I’ve been catching myself worrying quite a bit lately. Worrying about details, choices, little things, big things. It’s crazy because once our minds get into worry mode we can find ourselves worrying about everything. It can sweep us up into a bad cycle if we are not careful.
So, I sat with it. I caught myself getting stuck in negative thoughts, assuming that everything horrible in every situation of my life would happen. I found myself getting stuck on my biggest fears, the worst possible outcomes, the “this” and the “that” of playing things out in my head in every direction and basically creating problems that didn’t even exist yet.
The anxiety and overwhelm that comes with being stuck in a worry holding pattern can make us sick. It’s been a while since I’ve experienced this and I know I can’t be the only one that finds themselves overanalyzing and worrying about every facet of their lives.
Should I do this? Should I do that? But what if this happens? And if I do this then maybe that could happen. What if I fail? What if I make the wrong decision? Will they be mad at me? What will they think? What if I get hurt? I’m afraid this might happen if I….
Sound familiar? As humans our brains can go a mile a minute especially when we are thinking through things. It’s natural to want to make the best decisions for ourselves – our lives, our loved ones, our careers and our well being. However, sometimes we can get into a bad habit of being worried about every little thing.
I found myself doing just that this past week. As you know, if you’ve been reading for a while, I share what’s going on in my life and practical things I do to keep myself in alignment. I try to stay very aware of things that happen to me that I know happen to everyone and then to share from a place of authenticity where we can all relate.
I’ve struggled with anxiety since my days of drinking and drugging. It was actually a catalyst to my recovery and while I experience it much less these days, I still manage to get hung up in worry from time to time. So, if you are a worrier, I know exactly how you feel. I always have to reel myself in with these simple ways to worry less. I’ve got to say it’s some of the best stuff I’ve learned to create more happiness and calmness in my life.
8 Ways To Worry Less
Bring awareness to yourself.
Bringing awareness to your worrying patterns will help you realize when it’s happening as well as how often you’re doing it. When we start to shine a light on things, only then can we really start to work through them. From one worrier to another, simply start by acknowledging your worries, anxieties and when you are obsessing over things. Just take a moment to become a witness and to notice when and how you’re hopping on the worry train.
Remind yourself that everything always works out for your greatest good.
This is an extremely powerful way to calm yourself when you are stuck in a bad mental pattern. When you catch yourself feeling worried or anxious, bring awareness to it and then gently remind yourself that everything always works itself out. When we remember that life is happening for us and not to us, we can find small pieces of rest in that our greatest good is always at the forefront.
No amount of worrying is going to change an outcome.
We must remember in these moments of fear or worry that nothing we are shuffling around in our head will actually change how things happen. We can play a scenario out in our mind as many ways and times as we want but at the end of the day it isn’t really productive. It’s great to be aware of the options surrounding situations in your life, but it’s more important to remember that no amount of worrying can change the future.
Stay focused on what you want to have happen instead of what you fear.
When we are worried, we are not attracting what we truly want to happen. Instead we are telling ourselves all the bad things or negative experiences we “could” have instead of staying focused on all the beautiful things we actually want to have occur. If we are focused on what we don’t want to have happen, then it makes it much harder for what we do want to have happen to take precedence. When I catch myself worrying, I change my thoughts to how I want things to play out instead of what I’m worried “might” happen. This simple shift can really impact how we frame things and alleviate worry almost in an instant.
Realize and pay attention after it passes.
How many times have you agonized over a decision or worried about something, then it happens and it was not nearly as bad as you made up in your head? Lets be honest – This. Happens. All. The. Time. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve been worried about just in this past week that have already passed and were so much easier than I made them out to be because of my worries.
Nothing is ever as bad as it seems and often we create monsters in our head that simply aren’t real. The more often we can pay attention to things we were worried about as they pass, the more we realize so much of our worry was unnecessary.
There is no wrong choice.
My mom once said to me “You can do no wrong.” This was a sweet reminder that no matter what happens there really is no wrong answer. Sure, we can make mistakes, but when when we do, we simply learn and grow in ways that we need to.
There will never be anything that you cannot fix or figure out. When we keep this reminder at the top of our minds, it helps us to feel much more calmness knowing that there is truly no wrong choice. Life is full of lessons and we adapt accordingly. We must always remember that there is always a solution available no matter what we choose. When there is no wrong choice, worry has no place to set up shop.
It’s really important to do activities that offer a release. For me, I used to think drinking and doing drugs was the perfect answer to all my troubles. In my sobriety, I’ve found that couldn’t be further from the truth. What keeps me grounded are my spiritual practices and getting my sweat on. I always come back to what helps me create balance.
So, I’ve been on my yoga mat almost everyday. I’ve been spending time in nature, doing hikes and walks outside. I’ve been praying and getting to church. In these moments, my mind is more in tune with enjoying this time I’ve created for myself and is more occupied with what I’m doing, so I don’t have time to worry. Getting active and going to a happy place will take your mind off things and give you a much needed release to anything gripping down on you, even if only for a brief moment. Find time to put it all down and to ground yourself by being active.
The best way I’ve ever found to beat worry or anxiety is to pray. I just give it to God and ask for answers, guidance and to keep me safe. I also remind myself that he will not allow anything to happen to me that isn’t for my greatest good.
Giving up our worries to something bigger than ourselves is the most effective way let it all go. We might have to do this every day or sometimes every hour, but when we keep surrendering our worries as they arise, we create the space in our minds to let life happen without mentally twisting and suffocating ourselves.
These are simple practices that have worked for me time after time. This is exactly what I put into practice this past week to help me wade through the waters of worry I felt myself deeply treading in. It has made a huge impact how I feel and how I’m working through what’s in front of me.
When you feel yourself worrying or feeling stressed, see if you can bring some of these tools into your own thinking. When we are able to change our mindset, we can create radical shifts in how we feel and operate. Ultimately in doing so it helps us to experience life on a higher vibrational level with much more happiness and peace.
And if all else fails, you can always start singing “Don’t worry, be happy.” I dare you to NOT whistle. Namaste.