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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

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10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked, and in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, chronic worrying, and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, so it’s imperative that we take time to learn how to stop worrying and start living.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you create a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground.

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

However, keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it, and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver. If you do find later that you’re heading in the wrong direction, there will be type to reconsider what you’re doing. Until then, stop worrying about where your new decision will take you.

2. Live for Today, Pack Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning, and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments.” Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, and your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present moment.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

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This is, of course, easier said than done, but if you really want to learn how to stop worrying and start living, learning to compartmentalize in this way is imperative. Find a place for everything, just as you would in a perfectly organized closet.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

Start by writing down your biggest concerns. Then, write down the possible consequences of those events and then at least three ways you could overcome or deal with those consequences. You may find you have more tools at your disposal than you think.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative thoughts and experiences when just walking away from them would serve our mental health far better.

To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief in order to learn how to stop worrying and start living.

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5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

A 2020 study found that forcing a smile can help shift your brain toward more positive thinking[1]. Therefore, try to smile, even when you’re feeling down. You may find that it turns your day in a better direction.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz[2]. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

Stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

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7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are in order to learn how to stop worrying and start living.

If you struggle to be your most authentic self, check out this article for help getting started.

8. Haters Will Hate – It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

The next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Stop worrying about criticism and take it as a compliment! 

Now, if you keep hearing the same negative criticism from various people, it may be time to take a look at what you’re doing or how you’re acting. Everyone has room for improvement, so don’t be afraid to adjust your attitude when it’s warranted.

9. Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions, so it’s important to learn how to prevent both fatigue and worry.

It should be clear, therefore, that when you’re learning how to stop worrying and start living, learn to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

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Learn to rest in order to stop worrying and start living.

    It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively. Resting can include taking a nap, enjoying a walk through nature, or sitting on the couch with a good book. Find the form of rest that works for your unique body and mind.

    10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

    There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

    But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to develop good working habits and stay organized: a desk full of unanswered emails and memos is sure to breed worries.

    Research has shown that “clutter in one’s living space, negative emotions, and impaired social ability all predicted high procrastination scores”[3]. Clutter will not only stress you out, but it will also make you put off the things you need to be doing, which will only cause more stress.

    The Bottom Line

    When you want to learn how to stop worrying and start living, it’s important to identify which areas of your life are causing you the most worry. When you’re able to tackle specific areas, the job will get a lot easier. Cultivate a mental attitude toward more positive thinking and see how it helps you jump into each day with less worry.

    More Tips for Living a Stress-Free Life

    Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Sebastian Klein

    Sebastian is the co-founder of Blinkist, a serial entrepreneur, consultant, speaker and writer with a passion for management-free organizations.

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today Life-changing books open your mind 10 Books to Read That Will Change The Way You Think Forever 10 Things You Can Learn From the Dalai Lama to Become a Happier Person Mentors 101 Mentors 101: Finding, Maintaining, and Outmatching Your Mentor jeff bezos 7 Habits You Can Learn From Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

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    How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

    When someone says, “I can’t do it” . . . I say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you don’t want to do it, but saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.

    With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding you back is yourself.

    Can’t is a terrible word and it has to be taken out of your vocabulary.

    By saying you can’t do something, you’re already doubting yourself, submitting to defeat, and you’re making that barrier around your life tighter.

    So today, right now, we are going to remove this word for good.

    From now on there is nothing we can’t do.

    “Attitude is Tattoo”

    Your attitude is everything; it’s your reason, your why and how, your facial expression, emotions, body language, and potentially the end result. How you approach an opportunity, and the result of it, is solely based on you — not your boss or your co-worker or friend.

    If you enter a business meeting with a sour attitude, that negative energy can spread like wildfire. People can also feel it — maybe even taste it. This is not an impression you want to leave.

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    Now imagine you enter a business meeting with a positive attitude, that whatever happens in here is going to be your result, in your control, not someone else’s. Of course, we can’t always win, but even if the outcome is negative, your attitude and perception can turn it into a positive. The question is: can you do it?

