Worrying can suck the joy from our lives leaving us constantly anxious. However, it is possible to learn how to stop worrying with some simple techniques.
Worry is a natural emotion that we all feel from time to time. However, sometimes our worrying can get out of control and begin to affect our lives in a negative way. It is normal to worry about some things in life. However, it can be helpful to understand our worries and learn to deal with things more effectively. By doing this we can learn how to stop worrying so much and thus enjoy life more.
Here are six techniques that can teach us how to stop worrying and help us feel more positive.
1. Write down your worries
Sometimes we worry about specific issues. However, often our sense of worry is quite vague. If you are not completely clear about why you feel worried then write down everything that is bothering you. Jot down every single issue that you are concerned about from the most terrifying to the least significant. This will help you get some clarity and enable you to tackle your worrying more effectively.
2. Ask why you are worried
Having worked out what our worries are it can be helpful to dig a little deeper into the nature of our worries. Getting specific about what you fear can make our worries more manageable. So, for example, if you are worried about money, what do you fear will happen because of your lack of money? Are you afraid you will get into debt, be unable to buy something you want or fail to pay your rent or mortgage? Often our worries get out of hand and we fear the worst. Asking what we ultimately fear can help us be more realistic about our concerns.
In addition, when we examine why we are worried we often get to the root of the issue. This is often quite different from what we first think. For example, I worry about my house being a mess sometimes. I realized it is because I fear that people will judge me for having a messy house. Now I know how to stop worrying about the state of my house because I understand it is just a symptom of my own insecurity.
When we look at our worries like this many of them are reduced. We realize that our biggest fears are unlikely to happen. We also get to the core issue behind our fears, which helps us to understand them and deal with them better.
3. Critically examine your worries
Often, we let our worries grow bigger than they need to be. We sometimes assume that bad things will happen even though we have no evidence that this is true. Ask yourself if there is another way to look at the situation. Think about what the best outcome would look like, not just the worse. This will give you a more balanced perspective. By questioning our worries and considering the likelihood that they will come to pass, we can reduce their power.
If you worry that something will happen that you can’t handle, remind yourself of all the things you have achieved in your life and the difficulties you have overcome. This will help you to realize that you are stronger than you think and give you the confidence to know that you will be able to deal with whatever happens in your life.
4. Focus on what you can control
Of course, some worries, such as life-threatening illnesses are truly concerning. In these cases, we may not have any control over the outcomes and this leads to constant fear. However, while we may not be able to control the situation we can work on related issues that we do have influence over. For example, we can make efforts to support our health by eating well.
Also, we always have control over our attitude to the problem. We have a choice to let the worry overwhelm us or to take positive action to focus on more uplifting thoughts whenever we can. Good self-care can also help us to reduce worrying. Exercise, meditation, deep breathing and being grateful for all the good in our lives can help lift us out of the spiral of fear.
5. Using worry in a positive way
Worrying about things from the past or imagining catastrophic events in the future are rarely helpful. Sometimes, we mistakenly think that worrying will help in some way, or even make the event less likely to happen. But worrying about the same thing, over and over, (ruminating) rarely achieves anything except making us feel worse.
However, worry can be helpful if we use it as a problem-solving technique. For example, if you are worrying about your finances you can plan to reduce outgoings or increase income. When the problem you are worried about is within your control or sphere of influence concentrate on what can be done to help the situation. This is much more productive than catastrophizing about the worst thing that can happen. If you are worried about a past event, such as a time you hurt someone’s feelings or embarrassed yourself, then make amends if you can and then try to let it go.
6. Create a time to worry
If you know you won’t be able to stop worrying, but are finding worry taking over your life you need a way to contain your worries. Many people find having a ‘worry half an hour’ each day helps. Set aside a time and a place each day for worrying. Then, whenever you find yourself worrying at other times of the day remind yourself to wait until your worry half hour. You can jot down the worry to take it off your mind so that you can get on with your day. If worrying keeps you awake at night writing your worries down can help, too. Remind yourself they will be easier to deal with in the morning when you are more awake and energized.
We might never learn how to stop worrying completely. However, we can worry in a healthier way. Being more aware of what we worry about and why will help us to put our worries in perspective. Using worry in an effective way can make it more likely that we will find solutions to our problems. Just being more aware of how much we worry and why can reduce our concerns. Also, having strategies to help us deal with our worries can help enormously.
For further, in-depth help on how to top worrying check out this post at helpguide.org