How to Stop Worrying All the Time
Worrying (a lot) is a habit. When worried thoughts make you feel anxious, when they consume a large part of your daily thought processes, it can be hard to:
Focus and be productive
Get deep sleep
That last one is something few people talk about. But it’s important to know that when you’re worrying, you’re reinforcing a limiting-belief in yourself (and the world).
Worry erodes your sense of trust. And as that happens, you doubt yourself, other people, that things work out for you, etc. And you end up feeling fearful.
All that fear and over-worrying drains your energy.
Here’s what you can do when you’re in a worrying-moment
1.Get grounded in the present
Most worry is about anxiety over something that happened in the past or concern about the future.
In both instances, you’re not fully present.
As much as you can, try to stay focused on the moment where you are, this moment.
This takes work.
And you’ll find yourself (constantly) slipping back into future thinking or mulling over the past.
This is normal. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Simply take notice, and then come back to the present.
The simplest way I know of is to take a few deep breaths.
While doing this, notice your breathing, how each breath feels, notice your body.
Breathing is a powerful anchor into the present moment.
Then, once you’ve taken the deep breaths, be more mindful of where you are in the present moment. What you’re doing, who you’re around, your immediate environment.
Keep refocusing when you catch your mind wandering back to ‘worry world’.
Do this over
This is a life-long practice.
You will notice a difference in your mood. In your life.
2. Create a ‘stop’ question
I created a question I ask myself when I start worrying. You can steal this question or create one of your own.
My question to myself: what can I do about (what I’m worrying about) at this very moment?
Most times the answer is nothing.
Just last night, I had a moment like this and stopped myself. There was nothing I could do last night, so I choose to let those thoughts go.
If you’re worrying over something that happened in the past, what can you do about it right now? Probably nothing. It’s already happened. You’re reaching into the past and pulling that moment into the present. Is that *really* how you want to spend your Saturday evening? (or whatever day/time it is)
If you’re worrying over something that may / may not happen in the future, what can you do about it right now?
And notice for the future worrying, I mentioned something that may/may not happen.
That’s the thing with worry.
Understand that it’s mostly made up stories, especially about the future. Things that may not even happen.
Does it make sense to spend the precious time you have right now (the only time you’re guaranteed to have) draining your energy over events and situations that may not even come true?
You know the answer to that question.
If you already journal, add in journaling about something you’re worried over. This helps release a lot of the worry from your mind onto the page.
If I’m going through something particularly tough, or I notice I can’t shake my worrying, I prefer to keep a tiny journal, my Worry Journal, specifically about my worries. I write in it and then put it away.
Out of sight.
Here’s how to stop worrying long-term
We’ve covered suggestions for dealing with worrying in the moment. But how can you help break this habit of worrying?
You can pretty much always expect me to suggest this. Keeping a journal or notebook, where you regularly write about your feelings, concerns, joys, dreams, etc… can be life-changing. It’s (almost) free and has unbelievable benefits for helping you relax, de-stress, and release worries.
The more wound up you’re, the more you’ll worry. It’s a vicious wheel that is hard to get off. Find ways to relax daily, if you can. It helps clear space in the mind.
Try a relaxation technique you’re looking for ideas. There are tons on Youtube.
*Call someone and talk about it
Put a limit on this.
Set a timer and allow yourself to vent about your worry for a certain period of time only.
It’s good to vent. Not good to spiral into overthinking and over-worrying. You know that spiral I’m referring to. Putting a time limit is so simple but effective.
You don’t have to try everything or do ‘all the things’ to make changes in your life. Actually, I think the more you try to change everything at once, the more chances you’ll change nothing.
Pick one thing. One suggestion from above. And give it a try!
Originally published at https://journeyjoy.net on June 29, 2019.