Worrying Too Much Can Affect Your Daily Life
Worry begets worry, so its easy to start worrying about one or two bad things, only to end up worrying about even more areas of your life.
When anxious thoughts become part of your everyday life, your stress can show up at work, with your family, in your finances, and even in your hobbies. In addition, feelings of stress are becoming more and more common in adults over the past few years. Learning how to stop worrying is more crucial than ever to maintain good mental health.
Over time, too much worry can impact your emotional resilience and make completing necessary tasks harder. Learning how to stop worrying can bring relief and happiness to your life. This can quickly reverse the effects of excessive stress and anxiety.
What Are Things You Can’t Control
Here are some things you’re unable to control.
- The weather. Stop worrying about the weather ruining your day when you can’t control it.
- The past. It’s there, it’s over, and there’s no way to change it until someone invents a time machine.
- The future to an extent. While you can take action to have a better future, the future is, in the end, unpredictable.
- Traffic. If you’re worried about being stuck in traffic, remember that you can’t have control over other people and how they drive.
- Certain physical aspects of yourself. You can’t control how tall you are, for example.
- People’s minds. While you can offer your two cents and that can influence their decisions, a lot of people are set in their own ways, and your concerns about someone else’s life shouldn’t dominate your thoughts in most circumstances.
Set A Time Limit For Thinking/planning
Sometimes Ive found it helps to set a time limit for how long I am going to spend planning something out.
Its not usually a strict number of minutes, but rather an end point at which I move on to another task.
For example, lets say Im preparing for a presentation.
If I dont set a time limit, I might start overthinking, and going through every scenario that could potentially go wrong .
But if I tell myself I am going to prepare this morning and then after lunch I will take a break, then I am more likely to stay relaxed.
And in turn actually do better in the presentation.
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Who Are The Worriers
Why are some people so prone to “what if disease,” while others merely worry about something when it happens?
There are several reasons, explains Robert L. Leahy, PhD, the author of The Worry Cure: 7 Steps to Stop Worry From Stopping You and the director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York City.
“There is a genetic component,” he says. “There are also nurture or non-nurture factors.”
For example, people who come from divorced homes are 70% more likely to have generalized anxiety disorder — characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry, and tension.
Overprotective parents tend to raise worriers as well, he says. “Reverse parenting may also play a role.” This occurs when the child is taking care of the parents because they are not functioning well.
“There is probably is a biological component to chronic worry, but there is also an early environment component,” agrees Sandy Taub, PsyD, a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Wilmington, Del. “The feeling of safety that ‘my mother will keep me safe’ should be internalized and grow along with you so that, for the most part, you feel secure,” she explains.
“But if you had a mom who was not as available and not consistent, you can develop the mind-set that the world is not such a safe place.” Divorce and overprotection can also gnaw away at a person’s feelings of internal safety and security.
How Do I Stop Worrying About The Past
The past can be our worst enemy. We grow as people and learn, and we regret what weve did in the past or what others have done to you. Theres a chance youre stronger by miles compared to your past, yet youre still focused on the past. Learning to change the channel of your thoughts and think about the present more is difficult, but it is possible. Here are some ways.
Overall, its important to acknowledge that your thoughts are in the past, but you need to find ways to return to the present.
Why Do I Always Think About The Past
The past is quite easy to think about for people, and you are not the only one who may be thinking about the past a little too much.
Many people spend their mental strength in the past because of nostalgia. They think about the good old days, when everything seemed better. This especially happens when someone is not in a good position like they used to be.
Another reason someone may think about the past is they regret something. When someone looks back at a regret or embarrassment, they may not be able to get it out of their head, despite the brutal truth in life being that the past cannot be changed. You may have conversations in your head about what you should have done differently. You may cope with disappointment youve faced in the past, or may cope with distress by thinking about what may have been, but you cant change it. You
can only learn from it.
Trauma may be a reason why youre always thinking about the past. In that case, you may need to seek help from a therapist or someone else who can help you.
A Little Bit Of Planning Can Help You Anticipate And Manage Your Stress
Sometimes, you may recognize recurring times of stress. This might be before your period or simply due to any event that occurs each month. With a bit of planning, you can anticipate and manage your stress.
