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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.

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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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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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