    Of course you can, because there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

    It’s much better to be known for your positive attitude — your poise, your energy, the reason why things go so well because you are able to maintain such character. A negative attitude is easy. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to be mad, and it’s even easier to do nothing to change it.

    When I say your “attitude is tattoo”, it sounds permanent. Tattoos can be removed, but that’s not the point. Your attitude is like a tattoo because you wear it. People can see it and sometimes, they will judge you on it. If you maintain a negative attitude, then it is permanent until you change it.

    Change your attitude and I guarantee the results change as well.

    Believe You Can Do It

    Do you know why most people say “can’t” and doubt themselves before trying anything?

    It’s our lack of self-confidence and fear on many different levels. The one thing we have to purge from ourselves is fear — fear of bad results, fear of change, fear of denial, fear of loss, the fear that makes us worry and lose sleep. Worrying is the same as going outside with an umbrella, waiting for rain to hit it. Stop worrying and move on.

    Confidence is fragile: It builds up slowly, but can shatter like glass. Project your confidence and energy into believing in yourself. This is a very important and groundbreaking step — one that is usually the hardest to take. Start telling yourself you can do something, anything, and you will do it the best to your ability. Remove doubt, remove fear, and stick with positive energy.

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    Learn how to boost your confidence: How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

    Embrace Failure

    Do not fear failure. Do not run away from it. Face it, learn from it, grow, and take action. Just remember: You will never know success if you have never failed.

    Your confidence will bolster after embracing these facts. You will be immune to demoralizing results, and instead you will find ways to fix it, improve upon it, and make it better than before. You will learn to never say “can’t,” and will realize how many more opportunities you can create by removing that one word.

    Don’t let one simple and ugly word plague your confidence. You’re better and stronger than that.

    Start Making the Change

    But to actually start the process of change is very challenging.

    Why is that?

    Fear? Time? Don’t know how — or where — to start?

    It’s hard because what we’re doing is unlearning what we know. We are used to doing things a certain way, and chances are we’ve been doing them for years.

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    So here are some ways that I avoid using the word “can’t”, and actually take the steps to put forth the change that I wish to see. I hope you can incorporate these methods into your life.

    Write down What You Want to Change

    Write it on post-its, notecards, whatever makes you comfortable — something you will always see. I usually write mine on post-its and put them all over the wall behind my monitor so I always see them.

    Tell a Friend and Talk About It

    Discussing your goals, what you want to change, is very effective when you say it out loud and tell another person other than yourself. It’s almost like saying, hey, I bet I can do it — watch me.

    When you fulfill that goal and tell your friend, it feels rewarding and will motivate you to do it again in a different aspect. Who knows? Maybe your friend adopts the same mindset as you.

    Stop Yourself from Saying the Forbidden Word

    Sometimes,I can’t control myself in public when I’m with friends, so I have to be careful with the words I use so I don’t embarrass or insult anyone.

    Treat the word “can’t” as the worst word you can possibly use. Stop yourself from saying it, mid-sentence if you must, and turn your whole perspective around — you can do it, you will do it, and nothing is impossible!

    Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

    You think this change will be overnight? No way. This is a practice. Something you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life from now until forever.

    As I said earlier, you are unlearning what you know. You know how easy it is to say you can’t do something, so by unlearning this easy practice, you’re self-disciplining yourself to live without boundaries.

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    Practice this everyday, a little at a time, and before you know it, the word can’t will not be part of your language.

    Do Anything That Can Relieve Your Uncertainty

    When I catch myself saying I can’t do something or I don’t know something, looking up information on that action or subject, doing research, educating yourself, relieves that uncertainty.

    Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because the whole idea of it seems too large. We skip the small steps in our head and only focus on the end.

    Before you say you can’t do something, rewind and slow down a little bit. Focus on what the first step is, then the next. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it you will have done something you previously thought you couldn’t do.

    Final Thoughts

    You know what you must do. The first step is right now. Once you begin this habit, and really start noticing some change, you’ll realize the door to opportunity is everywhere.

    The funny thing is: Those doors have always been there. The evil word that we no longer use put a veil over our eyes because that’s how powerful that word is.

    More Tips for Strengthening Your Resilience

    Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

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