In a notebook and/or calendar, write down dates or moments when you experienced stress. If you know the reason, write that down as well. Little by little, youll see when these states of stress occur, and youll be able to anticipate them, which will decrease their impact or even completely eliminate it.
To take things even farther, you can write in detail about the times you felt stress, explaining the reason for your stress, precisely what you felt , how you reacted in that particular stressful situation and what you did to get rid of the stress .
Talk about whats stressing you. Avoid isolating yourself. If you dont want to talk about your stress to everyone you know, choose one or two people who have a positive effect on you and who, above all, know how to listen to and support you. Dont talk about what causes you stress to people who will only add another dose of stress to what you already feel.
Pay close attention to what you eat. This has a direct impact on your physical and mental health. If you eat badly, youll be inviting stress in. On the other hand, if you have a balanced diet, it will be easier for you to fight and chase away bad stress.
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Schedule Time To Worry
Most of the people who come into my therapy office looking for a solution on how to stop worrying want it fast and easy. But there isnt a magic trick or special pill that will make you stop worrying right away.There is a psychological trick, however, that can help you contain your worrying. The trick involves scheduling time to worry.
It sounds ridiculous on the surface. But it really works. And there are studies to back it up.
Set aside 15 minutes each day to worry. Mark it on your calendar, or add it to your schedule. Make it consistent if you can. Think something like, “I’ll worry from 7 to 7:15 p.m., every night.” .
Whenever you catch yourself worrying outside of your time frame, remind yourself it’s not time to worry and that you’ll have plenty of time to think about those worries during your scheduled time.
Once you arrive at your worry time, then worry all you want. Sit and think about all the worries that are outside of your control. You can even write them down if you prefer.
Then, after 15 minutes have passed, tell yourself it’s time to get back to your everyday life. Get up and go about your usual business. With consistent practice, research shows youll contain your worries to just 15 minutes a day. Thats a big improvement if youre used to worrying 24/7.
Ways To Stop Stressing About Things You Can’t Control
There’s a brutal truth about life that some people refuse to acceptyou have no control over many of the things that happen to you.
People who resist this truth fall into two categoriescontrol freaks or worry warts. Control freaks believe if they can gain enough control over others, and the situations they find themselves in, they can somehow prevent bad things from happening.
Worry warts, on the other hand, fret about everything from natural disasters to deadly diseases. Its as if they believe thinking hard enough about all the potential worst case scenarios will somehow keep them safe.
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But neither of these strategies can prevent a catastrophe. Instead, worry warts and control freaks put their time and energy into the wrong places. And ultimately, those strategies backfire and create even more stress.
Here are six ways to stop stressing about the things you can’t control:
1. Determine what you can control.
In reality, there are many things in life you have zero control over. You cant force your spouse to change, you cant prevent a storm from happening, and you cant control how other people feel.
Sometimes, all you can control is your effort and your attitude. When you put your energy into the things you can control, you’ll be much more effective.
2. Identify your fears.
Are you predicting a catastrophic outcome? Do you doubt your ability to cope with an undesirable outcome?
3. Concentrate on your influence.
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How Can I Stop Stressing
Stress is natural and can be good for you in small doses. However, too much stress can have negative health effects. Here are some ways to stop stressing when it feels like a channel in your brain that won’t turn off.
- Set some goals to stop your stressors if you’re able to control them. If you can’t, realize that there are some parts of your life that you cannot change.
- Get enough sleep, eat right, and exercise. This can help lower your stress levels.
- Take some time to unwind and focus on something that keeps you entertained or distracts you.
- Drugs and alcohol aren’t a way for you to escape from your stressors. A drink in moderation isn’t bad, but don’t drink every day excessively to get away.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about your stress, be it to a therapist or a friend. By expressing your feelings, there’s a good chance you’ll grow stronger as a result.
How To Stop Stressing Yourself Out
Here’s your bit of trivia knowledge for the day. The term stress was first used for something you feel by Dr. Hans Seyle in the 1930s, describing the physiological responses in the body in situations that people judged to be “stress-ful.” At a conference he attended nearer the end of his career, an audience member asked him how they could eliminate stress. ‘If anyone tells you they can eliminate your stress, run,’ he replied. ‘What they are really saying is that they want to kill you. The absence of stress is not health, its death.
