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Ep. 113 – Don’t Worry, Be Mindful

When worrying become excessive, persistent and uncontrollable it can affect your daily life and slow down the healing process after divorce. Well, don’t worry about it! In this episode Jeff and Doreen discuss how to get a grip on worrying and give you 6 tips on how to take control back of your life.


Jeff: Hello, friends. Today, we’re going to be talking about worrying. And when normal worrying becomes excessive, persistent and uncontrollable, it can affect your healing process. So if you’re ready, let’s get started.

Doreen: Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaffa and Jeff Wilson, and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create a life after divorce that you deserve and desire. As partners both in marriage and coaching, we use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life, the best chapter.

Hey, Jeff.

Jeff: Hey, How are you?

Doreen: Good. I understand we’re going to be talking about worry today.

Jeff: Yes, we are.

Doreen: Cool.

Jeff: I always like starting with the definition from the Googles.

Doreen: Yeah. I mean, but first, how are you?

Jeff: I’m doing good.

Doreen: You just want to jump right in. All right, so let’s talk about worry.

Jeff: Okay, Well, the definition of worry is to think about problems or unpleasant things that might happen in a way that makes you feel unhappy or frightened. Also to be troubled to give way to mental anxiety or doubt.

Doreen: Yeah. That sounds like the definition per the Google

Jeff: Covers the gamut of it, doesn’t it?

Doreen: I think there’s a lot of worry in general, you know, in just the world. But I think that when you’re dealing with divorce, there’s more worry than typically, I guess, anticipated, Right?

Jeff: I would assume that it’s a very, very normal part of life when you’re going through divorce. You know, there’s going to be bills to pay, possible job interviews, a first date or even trying to figure out that co-parenting schedule.

Doreen: Those are all things that can provide a lot of worry. I think just the unknown probably is synonymous with worry in many ways, right? Because we’re worrying typically about something that we’re thinking about that hasn’t yet happened but were expecting could happen.

Jeff: Correct!

Doreen: Right?

Jeff: So what you’re saying, it’s most of it made up in our mind.

Doreen: Well, I’m thinking that it’s likely a thought about something that could happen. You know, one of the things we like to do when we’re coaching our clients is when they are presenting with some worry and we identify the thought about that worry. I’ll ask them sometimes. Well, but what if X, Y, Z? The opposite of the worrying thought. It’s a possibility, right? That it could go all well, that it could be amazing that things work out. But our brain, our minds, our you know, childlike brain and what we call a primitive brain tends to take us to that worry component of the thought. Right. Which is our survival mode.

Jeff: I mean, it’s happened to me many, many times in it, you know, off the topic of divorce. But I remember as a kid always worrying that I was going to be on time for something, worrying, worry, worry about being on time for something.

And every not every time. But a lot of the times I would get there and the person I was meeting wasn’t even there yet. So I’m saying all that worrying I did was for nothing. And it’s so true in a lot of cases.

Doreen: So I think, you know, constant worry, negative thinking and always expecting the worst, certainly from a negative standpoint can have an effect on both emotional and physical health. Right?

Jeff: I think what happens is when you’re constantly thinking of what ifs or worst case scenarios or you can’t get these anxious thoughts out of your head, it can interfere with your daily life.

Doreen: Absolutely. You know, for example, it might be a feeling in your body of restlessness and jumpyness. It could cause insomnia. You know, when your mind just keeps going over and over and over that same thought that you just can’t seem to get rid of could result in headaches. It could result in digestion issues, muscle, you know, stomach problems, muscle tension. You know, that tension feeling you get when you’re worried. And it may even be difficult to concentrate. You find yourself trying to concentrate on one thing, but that constant thought of worry is just, you know, creeping in there, taking you off what you should be doing.

Jeff: Do you realize that we have you could have negative and positive thoughts about worrying.

Doreen: What do you mean?

Jeff: Well, you know, you may have in a negative way you could think about the thought that you’re worrying about could be harmful or possibly hurt your physical health like you were talking about. And these negative thoughts may add to your anxiety and keep the worrying going. In other words, you’re continuing to worry because you’re it’s a negative thought.

Doreen: Right.

Jeff: And then now even positive beliefs about worrying can be just as damaging.

Doreen: Well, what’s an example of that?

