Worries are a fact of life. We all have thoughts like this “did I impress this client enough?”, “would my boss appreciate it if I highlighted this to him?”, “Should I even be resting now, when I should be spending time with my children?”
The fact is that thinking and self-reflection is a useful activity- If you are thinking over what transpired during an important business meeting, you are likely more observant and mindful of what you said and do, and learn how to handle big meetings better in future. A mature adult who self-reflects and learns to manage his relationships with his superiors and stakeholders at work is likely to enjoy cordial relationships and be productive and happier. And finally, a parent, who constantly needs to balance his responsibilities between his work, children and personal well-being, would always try to do his best and still wonder if he could have done it all better.
Worrying is an indication that we are invested in doing well, and it can push us forward in working towards our goals. Fortunately for many, when worry gets too much, we know how to put it aside and not let it interfere in our lives.
However, at the most trying of times, some people have worries that are incessant, pervasive, unproductive, and chronic — difficult to turn off. Their worries are present from the moment they wake up until the last minute of their day.
Feeling trapped in a vicious cycle of worrying can make people feel emotionally stressed and physically drained, leading to disruptive conditions like sleep problems, inability to carry out daily routines, depression, and eventually, even feelings of withdrawing from life.
If chronic worrying is a problem for you, here are three things you can do to help calm your worried mind and ease anxiety.:
1. Take a Deep Breath
When you worry, you become anxious and breathe faster, often leading to further anxiety. But by practicing deep breathing exercises, you can calm your mind and quiet negative thoughts. In the From Worrier to Warrior: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living the Life You Deserve course, you will learn different type of breathing techniques that help to calm your worried mind and rapid heart beat.
2. Challenge Anxious Thoughts
If you suffer from chronic anxiety and worry, chances are you look at the world in ways that make it seem more threatening than it really is. For example, you may overestimate the possibility that things will turn out badly, jump immediately to worst-case scenarios, or treat every anxious thought as if it were fact. You may also discredit your own ability to handle life’s problems, assuming you’ll fall apart at the first sign of trouble.
During your worry period, challenge your negative thoughts by asking yourself:
- What’s the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true?
- Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
- What’s the probability that what I’m scared of will actually happen? If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?
- Is the thought helpful? How will worrying about it help me and how will it hurt me?
- What would I say to a friend who had this worry?
If the worry is solvable, start brainstorming. Make a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. Try not to get too hung up on finding the perfect solution. Focus on the things you have the power to change, rather than the circumstances or realities beyond your control. After you’ve evaluated your options, make a plan of action. Once you have a plan and start doing something about the problem, you’ll feel much less anxious.
If the worry is not solvable, accept the uncertainty. If you’re a chronic worrier, the vast majority of your anxious thoughts probably fall in this camp. Worrying is often a way we try to predict what the future has in store-a way to prevent unpleasant surprises and control the outcome. The problem is, it doesn’t work. Thinking about all the things that could go wrong doesn’t make life any more predictable. Focusing on worst-case scenarios will only keep you from enjoying the good things you have in the present.
3. Apply Mindfulness
Building on the previous point, learn mindfulness meditation and practice it daily. It will allow you to develop a different relationship with your thoughts and worries. Rather than reacting to worries as if they are a reality, observe and be aware of them without letting the emotional content suck you in.
Start with taking five minutes each day to focus on something neutral such as your breathing or sounds, while staying aware of the worries that tug at your concentration. If your awareness drifts away from your “anchor,” notice where it goes and gently redirect your awareness back to the breathing or sounds. This trains your mind to remain aware when your worries begin to creep in and to let them go. You may eventually increase your meditation practice to 15- 30mins.
If you treat your worries as habits that you can train or as a limit and learn to overcome your negative emotions with inner calm and peace, you can “get out of your head”, overcome obstacles, and live your life with fulfillment and zest. Remember, feeling good about yourself is not a luxury, it is your right– So stop worrying and start living!
Need More Tips?
Join our 1-Day impactful course: From Worrier to Warrior: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living the Life You Deserve.
You will walk away learning how to change your mindset from worrying about things that could go wrong, to living a life with positive energy and stress-free enthusiasm, like a Warrior.