Everyone worries. Sometimes worrying can even be useful when it encourages you to take action. But if you’re held up with “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios, worry becomes a problem.
Anxious thoughts can drain your emotional energy, send your anxiety levels soaring, and interfere with your life. But worrying is a habit that can be broken. Here are 3 ways in which you can prevent worry:
Postpone your worry.
Set a designated time in the day when you can deal with the things which worry you. It is a good idea to do this for a short period (around 20 minutes) when you get home from work, so that your worry does not continue into your evening and night.
If something which worries you crosses your mind during the day, make a short note of it and let it go until your ‘designated worry time’. This ‘worry list’ means that you do not stress about anything more than is necessary, and allows you to deal with your worries at a time when you can be productive about them.
Make distinctions between solvable and unsolvable worries.
Solvable worries are those you can take action on. For example, if you’re worried about your bills, you can call your providers to ask about payment options. Unsolvable worries are those with no corresponding action. For example “What if my child gets into an accident?”
If the worry is solvable, make a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. After you’ve evaluated your options, make a plan of action.
If the worry is not solvable, accept the uncertainty. Focusing on worst-case scenarios will only keep you from enjoying the good things you have in the present.
Worrying is focused on the future and what might happen. Mindfulness can help you bring your attention back to the present. Mindfulness is based on observing your worries and then letting them go. This helps you identify where your thinking is causing problems.
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