How To Tackle Constant Worrying
Why do we worry? Worrying may be the result of our brains trying to plan ahead for unforeseeable events. In many ways, it is an attempt by our brains to protect us by trying to predict the future and prepare for it. However, worrying often doesn’t lead to any concrete action or planning, it spurs more worrying and more feelings of being demotivated and debilitated. We become obsessed with thoughts of “what if”. How do we lessen our worrying especially in light of it being so unfruitful? Here are some ideas:
Reassure Your Brain
Self-talk can be both helpful and harmful, depending on what we’re telling ourselves. When you find yourself worrying, remind your brain that while you’re grateful that it’s trying to protect you, “you got this”. Think about previous times in your life where you were able to meet the challenges of the future with confidence and resiliency. Write about these experiences and what you did to meet those challenges. Write down strengths and qualities that you possess that will help you weather the storms of life.
Watch Your Worried Thoughts
Imagine yourself cloud watching and envision the clouds passing into your field of view and then out of your field of view. Now pretend your worried thoughts are printed on these clouds, “Is my presentation tomorrow at work going to go okay?”, “Does my friend think I’m weird?”, “Am I going to pass that test?”. Pretend that you are watching these worried thoughts come and go on the clouds. Do so without judging the thoughts, reacting to these thoughts, or taking any action on these thoughts. Remind yourself that these worried thoughts are just thoughts.
Worrying for the sake of worrying is not helpful. Next time you start worrying, ask yourself what is the intention behind your worrying. Are you worrying aimlessly or are you worrying because you’re trying to prepare for the future? If your intention is trying to prepare for the future, create a gameplan with action steps as to how you can best prepare.
Control What You Can Control
Some things are outside of our control like how someone decides to respond to us. If you’re worrying, identify if there are any factors causing you worry that are within your sphere of influence. If they’re not, these worries can be considered unproductive. Worrying can make us feel out of control and not in charge of our lives. Focus on engaging in activities which make you feel more in control such as exercising, eating healthy foods, and making time for activities and hobbies.
Schedule Worry Time
If you find yourself aimlessly worrying a lot, schedule some time each day to let your thoughts run loose. Some people start off by scheduling 10-20 minutes of regular worry time. Increase or decrease the amount of time as you see fit. At the end of your scheduled time, cut off your worrying by telling yourself, “It’s not worry time, I’ll worry about that during my worry time”.
“Health is wealth”, a mantra Jessica’s mother regularly repeated throughout her childhood. Jessica values achieving balance and wholeness in both arenas of mental and physical health. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a practicing mental health therapist, Jessica promotes healthy living, self-care, mindfulness, and above all, kindness towards self.