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11 Ways to Let Go of Worries and Set Yourself Free

11 Ways to Let Go of Worries and Set Yourself Free

Worrying is one of those universal feelings that everyone has. Parents worry about their kids, everyone worries about money, people in relationships worry if their relationship is going to last, and sometimes people worry about worrying too much. The whole thing is very worrisome but you don’t have to live that way. Here are a collection of tips to help you let go of worries.

1. First and foremost, some worrying is okay

There are some things in life worth worrying about. Parents with kids can attest to this. When you see your child wipe out on a bike, the worry flag goes up. That’s totally okay. Parents are hard wired to worry about things like that. If your loved one is in surgery or giving birth, you’re going to pace the waiting room waiting for news. There’s nothing anyone can do about that. The first step to let go of your worries is to accept that you are going to worry about things sometimes. It’s just a matter of identifying what is worth worrying about.

2. Make some time to worry about things

Now that we’ve proven that you are going to worry about some things, let’s talk about what you can do to make it a little less stressful. Take some time out of your day every now and then, sit down, and calmly work out your worries. You’re more likely to find solutions to your problems when you’re calm and you think about things thoroughly. Therefore you should make time to sit down and think about your worries. Trying to figure things out when you’re otherwise occupied with things like work, school, or even activities like driving is going to do nothing but pile on stress.

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3. Cultivate resilience

There comes a point where you need to get used to being worried sometimes. Since you are going to worry about stuff sometimes, it’s probably best you get used to it and not let it ruin your life. When you worry, it can affect your mood and your life and thus can affect your focus, your work, and your family life. Don’t let it do these things. Don’t resist the urge to worry, but rather learn to resist the side effects of worrying. Take a couple of deep breaths, acknowledge the problem, and get back to living your life.

4. Move through the worry

When you worry you get all pent up and tense. A good way to deal with that build up of energy is to use it on something. Take a walk, clean your house, tend a garden, or do anything that can occupy your hands and your mind. It not only provides a great distraction from being worried, but you deal with the tension and pent up energy, which will help you feel better. Personally, I play video games. It seems a tad juvenile I’ll admit, but the combination of hand-eye coordination and the action going on in the game provides a great mental outlet that diverts my attention from my problems until I am calm enough to deal with them.

5. Do something about what you’re worrying about

People inevitably do this eventually when they worry too much, and people really ought to do it more often. If there is something you’re worried about then do something to fix the problem. If you are short on money, get a second job. If you’re having relationship problems, sit down and discuss your concerns with your partner. In the words of Morgan Freeman’s character in the movie Red, “For every problem sir, there is a solution.” Find the solution and it’ll no longer be a worry.

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6. Get rid of the negative aspects

People sometimes worry about the most silly things. Have you ever spent 45 minutes deciding what to wear before going out with friends? If you answered yes, have you ever asked yourself why? That’s nearly an hour you spent needlessly worrying about what fabric will be covering your body when you go into a public place with people who care about you. Why be worried about it? Wear something that’s comfortable and appropriate for the venue. Worrying if your shoes match your shirt, your eyes, and your hair is just needless stress. You don’t need that kind of worry in your life. Identify the things that really don’t matter, like whether or not your shirt matches your shoes, and eliminate them. Trust me, you’ll feel better.

7. Go see a doctor

According to WebMD, people who worry entirely too much have a higher chance of having anxiety problems. If you get so worked up about worries that you have anxiety attacks, then you may actually have an anxiety problem. It is never a bad idea to get a professional opinion, and if you do have an anxiety problem then there are treatments and medications that can help you relieve the symptoms. This may actually help you worry less.

8. Bore yourself calm

Today’s youth are very desensitized. Have you ever wondered why? It’s because 50 years ago, the most gore you could see on the big screen was the classic horror movie Psycho. Other than that, kids and adults weren’t really exposed to that much gore, and so when they saw it, it was frightening. These days, video games, movies, music, and TV have pretty much turned violence into something that just happens. Kids see all this gore and they become bored by it and it has lost its impact on them.

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You can use this same psychology to your advantage. If you worry about something, say it to yourself every day. Eventually, the words and the premise will lose their power and you’ll become desensitized to it, much like today’s kids are to violence. You will literally bore yourself calm over time and not worry about that thing as much anymore.

9. Cry

According to WebMD, worrying suppresses the part of your brain that feels some emotions. That sounds complicated but it really isn’t. You’ve no doubt heard someone say, “It’s okay, I just needed a good cry.” It may have even been you. I’ve done it before. By crying, you unlock the suppressed emotions, get them out of your system, and it’ll literally make you feel better. Why do you think people repeatedly tell you that it’s okay to cry? That’s why.

10. Remember that you have all the time in the world to figure it out

A lot of people who worry do so on a schedule. They need to worry about it right there. They need to know information about their worries immediately. I’ve been guilty of this one a thousand times. When I moved last month, I called my leasing agent twice a day to ask how the process was going because I was worried I wouldn’t get the place. When I order things online and the tracking says that the package is out for delivery, I join my dogs in looking out the window every 25 minutes until the postman shows up.

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Eventually, I got my apartment and I always get my online orders, but in between I worried about it a whole bunch. I’ve been slowly learning to be patient and not worry about things if they don’t happen right away and you should too. If it’s going to happen then it’s going to happen. There’s no use in trying to rush things and there’s definitely no use in being worried.

11. Stop asking yourself, “What if…?”

Very few things will be as bad as they are in your head when you worry about them. I’m facing this problem right now actually. When I moved, I spent a great deal more money than I originally envisioned and I’ve been left a little broke. I’m worried about not having money for food or bills. I’ve been asking myself, “What if…?” What if I get evicted? What if I forget to pay a debt? However, when I look at my finances, I see that by mid-August I’ll have totally recovered from this very minor and very temporary crisis.

It was never that bad to begin with, but I caught myself asking myself the wrong question and in turn I made myself worry. Learn from my mistakes. Very nearly nothing will ever be as bad as you expect it to be. The best practice is to calm down, think more into the future, and realize that you’ll probably never experience the horrors that you can concoct for yourself in your own mind.

Wrap up

Worrying is an important issue to talk about because it’s practically a chronic condition. Worrying all the time and being stressed out can have a negative impact on all aspects of your life. The best way to deal with worrying is to simply let go of worries. It sounds easy and it is easy to do but it’s hard for people to visualize. Rest assured that when you stop worrying, your life will get a lot more interesting.

Featured photo credit: PFit Blog via pfiesterpfit.files.wordpress.com

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Joseph Hindy

A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

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