How can I stop worrying so much?
'I worry about everything.'
'I worry so much and I just can't get my brain to stop.'
'I'm a worrier or a worry-wart.'
Do any of these statements sound familiar?
Ruminating about the past and constantly worrying about the future is not only damaging to our wellbeing, it will damage our performance in almost every area of life, and makes it impossible to stay in the present moment or properly focus.
It can also take a major toll on relationships. If you're distracted all the time because you're inside your own head worrying, those around you may grow frustrated or weary.
All those "what if..." questions can come into all your conversations, as you predict all the most horrible outcomes.
The list is endless of the potential things we can choose to worry about and worrying is just plain exhausting.
Some would say, ‘But I don’t CHOOSE to worry, I can’t help it. That’s how I am.’ It's just me. I worry. That's what I do or who I am.
And the more we worry the more anxious we feel and that creates more doubt and uncertainty, and more stress.
So, if we accept that worry isn’t helping us, and we want to change that, then let's look at some strategies that can help release us from worry, or at least help us to worry LESS.
1. Replace the word.
Many of us get into language habits that don’t help us. There are so many words in the English language – choose one that will help you turn down the severity of the worry. 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? Or I wonder what the results will be?
Wondering has a completely different energy.
2. Watch out for Identity statements.
Whenever we say the words 'I am..... then whatever we say after that reflects a strong belief in who we believe we are.
'I am a worry-wart' is strong and seems permanent.' Turning that into 'I sometimes worry too much' reduces the strength of the belief and starts to leave space for some other things you could be.
3. Schedule your worry time.