Jeff: Well, maybe you believe that your worrying helps you to prevent problems from coming up or prepares you for a tough life head after divorce. Or maybe you tell yourself that if you keep worrying about the problem long enough, you’ll eventually figure it out.

You’re at a solution. You know, it’s tough to break free from worrying if you think that your worrying serves a positive purpose. So once you realize that worrying is the problem, then you can gain control of your worried mind.

Doreen: I think, you know, like we talk about so much in our episodes, it’s recognizing your thoughts.

Jeff: Right. Awareness.

Doreen: The awareness is so key to a better life. Right? Because so many of us just live on autopilot. You know, we have these constant feelings, and many of them are negative feelings or thoughts that create the negative feelings such as worry that we just think is normal. And it is. There’s you know, there’s expected worry, especially when you’re dealing with divorce.

There’s a lot of uncertainty. And within certainty there comes worry. It just kind of goes hand in hand. Right?

Jeff: True.

Doreen: But, you know, and then you have those that are constantly, as you say, worrying and thinking that the constant worry will help to alleviate the worry if that makes sense. Right.

Jeff: Right. A little bit compounding. It’s making it a little bit worse. So we have a few tips.

Doreen: I mean, what do you do about worry and how do you help yourself to stop worrying at such a high level? You’re always going to have worry. And that’s, you know, a normal part of being human. It’s anticipated you’re going to worry about yourself. You’re going to worry about your children. You’re going to worry about your friends, the people you love in your life. You’re going to worry about the world, you know, just the state of the world.. But most of those things we have very or little or no control over. Right. So, I know we want to give the listeners some tips on how to stop worrying.

Jeff: The first one might be a little bit in line with awareness and realization that you are worrying at the time. So what we suggest is to create a daily worrying schedule time.

Doreen: Right.

Jeff: So every day you have a set period during the day where that’s your worry time.

Doreen: I like that. So hey, I’m going to block out this one hour time frame to basically do my worrying.

Jeff: Well, telling yourself to stop worrying doesn’t work. Right. You know, trying to stop.

Doreen: I think it only causes more worry

Jeff: It causes more worry. Yes. So what the strategy is to postpone the worrying until later on. So you’re giving yourself permission to worry, but only

Doreen: Within a certain timeframe

Jeff: Certain time during the day.

Doreen: I like that because I think one of the suggestions that go hand in hand with that is keeping basically a little notepad or however on your phone or a piece of paper on your desk or however you do.

So when you find yourself going to that worry place, just note a little note down worrying about this and then go back to what you were doing. Know that you’re going to be able to worry about that during your worry time, you know, the time you set aside and it might help you as tip number one to alleviate the worry, at least at that particular moment, so that you can focus on the things that are truly going to, you know, help you to move forward after divorce.

Jeff: And your realization is that, wait a minute, I’m in a worry free zone right now, so I will save that for later. And one little tip, maybe not to have that worry time too late in the day where it might affect your sleep.

Doreen: Well, that’s true, too. You certainly don’t want to do that right before you go to bed.

And the other thing is, when you get to that worry period, you want to look at your worry list and see if the thoughts that you wrote down are still bothering you. You know, allow yourself then if they are, because sometimes you’ll write something down that you were worrying about. And then you look at it later during your worry time and you’re like, you know what? That’s really not such a big deal. And you can just move past that one. Not that it won’t come up again and it may, but during your worry time you want to sit there, look at what you wrote, give yourself time to really think about an exam and your worries in a way basically, you know, balance like balance on your perspective. Is this something that I should really be worrying about and why?

Jeff: And that also the postponing of the worrying is very effective because it breaks the habit of dwelling on worries when you’ve got better things and more important things to do.

Doreen: Exactly.

Jeff: And you simply save it for later. You know, as you develop the ability to postpone your worrying thoughts, you start to realize that you have more control than you think you have.

Doreen: You know, I really like this because it kind of like puts it into a compartment in your day, you know, and gets you, like we keep saying, just to focus on what you need to do at that particular time. I do this with my legal clients, with my law clients. When they worry a lot about their case, they need to speak with us on a regular basis, as their lawyer, as their legal team.

Right? Because when they’re worried about something, it’s very natural for our clients to reach out and to expect that we can help them to stop the worry by giving them some advice, a solution. And so what I like to do is I like to with these clients that I see are more prone to worry, set a schedule with them where once a week we’re going to meet and we’re going to go over all their concerns.

