3 Strategies to Free Yourself from Worry
Author: Shernide Delva
Worrying can be debilitating and hold us back from living life to the fullest. Of course, it is natural to worry and most of us do. However, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, it might be time to let go of the constant worrying.
It can be frustrating when someone tells you to just “Stop worrying!” After all, most things are easier said than done. However, if you know you worry too much, the first step is having the desire to change. Perhaps you have gone through traumatic events in your life that causes you to worry. Just remember that worrying does not stop bad things from happening. In fact, worrying can be very unhealthy for you and those around you. Worrying becomes a self-fueling cycle that monopolizes our minds. Overtime, worrying gets in the way of life deterring us from fulfilling our own responsibilities.
Cognitive psychology research reveals that the more we focus on distressing thoughts or worries, the worse we feel. The more we worry, the worse we feel and so on. Here are three effective strategies to interrupt the cycle of worry. It might not be possible to stop worrying however even just reducing your worry is extremely beneficial to your health overtime.
Strategy 1: Focus on what you can control:
Often, we worry because we feel out of control. When you feel this way, focus on what you can control. Engaging in a project that you are in charge of like cleaning, planning an outing or going to get groceries will allow you to, at least temporarily, de-escalate the helplessness you feel when you are not in control.
Sometimes you may feel like worrying will allow you to prepare to cope with bad outcomes. You might believe that the more you worry, the more in control you will be when something bad happens. The truth is, this is a coping mechanism and worrying usually makes us feel worse in the end. Exerting our ability to control can help overcome the urge to worry.
Strategy 2: Schedule Time to Worry
This is a great tip because it allows you to finally get all to worrying out of your system. If you find you are constantly worrying, consider making a date with yourself to worry later. Trying to suppress the worrying usually increases it. Resist the urge to just “not think” about worrying and instead consider, “I can think about this as much as I want tonight between 8:00 and 9:00.” Then keep the date.
Giving yourself a window to process concerns allows you to have the bulk of your day to focus on other responsibilities or activities. This can significantly reduce the intensity of your worry overall. Stress is an unavoidable part of like but by understanding why you worry, you can minimize the effect of worrying in your life.
Strategy 3: Write Away Your Worries
Writing your worries down on paper can help empty the fears out of your mind. Researcher Sian Beilock, an associate professor in psychology at the University of Chicago, told U.S. News,
“You reassess that situation so that you’re not as likely to worry about those situations because you’ve slain that beast.”
Writing can be a very effective tool because often you are worried about so many things; often you are not sure what exactly you are really worried about. By creating a list of all your worries, you can have a clear idea of what fears you need to work through and let go of. Plus, if you are seeing a therapist, it is an excellent way of remembering what key issues you need help working through.
Whatever you decide to do, learning how to reduce worry is an important component of good mental health. It can help the chances of you falling into unhealthy habits like abusing substances which can lead into addiction. Remember to seek help from a professional if the strategies above are not enough to help you. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.