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10 Hacks to Help You Stop Worrying Now

10 Hacks to Help You Stop Worrying Now

Does worry dominate your life?

Try these ten shortcuts to stop worrying for good.

1. Stop being superstitious that your worry is preventing bad things from happening.

Even if it’s somewhat unconscious, worriers sometimes believe that if they worry about something enough, it won’t happen.

There. Now that you’ve seen that in print, doesn’t it seem kind of silly?

The problem is, your superstition gets reinforced because most of the things that you worry about likely don’t happen.

But it’s not because you’re worrying about them – it’s just as likely that bad things wouldn’t happen even if you didn’t worry about them!

2. Choose to be motivated by something other than worry.

Another common belief about worry is that it is what motivates you to get things done.

There’s actually some truth to this.

You do get things done by worrying. It’s because you want to stop the pain of worrying so you hustle to get that task done.

However, there are so many positive ways to motivate yourself, why use something painful?

Try rewarding yourself when you get something done. Rather than removing a painful stimulus, give yourself something nice: candy, a walk, ten minutes to play Angry Birds, etc.

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(And don’t tell me that worry is the only thing that motivates you until you’ve tried five positive methods first.)

3. Realize that worrying does not help you solve a problem.

While it seems like thinking about a problem over and over will help you solve a problem, it actually won’t.

For the most part.

The common question worriers ask, “What if . . .?” actually starts the problem-solving process, but then nothing further happens.

Check this out from researcher T.D. Borovec: “Beyond this [asking ‘what if?’], worry itself does not contribute further to solving problems. One is either worrying, or one is problem solving. These two distinctive processes may alternate sequentially during a worrisome episode but never occur, by definition, at the same time.”

So, you can’t worry and problem-solve at the same time.

And worry begets anxiety which throws your body into fight-or-flight mode, not exactly conducive to problem-solving.

If you really want to be at your best to problem-solve, see #9 below.

4. Face your fear directly rather than worrying about it.

Research has found that worriers, unlike people who don’t worry, don’t have as much ability to learn from being exposed to the thing they fear.

For example, most people who fear public speaking will eventually find that it’s not as bad as they thought it was once they’ve done it a few times.

Worriers don’t do this. Scientists believe it’s because worriers don’t allow the whole emotional impact to arise for them and so they can’t add “corrective information” that allows their fear to subside.

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In short, you might be suppressing your fears through your worry.

Try to experience the things you worry about fully. Repeat the old mantra, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

5. Believe that you are actually more prepared for something bad happening now than you ever will be by worrying about it.

Because a lot of people think that worry will prepare them for when something bad does happen, remember what we learned above: worrying doesn’t help you solve a problem.

People are naturally resilient and that includes you. If something bad happens, you’ll likely be able to handle it without all the worrying you’re doing now.

6. Ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that can happen?”

The absolute bottom line to your worry is that whatever it is you fear is going to kill you.

It won’t.

The worst things that can happen might be bad, but they won’t kill you.

And you know what? As we’ve already discussed, you’re more prepared for the worst thing happening than you give yourself credit for.

And, most likely, when you are truthful with yourself about the worst thing that can happen, it really won’t be that bad after all.

7. Prove to yourself that most of the things you worry about never happen.

Keep what’s known as a “Worry Outcome Diary.”

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On a daily basis, write down what you are worrying about. At the end of the week, note whether the thing you worried about actually happened or not.

You’ll find that the vast majority of worrisome things never happen.

So why expend your mental and physical energy on them?

8. Try out Worry Wednesday.

A great technique for worriers is to set aside a specific time to worry. Maybe it’s thirty minutes a day or maybe it’s a whole day – Worry Wednesday or something.

During your specified time, worry as much as you can.

Outside of that time, enjoy your life!

9. Teach your muscles how to relax on cue.

It’s really, really hard to worry when your body is completely relaxed.

Just like your muscles tense up when you worry, your mind will relax when your muscles do.

Teach your body what it feels like to be relaxed by doing a short daily exercise like this.

The more you practice, the more you’ll be able to relax on cue. That way, when you start to worry, you can hit the relaxation cue and let your worries float away.

10. Spend your time here now instead of in the future.

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Probably most of your worries are about the future and include that question, “What if . . .?”

Of course, if your mind is always in the future, you’re pretty much missing out on what’s happening right now.

And right now is where your life is happening. Don’t miss it.

Use some grounding techniques with your senses to stay in the present.

Feel the surface in front of you. Is it cold? Rough? Smooth?

What do you smell in the air right now? What do you hear?

Focus on these sensations to stay in this moment which is your life rather than out in an unknown future.

 

Reference: Borkovec, T.D., Hazlett-Stevens, H., & Diaz, M.L. (1999). The Role of Positive Beliefs about Worry in Generalized Anxiety Disorder ad its Treatment. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 6, 126-138.

 

 

Featured photo credit:  young businessman with his head squeezed between a laptop keyboard and a rock via Shutterstock

 

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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