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How to Stop Worrying and Regain Control of Your Life

How to Stop Worrying and Regain Control of Your Life

Have you ever experienced this — your brain couldn’t stop replaying worst-case scenarios as you close your eyes?

What if I can’t make a great impression on my first day of work? Let’s see, I will wear this shirt with that pair of pants. Will I overdress? Oh no, I need to wake up earlier to iron my shirt. Wait, did I lock the door?

Usually, most of these worries are unnecessary.

In a study done in 2015[1], researchers discovered neurotic, worry-obsessed, and anxious people tend to be more creative. Unfortunately, while over-worriers are blessed to be extraordinarily creative, it is their creativity that fuels their anxiety.

Over-worriers put their thoughts in the wrong places

They use their imaginations in the wrong way. They tend to put their creativity to generate what ifs, could haves, should haves, instead of solving problems.

They focus too much on the future. American motivational speaker Leo F. Buscaglia says it best, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”

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They keep guessing other’s mind. Reading someone’s mind doesn’t work usually. It will end up in more worries and misunderstandings.

Many people with the tendency of over-worrying believe they can hardly change this habit, or although the panic brought by over-worrying is unbearable, they can live normally after the panic recedes. So they choose to leave the problem unsolved. If that’s your thought, you should abandon it as soon as possible because…

It takes a toll on your mental health and physical health

Hypervigilance. Because of anxieties and worries, an over-thinker is constantly on the lookout for possible threats, even in the tiniest things.

Reduced concentration and indecisiveness. The brain of the over-worrier drifts in and out of their thoughts. Without focus, they can’t think properly or make decisions.

Problem-focused. Worriers are obsessed with problems instead of solutions.

Worries lower your immune system. Constant worries put you in a more tired and lethargic place, which makes you more prone to infections.

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Worries cause insomnia. With your head spinning and thoughts tossing you left and right, it’s hard to get a good night sleep.

So how can you stop worrying and overthinking?

Write off your worries

How? Whenever you are worried, list the problems bothering you and possible solutions non-stop within 3 minutes. You don’t have to be organized with your thoughts, just write as your mind flows.

Why? It’s usually the abstract and ambiguous thoughts that make you worry much. By turning the thoughts into something concrete through writing, you can empty worries and fears out of your mind. Also, thinking more of solutions can shift your attention to the outcome and action instead of the problem itself.

Example: You made an insensitive remark towards your co-worker, and you are worried she is upset with you. Instead, write down the possible actions you can take to solve the situation, like apologizing to your co-worker.

Focus on external environment instead of your inner thoughts

How? When your mind is not occupied, don’t wander off to your worries and inner thoughts, but shift your focus to something else — the details of what you see.

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Why? Science has found that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.[2] A wandering mind usually creates negative thoughts, and most worries are self-produced. Occupying your mind with objective facts rather than subjective imagination can help you live in the present.

Example: When you are commuting to work, don’t let your idle mind wander off to personal troubles and distresses, but pay attention to the people, the scenery, or the little things next to you.

Challenge your irrational anxious thoughts

How? List your worries out and ask yourself in a third-person perspective.

  • Are there any evidences to support this thought for being true/false?
  • Can I look at this situation more positively and realistically?
  • What’s the possibility of this worry going to happen?
  • How will worrying about this help or hurt me?

Why? As humans, we are easily convinced and persuaded by our irrational thoughts because of our confirmation bias. Take a objective look at your own worries can help you eliminate unnecessary thoughts.

Example: You just pitched an idea to your boss, and you thought your performance was less than satisfactory. Start asking yourself these questions:

  • Could your boss spot the one tiny point you missed?
  • Would worrying increase the chances of your pitch being chosen?

When you rationally challenge yourself, you’ll soon realize these worries are insignificant.

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Need more guidance? Here are two books to further lead you to a less anxious and worrisome life:

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

    This book deals with the fundamental causes of worries, and provides solutions to improve your physical health, mental health, and overall psychological mindset.

    Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking

      The authors suggest to get rid of worries, one of the most important ways is to be mindful and clean up your mental clutter.

      Featured photo credit: Cuppa Catholic via cuppacatholic.blogspot.hk

      Reference

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      Frank Yung

      Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

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      Last Updated on April 23, 2019

      13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

      13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

      Let me begin by being 100% frank with you – everyone is capable of happiness.

      Happiness is first a choice but it also takes persistence to maintain. Happiness is our birth right and my mission is to help as many people as I can live their happiest life.

      My mission is to spread the message that everyone deserves happiness.

      To live a happy life; however, you must do the work, gain the necessary knowledge, and increase your awareness.

      You must fully embody this state and begin to think and feel happiness on every level of your being.

