Day Five- Worry less, stress less
If you tend to be a worry wart, you need to learn tips to deal with worries that really work for you. No one likes feeling worried about anything but if even one person has accused you of being an over-worrier, then you may have a problem that needs to be dealt with.
First, know that some worry in life is normal. If we never concerned ourselves with anything at all, none of us would be able to even do what’s necessary to put food on the table or get out of bed in the morning. After all, for the most part, humans are lazy. We like the easy way. But for some people, natural worry about eating and having shelter or staying healthy (or keeping our family that way) turns into a psychological problem.
If worry keeps you up at night and prevents you from experiencing life fully, then follow these tips for dealing with worries.
* Write It Down – When you have a worry that you can’t let go of, quickly write it down and take the time to write some action steps. For example, let's say you’re worried about your daughter going on her first date and now you’re having circular thoughts about what terrible things could happen over what great things will happen. Write it down, and in this case, you may want to ask your daughter to send you a message when she’s at their destination and each time she gets in the car and out of the car. You may also want to talk to her about her ideas, morals, and beliefs.
* Act – When something is worrying you a lot, sometimes the best thing to do is act on it. For example, if you’re worried that you won’t meet a deadline, instead of staying up all night worrying, just go to do it if possible. That way you get it done and you can stop thinking about it.
* Set a Time Limit – Maybe it’s a worry that you really cannot control such as worrying that your children will die, your parents will get sick, you’ll get sick, your friend will get hurt and so forth – these are all things you have no control over. Set a time limit to allow that worry to continue, then stop it and do something to distract yourself from it.
* Get Off Technology – Believe it or not, if you’re experiencing excess worry (especially about crime, the environment, politics and so forth), it’s time to get offline and stop watching the news or using technology as much. This can be hard but if you make a rule for yourself to turn off all tech a couple hours before bed and until after lunch when possible, you’re going to have a more worry-free life.
* Be in the Present – So many times we’re not really enjoying or experiencing what’s happening right now. If you’re watching a TV show with your family, are you really enjoying it or are you surfing Facebook? If you’re on a date with the boyfriend or spouse, are you totally there? Be totally with whatever you are doing without distractions and it will help cut down on worry.
* Gain Acceptance – Sometimes you do have legitimate reasons to be concerned, but worrying isn’t going to help. Your child is actually sick. Your mom actually has cancer. Your friend really did get hit by a car. These are all things you have no control over, so you have to gain acceptance of the situation. That doesn’t mean you like it. It just means it happened, is happening, and nothing can change it.
* Get Moving – Extra worry energy can be used up by moving. Get your heart pumping through exercise. Go for a brisk walk. Go for a swim. Go play a sport with someone. Pounding the racquetball is very much more fruitful than just worrying about something that you cannot fix.
* Pray and/or Meditate – For some people, being very still and mindful and clearing their mind works. Both prayer and meditation show the same type of improvement in the ability to contain worry in people. Do whichever you want or both to help you get a handle on worrying.
All these time-tested tips for overcoming worry will help you deal with it. But do understand that some form of worrying is normal. If it doesn’t keep you up all night, stop you from doing the things you need to do, or cause you to avoid situations you need to be in, then you’re probably okay.
Pick one or two ways from the list above that appealed to you and practice using them to deal with your worries.
Some people are really no help when you suffer from self-doubt - in fact, they just make it worse. Next time, we'll talk about how to remove toxic people from your life.