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. Focusing on worst-case scenarios will only keep you from enjoying the good things you have in the present. To stop worrying, tackle your need for certainty and immediate answers. If you worry excessively, it can seem like negative thoughts are running through your head on endless repeat.
But there are steps you can take right now to interrupt all those anxious thoughts and give yourself a time out from relentless worrying. Get up and get moving. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment because it releases endorphins which relieve tension and stress, boost energy, and enhance your sense of well-being.
Even more importantly, by really focusing on how your body feels as you move, you can interrupt the constant flow of worries running through your head. Pay attention to the sensation of your feet hitting the ground as you walk, run, or dance, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the sun or wind on your skin.
Take a yoga or tai chi class. By focusing your mind on your movements and breathing, practicing yoga or tai chi keeps your attention on the present, helping to clear your mind and lead to a relaxed state. By being fully engaged in the present moment, you can interrupt the endless loop of negative thoughts and worries.
Simply find a quiet, comfortable place and choose one of the many free or inexpensive smartphone apps that can guide you through the meditation process. Practice progressive muscle relaxation. This can help you break the endless loop of worrying by focusing your mind on your body instead of your thoughts. By alternately tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in your body, you release muscle tension in your body. And as your body relaxes, your mind will follow. Try deep breathing.
When you worry, you become anxious and breathe faster, often leading to further anxiety. But by practicing deep breathing exercisesyou can calm your mind and quiet negative thoughts. While the above relaxation techniques can provide some immediate respite from worry and anxiety, practicing them regularly can also change your brain.
Research has shown that regular meditationfor example, can boost activity on the left side of the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for feelings of serenity and joy. It may seem like a simplistic solution, but talking face to face with trusted friend or family member-someone who will listen to you without judging, criticizing, or continually being distracted-is one of the most effective ways to calm your nervous system and diffuse anxiety.
When your worries start spiraling, talking them over can make them seem far less threatening. Keeping worries to yourself only causes them to build up until they seem overwhelming. If your fears are unwarranted, verbalizing them can expose them for what they are—needless worries. And if your fears are justified, sharing them with someone else can produce solutions that you may not have thought of alone. Build a strong support system. Human beings are social creatures. Your anxious take on life may be something you learned when you were growing up.
When considering who to turn to, ask yourself whether you tend to feel better or worse after talking to that person about a problem. Acknowledge and observe your worries. Let your worries go. Stay focused on the present. Pay attention to the way your body feels, the rhythm of your breathing, your ever-changing emotions, and the thoughts that drift across your mind. If you find yourself getting stuck on a particular thought, bring your attention back to the present moment. Repeat daily.
Using mindfulness to stay focused on the present is a simple concept, but it takes time and regular practice to reap the benefits. Try not to get frustrated. Click here for a sample of mindfulness meditation. Me Worry!?! Centre for Clinical Interventions. NAMI Helpline — Trained volunteers can provide information, referrals, and support for those suffering from anxiety disorders in the U. Call National Alliance on Mental Illness. Find a Therapist — Search for anxiety disorder treatment providers in the U.
Step four: Use your "worry time" productively by thinking of solutions to the worries. Kick your online addiction. All that time you spend perusing your Facebook newsfeed probably isn't doing your mental health any favors.
A recent study from Anxiety UK showed that nearly half of people feel "worried or uncomfortable" being away from email or Facebook. Need some ideas for things to do away from your computer or cell phone? We've got you covered. Be mindful. The most effective strategies to stop worrying and rumination may be ones based in mindfulnesswhich involves nonjudgmental awareness of present thoughts and emotions, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy strategies, according to the University of Surrey review of 19 studies.
Particularly, the review noted that "treatments in which participants are encouraged to change their thinking style, or to disengage from emotional response to rumination or worry," as well as "treatments which enable participants to adopt more concrete and specific thinking or which cognitively restructure thinking in a more positive and constructive way" seem especially effective.
Accept the worry -- and then move on. Worrying about worrying is a dangerous cycle to fall into. A study in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy showed that people who naturally try to suppress their unwanted thoughts end up being more distressed by said thoughts.
Meanwhile, "those who are naturally more accepting of their intrusive thoughts are less obsessional, have lower levels of depression, and are less anxious," the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researchers wrote. Therefore, people who get caught up Cant Keep From Worrying worry when they try to force themselves to stop worrying may want to try a different strategy -- acceptance.
Write your worries down. Letting all your emotions out on paper before a big exam could help decrease test-taking worry, according to a study in Science. Cut yourself some slack.
Susan M. Love, a professor at the David Geffen School of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, told The New York Times that the perceived need to follow all the rules when it comes to health can be a source of stress and worry in itself. Love, who wrote the book "Live a Little!
Breaking the Rules Won't Break Your Health" told The Times that at the end of the day, it's impossible to have perfect healthCant Keep From Worrying you're probably a lot healthier than you realize. Don't read in bed. If you don't have a dining room or a breakfast nook, but you do have a table, clean it up. Only use the table for eating and paperwork bills, studying, writing, and so on. Make a commitment to washing your dishes after every meal. Maintain your kitchen.
It's rare that you'll ever make so many dishes in a single day that you can't get them all washed within 30 minutes in the evening. Clean up every day so you can continue to use the kitchen for cooking and not have to worry about the mess.
