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Practical strategies: how to worry less and live more fully



We all find ourselves worrying at times. In today's fast-paced world, there are many aspects of life that can cause us genuine concern, from finances, living arrangements, health, relationships, to work and more. It can be easy to get tangled up in anxieties about the future, regrets about the past, or uncertainties in the present.


When we find ourselves constantly dwelling on our concerns and what could go wrong, it steals the joy from our lives and can have significant negative affects on our mental, emotional and physical health.


If you're looking to break free from the grip of worry and embrace a more peaceful existence, here are some practical strategies that might help you worry less and live more:


Our Words matter: Changing our words can change our experience. Many of us get into language habits that don’t help us and we don't realise this can have a self-fulfilling influence on our thoughts and behaviours. There are so many words in the English language that can occupy our internal or external dialogue.


Start choosing words that could help you turn down the stress of worry and increase curiosity. You could try replacing ‘Worry’ with ‘Wonder’.   ‘I’m worried about how the party will turn out’ can become ‘I wonder how it will go’, or ‘I wonder how many people will show?' Wondering has a completely different energy.


Labels can also be unhelpful. Calling yourself or others a 'worrywart' or 'stress head' helps make it so. Labels and any 'I am' statements suggest that the condition is permanent, and part of our identity, and this can be especially dangerous for children.


Practise present moment awareness often.


Mindfulness is the art of being fully present in the moment without judgment. It involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment. This can be a challenge when you notice you are worrying.


By practising mindfulness regularly through techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply observing your surroundings, you can train your mind to let go of worries about the past or future and focus on what's happening right in the moment.


One healthy form of labelling is called the Just Worrying labelling technique, which is a way of 'saying hello' to worry without staying for a long visit. It allows you to become aware you are worrying, labelling it as worry then returning to your breath or changing the subject.


Set Boundaries with Technology


In today's digital age, there is so much information coming at us with constant notifications, emails, and social media updates, which can lead to increased stress anxiety and overwhelm.


You can set boundaries with technology by scheduling specific times to check your email and social media accounts, charging your phone in another room overnight so you don't reach for it on waking, turning off notifications during periods of relaxation or focused work, and families can be supported by establishing tech-free zones in your home. By reclaiming control over your digital devices, you can create more space for peace of mind.


Gratitude: a powerful antidote to worry


We are all designed to feel the full range of emotions, although we know too much time spent in worry is not healthy. And the good news is that we can't feel grateful and worried at the same time. At any time of the day, even despite genuine challenges we can actively choose to focus on something we are thankful for, whether it's health, relationships, nature, or simply the fact that we're alive and still building our resilience.


A gratitude journal can help, or just a few moments of focus on who we love or what we can acknowledge within ourselves builds our gratitude muscle. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude shifts your focus from what's lacking to what's abundant in your life.


Taking Action helps


Worry often stems from feeling powerless in the face of uncertainty. When you find yourself dwelling on what could go wrong, try to move your focus to what you can control and break it down into small proactive steps forward.


Planning a big project can feel daunting, which is when it can really help to break tasks into smaller, manageable actions, and prioritize them based on their importance and urgency, which can help you feel more in control and confident.


Writing things down can be very helpful as when things are out of your mind and on a page where you can see them it can start to alleviate worry immediately. This is great for big issues or small 'to do' lists and is especially helpful to settle those nagging worries that sometimes come to us in the wee hours.


Health is paramount.


It might sound cliche but getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods and engaging in regular challenging exercise are some of the cornerstones for physical and mental health from a prevention and treatment standpoint.


Make time for activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul, whether it's exercising, spending time in nature, practising a hobby, or connecting with loved ones.


Physical exercise especially helps boost mood, process stress hormones and helps us find solutions to issues, and studies suggest that resistance training has the largest effect on depression. Mind body practices like yoga are also very effective in supporting anxiety and worry.




 


Finally, setting boundaries around your time and energy, and saying no to commitments that drain you and yes to those that bring you joy and fulfillment can be very helpful.


Remember that taking care of you isn't selfish; it's necessary so that you can show up as your best self in all areas of your life.




It may not be possible to eliminate all concerns from your life, but you can apply some practical strategies to help you change your relationship with them, building your ability to cultivate a mindset of peace, resilience, and gratitude that allows you to navigate life's challenges with greater ease and enjoyment.


So take a deep breath, focus on what you can control, and build your ability to embrace the beauty of your life. After all, life is too short to spend it worrying.


As someone wise said, "worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles; it takes away today's peace."



Until next time,




The PLS team

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