Unhelpful, worry-related beliefs are prevalent among us. We can think of demonstrating our concern for someone we care about by worrying about them. Some individuals think that worrying will make them more motivated to act, yet worrying too much can make you less motivated because it causes anxiety.
The temptation to consider every “what if?” ‘, and nearly to think that excessive concern will put an end to those “what if? ‘s from taking place. That is “magical thinking,” whereby thinking about something does not change its likelihood of occurring (though it may increase our level of anxiety!).
Have you ever observed how being stressed may drain your energy? It requires mental and occasionally physical energy to worry. We have a certain amount of attention, and worrying makes it challenging to concentrate on other tasks. Additionally, worrying and envisioning unfavorable events triggers the body’s stress response.
It’s interesting to note that those who worry excessively frequently say they are frequently surprised by how composed they actually are when stressful events occur – it’s the unwarranted concern that comes before that creates the distress.
Recommended Reading: How to stop worrying: 9 tips to stop anxiety and stress in their tracks
The following five strategies can help you overcome worry.
Journal for Worry
Keep a running list of all your anxieties for two weeks. Write out the result you dread for each concern. Write the following next to each worry when the two weeks are over: Did the outcome occur, and if so, how? Did everything turn out as predicted, worse than expected, or about the same? How well did you handle the outcome? (If you’d like, use a scale: 1 means you handled it poorly, 5 means you handled it very well.)
Think back on the last two weeks. Did things typically turn out better or worse than you had anticipated? What are the takeaways from this? When a worry arises, ask yourself if it will still bother you in a day. A week from now? six weeks? A year?
Identify the early signs of your worry.
Try to recognize the earliest indications of worrying. You might find that you stare off into space, realize that you aren’t paying attention to what you’re reading or listening to, or that you clench your jaw. Give yourself a minute to worry when you see these red flags, then evaluate if your symptoms have improved or worsened. Do you have a plan in place to address the issue that worries you?
If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” pause what you’re doing and shift your attention. For example, if you were drafting an email when you “spaced out,” try to get back on track. Get started on anything else that is important to you or will make you feel better if you aren’t already doing something, such as doing the task you’ve been putting off, making a cup of tea, or calling a buddy. This advice applies even if you are mindlessly surfing Instagram or another site. Making a list of quick, easy tasks you can do in place of worrying can be useful, so you always have plenty of options available.
Turn your anxiety into a solution.
Schedule 15 minutes per day (with a timer!) Many individuals find that the early evening is best for this, but stay away from doing it too close to night. Write down your fears or anxieties on a sheet of paper. Make a note of each concern as follows: What’s the smallest step you can take to move forward? If you have a detailed strategy in mind (one with more than one phase), make a note of it. If you are unsure of what to do, write down your need for assistance. Write down your thoughts if you believe there is now no remedy or answer and that you must simply accept the situation as it is.
Fold the paper when you are through; you can come back to it the next day. If anxieties arise throughout the day, you can quickly write them down and then promise yourself you’ll give them more thought during your designated “worry time” later on. Constructive concern time, according to research, can be especially beneficial for those who find it difficult to fall asleep.
As it teaches us to become aware of our worrying patterns and to accept that thoughts come and go, mindfulness can help us experience less concern. In addition to productive concern time, my clients tell me that mindfulness helps them learn to let go of worry thoughts when they need to focus on other things, since they know they can return to problems later in the day.
A good way to relax is to find your own personal method.
It is impossible to be peaceful and worried at the same time; physiological relaxation promotes mental calmness, slows down thought processes, and promotes flexible thinking.
The “fight or flight” system is well-known to most individuals. Few individuals are aware that we also have our own internal relaxation mechanism. This natural relaxation system can be triggered in a variety of ways, including breathing, guided meditation, hypnosis, and progressive muscle relaxation. Find one that works for you by experimenting, then use it frequently.