Stage 2, “Knowledge & Understanding”, is done for now, although you might return to it as you move through the process of dealing with your worries more effectively. Like all changes, the path isn’t a straight line. It zigs and zags, goes backward then forward again, usually over a longer period than we’d like.
You’ve been gathering information about yourself and the nature of worry in general. You are ready to move into stage 3, “Analysis and Liking”, where you begin to analyze these “facts” to ensure that they are correct.
Once you understand why you worry and why your worry makes sense to you, you can begin to explore the things that you can do, or not do, to improve your situation. In this stage you can move beyond just worrying into problem solving.
The end goal is to identify reasonable alternatives for dealing with your worries in a better way. As an aside, this emphasis embodies the 3rd Rule of Effective Living introduced a long time ago as “Begin with the end in mind.“:
There are concrete steps within the “Analysis and Liking” stage:
Challenge Your Thinking
Bad worry and anxiety disorders are problems in the way we think. You need to contest the biases in your thinking that cause you to worry.
Confront Your Worries
Can you solve the problems you worry about?
Live in the Moment
What is real? Are you denying reality or fantasizing about the future?
Turn Failure into Opportunity
One of my favourite rules of effective living is 11. “Don’t look back at your mistakes too long.” Searching for the seed of good in every adversity was introduced in:
Make Better Use of Your Time
When you face a problem, work on solving it then and there if you have the facts necessary to make a decision. Don’t keep putting off decisions.
Identify Reasonable Alternatives
The quality and usefulness of the previous steps will determine the quality and usefulness of the alternatives you come up with. The more thorough, thoughtful, realistic, honest, and courageous you are the greater your chances of making worthwhile changes.
Future posts will elaborate on each of these steps. You can see that I am integrating my “Rules of Effective Living”. If you have been trying to add to your knowledge and understanding, then you are a living example of “Seek first to understand.“
Keep working at it. Hope we get together again with the next post, if not sooner.