Jeff: Right.

Doreen: It gets them to know, Hey, I’m meeting with the legal team on this day. This time kind of like they’re putting the worry list legally into. And it helps. It definitely helps.

Jeff: And I’m sure most often when they get to that set time, they probably don’t even remember what they were worried about or they’ve come up with their own solution sometimes

Doreen: Many times that’s the case. Right?

Jeff: It’s pretty cool. Number 2, what do you have?

Doreen: I have a challenge. Basically, you’re going to challenge your thoughts. So to break bad thinking habits, just like worrying, you need to retrain your brain when you identify worrying thoughts instead of viewing them as facts, treat them as maybes and just what they really are because they’re just thoughts. They’re not facts.

They haven’t occurred yet. Right? We need to remember that a fact is something that no one can have a different opinion about. That’s what we use in our model as a circumstance. Right? And so when you do this most often you will develop a different way of seeing things, right? So during your worry period, challenge your thoughts and ask yourself what proof do you have that the thought is true.

Jeff: Or not true

Doreen: Or not true, Right. And then you can question, is there a more positive way of looking at the situation and what’s the probability that what you’re worrying about actually will happen? Is it low? Is it high? What are some other outcomes that you haven’t thought about? Look at everything. When you’re worrying about something is the positive and the negative.

You’re negative is the worry part. But what if X happened? Just try to try it on for size. What if something amazing happened? You know, I had a client recently who was interviewing for a job that she really wanted, and she was so worried that she wasn’t going to get the job and, you know, obviously that plays into the interview process, like you’re going to carry that throughout whatever you’re doing.

Right? And it shows up. Either, you know, probably you don’t even know.

Jeff: It’s called truth in advance.

Doreen: You know, like when you go into something and you feel like really confident, how you show up differently when you’re worried about something like going into an interview because you think you’re not going to get the position you really want, that has an aura about it, you know, right?

Jeff: Absolutely.

Doreen: And I said, but what if you do get the job? Like you’re just as likely to get the job as you are, not to get the job. Like, you could try on that for thinking. And we were able to push her into a different mindset where she was able to go too into the interview in a much more positive mindset.

Jeff: Awesome. You know, one of the questions that I always like doing is taking yourself out of your own body and saying, what would you say to a friend, who had the same worry? Because sometimes we give other people great advice that we don’t give ourselves.

Doreen: True, very true. You know, put on that friend hat, you know, take yourself out of your worried thought and say, if my friend so-and-so said to me, X, Y, Z, the worry thought, what would I tell my friend? Because we do, we tend unfortunately, we tend to treat our self with not as enough kindness. Right?

Jeff: Be your best friend.

Doreen: Be your best friend.

Jeff: Next tip, ask yourself is the worries something you can control, right? You know, research shows that while you’re worrying, you temporarily feel less anxious.

Doreen: That’s true.

Jeff: Why? Because running over the problem in your head distracts you from your emotions and makes you feel like you’re getting something accomplished.

Doreen: Right? True. But you’re not.

Jeff: You know, problem solving involves evaluating a situation or coming up with concrete steps for dealing with it and then putting the plan into action. Worrying, on the other hand, rarely leads to solutions. No matter how much time you spend dwelling on issues you’re worrying about.

Doreen: Right. Because if you worry about something that you cannot control, right? You absolutely have no control over it. If a worry pops up into your head, start by asking yourself whether the problem is something you can control, right? Because if it’s not, then you know.

Jeff: Why bother worrying?

Doreen: Correct. Easy to say, right?

Jeff: Right. It is. It’s definitely easy, but not simple. Simple, but not easy. You know, is the problem something you’re currently facing rather, is it imaginary? Did you make it up in your in your mind if the problem is imaginary, what ifs, you know, how likely is it really going to happen? Or is your concern maybe realistic? You know, you have to kind of, you know, play with your brain a little bit there.

Doreen: And also, I think a good thing to do when you’re worrying is there something about what you’re worrying about that you can prepare for? Right. If it is something that you might have some control over, then maybe there’s some way preparing for that.

Jeff: That could lessen the worry. If you’re more prepared, like your client going into the interview. If she was more prepared, she probably would be less concerned about it.