      Often times, excuses present themselves and our mind gives us the reasons why we can’t be happy:

      “I am too busy right now to focus on happiness”

      “I will be happy when I finish school, when I have the money, when I am in the right relationship, when I have kids, when my children are older….”

      “I would have had a happy life if this traumatic event had never happened”

      “I don’t deserve happiness”

      EVERYONE deserves happiness. The reason that you are here right now is because you have a purpose and you are on the earth to enjoy your journey.

      Think BIGGER than your excuses. Push FARTHER than your complaints.

      Don’t be pulled away from greatness. Get uncomfortable. At least these are what happy and successful people do on a daily basis.

      This article highlights the top 13 tips and tricks of how happy people think and feel.

      If you would like to begin embodying this life-changing state, then… Here are the 13 ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently:

      1. Happy People Put Happiness First

      Happy people have made the decision that their end goal is happiness.

      Every situation, event, bad day ultimately ends with happiness.

      To them, happiness is equivalent to sleep and water – it is a necessity to their life. To live an unhappy life is to have never lived at all.

      The happy person asks,

      “What would be the point of living if every day and moment were filled with negativity?”

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      “Why would I deplete my energy on negativity when I expend less to be positive?”

      They make happy-based decisions which means in EVERY MOMENT they choose happiness.

      If their circumstances can’t change then they instead change their perspective, they look for the silver lining in the negative.

      Happy people don’t let negativity steal their moments away – a positive mindset always prevails.

      If you ask a happy person how their day was, they will always answer your question with a highlight or a lesson learned.

      2. Happy People Embrace Pain

      I know what you are thinking –

      “No one is ALWAYS happy”

      or …

      “Even happy people get in bad moods”

      and …

      These statements are absolutely accurate.

      Happy people aren’t always happy and they DO get into bad moods. They get overwhelmed, they feel defeated, and their feelings get hurt.

      Happy people aren’t invincible and they feel pain just like everyone else. The only difference between happy people and people who let negativity run their lives is that…

      Happy people quickly acknowledge their pain and they make a decision to find a way to transform their pain into something greater. They also use these 13 simple ways to shake off the sadness.

      Happy people admit the negativity they feel and they do what it takes to get back into their natural state: happiness.

      When your end goal is happiness, then you will find a way to achieve it no matter how much strength you have to muster.

      3. Happy People Have a Happy Self-Image

      We all have an image in our minds that we subconsciously live up to.

      The reason that change is so hard is because our subconscious mind is programmed to live by how we define ourselves.

      How are you currently defining yourself?

      For happy people, they see themselves with a smile, positive outlook, and/or a bounce in their step. When an event or situation arises that brings in a negative emotion, they quickly change their state to resemble their natural self-image.

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      When happy people are in a bad mood, it feels unusual to them because feeling negative isn’t aligned with how they see themselves.

      When they feel upset, they acknowledge the negativity and look for a solution to bring their emotions to the level of how they perceive themselves.

      Look at how you define yourself today – your mind and body are always trying to live up to the definition it is taught to believe.

      Your body’s job is to keep you in a “normal” state because this is where it feels most comfortable.

      If your self-image is happy, then your mind and body will naturally be brought back to where it feels at home. Your actions will be a clue to how you define yourself.

      4. Happy People Have a Strong Support System

      The happiest people know that it takes a village and they lean on others for support.

      Happy people feel comfortable reaching out for help when they feel that their resistances are overpowering them. They quickly sense their negativity and they tell somebody.

      Happy people ask for assistance when they can’t figure out a problem. Seeking help takes strength and it never gets in the way of their self-worth. Happy people appreciate the wisdom that their support system provides.

      They have strong connections with the people who are close to them. They never trudge through tough times alone because jeopardizing their happiness for too long would be detrimental to their well-being.

      5. Happy People Safeguard Their Minds from Negative Triggers

      Warding off negativity is almost impossible when we live in a society that lives by what went wrong and feeds off of what could go wrong. News travels instantaneously so it would be unrealistic to shut this out of your life completely.

      However, one strategy that happy people use to safeguard their minds is regulating their environment.

      We have a lot of control on how we allow our environments to affect us. We can control our social media feed, the television shows and movies we watch, the books that we read, the people that we spend our time with, and the places that we hang out.

      If happiness is your end goal, then take a good look at what is bringing you down. What triggers your unhappiness? See if there is anything in your environment that can be changed……

      What we listen to, read, and who we hang out with influence our mind, what we think about, what we worry about, our reactions, and behaviors.

      Happy people know what triggers a feeling of negativity and it feels out of alignment for them so they do what it takes to avoid it.

      They might regulate their social media news feed to reflect the information that brings them positive energy. They might regulate the people that they spend their time with. It is important to hang out with like-minded people.

      What are you triggers? How can you avoid the negativity in your environment?

      These are ways that happy people regulate their environment and safeguard their minds.