Put time-consuming activities in an office or the living room. Keep computers, TVs, video game consoles, and other such activity items in general areas. Train your brain to associate these areas with leisure activities and hobbies. You'll be able to get things done in the other, utilitarian areas of the house with much greater efficiency. Consider canceling your TV service. It's a drastic step for some people, but TV's scheduled programming can disrupt an otherwise-adequate daily schedule.
Most people find that they don't miss TV service as much as they thought they would after a few days without it. Invest in a paid video streaming service instead, so that you can watch TV shows when it's convenient for you.
DVR sets that record shows for you to watch later are also a viable option if you can't stand the thought of waiting 8 months to see the new season of your favorite show, but be sure to resist the temptation to turn on the TV just because it's there.
Once you start watching, you typically spend more time than you'd intended to, which cramps the rest of your day and makes you feel rushed. Reduced Internet usage is also a good idea if you can manage it, but since most people also use the Internet for practical daily business, this can be much more difficult. Start with TV and see how that works out first. Part 2 of Set a budget. One of the simplest and most effective steps you can take to reduce worry caused by your complex life is to budget your expenses.
There's nothing mysterious or difficult about it: Track your expenditures for a week or two. Don't worry about controlling it yet; just spend as you normally do. You can keep track on your phone or with a pad of paper. Divide up your expenditures according to general type of purchase. For example, many typical budgets have categories for gas, food, entertainment, and impulse buys.
Take each category and multiply it so you have a monthly spending estimate. Add another category for bill payments, and yet another for savings if you're saving money. That's your budget. Try your best to stick to it in order to avoid having to worry about how much money you can afford to spend in one place or another. Your budget will also be useful in helping you make changes to save more money or purchase less in a given category.
Just lower the amount in one category, and raise it in whichever other one you like. Stick to that budget to effect the change. Budget flexibly. Different days call for different approaches. Maybe you eat take-out every Monday night, or have a standing date with friends on Saturday afternoon. Be cognizant of that fact and mentally double-check your basic plan every morning. Add time to take care of whatever you need to take care of that day, with a little flex room on either side.
Organize your time. You can set a budget for your time just as you can set a budget for your money. Since you're trying to reduce worry rather than increase it, go into this process with a focus on maximizing your personal time, rather than cramming as much as you can into each day.
Set a sleep schedule. Stick to it, even on weekends. Give yourself a one-hour target window for bedtime in the evening, and set a strict time to get up in the morning. Be sure that the space between your bedtime and the start of your day gives you roughly an hour more than the amount of sleep you actually need, so you won't lay down and start worrying about whether or not you'll fall asleep Cant Keep From Worrying time.
Take care of tasks at the same time every day. Plan time for daily hygiene, commuting, work, shopping, eating, and chores. Add in time for anything else you do most days, such as homework, exercise, or an active hobby. Put them in a specific order that works for you. All the time left over is your free time, to use for relaxation or whatever else you want.
To maximize your free time, try to combine trips outside the home. For example, Cant Keep From Worrying might plan to go shopping on your way home from work, to save the extra trip. For many people, an irregular work schedule makes this kind of budgeting difficult, but you can still plan to work around your schedule in the same order every day, and just shuffle the times.
Part 3 of Cultivate empty moments. It's easy to fill every waking moment of your free time with smartphone apps, social media browsing, TV, books, hobbies, and more, but it isn't always a good idea. Sometimes what you need isn't a distraction, it's a moment to yourself. There isn't a lot of free time in the day, for most people, but it isn't hard to find a couple of five-minute windows where you can drop everything and be alone with your thoughts.
Use your empty time to think about whatever you want, or just lay back and look at the patterns on your ceiling or the leaves on a tree near your window. Don't fill it with anything that requires your attention to be enjoyed, such as a book or a smartphone. Take time to clear your head.
Even the most overworked adult can find half an hour once a week to set aside for quiet meditation and reflection. Meditation is a powerful technique for organizing your thoughts and feelings, and all it requires is a quiet spot without many distractions. Sit comfortably and focus on your breathing until the rest of your thoughts become quiet.
That way, you can go over them without feeling overwhelmed by them. Go to source This is also a great time to set weekly goals or remind yourself of tasks that need to be completed soon, such as shopping trips and yard work. Feel free to keep a pad of paper and a pen or pencil close at hand when you meditate, so you can list and organize everything that comes up.
You can use your notes to help guide the week ahead, reducing chaos. Be rational. Often, people worry about things they have limited control over, such as whether or not they got a new job after an interview or what a new acquaintance really thought of them.
These worries are hard to help completely, even though it's obvious that worrying won't change their outcomes. However, that doesn't mean you can't do your best to remind yourself not to worry. Make a conscious effort to focus your attention elsewhere, and let events take their course as best you can.
Go to source Try to respect yourself. If you endlessly self-criticize, you'll only worry more the next time a similar situation comes up and be more likely to make a nervous mistake. Believe that you did your best, and that you'll do your best next time as well. There's no good reason to fret over things that have already come and gone. Part 4 of Take a plunge, Cant Keep From Worrying. A lot of the time, your worries will revolve around whether or not you can successfully do something.
Despite some things being largely up to the winds of chance as mentioned aboveyou can compensate nicely by undertaking other endeavors on your own. Pick anything you've always wanted to do, want to do better, or want to start doing again, and give it a shot.
Therefore, there's no good reason to worry about how well you'll do. Just compete against yourself and do your best not to worry what others might think. Keep trying and working on things that interest you. People who seem successful and happy are people just like you, except that they never let their worries stop them from giving things another shot.
The things you try don't have to be flashy, or significant to anyone except you.
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