MAPLETON – Instead of worrying what may go wrong, Alison Brown has learned to ask “What if this goes great? What if the best is yet to come?”
The Mapleton resident used that lesson as the basis for a new book entitled Don’t Let What If? Ruin What Is: A Mom’s Guide to Worry Less and Live More.
She assures readers that if she can “survive the storm of worrying” and make that positive shift, they can too.
“If you are overwhelmed and stressed out, the stories in this book are going to help you worry less,” she said.
Brown is a “recovering worry-a-holic,” which she said means she struggled with anxiety and lost “many hours of sleep worrying about things that never actually happened.”
It also means she knows “what it’s like to meet the other side, and have peace.”
Her worrying goes back to her childhood, but when Brown became a mom it increased significantly.
She remembers that “monumental ultrasound moment” she felt was “supposed to be wonderful and exciting.
“It was that, but it was also terrifying,” particularly the realization that she was “fully responsible for another human – it’s up to me if this human survives.”
She said she felt “the weight of the world” on her shoulders.
Over time, Brown figured out how to overcome this overwhelming worry, and she came up with an acronym to help others: FIRE, which stands for faith, inner work, real food and exercise.
“The fire that we feed is the fire that grows,” she said. “What we feed is what will consume our lives.”
Instead of feeding the fire of fear, Brown recommends people feed their recovery FIRE.
Faith is the belief that something greater than us “has us,” so it’s going to be okay, Brown said.
“For me, that’s God,” but faith can mean different things for different people, she noted. “Faith is the opposite of worry.”
Brown uses an allegory of her son’s messy bedroom to illustrate the importance of inner work.
“The mess was so daunting,” she said, that for a moment she considered hiding it all in the closet. But she didn’t, because a “mess is still a mess in the closet.
“We all have traumas, big or small, and if we shove it in the closet and carry on our day” it will impact decisions, relationships, and day-to-day life, Brown noted.
“Clean up that mess in the closet,” she said. “When we heal from trauma we become the person we are meant to be.”
Brown is a nutrition specialist and says consuming vegetables, fruits and other whole foods helps people “think clearer and feel better.”
Nutrition is “not a remedy that will clear all,” she noted, but it “will contribute” to reducing worry.
Brown said it’s “very important for anybody who struggles with anything to move your body,” noting even ten minutes of exercise “goes a long way.
“Exercise calms you,” Brown notes. “So it’s really good for anxiety and stress.”
She suggests “getting out for fresh air, being in nature, going for walks or runs – whatever you love to do, move your body. We only get one and we need to take care of that one.”
She said when people feed that FIRE of faith, inner work, real food and exercise they “worry less and live more in the moment.”
Brown’s other books
Don’t Let What If? Ruin What Is is Brown’s second book. Her first is “about the importance of moms putting themselves first.
“It’s not selfish – it’s necessary to prioritize yourself,” she noted.
Brown is working on a third book about the “importance of rest.”
“Rest restores us and prepares us,” she said. “Most people right now are running ragged.”
She said people are too busy, working too much, and not honouring that they “are human and need rest.
“We have become disassociated with ourselves,” she said. “We don’t even know what our body needs.
“Rest is different for everyone. What that looks like for me personally is taking the time to pause.” She said the book is written from her perspective as “the worst rester in the world.
“Rest is a verb, it’s an action word and it requires effort for me to do it,” Brown added.
“If I can rest anyone can rest.”
She said she likes being “hyper productive” but “will run myself into the ground if I don’t stop. We need to stop more often in our lives.
“It’s okay to rest, it’s not lazy,” she added.
Brown said she’s in the process of writing a third book and is not putting timelines on herself to have it finished by a certain date.
“Writing is an art,” she noted. “Sometimes I’m in the creative flow, sometimes I’m not. I honour that. It will be finished when it’s meant to be finished.”
Don’t Let What If? Ruin What Is was released on March 3 and is available to order from Amazon.