Simple as that. Boom. As though my life depended on it.

So, I think I’ve answered my question – but please tell me if I’m wrong… The secret sauce is: I have to have a compelling reason as fuel for my quest! That is the work I have to do.

Thank you for encouraging clarity of mind!
Bernadette