Give me a someone who never worries and I’ll give you oceanfront property in Kansas. Point is that you’re not alone – everyone worries now and then. But when worry becomes all consuming and affects your emotional and physical well-being, then knowing how to stop excessive worrying needs to be a priority.
There’s so much to balance and lots of uncertainty in life which makes it easy to get overwhelmed from time to time. So it’s really important to learn how to cope when things get a little messy. But what about getting stressed out and worrying too much? How about telling the difference between which concerns even deserve your attention? Check out this research report from the Huffington Post:
… It turns out that 85 percent of what subjects worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning
There are even other studies reporting even a higher percentage of unwarranted distress. Okay so what about the other 15%? First it’s critical recognize the difference between chronic worry and general concern. Uncontrollable anxiety stemming from the anticipation of future events – that’s not worry. When your brain relentlessly asks, “What’s next?” and/or “What if?”, it also creates a whole lot of scary answers. Your brain tries to solve a problem that either doesn’t exist or runs you in circles with no real, constructive solutions. This negative mindset is what gets in the way of living in the present moment, in living life.
“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”Michel de Montaigne
In the meantime, while others are living that life, your excessive stream of negative thinking completely takes over. It can become so loud in your head that it dulls the sounds coming in from the world around you. It’s so easy to become consumed with excessive worry that you find yourself no closer to a solution or feeling emotionally better at any time soon.
So I realize these thoughts can take over not only your mind but become embedded in your daily living. Before you realize it, your life is passing you by, as are people, opportunities, and joy. All this while you are still on the worry treadmill running nowhere fast.
While what you worry about depends on factors like where you are from, your age, upbringing etc., here’s some general statistics to remind you that you’re in good company.
A study by Rescue Remedy says the average adult spends almost 2 hours a day worrying. Added up, that’s nearly 13 hours a week and 28 days a year of time you won’t get back. This frequency of worry, often not expressed, also transmits itself in to your physical and emotional health.
What people statistically worry about most:
Getting old, retirement, health, job security, appearance, paying the bills, being good enough, the past, death, loved ones, national security, family safety, being a victim of a crime, being late, hair loss, missing out, being alone…
Did they miss anything? I’m sure they did!
8 Highly Effective Ways to Stop Excessive Worrying
A snap out of it and stop thinking so much mentality will not put an end to excessively worrisome thoughts. Overcoming chronic worry and overthinking must be intentional. It will take time, commitment, strategy and inner strength. So let’s do this!
1| Awareness – Acknowledge that your worries are not what is really happening right now. Are you safe in this present moment? See yourself having these negative thoughts in this moment and that this moment is not your negative thought. This awareness will bring you away from the tendency of fear and distress.
2| Decide what you want – Do you want peace or perpetual drama? When you don’t see an end in sight, that’s when you need to make one. Find a way to pull yourself back to reality and the time marches on. And so will most problems.
3| Reject the Tendency to Predict – Thanks to March Madness, I think it’s safe to safe the future is rather unpredictable. Whenever you find yourself developing a whole story line about an outcome, bring in that awareness of the reality that is now.
4| Analyze This – Without self-judgement, use curiosity to your advantage. Do you notice any pattern in what you are stressing about about? If your thoughts are not productive and do not help you in achieving a solution, then take a step back and regroup. Voice positive and constructive remarks in to your vocabulary.
5| Shut It Down – The biggest factors to exacerbate worry and anxiety are social media and our smartphones. Unless you are very disciplined, they’re always within arms reach, in our beds, at the dinner table, you name it. We’re bombarded with information, work emails and other people’s business that we just don’t always need to know. Try to manage your media time and limit your accessibility so that you are at your best physically and mentally.
6| Replacement Therapy – Worrying fabricates possible outcomes of the unknown. So replace those outcomes with what you do know. Whether you’re obsessed with thinking you will be fired from your job or afraid to get on a plane, list out the facts of what you do know. Do you have a review coming up that you can speak with your boss about you’re performance? Look up the statistics on how safe it is to fly these days.
7| Add to Calendar – Yes schedule a Time … to worry. So you’re not avoiding anything, you’re the one in control. Putting aside some time to worry helps to alleviate the continual need and influx of negative thoughts taking up your precious time. Allow about 15-30 minutes a day to deal with what’s weighing on you. When that time comes, approach it with a healthy, constructive mindset.
8| Self Care is where it’s at. It’s easy to allow so much time to pass without doing a self-check on your own well-being. Are you sleeping well, eating properly, exercising? When you ignore your mind and body, your even more susceptible to worry because you are not living in your best life. Feeling physically crappy only makes your emotional well-being weaker as well. Practice self care with mindfulness mediation, exercise, healthy diet, and even some alone time to read and relax.
Why Worry About It?
Remember you’re not alone. Worry does not discriminate. Simply put, worry is a serious problem for people all around the world. It wakes us up in the middle of the night and monopolizes our daytime hours too. But you know what, if you’re not freaking out a little, okay expressing yourself, about the future or today, you’re likely suppressing your worries. So manage, manage, manage!
Eckhart Tolle explains, “This unconscious mind movement projects itself into the future … Worry pretends to be necessary.” So we must comprehend the fact that excessive, worrisome thoughts serve no useful purpose. When you realize and accept this, it is then that you are empowered to physically and psychologically (and well, even slowly if you must) step away from it.
And hey, even if you can step away from a worrisome thought for only a moment, you begin to train your brain. Whether you can’t stop worrying about future events or something happening today, you are still the one in control. It is in that present moment that will allow you the time to ask yourself, what do I now know about what is happening within me? and how can I take this moment of peace and centeredness and use it in a positive way?.
Once you know how to stop excessive worrying, you hold a life changing mindset not just to benefit you. This is a gift you can give to someone else who is suffering in a similar way. It is you who can be present to them as opposed to worrying with them and about them. Know that if you cannot heal another person, just being there is crucial. This is called acceptance, and giving pause, as opposed to resistance. The emotional state of a positive well-being arises from being present. No longer being reactive or on the defense of negative self talk. This is in your power.
Worry does not empower you, it does the opposite. Continue to exercise these tools, stress reducers and techniques and you will eventually find natural mindset is productive and positive. Give yourself and those you care about your full attention and you will minimize your time in the worry zone.
So remember, life is not all doom and gloom. Sometimes it’s just a matter of pick your poison and your battles. All you can do is your best, owning it with conscious effort, to use your mindset skills to protect your well-being, empower yourself and not miss out on everything life has to offer.