Just yesterday, I completed the ‘Devil Circuit’ obstacle race. It crushed me and yet made me stronger. The highlight of the event was not the obstacle but a fighter lady friend of mine, who took part in a crossfit challenge of 15-12-9 reps of Thrusters, Kettle Bell swings, box jumps and burpees. Let me not technical about the exercises. What I can say is that it was a killer challenge. ‘Killer’ is an understatement. She killed the challenge. But after the event, she was in tears. She wasn’t crying because of happiness or completing the challenge. She was crying because she thought she did not do good and let her team down. She had been in tears since the start of the challenge coz she thought she was not prepared. At the end, she won the challenge! Jeez, so much crying for nothing.
It got me thinking. We ‘Wonder and / or Worry’. In both the cases, it is about the future. This thinking has both physical and psychological effects. It is not just thoughts but also images and self-talk that literally creates a new reality. What do we do about it? How do we manage it?
Most of us know most ill-effects of worries. So I will not talk about it. Instead, I will talk about a model that I created to manage worries or anxiety.
The model I have is called “BRIT DAD”.
B – Breathe
Breathe in slowly through your nose or mouth or both. Inflate your belly/stomach and then inflate your chest too. This will ensure diaphragmatic breathing and also ensure that your rib cage expands and the spine is straightened. Now slowly breathe out with puckered lips – as though puffing out through a straw. Breathe out slowly for atleast 5 seconds. Breathe out slowly till you cannot breathe out no more. Do this for atleast 5 time and max for 10 times.
R – Relax
Tense the whole body as though you are trying to block a big boulder that is about to hit you. Clench your fist, grit your jaw, tighten your abs, etc. Do this for 5 -10 seconds and then relax all your body as though it just went limp. Do this for 5-10 seconds. Do this for atleast 5 times and upto 10 times.
I – Imagine
Visualize to rehearse a future alternate or desired scenario. While visualizing ensure that
- There is a clear purpose of your imagery,
- It involves all your senses – as though you are really experiencing it and going through all the emotions
- It is as step-by-step as possible
T – Talk
Talk to yourself as though you are your best friend. Encourage with statements like ‘I got this’, ‘I am in control’, and ‘I can do this’.
The above Acronym can be used when you are either in the situation/event or thinking about a situation/event. The next acronym is when you have time to sit down and think. For this you would need a paper and a pen.
D – Dump
Do a brain dump of all your thoughts about the situation or event. The thoughts can be either your game plan or all the positive or negative conversations you are having with yourself. Just the act of bringing the thoughts to paper reduces the impact of negative thinking. The thoughts gets arranged on a paper and don’t suck up your mental energy.
A – Analyze
Now analyse the thoughts. If you have a game plan, you can analyse it using your expertise. But if there are ‘worries’, then most probably it would involve ‘What-if’ scenario. For example, ‘What if I don’t do good’, ‘What if I can’t stop myself from eating sugar’, ‘What if I lose control’, ‘What if this…’, ‘What if that’.
Write down the ‘What-if’s. Then do make an effort and write down the ‘If then’ scenario. For example:
- What if I don’t win this? If I don’t win this event, then I will let my team down. If I let my team down, then people will hate me.
- What if I can’t stop myself from eating sugar? If I can’t stop myself from eating sugar, then I am a total failure.
Ask yourself as a compassionate friend, ‘Seriously, that is gonna happen??’. For example,
- Seriously, people are gonna hate me? No, they will not. I am overthinking it.
- Seriously, I am a total failure? No, I am not. I just did 100 burpees.
- Seriously, is that a big deal? No, it is not. It is just a race.
Most probably you will find the answers to be surprising.
D – Do
Ok. Now the worry would have reduced its intensity from 8 to 5 in a scale of 0-10. What do we do about the remaining 5? Well, ACT!
Write down the next step or steps that you can take to work towards the ‘anxiety’ producing event or thought. For example:
- Ok, I may not do well in the race. Let me do whatever I can. Let me relax and refuel myself for the next event.
- Ok, I might have slipped on ‘no-sugar’ day. Let me not have sugar anymore for the rest of the day and focus on vegies.
- Ok, it might not be a big deal. But let me not make it a big deal and call him and apologize.
So there it is. If this post makes sense, do like and share.