How To Stop Worrying And Anxiety?
There are some people who just seem to breeze through life without a care in the world. Always positive, always smiling and always happy, nothing ever seems to get them down. They take daring risks, head off on spontaneous adventures, and always seem to land on their feet.
Up until last year, I was the exact opposite of such a person. I was a worrier who was riddled with anxiety and negative thoughts. I wouldn’t do anything that took me out of my comfort zone in case it caused me great harm. While my friends were living their lives to the full, I was curled up on the sofa wasting my days away. It didn’t bother me all that much because at least I felt safe.
Eventually, I took action to change my life around. I realised that constantly worrying about everything is a waste of time. Before you know it, life has passed you by and all you can say is: “At least I haven’t died yet.” Where is the fun in that?
I know it’s not easy. But if you want to take the bull by the horns and do all those things you’ve always wanted to but haven’t out of fear and anxiety, here are a few powerful ways to stop worrying.
Usually when we worry, we’re focused on the future. People who have a fear of flying spend the days and weeks and months leading up to their flight picturing everything that could go wrong, and it further increases their anxiety.
Living in the future is entirely unhelpful, and it takes you away from the beautiful present moment. If you’re having trouble with this at the moment, practising mindfulness can help.
Mindfulness switches your focus to the present moment, bringing your attention to what is going on around you right now. It’s a technique that is based on letting go of your thoughts and just observing your surroundings.
To practice mindfulness, first of all acknowledge your anxiety. Observe your thoughts and feelings. Don’t fight them, just be at peace with them. Act as though you’re an outsider watching a movie.
Then, let your worries go. Thoughts come and thoughts go, so let your anxious thoughts pop along for a moment – and then watch as they drift away. This is what will always happen if you don’t engage in your anxious thoughts like you usually do.
Now that your thoughts have vacated, you can pay attention to your breathing. More thoughts will enter your mind, but again just watch them as they pass through.
Remember That Most Of What You Worried About Didn’t Actually Happen
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
– Winston Churchill
Most of what we worry about doesn’t actually happen. If it did, we’d have all starred in at least one Apocalypse by now.
I myself would have been torn apart by a gorilla on a safari trip, while I would also have been left marooned in the tropic of starvation after my cruise shop decided to throw me overboard for a giggle.
Ask yourself how many of your worries have actually transpired. The likely answer is very few – if any at all.
Spend Less Time Hanging Around People Who Make You Anxious
Another tip on how to stop worrying and beat anxiety is to spend less time with anxious people. Is there someone you hang out with who makes you anxious? Perhaps it’s a friend or a family member?
I had a friend who made me terribly anxious whenever we hung out. We’d grown up together, and continued to hang out despite the fact that we’d grown so far apart. Because there was such a distance between our personalities now, she made me anxious whenever we met up. Whereas I was quiet and restrained, she was vocal and boisterous.
I made the split eventually and stopped hanging out with her. It relieved a lot of my stress and anxious thoughts. If there is someone in your own life who causes you stress to hang out with them, talk to them about it. If talking doesn’t help, spend some time apart from them.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
“Live a little! You deserve it!”
This is something you have to tell yourself from time to time. If you’re scared of flying but really want to visit a far away country, cut yourself a bit of slack. Your goal isn’t to live forever, and breaking your rules now and then isn’t going to destroy you.
When I finally cut myself some slack and broke out of my chains, I felt amazing. I was finally living my life and actually enjoying it.
And guess what? Nothing went wrong, but everything went right!
Accept Some Uncertainty
People who worry all the time find it very hard to be okay with uncertainty. I certainly did! But when you can’t cope with uncertainty, your anxiety goes through the roof. Unless you know for sure every detail about a future event, it’s impossible to relax.
I know. I’ve been there. But it’s important to accept uncertainty. Constantly worrying about something is not a way of predicting the outcome of something. It might mitigate the risks, and it might be better described as hyper vigilance, but it doesn’t change anything.
Thinking about disastrous outcomes doesn’t make life more predictable. It just wastes your time and riddles you with anxiety. Get past the illusions and take each scenario as it comes. What will be, will be.
Stop Trying To Read Minds
Ever been texting a guy only for them to suddenly take ages to reply? All kinds of thoughts run through your head.
“Did I say something wrong?”
“Does he now hate me?”
“Was he cat-fishing me this whole time?”
Such thoughts will just make your anxiety worse. And they’re all usually way off the mark.
Instead of trying to read someone’s mind, ask them. Talk to them about what you want to know.
…and let what will be, be.
How to stop worrying and anxiety? What are your best tips?