Steps to Keep Us in Useful Worry & Out of Useless Worry

Steps to Keep Us in Useful Worry & Out of Useless Worry
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About the Author

Eileen Beltzner

Eileen Beltzner

Eileen is a Child and Youth Counsellor, a Registered Social Worker, a Psychotherapist & a Certified Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher offering MSC training to both adults, teens and healthcare communities.

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For many of us in Canada and around the world there is a sense of being faced with what appears to be an insurmountable problem – the spreading of COVID-19.  Many of us may be engaging in the kind of thinking that leads us to believe we have no control over the events around us or simply put, we have the belief that we are powerless.   This belief is not a fact, and yet it may be behind some ugly incidents that have been reported in which some of us have directed our anger at other fellow human beings, blaming them for COVID’S spread.

Believing we are powerless, grows feelings of vulnerability; ultimately signaling our fear response and when that happens, we can behave poorly. This is why we all need to talk to each other about ideas we have that grow our powerlessness belief. We then need to come up with ideas that can make such a belief shrink in size.

One thing that helps my belief that I am powerless shrink and allows me to take back my agency is reminding myself that all of us in Canada and the world are taking actions to stop COVID-19 from spreading. The shrinking began when my family received an e-mail recently from our elderly neighbours across the street from where we live. It was a page filled with ideas and suggestions on how to keep our family as safe as possible in the weeks to come. We were all quite touched by their care and concern for our well-being. Their kind and thoughtful gesture reminded me how we are all working towards reducing the spread of COVID-19 together and we are all more powerful because of it.

I know that many of us are worrying right now and that can be a good thing as long as it is useful worrying. Useful worry makes us pay attention and prompts us to develop an action plan that will better prepare us for what might happen next. In relation to COVID-19, it prompts us to take the actions we need to take to keep ourselves and the other people we share this planet with as safe and healthy as possible. However; for many of us, useless worry (worry without any useful action) has got the best of us. A clue this might be happening is trusted people around us might tell us that we are not thinking logically or making wise decisions; two important functions we cannot afford to lose when taking a stand against the COVID-19 pandemic. So, what steps can we take to keep us in useful worry and out of useless worry?


Step 1: Simply label the emotion as fear

Actually, say to our self in a kind, soft voice is … this is fear; or fear is present; or I’m feeling afraid. By doing this we can often tame this difficult emotion somewhat by naming it. When we name what feeling we are feeling our “cognitive, ” or “thinking” part of our brain comes online and we can make logical and wise decisions.   In short … Name it to tame it!


Step 2: Seeing if we can find the emotion in our body. Ask ourselves, (Where do I feel it most strongly?)

Fear and anxiousness, like other emotions, have a mental component and a physical component. The physical component of an emotion lasts much longer in the body. (Some examples of the physical component in our bodies are tightness in the chest, a constricted throat, butterflies in the stomach, tension and tightness in different areas of the body or even electric-like shocks deep within the body.) It is common for many of us to be unaware of the physical component of emotions in the body too. Many of us have never been asked that question, where do you feel ______ (fill in blank) in your body?


Step 3: The Soften – Soothe – Allow Practice

Soften- Soothe -Allow   is a full practice from the Mindful Self-Compassion training program I teach to help people be with difficult emotions. Please notice I have written “be with” not “get rid of” difficult emotions. Please carefully follow my instructions in the recording below and take it slow. If at any point you begin feeling too emotionally challenged, please stop the practice and engage in an activity you find relaxing such as listening to music, making yourself a cup of tea or going for a walk in nature.

Soften -Soothe- Allow Practice: mindfulselfcompassiontraining.podbean.com

Additional Information

More articles by Eileen Beltzner are available on OakvilleNews.Org, you can also purchase latest book: How to Tame the Tumbles: The Mindful Self-Compassionate Way.


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