How to Stop Worrying

Worry stole my month of April and I want it back! But I can’t get it back, nor can I retrieve the many other lost minutes, hours or days I have willingly handed over to events out of my control. But enough is enough!

It took a month for me to realize that my anxiety was getting me nowhere. The hours lost to solemn brooding certainly didn’t change a damn thing. My best friend still has stage four gastric cancer and there is nothing I can do.

Or is there?

I can take a cue from that friend (her positive attitude is truly something to aspire to) and give worry the one-finger salute. Instead of wasting my energy dwelling on the unknown, I can go through my day being mindful of life’s many beautiful moments and be grateful.

Don’t think for one minute I am in some sort of denial or have become indifferent to my friend’s plight, for I most definitely have not. But if she can continue to live in the present and not be a pawn in this game of life, then surely I can, too!

Worrying is the ultimate energy suck. It steals our peace of mind, causes sleep deprivation and can make us physically sick. Don’t give in to the illusion that your worrying will somehow change things. Above all, don’t let worry steal your joy.

How to Stop Worrying

It is estimated that approximately 8 percent of our worries ever come to fruition. And a whopping 97 percent of the stuff we worry about is either inconsequential or inevitably out of our control.

If you worry relentlessly over every small thing or find yourself caught in a cycle of worry, break the pattern with one (or all!) of these self-help tips.

1. The Stop Sign. Visualization is a powerful tool. The next time you catch yourself worrying, visualize a big red stop sign and say to yourself, “STOP.” If you are into it, put up your hand and do your best Supremes rendition, just for the hell of it.

2. Take Pen to Paper. Write down your worry and then list everything you can possibly think of that will help create a positive outcome. Sometimes all it takes is a little black-and-white reality check to see the difference between productive worries (those we can prepare for) and unproductive worries (those that are completely out of our control).

3. Natural Therapy. It is easy to let our worrisome thoughts get out of control. De-stress and stay grounded with aromatherapy, sound healing and/or earthing.

4. Get Moving. A brisk walk will help clear your headspace and keep those feel-good endorphins coming.

Do you worry too much? It’s only natural to have some worries, but if you worry excessively or your worries interrupt your daily activities, reach out for help. —Karen

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