22 Feb How To Stop Worrying
Do You Worry More Than You Want To? Check Out These Anti-Worrying Tips.
Worries are completely normal. It’s actually adaptive (beneficial) to worry about things sometimes. It helps us identify potential problems. But worry can become problematic when it’s persistent. Excessive worrying can hurt your well-being, and lead to a state of chronic anxiety or stress. It can also stress your relationships, harm your self-confidence, and hurt your career. But stopping worrying is not always easy.
Worry involves negative thought patterns—patterns that we’ve used over and over again making them hard-wired in our brains. Stopping worrying involves confronting our beliefs, values, and emotions. Here’s 5 steps to take to put an end to worrying.
1. Explore the origins of your worry
One way you can tell whether your worry is about the situation you’re in or the way you think is by exploring whether the worry is general or specific. If you worry about one specific thing (e.g., work, kids, money) but you don’t worry about everything, you should consider taking constructive action to change your situation.
But, if you’re like me, and you just worry about just about everything, then working on your worrying thoughts is a good first step. Either way, it’s good to investigate the origins of your worry so you gain self-awareness about your worry.
2. Identify your unique worry patterns
Here are some thought patterns that lead to worry. Some people will find that they have al of these patterns; other people will just have a few. By understanding what thoughts cause our worries, we can more easily resolve them.
Catastrophizing is when we expect the worst possible outcomes.
Minimization is when we downplay the good things.
All-or-nothing thinking is when we interpret a situation as all good or all bad.
Overgeneralization is when we believe that having one negative experience means we will always have this negative experience.
Negative attention is when we focus on the negative things that went wrong rather than focusing on the positive things.
Rumination is when we think about something distressing over and over again.
Mind reading is when we believe we know what others are thinking even though we haven’t actually asked them what they think.
3. Stop worrying by moving your body
When you worry you sympathetic nervous system is activated (it’s the fight or flight system). Even if you completely stop worrying, it won’t get those neurochemicals out of your body right away. That’s why cardiovascular exercise can really help with worry.
Exercise activates the parasympathetic nervous system which relieves stress and helps calm the body, returning it to its emotional baseline.
4. Try mindfulness to calm worries
The next step to stop worrying is by cultivating mindfulness. By sitting quietly, noticing your thoughts, and letting them go, mindfulness can help redirect worries. Over time, mindfulness can train the mind to calm the body without getting stuck in worries.
To practice mindfulness meditation all you need is a comfy spot. I find a mediation video helps me stay focused while doing mindfulness.
Here’s a helpful mindfulness meditation video for a worried mind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcdBCam2pnU
5. Talk to someone about your worries
Talking with a trusted counselor or friend can help you gain more perspective on your worry—Is it really worth worrying about? Or, how can you think about this situation differently? Keeping your worries to yourself can lead them to build up and become overwhelming.
But be cautious of who you talk to about your worries. Other worriers may make things worse. So be thoughtful about who you share your worries with.