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15 Things You Can Do To Stop Worrying

15 Things You Can Do To Stop Worrying

So, you just found out some rather devastating news. You’re not sure how to handle it, and you can’t seem to stop worrying. Maybe it isn’t actually one thing in particular; you’re just always on edge about something, and you want to stop. It’s okay. Your life is more in control than you think, and these steps can help you feel more like it.

1. Get busy.

There may not be much you can do about the impending situation, so it’s good to get busy with things that you can affect. There’s no time to shut down now. You can solve other problems even if you can’t solve this one. Being productive in general can also help inspire you to tackle that original problem.

2. (Prepare for the worst, but) hope for the best.

You’re not going to go into the future unprepared for possible negativity. You’re just hoping it works out better than expected. This means taking the steps to guard against future problems, but accepting that not all of them will come up. Things could easily take a turn for the better, and you’re open to that.

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3. Distract yourself with something good and inspiring.

This doesn’t mean to ignore the problem. This means to give yourself a break and go do something positive for yourself. Read something motivational. Go for a brisk walk by the lake. Log another half hour at the gym. Whatever it is, make sure you’re doing it for you.

4. Get support.

Chances are you aren’t in this alone. Call your friends and family, or better yet, meet up with them for a relaxing dinner. When the time is right, confide in them what you are going through, and see if they might be able to help you get through it. If nothing else, they will be able to offer you emotional support. If worrying becomes a bigger issue than your typical confidants can handle, you might need to consider speaking with someone who deals with this as a profession. There are many therapists who specialize in this, and they may be able to help you.

5. Practice relaxing.

This may seem counterintuitive after step number one, but it’s also true. You need to have a good balance of productivity and leisure. Life will be there when you’re done relaxing, so for now, you’re just going to take it easy for a bit. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, it may be time to practice. Search for some local recreational events in your area, or browse the channels on television for some stress-free programming. The activity itself doesn’t matter. It may not even need to be an activity; you can just sit down and meditate for a bit, and it will help you relax.

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6. Count your blessings.

Sometimes worrying is actually a perspective issue. Take some time to count your blessings. Perhaps put a pen and paper in front of you, and list off everything in your life for which you are thankful. Consider the privileges and advantages that come simply with being you. Better yet, express your appreciation for those blessings by communicating with others. Whatever you do, remember that you have a lot going for you.

7. Monitor your thoughts.

Worrying can be due to intrusive and disruptive thought patterns. You are what you think. It can be difficult to change those patterns, but it’s worth attempting. Focus more on the positive aspects of your life. Take pride in your accomplishments, and spend a little extra time feeling good about yourself for them. Look for the silver lining in everything, because it’s often there.

8. Identify your worries.

This may be uncomfortable for some, but for others, it’s a good way to deal with stress. Grab that pen and paper again; this time you’re going to write down, in as much detail as possible, exactly what you are worried about and why. You are almost guaranteed to get some insight by doing this. Your problems might just be smaller than you thought they were. If nothing else, you know specifically what you’re dealing with, and can start to figure out how to overcome those issues.

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9. Differentiate between productive and unproductive worries.

Take the list you made in step eight, and consider crossing off the ones over which you have no control. If you can’t alter the outcome of those situations, why bother worrying about them? There is no solution for them, and in all likelihood, those worries are probably rather vague. Forget about them. On the other hand, realize that some worries are productive, because you can do something to overcome them.

10. Accept your own limitations.

We are all good at some things and bad at others. Those specific things are different for every person. If your worry is related to something you aren’t particularly good at, then that’s okay. You live in a society with plenty of other people who happen to be good at it! You may not be a great mechanic, but even if your car breaks down, you can always take it in to the shop.

11. Get out of your comfort zone.

Many people stay here because they worry about what will happen if they do something uncomfortable. You’d be surprised how much less stressful your life might be if you got out of your comfort zone once in a while. Once you accomplish some things you don’t want to do, you won’t have to worry about being able to handle them.

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12. Schedule your worrying.

It might sound a bit silly, but mentally allowing yourself a set time to worry can actually help you concentrate on other things throughout the day. Even better, try to redefine this scheduled time as a point in the day to evaluate your obligations and figure out how to tackle them. Focus on solutions to your problems, not the problems themselves.

13. Allow yourself to be imperfect.

This is important whether you tend to worry or not, but is especially important for those who worry about their own shortcomings. You are not a perfect person, and that’s completely okay. You may have had an extra brownie after dinner, or you may not have been able to pinch every penny, or maybe you just can’t quite get your hair to sit right. That’s alright. Everyone else has their own issues like this, so cut yourself some slack.

14. Be happy before you finish your to-do list.

It’s an easy trap to fall into: you’ll be able to breathe once you just finish everything. Try your best to avoid this pattern of thinking. Notice your productivity levels. You’re getting stuff done, and that’s reason enough to be happy. You’re doing work. You are having a successful day. The fact that it isn’t done yet means nothing.

15. Realize that you are your own worst critic.

Stop worrying about what other people might think about you. Chances are, they don’t think anything. It’s nothing personal; it’s just a fact. People have their own problems and are much too preoccupied to care about whether you’re having a bad hair day, or if you’re using food stamps at the grocery store. It may seem a bit dark, but it’s actually quite liberating once you realize this. Only a certain handful of people truly have a meaningful opinion of you. The rest are just trying to live their own lives… and now you’re free to live yours.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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