How to Stop Worrying So Much
The following tips come from experience. I've always been
prone to too much worry, and still am. Fortunately, I have learned
some techniques that help me and others who have used them. Although
this may be a more general self-help topic, I am including this
look at how to stop worrying here because having too many worries
really gets in the way of effectively using your brainpower.
Make a Decision
One of the surest ways to stop worrying about an unresolved
issue is to make a decision. In fact, even bad decisions may
often be better than doing nothing. It can immediately resolve
the stress when you finally decide to quit that job, buy that
house, or make that phone call. Nothing can crowd and cloud your
mind with worry quite so much as decisions waiting to be made.
Just make them, and if they prove to be bad decisions, make new
Act on Your Decisions
Any action towards a goal tends to diminish worry. Sitting
and thinking too much about a goal, especially if you dwell on
the hurdles, will cause you worry and stress. Plan well, but
when planning drifts towards worrying, start doing something
Confront Real Problems
How do you stop worrying when there are real problems? Confront
them head-on. I had to sue someone over a business matter once,
and I was worrying about it for weeks. When I finally just filed
the papers, got him on the phone, and came to an agreement, my
stress was gone. I didn't get everything I wanted, but just resolving
the matter made life better.
Unless you are really prone to dwelling on past losses, you
can probably see that there is more mental pain in thinking about
a possible loss than in the loss itself. If you lost a thousand
dollars in the stock market a while ago, you will probably suffer
less from that now than you would from wondering if you'll make
it on time to a concert you paid $30 for. More than the problems
themselves, it is the anticipation of problems that causes worry.
Confront them head on as soon as is possible, and resolve them
to the extent possible.
Use Mental Categories
If there are too many things going on in my head, I write
them down on lists and I feel better. You have probably had similar
experiences. If you are thinking too much about something, and
you stop to schedule a time to work on it, then it is easier
to mentally let go of it. Write down that phone call you need
to make on tomorrow's list, and you'll feel less worried now.
You are creating "mental categories," when you do this.
Even just telling yourself something like, "There is nothing
I can do about this until Monday," can put a worry into
a category of "nothing to worry about now."
Stop Worrying by Meditating
Meditation can be a great way to relax and diminish your anxiety.
If you don't want to take the time for more involved meditative
practices, just close your eyes, let the tension out of your
body and take several deep breaths through your nose. Alternately,
there are brain wave entrainment CDs now that will do all the
work for you. Just pop on the headphones and they'll relax you
by slowing your brain waves.
Whatever technique you use to stop your worries, make them
a habit. They won't work if you forget to use them. Until they
become automatic, you may want to carry a card with a list of
your favorite techniques or tricks.