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How Can I Stop Worrying So Much?

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Updated September 28, 2012

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Worried about chronic worrying? Try these 5 ways to worry less.

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Question: How Can I Stop Worrying So Much?

Are you worried? People diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, including panic disorder, often struggle with chronic worrying. Frequent worrying may seem irrational to outsiders. For instance, you may worry about things that haven’t even happened or are out of your control, such as the health and safety of your loved ones or the current cost of living.

Worrying so much can become a heavy burden weighing negatively on your relationships, self-esteem, career, and other aspects of your life. It can also impact you emotionally and mentally, contributing to your symptoms of panic and anxiety. Considering how disruptive worrying can be, you may be wondering how you can stop worrying so much.

Answer:

Even though you may be prone to worrying, the behavior doesn't have to control your life. Listed here are some easy tips to help you stop worrying so much:

Schedule Some Worry Time

It may seem counterintuitive to actually give your worries attention, but scheduling time to worry can be just what you need to reduce your anxious thoughts. To get started, determine a time of day that you can put aside 20 minutes to do nothing but worry. Some people prefer to carve out worry time in the morning, freeing themselves of worry early in the day. Others prefer to schedule their worrying for the evening, clearing their minds of all the worries that built up throughout the course of the day.

Regardless of the time of day you chose, the point is to spend some time focusing on your worrisome thoughts. Worries will still come up at times outside of your scheduled worry time. When they do, briefly acknowledge them, but only give them your full attention during your scheduled worry time.

By making a commitment to rumination sessions, you may begin to notice that you are in control of your worrying. Scheduling your worrying time helps you to break the chain of frequent worrying you experience throughout the day. Additionally, by only concentrating on your worries for a set amount of time, you may determine that they are not as urgent as you once thought. This can free up your mind to focus on more productive thoughts.

Push Past Procrastination

Focusing time and energy on your worries instead of taking action to solve your problems can become a form of procrastination. Many people spend time worrying about what they need to do instead of actually accomplishing their tasks. Plus, putting off responsibilities that you need to take care will only add to your worries.

Push past procrastination by making a list of all of the things that you need to get done. Every time you worry about another thing that you need to take care of, add it to the list. By writing a to do list, you get all of those anxious thoughts out of your head and on paper. A list can also be a helpful way to get you back on track to being more productive. Instead of worrying about what needs to get done, focus yourself on knocking off each task you wrote down on your list.

Talk It Out

You may find some relief by sharing your thoughts and concerns with a trusted friend or family member. Loved ones can be a great source of support, providing you with empathy and understanding. Friends and family can also offer you valuable advice, giving you a different perspective on your problems.

At times, it can be difficult for even the most patient loved ones to always be available to listen to your worries. If you are a chronic worrier, you may want to consider getting help from a professional who treats anxiety disorders. Additional resources and social support may be found through your church, group therapy, online support forums, or local support groups for anxiety.

Journal Through It

Many people with panic disorder and agoraphobia also struggle with feelings of loneliness and isolation. You may feel that you have no one to talk out your problems and worries with. However, a journal may be all you need to work through your inner thoughts, feelings, emotions and worries.

Journal writing is a powerful and effective way to get in touch with your inner self. By writing in a journal, you can work through your difficult emotions, uncover solutions to your issues, and change your perceptions and worries. Getting started in journal writing can be a simple as dedicated time each day to write down your inner thoughts. You can focus on addressing each of your worries, writing them out as they come up, allowing yourself the freedom to fully express how you are feeling.

Turn Your Thoughts Around

Worry is a negative thinking pattern that can be contributing to your panic disorder symptoms. Negative thinking tends to be a learned habit that can impact your mood and anxiety. Since negative thinking typically develops over time, it can be unlearned and replaced with more positive views.

Turning your worries and other negative thoughts around involves recognition, reality checking, and replacing. First, start by recognizing how often you are worrying throughout the day. It may help to even record these thoughts on a piece of paper as they come up.

Next, look at your worries and ask if you are being realistic. Try to look at the other side of a worry or negative thought. For example, if you worry that others won’t accept you due to your anxiety, ask yourself if that is necessarily true. Do people only accept those who are completely flawless? Do you really want to be friends with someone who can’t accept you for who you are? By reality checking and disputing your worries, you may begin to take on a different perspective.

Last, replace these negative thoughts and worries with more realistic statements. For instance, you may begin to think to yourself that not everyone will accept that you are an anxious person, but you are working on your condition and you accept yourself that way that you are.

Learn To Relax

You cannot possibly feel anxious when you are in a state of relaxation. Learning to relax can be made easier through the use of relaxation techniques. These activities are geared towards helping you release tension throughout the body and let go of your worrisome thoughts. The next time you are consumed with worry, give one of these relaxation techniques a try:

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