Worrying runs in my family. My Dad worries, my sister Geraldine, worries, it stops sleep. Mum and Geraldine have note pads next to their beds to scribble down things they wake up thinking about at night.
As a child, I worried constantly about fire, I hated bonfires or candles. I had repetitive nightmares that the house burned down, with all of us in it. That fear / worry has mainly gone now as an adult, but I still have the dream about twice a year.
Geraldine was given some little ‘worry dolls’ as a child. I love this idea and I think whilst she was very young it helped her a lot.
For those that don’t know, worry dolls (muñecas quitapenas), or trouble dolls, are very small and colorful dolls traditionally made in Guatemala. A person (usually a child) who cannot sleep due to worrying can express their worries to a doll and place it under their pillow before going to sleep. According to folklore, the doll is thought to worry in the person’s place, thereby permitting the person to sleep peacefully. The person will wake up without their worries, which have been taken away by the dolls during the night.
“Worry dolls” by Leena – Own work (From Wikipedia)
A conversation this week made me realise that it’s really important to manage worry in life, or it can overwhelm you so much that you cannot function or see the best way forward.
Winston Churchill said:
‘Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning’
Sounds great right? But the fact is…..we all worry even though we know it’s silly to and we all know we could be using our time and efforts more constructively – yet we still worry.
I think the main thing is that as an adult you have to develop a strategy – like the little worry dolls – to help rid ourselves of the worries we can DO NOTHING ABOUT, and move on to working on those things that we can control. Let worry become constructive planning.
Everyone needs to work out a way to manage the worry and slow the brain down and the method that suits each person is likely to be different.
Whilst taking my Ceramics degree and whilst I was heavily involved in the ‘arty’ world, I went to a Buddhist Centre in Cardiff once a week and learnt how to meditate. Hippy Dippy and all that – but it did really help me understand the importance of time out, mindfulness and breathing.
I still regularly use some of these techniques and it helps a lot when I am lying in bed and my brain is still very active or I’m worrying.
I also find any type of craft activity helps too. I distract myself with crochet, knitting, sewing – you name it, I will try. Keeping my brain busy with other things (and not heavy-going or work things) means there is not time to worry and I am relaxed for bed.
Breathing to relax and ease worry:
A deeply relaxed person breathes around seven times a minute. Slow your breathing down and you will automatically relax.
This is especially helpful when you need to focus, do a presentation, attend an interview or just simply to calm down.
- Breathe in (count to 6 – approx.)
- Hold it (count to 2)
- Let the breath out slowly (count to 8 – approx.)
(*This is from ‘The little book of Mindfulness’ – Tiddy Rowan).
I sleep pretty well nowadays, but if I don’t I revert to the breathing techinque.
In case you are interested, here are some crafty things I’ve been making in my down time:
Ninja Turles for cat toys:
Heart shaped bowls on a large 15mm crochet hook with Zpagetti (Tshirt) Yarn: