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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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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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