No Mud, No Lotus - Thich Nhat Hanh
No Mud, No Lotus - Thich Nhat Hanh


4 Steps to Breaking Up with Worry. For Good.

Dear Worry,

Let’s Break Up.

Love, Me

Have you ever been woken up at 3am buzzing with thoughts and worries about a situation in your life? Or even worse, found yourself STILL awake at 3am ruminating? Are you constantly consumed with some version of “should I stay or should I go?”.

I see it so often with my female friends, in our 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s in relationships or careers that feel stagnant. We don’t know whether the answer is to CHANGE our situation or if it’s possible to ACCEPT it as it is. We drive ourselves crazy with worrying and weighing our options and playing out the solutions to our situations in our heads.

But before breaking up with a partner or a career path or anything else you have committed a significant amount of time and energy to, first, you must decide to break up with worry.

Just like ending a marriage or other long term relationship, in order to be a successful and thorough ending, the break up with worry is a process and needs to happen mindfully, with self-love, and a sh*t-ton of faith that there is a better life waiting on the other side of the breakup.

What happens after we break up with worry?

On the other side of the breakup is the chance for something better and more satisfying than we ever knew was possible....a new relationship with ourselves that is the best relationship we’ve experienced before. One of unconditional love, respect and support. The relationship we’ve been waiting to find our whole lives.

Who knew that we have been the ONE we’ve been waiting for all along?!?

So how do we get out of our addictive, unhealthy, drama-filled relationship with worry?

The ONLY way through.

Here’s a simple but powerful 4 step process to break up with worry (check out for a more in depth 28-day guided mind/body process):

1) Bring Awareness to the Worry Problem:

Admitting and acknowledging when our fears and negative self-talk arises, and how it is negatively affecting our lives, is the first step in the break up process. Instead of drowning our fears and self-doubts in habits, addictions and busy-ness, we actually pause and admit that we are addicted to worry.

Journaling or asking ourselves the following questions and then honestly answering them is key. What are my sources of stress? Is it my body, other people, my thoughts? What are the symptoms of my stress? Headaches, anxiety, sleeplessness? And what are my current solutions to my stress? Am I avoiding it or working with it?

It’s said that life is 20% of what happens to us, and 80% of how we think about what is happening to us. So, when we truly look at what is causing us the most pain, it is usually not the situation itself but our THOUGHTS about the situation.

I like the term “becoming the witness” used in many mind/body circles. For those unfamiliar with that phrase, it’s about getting quiet and still, tuning into the breath, the sensations in the body and then the thoughts.

Then, instead of accepting the worry-filled thoughts as our truth (ie. believing that our fear based storied about “what will happen if?” are true), or trying to push them away or pretend they are not there, we WATCH the thoughts. We WITNESS the thoughts. We lovingly OBSERVE what is happening right here, right now.

2) Be Willing to End the Relationship with Worry:

Many of us wear our worry as a protective barrier. We stay stuck in situations and then blame those same situations for our own lack of progress. Sometimes the fear of the unknown is bigger than the fear of staying stagnant. So, step two takes a true willingness to release, or break up, with worry.

Once we acknowledge our sources, symptoms and what our usual worry patterns are, the next step is to release the negative thought and energy attached to the situation.

For instance, if fear of being alone or excessive worrying for our financial wellbeing is keeping us in an unhealthy relationship, we commit to to release out of our bodies and minds the patterns keeping us stuck here in the looping thoughts.

Movement practices like a standing version of lion’s breath (deep inhale into belly then a loud roar with tongue out with added arm release) is a great place to start. You can say silently or out loud “I am releasing fear/anger/limitation” then with each exhale, give the emotion space to move.

Other versions include shaking the body, running, dancing, yoga, deep breathing...any physical activity that consciously moves the stress out of the body and mind...can and will create energetic space for new possibilities to arise.

3) Create a New Post-Break Up Reality:

As human beings, we have over 60,000 thoughts per day. It’s said that on average, 75% percent of those thoughts are negative. Think about it this way...if you had $60,000, would you want to spend it on things that you want, or that you don’t want?

Thoughts are like currency. They are valuable creative tools that will guide you through, and out of your relationship with your pattern so you can break up with stress for good.

There are lots of great visualization techniques and meditations available but my favorite tool is what I like to call “brainstorming”. Begin by getting quiet and centered in the body, then ask yourself “what do I want?”. Ask the question as long as necessary until the mind gets quieter, and a deeper answer begins to emerge.

For instance, if it’s a loving relationship that you deeply desire, start to feel what it would feel like to have this in your life. Imagine details, situations, what you will say about yourself once you have this. You can write these down and look at them every day while you feel what it feels like to have these things in your life.

Like begets like, our vibe attracts our tribe, and what you think, you create. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you become.

In this phase of the breakup, with the space we’ve found from releasing the stress from our bodies and mind, we redirect that energy to create a new relationship with a higher vision for our future. One based on our hearts desires. One that is not run by stress and fear, but based in the possibilities.

4) Commit to a Worry-Free New Life and Get the Gift from the Past:

Just like a real-life breakup, once the relationship is over, there is a possibility that now, anything is possible. The old ways no longer hold us prisoner once we have broken up with worry.

The bottom line is, there are only two ways to handle challenging circumstances in our change the circumstance or change our perception of the circumstance.

Whatever path we choose, meaning whether we stay or we go, we now begin the next step on the journey stress-free, with present moment awareness, based on what our heart’s desires are.

Just like when an old and comfortable relationship ends, there can also be some emptiness or longing when the old comforts of the stressful worry patterns and situations are missing, once you have decided to go through break up.

Have faith. Keep your vision of what you want and every day, get quiet and still, and after some mindful movement or meditation, spending time brainstorming and visualizing, ask yourself “what is the next step I need to take?”.

Then, commit to taking the next step.

Let go of the old patterns from your relationship with worry and allow new possibilities to arise. It’s also important in this phase of the breakup to look back on the old patterns of worry and to forgive ourselves for following them. Realize that you were doing the best you knew how given where you were, and now you are doing it differently.

It’s impossible to stay stuck and be taking action at the same time.

Just like we can look back at our past relationships and (hopefully) find the gift in them, we can also look back on our old patterns of worry, realize that they served a purpose, thank them, and commit to moving forward in a present moment based action.


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