      6. Happy People Know When to Say “No”

      Happy people know when to sit one out and say “no.” They do this to protect their happiness and well-being.

      Life gets overwhelming – a lot of people need our attention and the to do list can seem never ending.

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      Happy people give themselves permission to take the day off and they feel comfortable with saying “no” when their stress levels begin to climb. They understand that those around them aren’t benefiting from someone who is frazzled, overwhelmed, and tired.

      A happy person identifies their negative emotion and then they quickly treat it to bring themselves back to their “normal” state, so that they can be at their best for not only themselves but for those around them, too.

      A simple “no” can ultimately mean many more “yes’s” in the future because happiness has a long battery life. You can take a look at Leo Babauta’s article The Gentle Art of Saying No and learn to say no.

      7. Happy People Are Good Evaluators

      Happy people can quickly sense when something is off with themselves or others. They are very intuitive to happiness levels. When someone isn’t quite right, they are the first ones to notice.

      Being able to evaluate happiness means that you can identify when negativity is lingering around for too long.

      We all have bad days; however, the happy person evaluates often and quickly intervenes.

      In other words, happy people frequently evaluate their state and immediately change when their pessimism is overshadowing their joy.

      8. Happy People Bring Other People Up

      What goes on inside of us is mirrored into our physical world.

      What we think about literally consumes our life and is displayed in our work, relationships, and attitude.

      Happy people naturally feel good inside and about themselves so they treat others the way that they treat themselves. It never feels forced to give a compliment or to help out a stranger.

      When we are truly happy with ourselves, everyone around us has a better experience. Happy people are kind to themselves and because of this, it feels natural to them to want to make others’ happy, too.

      9. Happy People Go After Their Dreams

      Happy people are always following the joyful path. They make happy-based decisions and because of this, they always end up where they want to be.

      It’s absolutely impossible to be happy by following an undesirable path, which is quite opposite for unhappy people.

      Most people journey through life on a path they think they are “supposed” to be own. Warning signs (negativity) are often ignored because they truly believe that these feelings are a normal part of life.

      Negativity is NOT normal.

      The happiest people investigate the negativity in their life and quickly analyze the results. This process allows them to get back on the joyful path which ends in a desirable outcome.

      Follow your happiness and your dreams will come true (If that isn’t motivation then I don’t know what is!)

      In addition to happiness, here are 14 amazing things that happen when you live your passion.

      10. Happy People Never Sweat the Small Stuff

      The only expectation that the happy person has is that they remain in a joyful state.

      They rarely have expectations for the events and people in their lives because they know that this is a sure way to get let down.

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      The happiest people take life as it comes – you could say that they roll with the punches. When you don’t have expectations, thenyoue can just sit back and watch how beautifully life unfolds.

      Happy people understand that bad things are inevitable, they are a part of life – The car will break, the kids will make mistakes, people will be late, and dinner will burn.

      If it’s not anything seriously affecting their lives, then they don’t give their energy to it.

      11. Happy People Rarely Have to Prove That They Are Right

      Happy people remember that it’s more important to live up to what they believe. When you live your life aligned with your belief system, then there is no need to explain or prove yourself to others.

      Differences in opinions are inevitable, but the happiest of people know it’s wasted energy to defend their position.

      It is more effective to simply show people, through actions, how you think, feel, and what you believe.

      Energy is saved, arguments are diminished, and credibility/respect are gained when we live by what we believe.

      12. Happy People Smile (Even When They Don’t Want To)

      Smiling is one of the healthiest things we can do; and happy people use this simple trick quite often.

      It has been proven that smiling has the ability to boost your immune system, decrease stress levels, and can even make you look younger. The benefits of smiling have even been backed up by science.[1]

      Better yet, smiling is contagious. When you engage in a quick smile, you are likely to brighten someone else’s day along with your own. It is no wonder why happy people smile often!

      13. Happy People Live Life in the Present Moment.

      When we are genuinely happy, we are living for the moment.

      Happy people let go of the past, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future. They take the moments for what they are worth – they only invest their energy in what feels right to them.

      Everyone is capable of living a happy-centered life. You deserve a life that you desire – your dream life. All you have to start doing is make happy-based decisions TODAY.

      In every moment, decide on what makes you happy – decide on what gets you excited. Stop doing what you don’t love, don’t listen to the people that you dislike.

      If you are engaging in something that isn’t bringing you joy, then quit doing it. Listen to your heart, stop ignoring the warning signs (negativity) because they are there for a reason.

      I have observed, studied, and interviewed some of the happiest and most successful people along with some of the most miserable and self-loathing.

      It starts with one decision – happiness.

      The happiest, most successful people choose happiness with EACH and EVERY decision. And you can start doing this today.

      Featured photo credit: Autumn Goodman via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Harvard Business Review: The Science Behind the Smile

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