In this blog, I share my top tips to stop worrying and feel less stressed. When you find a way that works for you to stop worrying and feel less stressed, you can improve your life. We are all working and living under increasing pressure. Life is fast paced and not showing any signs of slowing down. On a day-to-day basis we have so much to think about and so much to do. The pressures of the moment are enough to make us feel stressed.
The Problem with Worrying
The problem with worrying is that it adds pressure to your already busy life but it’s all in your head. Whilst you are trying to focus on the task in hand, your mind is galloping off into future doom and gloom. This adds another layer of pressure in your life. Left unchecked, worrying can become extreme and lead to anxiety and stress-related illness. Worrying has no benefits to you or your mental well-being. It increases your stress levels but also stops you from enjoying what is happening right now.
Worrying can occur when you are already stressed out and overwhelmed. But it can be so out of control that you even worry when there is nothing to worry about. This takes away present joy. Like sitting on a beach whilst worrying about a meeting you are attending in 2 weeks time. Sometimes it is exhausting.
What is worrying?
Worrying is a habitual thought pattern. It is the path your mind takes you on when you think about the future. Most of us have an occasional worrying thought. It’s what happens afterwards that can cause the problem. I know some people who can go from a worry about something small to death in destruction in a few minutes. The key to stop worrying and feel less stressed is to interrupt the habitual thought pattern. You can then work on your mind to reduce the number and frequency of those worrying thoughts.
Top Tips to Stop Worrying and Feel Less Stressed
Ways to Interrupt Thinking Patterns
Techniques to use in the moment when you notice that first negative, worrying thought.
Let Go Breathing
Breathe in through your nose and think ‘let’. Blow out through your mouth (like blowing out through a straw) and think, ‘go’. Keep repeating the cycle until you feel the worrying thought has gone.
Visualise a big, red stop sign in your head, think ‘stop’ and feel the sense of your thinking grinding to a halt. Keep repeating until you feel calm.
Ask yourself, ‘Have I done everything I can do?’ and ‘Is there anything else I can do?’. If there is action you can take to reduce the worry, then do it or write it down.
A 5-10-minute chat with someone you trust could help you reduce the worrying thoughts. Make sure it is someone upbeat and positive and not someone who will join you on the route to doom and gloom.
Decide that you are going to worry about that thing later. Jot your worry down and then decide that you will worry at 6pm this evening for example (not too close to bedtime). Then limit the amount of time you spend on the worrying.
Long -Term Practices to Reduce Worrying
Your daily habits define who you become. If you adopt some new habits in the care of your mind, you can make a difference to how you feel day-to-day.
Use a journal or fill a worry jar with bits of paper with your worries written on. There is something about writing things down which can help you release them. Once you see your worries on paper you will find it easier to see how little they make sense.
If you are the kind of person who picks up on what is going on around you then try to stay away from the news and social media. Unfollow the negative people who always share the latest bad news. Leave those groups who are stuck in the rut of sharing all that is wrong in the world. Avoid the news, particularly as a start or end to your day. If your brain is already wired for negativity, don’t feed it any more evidence that the world is a terrible place.
Getting moving helps reduce worrying. It helps your body produce vital happiness hormones like serotonin. Regular exercise will help you stop worrying and feel less stressed.
The practice of meditation reduces worrying thoughts and anxiety. It is learning to take your attention from your thoughts (worrying) to your body and breath (the present). Meditation has an immediate impact on your mind, but you may not perceive that for quite a while. That is why it is vital to persist with meditation. Keep practising daily and you will see the benefits in the long-term. I use guided meditations available on APPs like Calm and Headspace but also on YouTube.
Taking time every day to notice the things you have to be grateful for rewires your brain for happiness. The more gratitude you feel, the stronger your positive thinking neural pathway will become. Try keeping a journal where you write 5 things every day that you are grateful for. They don’t have to be big things. Flowers in bloom, the sunshine, a parking space when it is busy, a cup of tea made by a colleague or a hug from a child. Gratitude is another practice which will not change you overnight but will make a difference if you keep going.
Like every area of life, change doesn’t generally happen if we don’t take action. Changing your mindset from worrier to happy and calm is no different. All these techniques take practice and to become a habitual part of your day. On that note, start small. Chose one short and one long-term technique from the above list and give them a try. In this way you can stop worrying and feel less stressed.