Things are uncertain right now, and many people are worrying about the future and our “new normal.” While some level of concern is natural given the circumstances, being consumed with anxiety and fear will not help anyone and is quite harmful. Chronic worry can create several mental and physical health issues, and it ultimately robs you from experiencing joy.
Are you the type of person that is always thinking and analyzing, and then over-thinking and over-analyzing? Do you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep because your brain just won’t stop? If so, read on, this might be for you!
Not everyone is prone to the same level of angst, and here are some of the habits of people who have either overcome the worrying habit or have never had it.
Overcome limiting beliefs that precede worrying
Many psychotherapists and personal life coaches help their clients break through various blockages by learning how to overcome limiting beliefs. The process includes a few steps. In short, the steps are:
When you find yourself getting anxious, slow down and get real honest about your thoughts. Awareness is the stepping stone to change because you can’t fix anything if you don’t know what it is you’re trying to fix.
Take a moment to stop and listen to your inner voice. The goal is to uncover the thoughts behind the feelings. Recognize what limiting beliefs you are buying into. For example, if you are worried about a presentation you are giving at work tomorrow, pay attention to the messages like “I’ll lose my job,” “My boss will think I can’t do my job”, or “everyone will laugh at me. ”
Just because you’re thinking these things does not mean they are true. You and you alone decide whether to give them power. They only have as much influence over you as you give them. Make a conscious decision not to give them any power.
Think about how true they are, bearing in mind that 85% of our worst fears never materialize. Would you really lose your job? Are the people you work with that unprofessional? Even if they are, isn’t that a representation of them and their issues, not yours? They do not have the right to validate you unless you willingly surrender it.
Are you focusing on the one thing that may go wrong and ignoring the ten things that will go right? Why? Be curious about your thoughts without being judgmental. The last thing you want to do is beat yourself up for thinking that way. Lastly, keep perspective on how much something that worries you truly matters. Ask yourself, how much will this matter in 10 years? Or in ten months? Some things won’t even matter In ten minutes.
Whatever thoughts you uncover, ask yourself if they are helping or hurting you.
You are the author of your own book. When those types of thoughts come to consciousness, let yourself write a new story. Make sure the new story is one of confidence. Empower yourself to trust that whatever the future holds, you are resilient and will adapt. Remember that those old stories are lies and your mind playing tricks on you. Don’t fall for the tricks.
Practice and Succeed:
There is no magic sauce that will keep you from worrying, and this process takes time and practice. Make a toolbox for yourself and fill it with “growth tools” to help you form better habits and make these changes permanent and automatic. Growth tools can consist of things like journaling, affirmations, meditation, talking things out, or various NLP techniques like anchoring.
Read: How to Boost Confidence
Stop comparing yourself to others!
First of all, don’t believe in mass media. Every minute of every day, we are inundated with unrealistic messages of what life is supposed to look like. Double down on what we are supposed to look like. A lot of what you’re worrying about stems from getting sucked into thinking that things should be a certain way, but they’re not.
Accept what you cannot change, and change what you can.
The truth is you only have control over your actions, not the outcomes. Worrying about not being able to control the future is as effective as “trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum” (Baz Luhrmann). Yes, things are unpredictable right now. Jobs may be lost; stock markets will fluctuate; some people will get sick. Unfortunately, that is the harsh reality of life and has been for thousands of years. Make the smartest decisions you can and find peace in knowing that the results are not in your control.
Remember, too, that we live in the age of convenience and comfort. While we are very used to having what we want when we want it, most of those things are life’s little luxuries but not life’s basic necessities. Know the difference between needs and wants and then find gratitude in what you do have.
Some of the wisest and strongest people will tell you that horrible times make us humble and grateful. Also, many of the best things in life come from some of the worst things. This too, shall pass.
Read: Gratitude for Happiness
Peace of mind is an inside job, do not tie yours to external things.
It’s a matter of perspective.
Overcoming the worrying habit can be as easy as a shift in perspective. Think about something you are concerned about or something that really scares you. Take, for example, snakes. To say the least, if you don’t like snakes, the thought of finding one in your living room is nerve-wracking. However, some people love snakes and find them fascinating. On the other hand, they would probably be amused to find a snake in their house. They might even pick it up and play with it. The snake isn’t what is scary at all; it is our perspective about snakes that makes them so terrifying or not.
Another example is worrying it might rain on your wedding day. Most people either love or hate the rain. One would worry it will ruin everything while the other may consider it a good omen. Same rain, different meaning attached to it.
The trick is to learn to keep an open mind. Typically we are used to seeing things one way, yet a new perspective could change everything.
This is another powerful NLP technique. Disassociation is when you can detach from yourself as if you were watching someone else experiencing what you are going through. Think of it like seeing yourself on TV or in a movie. If that is too hard, try and imagine yourself talking to a friend who has your concern. What do you see? What would you say to them? How would you help them overcome worrying about that situation?
Remember worrying is not problem-solving. It will paralyze you.
Try meditation to be free from worrying
Anyone can learn to meditate, and it is not just for yogis or spiritual gurus. There is extensive research that lists the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness. It is my “go-to” for breaking bad habits and creating good ones. Why? It has to do with the unconscious thoughts that we all have, and being in a meditative state helps to change them deeply and permanently.
If that doesn’t sound like it is for you, try deep diaphragmatic breathing. Basically, that is a medical term for breathing deep into your belly. The best way to do that is to breathe in long and slow through your nose. Hold that breath for a few seconds and then release long and slow through your mouth. The mind follows the breath, so breathing long and slow will help quiet some of the frantic chatter in the head. Also, when we are worrying about things we are living in the future. The future isn’t here yet, so it is better to get present in the NOW. Anytime you focus on your body or your breathing, you can only be in the present moment.
Besides, taking good physical care of yourself helps manage anxiety and stress. Eating well, getting some exercise, limiting caffeine and alcohol, but drinking plenty of water and getting quality sleep are all vital to your overall wellbeing. A holistic approach to wellness stabilizes your body chemistry, directly affecting your moods, thoughts, and behavior. You don’t have to become a health fanatic, but if your wellness plan needs some love, simple changes like cutting out some junk foods and 10 minutes of stretching or walking can help you feel more relaxed.
When you need urgent relief, try this….
When all else fails, or you need to calm down before you can try anything, this technique will help you to relax. Also, you can do it anywhere! In your car, at work, in bed, at dinner, literally anywhere.
Start by wiggling your toes and then squeezing them as tight as you can. Hold that for 2-3 seconds. Then notice your feet and squeeze your toes and feet as tight as you can. Again, do this for a few seconds. Repeat the same thing with your calves, squeezing your toes, feet, and calves as tight as you can. Work your way up your body one area at a time. When you’ve included every body part, do one final full-body squeeze for about 5 seconds. When you are finished, you will notice that tensions is gone and and you are more relaxed.