From Mind-Full to Mindful - Part 2: Stopping The Worry & Guilt Cycle

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Part 2 of 3. Read Part 1 here and Part 3 here.

This blog post is summarized from Wayne Dyer’s amazing very first book called Your Erroneous Zones.

Okay, let’s get real here…I’m not suggesting that we’re never going to worry again…we’re adults living in a complex world with problems and children and jobs! So we’ve got a lot to worry about.

Full disclosure: I was just up last night at 2:42 worrying. And the truth is that a little bit of worry sometimes PUTS me INTO action.

But what I don’t want for any of us is that we look back at our lives with regret that we spent most of our precious present moments beating ourselves up about the past or worrying about the future. Here's the thing - if it was useful, I'd be encouraging it. But guilt and worry are rarely useful habits. 

So, let’s explore what we can do to manage these 2 habits:


  • Remind yourself that feeling guilty will never make you a better person or change the past. It’s over.
  • Do not confuse the behavior with who you are. When you conflate the two, you get shame (“I am bad” vs. “my behavior was bad”). Shame keeps us stuck. *Super important point for how we discuss our kids’ behavior, too.
  • Ask yourself what you’re avoiding in the present moment. What do you need to be doing but you’re focusing on your guilt instead?
  • Is this even something that you actually feel guilt about? Is this something that YOU approve of but you either believe or know that others don’t? If left unexamined, we can spend our entire lives feeling guilty about something that comes from someone else’s value system, not ours! Take a close look at your value system and make sure your behaviors are in alignment with YOUR values, not someone else’s (including your family of origin). 
  • What behavior/habit/pattern do you want to change because YOU want to change it? What can you do today to take action towards that change?
  • Notice where other people try to manipulate you with guilt. A very hard thing to do is allow other people to be disappointed in you. But when you notice what’s happening and you gently show them that you can handle their disappointment, they will realize that their guilt-tactics no longer work on you.
  • Do your best to learn from your past rather than beat yourself up about the past. This allows you to more consciously take action to repair trust, fix your mistakes, change your behavior, and make better choices in the future.

Note: How much you worry does not equal how much you love. 


  • Don’t confuse worry with planning for the future.
  • Worry doesn’t have anything to do with love or caring. It's time to ditch any “guilt” that if you don’t worry, you don’t care or love enough. It's NOT true.
  • Most everything you are worrying about, you have no control over.
  • Notice what you’re avoiding DOING in your life by worrying. Worry keeps us from fully living our lives.
  • Simply decide to stop the habit – when you notice yourself worrying, try to remind yourself to come back to this present moment. Ask yourself what you're avoiding by using this present moment for worry. Sometimes we break a habit by replacing it with something else - so you can replace worry with reciting what you're grateful for.
  • DO something – play a game, clean a room, sing a song, talk to a friend (about something other than your worry), help someone…anything to stop the worrying!
  • Set a worry timer – allow yourself to worry for 10 minutes and then stop worrying and go do something else!
  • Never worry alone – call a friend and ask them to help you to stop worrying.

Check out the final blog post in this series for a list of quick and effective ways to break the worry/guilt habit by getting out of your head and into the present moment!

What one thing are you going to try to do THIS week from these lists? Pick the one thing that you are most likely to do…put it into the comments below!


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