How to stop worrying

Am I a worry addict?

How often do you worry?

Sometimes, often, always?

What is worrying?

Worrying refers to negative thoughts that cause anxiety over real or projected threats and their potential consequences. For some worrying can be so severe it seems paralysing. It can generate an enormous amount of anxiety and fear and consumes both physical and mental energy. It can make you feel nervous and on edge, cause insomnia, lack of concentration, affect your productivity levels, and interfere with creativity and problem solving. It can also cause muscle pain through tension, headaches, and stomach problems. Let alone consume headspace that you could use for thinking about something far more useful to you.

You could say that worrying has some benefits for example: our cave dwelling ancestors worried when they heard leaves rustling in case they were going to be attacked by a predator. But is that really a benefit? Wouldn’t it be better to have taken action to protect themselves from predators so that they didn’t need to get anxious or worried every time they heard rustling leaves that could have been caused by the wind, or by non-predatory animals? Their worry may have been for nothing.

However for some of us worrying become so much of a habit, we worry about not worrying and that’s when it becomes addictive.

How do we stop this energy thief?

  1. Write down you worries whenever they crop up. It’s especially useful to have a notepad close by when you go to bad as that is usually the time that they are most likely to rear their ugly heads.
  1. Book yourself a daily “worry appointment” where you are allowed to entertain your worry list for a limited amount of time. I suggest about 15 minutes.
  1. Analyse your worry.
  • Is it real or perceived?
  • Is something definitely going to happen?
  • Can you do anything about it, like take preventative measures or plan?
  • If there’s nothing you can do, or it’s a projection, or not real, then just let the worry go.
  1. Interrupt your worry cycle by becoming active, either physically or mentally.
  1. Try meditation, relaxation, or yoga to still your mind and help you to let your worries evaporate.
  1. Practise positive affirmations to make your thoughts more positively focussed rather than negativity and worry.
  1. Talk your worry through with someone to determine whether or not you can resolve it. Make sure you have a strong healthy support network that you can call on as soon as a worry arises.

Worrying is a useless occupation it consumes energy that you could using to focus on living your life to the full.


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