Do you find yourself worrying constantly? Here are Five easy things you can do every day to ease that worry.
Anyone who’s ever felt the knot of worry tighten in their stomach knows that worry can be a destructive force. When we worry, we fixate on what might go wrong. We agonize over events that are out of our control. And all too often, worry leads to paralysis – we become so focused on avoiding problems that we fail to take advantage of opportunities.
1. Don’t try to control everything – let go of the need to control every situation and outcome in your life. Accept that some things are beyond your control and focus on what you can influence.
Fortunately, there are steps we can take to worry less. One of the most effective is to focus on what we can control. Rather than worrying about global geopolitics, for example, we can worry about our own actions and how they impact the world around us. We can also make a conscious effort to worry less about things that are out of our control, like the weather or the stock market. By learning to focus on what we can control and letting go of what we can’t, we can free ourselves from the tyranny of worry.
The first step of taking control of your worries is to recognize when you are worrying.
In order to worry less, it is important to be aware of the signals your mind and body are sending you. When you feel yourself starting to worry, take a moment to pause and notice what is going on inside of you. Are your thoughts racing? Do you feel tense or anxious? Once you have identified the physical and mental symptoms of worry, you can begin to take steps to calm down and prevent worry from taking over. For example, you might try deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation. By learning to recognize the signs of worry and take action to prevent it, you can worry less and enjoy life more.This includes paying attention to what is happening in your body and what is happening in your mind. This may seem silly, but many of us walk around on automatic pilot. By the time we recognize we are worried, we have worked ourselves into a pretty uncomfortable state that’s hard to return from.
The next time you are aware that you are anxious, ask yourself:
Recognizing your physical cues of worry will help you to interfere in the cycle sooner.
Tip number 3
Interrupt the useless cycle of worry by problem-solving
The next time you find yourself worrying about something, take a step back and ask yourself what you can do to solve the problem. More often than not, worrying does nothing to actually improve the situation. In fact, it can often make things worse by causing you to feel stressed and anxious. Instead of worrying, focus on problem-solving. This means taking concrete steps to improve the situation, whether it’s coming up with a plan to address a problem at work or simply making a list of things you need to do in order to complete a project. By problem-solving instead of worry, you’ll not only be more productive, but you’ll also feel better.
Once again asking questions can really be helpful. Here are some to try.
1. What is my mind telling me to be worried about?
2. What can I do to influence the outcome of this worry?
If there is nothing you can do, then worrying is an unproductive exercise; let it go.
If you can do something to impact the thing you are ultimately worried about, you can decide to take action and then let it go because you have the problem solved.
One of the paradoxical things about worry is that it is intended to help keep us safe from harm. However, in modern-day life, excessive worry does not keep us from harm but leads us into harm.
It paralyzes us from making good decisions. It clouds our intuition and problem-solving abilities, and it can also cause us to make poor decisions such as using drugs and alcohol to manage it. Rarely does it motivate us to make good choices or prevent us from making bad choices? People who worry, however, have concluded on some level that it is a useful exercise.
Tip number 4
Another strategy that can help with worry is to isolate your worry time to a certain portion of the day. If you have a constant generalized worry that you feel like you can’t escape from, giving yourself “worry time” Say for example, from 5-6 pm each night, can help with the management of worry during the day. When you find yourself worrying at other times, you tell yourself to let that worry go until it’s “worry time”.
During worry time, you can also use the problem-solving strategy above. Putting it on pen and paper is a great way to really illustrate when you need to take action to address a worry and when it’s something you should let go of.
Tip number 5
Check out what your mind is telling you.
For many of us, worrying is a default state of mind. We worry about the future, about what other people think of us, and about whether or not we’re doing the right thing. But worry is actually counterproductive. It’s based on the assumption that we can control the future, which we can’t. And it robs us of the present moment, which is the only time we have any control over. If you find yourself worrying, question the accuracy of the thoughts that are making you worry. Are they really true? Are they helpful? Most likely, the answer is no. So let them go and focus on what’s in front of you. You’ll be much happier for it.
Often worries are built on my untrue thoughts. Asking yourself if you know for certain the thoughts that are driving the worries are true, can sometimes help you to decrease your anxiety. This is a strategy that helps you challenge all of your thoughts that might be creating disturbing emotions, not just worries.
For example if you are having the thought that a meeting will go in a disastrous way, or your boss will act in a certain undesirable way, ask yourself if things might go another way.
Are you sure those thoughts are true? Are they helpful? Most likely, the answer is no. So let them go and focus on what’s in front of you. You’ll be much happier for it.
Medical information obtained from this website is not intended as a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you have a problem, you should consult a healthcare provider.
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