How To Stop Worrying And Start Living
Worry keeps us up late at night. It’s what prevents us from doing things we might enjoy, whether it’s going on a first date or taking a spontaneous road trip. People who worry create worst-possible scenarios in their head, thereby focusing on the future and failing to live in the present. Worry can make even innocent sounds, like a car pulling up in our driveway, sound terrifying. Worse than anything, worry is super draining. It exhausts us.
But worry is just a state. It’s a behaviour and a habit that can be changed. None of us are born worried, but we become worried thanks to our experiences and perceptions of reality. Just like positive people purposely fill their heads with positive things, anxious people fill their heads with negative things. Replacing worries and fears with dreams and hopes isn’t easy, but it is possible. So let’s take a look at how to stop worrying and start living.
Identify What You Are Worried About
The first step you should take to erasing your worries is to make a neat list of all your worries. You might think that only one or two things are bothering you, but once you start writing things down, you’ll realise that there are actually many things that are preventing you from living your life.
Perhaps you have worries about your health that are stopping you from enjoying yourself, or maybe you are anxious about your looks. Whatever your worries are, write them all down so that you are better able to see and identify them.
Analyse Your List
Take a look at your list of worries and pick them out one-by-one. Analyse them and ask yourself whether a worry is productive or unproductive.
By productive, we mean that something can be done about it this instant. For example, you might be worried about the results of a tax return form and how much you have to pay. You can take steps right now to alleviating this worry by filling in your form online and sending it off.
All of a sudden, that’s a load off.
Unproductive worries are the ones where you feel as though you have no control over. All you can think is “what if” and there doesn’t seem to be any positive solution in sight.
Go To Bed Earlier
Next good tip on how to stop worrying and start living is to go to bed earlier. Studies have found that those who go to bed late and get only a few hours of sleep each night are more prone to depression, stress and anxiety than those who get a healthy eight hours of sleep.
Keep Things In Perspective
Ask yourself whether your unproductive worries are really worth your time. Most of what we worry about are things that others would say are “silly” and “unrealistic.”
Although you think your worries are founded right now, you need to really consider whether they are as threatening as you assume. Examine the threat more closely before giving it up to the gods. It’s in their hands – not yours.
See Your Friends
Another good tip on how to stop worrying and start living is to see your friends more often. Solitude is the playground of Satan. When we spend too much time alone, our thoughts go crazy. They run away with themselves. Our dopamine levels drop, and we invariably feel sad and anxious. Some people experience such depths of loneliness and distress that all they do anymore is worry.
When you keep yourself occupied by having fun with your friends, you no longer have the time to worry. In fact, it won’t be long before you go three or four days until you stop and think: “Hey! I haven’t worried about anything for a few days now!”
It’s all about changing your state. If sitting at home alone puts you in a disabling state, find a way of getting into an enabling state. This could be seeing your friends, or it could be going travelling or watching a movie.
Stay Away From Google
Especially if you’re worried about your health, it’s important that you spend some time away from Dr Google and don’t search your symptoms or fears. Whenever you tap an ailment into Google, the worst possible results are always returned.
It’s important that you live in the moment and look after your body and mind in the right way, rather than feeding it erroneous, scaremongering diatribes from the online world.
Learn To Embrace Uncertainty
It is the “what if” worries that complicate our lives and prevent us from sleeping our night. We create all kinds of horrible outcomes and remain dead certain that something bad is going to happen.
As you full well know from experience, though, something bad doesn’t usually happen. Either way, you should start embracing uncertainty more. Accept that you’re not a fortune teller and that things happen which are out of our control. You might get cancer, but you might not. Someone close to you might die within the next year, but they might not. You just have to accept that you cannot control everything, so why lose sleep creating disastrous scenarios?
Live In The Moment
Next good tip on how to stop worrying and start living is to try and live in a moment. People who worry tend to live ahead in the future. They spend their time in the present plotting what will happen tomorrow, next month and next year.
Sure, positive people do this, too. But they don’t dwell on the future – and they also sculpt a positive, vibrant future.
It’s time to stop thinking about what might happen tomorrow, and time to start enjoying today. Because life is out there, waiting for you.
Nip Things In The Bud Straight Away
One of my friends was a “Maybe” person. By that, I mean she couldn’t say “No” to people.
She would always give them either a “yes” or a vague “maybe” answer, usually when she didn’t want to actually do something. Instead of saying No immediately, she led people on until, eventually, she made her excuses.
The time between saying Maybe and finally saying No was not a nice time for her. She worried about her friends calling her up again to ask if she was still okay for doing such and such a thing, and she stressed out about having to eventually say No.
When you nip something in the bud straight away and say No, you no longer have to worry about it anymore. You’ve got one less thing to stress out about!
Worriers say that they can’t do anything if they’re uncomfortable. My friend says that she cannot work if something is on her mind. Because she works freelance, she often takes random days off because she is worrying about something.
She once took an entire week off work because she thought her headache was something sinister. It wasn’t the headache that was stopping her from working – it was her own thoughts.
I told her to test herself by pushing herself to the limits whenever she is feeling discomfort.
“Try to work while you’ve got something on your mind. Just try it and see what happens.”
She was amazed because it turned out that she was able to work while feeling uncomfortable. Pushing herself in this way revealed that she was a lot more capable than she thought she was.
How to stop worrying and start living? What are your best tips?