How to Stop Worrying

4 steps to conquer anxiety

Do you wake up in the middle of the night with excessive worrying, asking a lot of “what if” questions or imagining worst-case scenarios, and want to know how to stop worrying? Worrying can be beneficial when it encourages you to take action to solve a problem, but if worrying has taken over your life, it becomes a problem in itself.

It’s time to stop worrying. Excessive worrying can be detrimental to your emotional and physical health, and interfere with your daily life. But you can learn how not to worry and train yourself how to stay calm and level-headed, even in the most uncomfortable of situations.

Step 1: Accept uncertainty and challenge your negative thoughts

You might believe your worrying will predict the future or control the outcome, but it won’t. Excessive worrying about all the possible things that could go wrong won’t make your life any more expected or predictable. If you want to learn how to stop worrying, you need to accept that certain aspects of life are uncertain and beyond your control.

When you get these negative thoughts, challenge them. Ask yourself, "Is there evidence that this thought or worry is true?" "Is there a more positive way of looking at this situation?" Challenging your worries when they arise will help you overcome them and stop worrying.

Step 2: Practice relaxation

Helpguide recommends setting aside 30 minutes per day to strengthen your body’s relaxation response as a method of how not to worry. Practice deep breathing, yoga or meditation.

According to C.S. Clarke, Ph.D., you can also try self-talk or self-directed imagery to help you relax and stop worrying. Using internal dialogue to intentionally intervene when you begin to feel worried or anxious is one of the easiest ways to not worry. How? By controlling the worry and not letting it control you. Self-directed imagery in our imaginations is also a way to cure worry by consciously choosing the images to match your internal dialogue or self-talk. See it, say it and stop the worry.

Step 3: Take care of your body

If you want to stop your excessive worrying, you need to take better care of your physical self. Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.; Melinda Smith, M.A.; and Robert Segal, M.A., at Helpguide indicate that maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle is one of the main ways to stop anxiety and worrying. Improving your physical health will improve your mental health.

First, eat better. Make sure you eat breakfast to start your day right, and get your recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Also, limit your caffeine and sugar. These can keep you up at night and increase your heart rate and anxiety, therefore contributing to the physical aspects of your excessive worrying. In addition, limit your nicotine and alcohol intake for the same reasons.

Finally, exercise more. If you want to know how not to worry so much, exercising is a great way to start. Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise per day is a natural anti-anxiety treatment.

Step 4: Make the choice

According to Success magazine, 90 percent of worries never come to pass, and deliberately choosing to enjoy life is the best way you can practice and master how not to worry. If you want to stop worrying, choose to stop worrying.

Paul J. Meyer in Success magazine says that he learned to address potential worries and say, “I’m going to wait to worry.” When he objectively and realistically addresses the issue, the need for worry goes away. He adds that for him to enjoy life while remaining physically healthy and mentally peaceful, worry cannot be part of his daily routine. So he chooses daily to put the brakes on excessive worrying. He chooses not to allow it into his life. You too can choose to live a worry-free life. By following the steps above, you can learn how to stop worrying and live happily.

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