Do you find yourself worrying over far too many things? Some people are naturally like this – I am sure you can think of some in your social circle. But it needn’t always be like this. It just takes a bit of training to amend those thought processes.
Many people today are crippled with anxiety. They worry about everything and anything. The high tech, fast-paced society that we live in today is literally toxic to many people and they don’t really realise what is wrong with them. The truth is, it’s a mystery as to why more people aren’t plagued with anxiety – inducing stress. Perhaps some people have developed coping skills to reduce stress that help them get through the day without worrying.
Plan Ahead to Avoid Additional Stress
A lot of worrying is caused by not being prepared. If you often find yourself being worried in the morning about being late, or forgetting something at home, be sure to get prepared as much as possible the night before.
Set out the things you need to take with you near the door and/or make a list to check off each morning so that you do not forget anything. Of course that doesn’t just mean getting to work or college, but could mean other events too. Even seasoned pilots use checklists every single time to avoid missing something.
Holidays are always meant to be nice and relaxing, but of course the lead up to them can cause so much extra stress if you are not prepared that it may take an extra day or two to relax. Having a checklist for passports, boarding passes, travel agent vouchers for hotel and transport, never mind all the clothes, sun care products and toiletries that you need, is essential.
Set a Time Limit for Worrying
Sometimes you just have to let the “worry” flow. Set aside some time each day or for each situation that causes you to worry and just worry as much as you want to for that period of time.
Set an alarm to help you end the worrying and stop it immediately if it bypasses worry and moves onto a panic attack. Some worrying is okay but don’t let it get too far. For most people, just allowing yourself to worry will result in less worry.
You may struggle with this at first, switching the worry off, but with practice it will get easier.
Get Rid of Time-Sucking Habits
As mentioned before, a lot of worry comes in the form of not having enough time. But, you’d be shocked at how much you do in a day that isn’t necessary and that just adds to your issues.
An example of this is when you cannot sleep at night due to your mind swirling with thoughts that you can’t seem to stop. Perhaps if you turn off the computer and other screens no later than two or three hours before you go to bed, you’ll find it easier to get to sleep.
This is my own downfall – I’ll admit it. I do tend to work late quite a lot, and because of this I do sometimes suffer from waking in the night and then not being able to switch off. So I find it best to either get up and read for a short while, or if I don’t think that will happen I will get up and blog. After an hour I switch the laptop off again and my mind has relaxed, knowing I have done some work. I wouldn’t recommend it though!
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Some forms of worrying come from being in the unknown or being caught off guard by something. The best defence of this is to always be mindful of what is going on around you.
If you are going to give a speech and you’re nervous, try going into the room that you’ll give the speech in well in advance of your speech, so that you can get a feel of the environment. You can figure out where you will stand, where your microphone is if there is one, and even where the exit is if you must leave.
Another example of this is footballers playing at Wembley in the Cup Final. They don’t just get to the stadium, get changed and walk out. No, they get out on the pitch in their suits, soak up the atmosphere, look out for where family and friends are seated. They are then ready to perform from the first whistle.
Accept that Some Worrying Is Natural
No one on this earth is truly worry-free. This is an unrealistic expectation that can ultimately cause more worry when you start to worry about worrying.
Try to differentiate between the worrying that most people experience and the unnatural worrying that leads to anxiety. After all, you wouldn’t be a parent if you didn’t feel worried about your child’s first date or when they take the car the first time. And of course as they grow and leave home, you still worry that they are eating properly, can afford the bills. It’s part of the job of being a parent!
Keep a Journal
For some people, writing down their feelings (including their worries) can do a lot to flush them out of their system. Somehow seeing the worries and how they manifest can be cleansing.
Don’t just write down the worry, also write down how you handle this worry, and how successful, so that the next time it comes up, you can deal with it easier.
Journaling is a great way of monitoring your life, and your self improvement journey.
Meditate and/or Pray
Taking the time out of your day to focus inward for ten minutes or so is one of the best things you can do. You can do this through meditation or prayer or both. When you pray, get comfortable and truly mean what you say and try to keep it very positive.
When you meditate, instead of thinking about any one thing, try to focus your thoughts on nothing. It might help to develop a mantra, which are some words you say over and over again until they essentially have no meaning.
Of course not everyone will find this works, it’s just not them, but for a good many people it will work. So why not give it a go.
Exercise and Eat Right
Nothing can be more important that the food you eat and the body you have. Treat it right by moving a lot and eating right. Most of us think we don’t have enough time to eat right and exercise but the truth is, you don’t have enough time not to.
Eating right and exercising can add years to your life. You’ll gain more time than it takes so the excuse of not enough time is bogus. You only need about 30 minutes a day of exercise and you can eat right by planning ahead and using your crock pot and a pressure cooker to ensure that nothing takes too long to prepare. And honestly, nothing is faster than raw fruits and veggies.
As you get older you generally tend to become more sedentary. Being aware of this though will prepare you to put in that extra effort. When I turned 45 I managed to put inches around my tummy without realising, I slowed down my walking, and everything became much harder. i am trying to turn this around, but if you are approaching 40 start getting an exercise plan in place to stop this process. It’s a lot easier to prevent it than reverse it!
You can have some measure of control over worrying so that you can feel less anxious in most situations. If you find that your worrying has passed the anxiety phase and moved on to full-fledged panic, learn some deep breathing and coping skills to help you overcome that as you learn to stop worrying as much. If needs must, seek professional help.