Indeed the reality is that stress is not a medical condition, but a psychological one that triggers physiological responses in the body. Yet how many times you heard yourself or others say things like…
I had a stressful day.
Youre stressing me out.
My boss keeps giving me stress.’
My job is so stressful.
Psychologists believe that our stress levels are directly linked to the extent to which we assess our resources are being threatened or depleted and will become insufficient to meet a threatreal or perceived. In other words, its not that any particular person, event or circumstance is in itself stressful, but rather the assessment we make as to our ability to cope with that event. Its how we process or interpret that event that gives rise to feelings of anxiety or fear, which, in turn, produces a physiological change in our body This, in turn, is what we label as stress.
Stress itself is not your enemy. Stressful thinking is.
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How To Stop Worrying Tip : Create A Daily Worry Period
Its tough to be productive in your daily activities when anxiety and worry are dominating your thoughts and distracting you from work, school, or your home life. This is where the strategy of postponing worrying can help. Rather than trying to stop or get rid of an anxious thought, give yourself permission to have it, but put off dwelling on it until later.
How Do I Accept Reality And Move On
It can be hard to accept reality. Reality can be unpredictable and beyond your control. People who don’t accept this truth become control freaks, which can make life worse. Here are some ways to accept reality.
- Take an objective look at the world around you. Put all your emotions to the side.
- Have a realistic view of the situation.
- Can you control this reality? If so, great. If not, realize that there are sometimes no ways to stop bad things from happening.
- Learn to manage your stress about reality. When you manage your stress, you can accept it.
- Focus on your influence on reality. If you can influence it, try to find ways for you to do so.
- Notice how you cope with reality. If you cope in a healthy manner, good. If not, find ways for you to cope healthily. For example, you can share your opinion about reality, but realize it’s just that, an opinion.
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Put Things Into Perspective
Its always easy to make things bigger and more negative than they need to be. The next time you catch yourself making a mountain out of a molehill, ask yourself how much it will matter in five years. Or, for that matter, next month. Just this simple question, changing up the time frame, can help shut down overthinking.
This Article Focuses On How To Stop Stressing Over Tiers Two And Three
That is, how you can stop stressing about the areas of your life which you have no control or only partial control over.
Now, lets get to the 31 ways to stop stressing!
Keep in mind, I dont expect all these methods to apply to everything you are dealing with. So feel free to choose the ones which apply best to your life and your specific situations.
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Is Your Worry Solvable
Productive, solvable worries are those you can take action on right away. For example, if youre worried about your bills, you could call your creditors to see about flexible payment options. Unproductive, unsolvable worries are those for which there is no corresponding action. What if I get cancer someday? or What if my kid gets into an accident?
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 youve evaluated your options, make a plan of action. Once you have a plan and start doing something about the problem, youll feel much less anxious.
If the worry is not solvable, accept the uncertainty. If youre 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 doesnt work. Thinking about all the things that could go wrong doesnt make life any more predictable. 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.
Build In Time To Stop & Relax
I often hear my clients say Come on, how on earth will I be able to make time for myself when I have so much to do? and I always reply, if you dont look after yourself you wont have the reserves to take care of all the other people in your life you take care of. When our reserves are low were cranky, overly sensitive and generally not as happy as we want to be. So please take some time each day, even if it only 10 minutes, to relax.
- Have a warm bath as this will help your body reach a temperature thats ideal for rest.
- Writing to do lists for the next day can organize your thoughts and clear your mind of any worrying thoughts that pop in to your head
- Relaxation exercises, such as light yoga stretches, help to relax the muscles. Dont exercise vigorously though, as it will have the opposite effect.
- Relaxation CDs can help as they use a hypnotic voice to guide you through muscle relaxation and soothing music and sound effects to relax your brain.
- Watching TV or any computer or phone screen keeps the brain engaged and active so it is harder to fall asleep. It is better to read a book or listen to the radio as that relaxes the mind by distracting it from the present worries.
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