Doreen: I think some people refer to this as like the worst case scenario, right? You know, in preparing for the worst case scenario, there’s some good in that I would suppose. You know, if you take it all the way through and you say, okay, I’m worried about this and if this happens, then this would occur, okay, the bad thing and if that did occur, then what does that mean?

What would I do then at that point? How would I how would I resolve this problem? Right. Because a lot of times you’ll see that even if the worst thing did happen, you know, there’s ways to work around it. There’s ways to get past it. There’s ways to solve it.

Jeff: Maybe come up with a list of possible solutions. Think of try not to get too hung up on finding the perfect solution to a worry, but focus on things that you do have power over rather than circumstances or realities beyond your control. You know, and after you’ve evaluated your options, make a plan of action. Once you have a plan, start doing something about the problem. You’re going to feel a lot less anxious.

Doreen: That’s true. That’s true. Tip number four is talk about your worries. Just like my client who talked to me about the interview. Right. So it may seem like an easy solution to talk about it, but something some or I’m sorry, sometimes talking face to face or, you know, however you’re going to talk to somebody with somebody that you can trust, like a trusted friend, maybe a family member or life coach, someone who will listen to you without judgment, criticism, it can help.

And we call it in coaching, holding space for you. Right? When you talk to us about your worry, it’s important that we hold space and give you the ability to converse without any judgment whatsoever. Right.

Jeff: And it also can give you a different perspective of things, because I think we all have that friend or a social or family member that just seems to have a great way of looking at things. And if we talk to them, I think that there may be a solution.

Doreen: And I think also talking about it verbally out loud, you know, with somebody you trust in and of itself is kind of a release other worry. You know, so sharing your worries with someone, sometimes you can come up with a solution together. Sometimes your friend or your trusted worry partner, I’m going to say the worried listener will call it can give you a different perspective, a new perspective, a fresh perspective.

Jeff: And the last one is to practice mindfulness.

Doreen: Oh, yes!

Jeff: Practice mindfulness. You know, after your divorce, worrying is usually focused on your future, on what might happen and what you may do about it or on the past. Maybe you’re rehashing things that you’ve said or done. The centuries old practice of mindfulness can help you break free of your worries by bringing your attention back to the present.

Doreen: Right? So I think it’s important, you know, to summarize that you want to acknowledge and observe your worries. Don’t try to ignore them. Don’t try to fight them. Don’t try to buffer them. Right. Or control them like most usually would. Instead, simply observe them and if from an outsider’s perspective, you can put yourself there and be kind to yourself. Thinking through it without reacting or judging. You got to stay focused on the present. Pay attention to how it feels in your body. You know, your ever changing emotions and the thoughts that drift across your mind. If you find yourself getting stuck on a particular worry thought, bring your attention back to the present moment.

What’s happening right now? Are you safe? Are you warm? Do you have food? Do you have shelter? Are your kids okay? Do you have a job? This is about being mindful of the present and appreciating the things that are going well for you. Right? To help to take you off that worry, Thoughts? Train.

Jeff: You know, we know that after divorce, there are many new changes coming into your life. If you feel you’re experiencing worry and these thoughts are worrying or holding you back from healing and moving forward in your new life or your new chapter, then give us a call. Go to our website and book a complimentary call with us and we look forward to helping you.

Doreen: Perfect. All right. Well, thanks so much for you actually came up with this subject this week. Were you worrying about something?

Jeff: No, I wasn’t worrying about anything except what were going to have our talk.

Doreen: Yes, true.

Jeff: And I don’t know, we saw something in a movie and we just said, you know, that’s a great topic. About worrying.

Doreen: Absolutely. I think, again, there’s a lot of that when you’re dealing with divorce. And so we’re here for you

Jeff: And rightfully, it’s very normal to feel those feelings.

Doreen: Absolutely. There’s a lot of change and a lot of unknown futures. But with that, the positive side is that you can think of your future and what you can now, you know, have in your life.

The next new chapter, as I like to say. And I look forward to the positive things as well. Let’s try to always balance out that negative thought, that worry thought with something positive. It really does help as well. All right, everybody.

Jeff: Looking forward to hearing from you.

Doreen: All right. Have an amazing week. We’ll talk to you next week.

Jeff: Bye bye.

Doreen: Bye.

Jeff: You have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take control of your life and want to find out more about our coaching, visit us at That’s L A D as in life after divorce dash

Doreen: Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day. And remember, yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce.

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