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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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