Stop Worrying: 12 Simple Tips and Techniques
Everything seems calm in the bedroom.
It’s quiet and dark.
I have my eyes closed.
Yet inside my head it is a cacophony of sounds.
My thoughts are noisy and my head is busy.
They fly from left to right and back again.
They come and go in circles.
Again and again and always in the same order.
The hours pass slowly.
In the meantime, I continue to worry.
Why am I not sleeping and what about tomorrow?
What if….? So what?
I keep worrying until the morning comes and a new day begins.
Worrying is a habit, it’s a problem that many people adopt early in life without being aware of it.
Worrying is not the same as thinking. Worrying is the continuous repetition of the same thoughts without ending. Thinking leads to solutions. Worrying leads to nothing.
Worry, we all do it. One is better at it than the other. After all, you have to be good at something, right?
It takes hours of your sleep and rarely leads to anything useful. It is a habit that is difficult to break. Yet it is possible. Fortunately.
The facts about worrying
Before we get into the tips and techniques to stop worrying, let’s get some facts about worrying.
The reality of worrying can have a sobering effect on your worrying behavior and is the first reason to stop worrying.
When you see how useless worrying often is, it becomes easier to stop.
50% of the things we worry about never happen. So we worry about nothing, about something that isn’t going to happen. A waste of time and a very good reason to stop worrying.
30% of the things we worry about have already happened. One-third of the time we spend worrying, we spend worrying about something that is in the past. Something that cannot be changed. Until the time machine is invented, nobody can go back to the past. What happened, happened. Another good reason to stop worrying.
12% of the things we worry about are things like what someone else thinks of you. This is as pointless as worrying about things from the past. You have no influence at all on what anyone else thinks about you. All you can do is do your best in good conscience and hope for the best. It’s time to stop worrying about what someone else thinks about you.
4% of the things we worry about are out of our control. This concerns matters such as health, death, a natural disaster or an accident. These are all things you can at best prepare for, but certainly have no influence on. So stop that whining!
In 4% of the things we worry about, we have some influence on the outcome. Hmmm, would worrying make sense then? Or should we stop worrying because 96% is meaningless. I think the latter.
Enough with the facts, on to the solutions.
Stop worrying starts with awareness.
Becoming aware of the fact that you are worrying is step 1. You cannot stop something that you are not aware of.
Step 2 is knowing that you control what thoughts are in your head. Subconscious thoughts can be consciously influenced.
Step 3 is actually to stop worrying. You can do that with the tips and techniques below.
12 tips and techniques to stop worrying
- Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. In other words, accept the worst case and work to improve on the worst. The moment you have accepted the worst-case scenario, you can let go of the situation and stop worrying. You have accepted that it is going to happen. Spend the time you have on actions that improve the worst-case scenario.
- Keep yourself busy. By being actively involved in something, you don’t have time to worry. Who has time for anything else when all the brain cells in your head are busy solving a puzzle or you need all your attention while watching an exciting movie. Do you lie in bed worrying at night? Then get out and do something fun until you’re tired enough to fall asleep. Make a list of things you still need to do. This is the ultimate opportunity to get rid of all the overdue chores.
- Distract yourself. Call a friend. Find the fun or take a walk. There are plenty of things to do while you’re worrying. Immerse yourself in a good book or wash the dishes by hand. You can also stop worrying by consciously distracting your thoughts. Think of something nice. This could be a past event that you really enjoyed or something you look forward to in the near future.
- Seek support from friends or family. Sharing your worries with people who care about you will lessen your worries. Shared sorrow is half sorrow. Other people can put your concerns in a new light. This creates a different view of your worries and they can disappear like snow in the sun.
- Make a decision. When you’re fretting about what to do in a given situation, the best thing you can do is make a decision. Choose to do one thing and accept the consequences. Spend the rest of your time again improving the consequences of your choice.
- Tackle your problems right away. Usually it is not the problem itself that is causing the worrying. Usually it is the consequences of the problem for others that cause the worry. How will others react to it or how will it affect them? In the context of prevention is better than cure: stop worrying before you have started. By grabbing the problems by the tail and solving them immediately, you don’t start worrying and you don’t have to stop worrying.
- Teach yourself to relax. Relaxed people don’t worry. They are relaxed and therefore deal more relaxed with problems that come their way. Simple relaxation exercises for every day can be found here.
- Listen to music. This can be any kind of music you feel comfortable with. Choose a genre that makes you happy and your worry will disappear into the background. Of course you can also listen to special music to relax .
- Write off your worries. Writing helps to put your concerns into words. After you write down your concerns, you will have more control over what you are concerned about. Keeping a diary is a good tool to stop worrying. If necessary, write at night if your worry is keeping you up.
- Take care of yourself. When you feel good about yourself, there will be less reason to worry. Take plenty of rest and make time for relaxation every day. Eat and drink healthy and get enough exercise.
- Count your blessings. Many people excel at listing everything that goes wrong. This causes a negative thought pattern. Thinking of a glass half empty is less fun than thinking of a glass half full. Of course, this only applies if there is something delicious in the glass. Make a list of all the things that went well. It will make you happier and allow you to stop worrying.
Watch your thoughts. Worrying often starts automatically. So consciously pay attention to what you think about and how you think about it. Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Break the endless worrying circle before it’s even complete. Stop worrying starts with awareness. This is a continuous process, something that you have to be aware of throughout the day.