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Worry or Peace of Mind?

Author: Marc Gravelle, Certified Hypnotherapist and HMI Instructor

Marc Gravelle

Date Published:
Publisher: Hypnosis Motivation Institute

“What if... what if this... what if that...” is the typical mantra of the chronic worrier. Some professionals characterize worriers as having “what if disease.”

Costs and Consequences

Many people are not consciously aware of the often devastating effects of chronic worrying. GAD, or generalized anxiety disorder can be one of the prices of over-worrying. Labeling this does not fully explain the consequence or significance of over-worrying: lowered emotional and physical health. People can literally worry themselves sick, or even worse, worry themselves to death.

Two forms of Worry

Like any thought-generated emotion, there can be both a positive and a negative outcome. The positive form of worry is what may be termed healthy concern. This form of worry motivates us to act, or behave in a responsible manner. For example, if a person has a concern about being being punctual, that concern can motivate the person to leave a time cushion to arrive at a destination before the appointment time. This form of “worry” motivates us to prepare for events or deadlines. The big difference between healthy concern and “toxic” or “negative” worrying is that healthy concern does not trigger, or stimulate us, to feel anxiety, nervousness or uneasiness.

Toxic, or negative worrying can only stimulate feelings of anxiety, uneasiness or nervousness. With that simple thought in the mind, “what if this,” or “what if that,” then moves into our body. Remember, there are no nerve endings in the brain, so the only place we feel any emotion is in our body. The result is an automatic tightening of muscles, maybe a queasy or jittery feeling in the stomach area. Spiritual guru Eckart Tolle refers to this mind-body process as the pain-body. The real result is that this form of worry affects the immune system, which is why people “get sick” from this form of worrying.


One solution is to practice, with repetition, mind control, or thought control. We can learn to control our own thoughts using the technique of “thought replacement.” The idea is to replace worry thoughts with thoughts of solutions, or a plan, or a strategy. With enough repetition, the solution thoughts replace the worry thoughts. The goal is to experience less stress/anxiety.

Example: A person with a medical condition starts to think “what if this, what if that.” Replace that thought pattern with a plan to seek medical referrals to resolve or clear up the problem.

Another solution is to use the strategy of Dale Carnegie, from his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living: “First ask yourself: What is the worst thing that could happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.”

Example: A person worried they will be fired or let go from their job due to company downsizing. Thought process: “If I am let go, I’ll get some severance pay to tied me over until I find a replacement. In the meantime I’ll search for new job opportunities.” Often people realize that the worst is not as bad as they originally thought.

A third solution from Eckart Tolle’s The Power of Now, is to remind oneself to be in “the present moment.” The idea is that the negative thought process generated by the ego in the mind, can only exist in the past or the future. By reminding ourselves to be in the present moment, that negative thought process cannot affect us.

Example: Use the technique of noting the time (from a watch or cell-phone) and say to yourself “At (the actual time) I am in the present moment, I refuse to worry and I concentrate on solutions.” Then take three deep breaths, slowly exhaling. You will find that this has a calming effect. Please note that this is not a one-time-a-day day process, it must be practiced many times throughout the day. Do it (don’t “try it”) hourly and you will guarantee yourself more peace of mind.

Hypnotherapy Application

When a client has been guided into a state of physical relaxation while still being mentally alert, they enter a hyper-suggestible, receptive state of mind. That is when it suggested to them “we want you to replace worrying with concentration, focus, and follow-through on solutions.”