We moms tend to worry a lot about our kids! We can stop worrying with these 4 steps: Define, assess, ask and note. This post has the details you need.
Even though I’ve made strides to curb my worries, being a parent doesn’t make it any easier. Like when any of my boys are sick. Or when I wonder about reaching milestones and potential developmental delays. Or when I had one week to find a new nanny. Rather than freaking out, I use four steps to ease my worries and be productive instead.
I started using these four steps back in college. I had lost the key to my dorm room. A simple incident, but with the way I reacted, you’d think the worst possible thing just happened.
I realized how foolish I was to freak out, and did what helps me until now: I wrote about it. I bought a “worry journal” into which I answered four prompts to help me stop worrying.
I’ve since taken that habit into motherhood.
4 steps to help you stop worrying
Step 1: Define what you’re worried about.
What exactly are we worried about? The first step in most of anything is to identify the problem to begin with. In the case of my college lost-key-fiasco, I would write that: I’m worried because I lost my key. Today, I can write: I’m worried because one of my twins has a red rash on his face.
Step 2: Assess the worst possibility that can happen.
Without going overboard (“I’m locked out until midnight!”), write the worst possible thing that could happen.
This step helps me identify just how petty or grave my worries are. The worst possible thing that can happen to my baby would likely be that he has a skin condition like eczema. Or that he had an allergic reaction (and not “He will have a permanent rash on his face!”).
Step 3: Ask what—if any—can you do about it now.
Now you’ve realized that your worries may not be all that terrible. Next, ask yourself if you can do anything about it right this instant. When we worry, we usually get ourselves stuck in a rut. We’re too emotional to think straight, more frantic than productive. This step is critical for two reasons:
- You’ll know whether there’s anything you can even do about it. Have you ever worried yourself sick even though you can’t do anything about it until the morning? Yes, it’s uncomfortable to have things unresolved. But worrying about it when there’s nothing you can do will do you no good.
- If you can do something, you’re then able to define just what those next steps are. Knowing what to do sets our worries aside. You’ll have concrete steps to take, such as calling the pediatrician.
Step 4: Note what finally did happen.
This step serves as a reminder to our future selves not to worry so much. When you realize what finally happened (“The rash went away in the morning.”), you’re less likely to worry. Time resolves most of our anxieties, but we don’t always see that when we’re in the thick of the moment. So remind yourself of the times you’ve worried, and how things turned out just fine.
Bonus step: If all else fails, seek comfort.
Thank goodness my husband balances my worrisome ways with his positivity. Whether it’s world issues or a bad day at work, talking to someone helps lift a huge weight off me. Sometimes we just need to feel reassured that all is well. And that we have the strength and resilience to get through it, just as we always have.
Get more tips on how to handle your worrying:
- Parenting: The Never-Ending Worry
- Mom Guilt: 5 Reasons Moms Shouldn’t Blame Themselves for Everything
- The Vulnerability of Parenthood
- How to Help a Child Stop Stuttering
- On Not Stressing about Developmental Milestones
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