We all worry, it’s a normal human process. Parents worry about their kids’ safety and paying the mortgage. Kids worry about school and fitting in. No one is immune and we all worry about different things at different points in our lives. The problem is when you constantly worry about anything and everything. Our body and mind are not set up for this amount of stress. If you struggle with “what ifs”, overthinking, and worst-case scenarios, then here are 6 simple ways to help you stop worrying so much.
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How To Stop Worrying
1. Return to the Present Moment
When we worry, we are stuck in the future. We stress about things that haven’t happened yet and live in a moment that is not real. Getting in trouble with your boss, your kids getting hurt in some way, hearing bad news from the doctor are all scenarios in your mind, not reality. Most of the time the things we worry about do not happen, but even if they do, it is not happening right now. So bring yourself back to the present moment. Live in the here and now instead of a hypothetical future. A great way to bring yourself to the present moment and stop worrying is to use your senses. What sounds do you hear? What things do you see? Are there smells in the air? Use your senses or do something that demands your attention and focus right now.
2. Question Your Worries
Another great way to stop worrying so much is to question your worries. Every time a friend of mine received a voice mail from her boss, her anxiety went through the roof. Each time, she was convinced that she was going to get reprimanded for something. Even though she was a stellar employee, she worried that something had to be wrong. It wasn’t until she started questioning these fears that she was able to stop worrying so much. She asked, “How likely is it that this call is about something negative?” The answer was always very unlikely. From experience, most of these calls were in fact words of praise for her hard work! Just like she did, start to question your worries. Ask yourself, “How likely is this going to happen?” Asking this question will cause you to look at your worries more objectively.
3. Stop Worrying by Imagining a Happier Outcome
In her book ‘The 5 Second Rule’ by Mel Robbins, she explains how she stops worrying instantly. She describes in her book that an image of her kids getting harmed would always pop up in her mind when they go on trips. She worried about a plane crash and all of the other disastrous scenarios that come with being a parent. Mel goes on to say how she started using her 5-second rule to replace these negative thoughts with positive thoughts. She would immediately count down, 5-4-3-2-1, and then imagine her kids safe, happy, and walking through the door. Use this same strategy to stop worrying. When an image of worry pops into your mind, immediately replace it with a happier outcome. I use this technique all the time and it works very well. Give it a try and pick up Mel Robbin’s book ‘The 5 Second Rule’ today. It’s an excellent book.
4. Distract Yourself
Stop worrying by distracting yourself with something that takes your full attention. Put together a complicated puzzle or tend to your garden. Spend time playing with your kids or get into a good book. Whatever it is, just be sure that it consumes your thoughts. A great way to distract yourself is to do something physical like exercise. Exercise not only keeps your mind off of your worries, but it produces endorphins which can counteract the negative effects of stress and worry. The next time you can’t stop taking your mind off of something, go for a jog.
5. Let Go of Control
Many times we worry because we feel we have no control over the situation. In most cases, we are exactly right. We have zero control. Stop worrying by learning to let go of things you have absolutely no power over. Ask yourself, “Do I have any power over what happens in this situation?” If you do not, commit to letting it go. I like two quotes by thought leader Roy T. Bennett. The first, “No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worry can change the future.” If you have no control of the situation, worrying does nothing for you. It will not change the outcome.
He also said, “Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” Since you have no control, ask yourself what you can create. For instance, you can create an environment of positivity. Instead of moping and spreading negative energy to those around you, spread happiness, joy, and faith in a positive outcome.
6. Stop Worrying When You Hit A Limit
It’s impossible to prevent worry from popping up but you can give yourself a time limit to worry. The longer you worry, the more it affects your ability to live a positive life. You can’t spend the majority of your day worried about something and expect to feel happy. Set aside a worrying time to allow yourself to think about your problems. Keep this time to a minimum. Do not spend more than 30 minutes to an hour dwelling on your worries. After that period of time, do something to distract yourself.
We all worry but when it becomes constant, it is not healthy for you both physically and mentally. Stop worrying so much by returning to the present moment, questioning your worries, and imagining a happier outcome. You can also distract yourself, let go of control if you have none, and limit the time you spend worrying.
If you could stop worrying so much, how would that change your life? Let us know in the comments below.