Worrying is a disease. Research shows that 40% of the things we worry about never happen. 30% of the things we worry about have already happened and actually only 8% of what we worry about actually happens.
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.
Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked, and in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, chronic worrying, and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, so it’s imperative that we take time to learn how to stop worrying and start living.
In his classic book How to stop worrying and start a living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you create a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.
Team Inspiring Life provides you with 5 simple tips to stop worrying.
5 Steps to stop worrying.
1. Put a Lid on Your Worry.
Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative thoughts and experiences when just walking away from them would serve our mental health far better.
To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.
In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief in order to learn how to stop worrying and start living.
2. Imagine the worst case scenario.
If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?
Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!
If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.
Start by writing down your biggest concerns. Then, write down the possible consequences of those events and then at least three ways you could overcome or deal with those consequences. You may find you have more tools at your disposal than you think.
3. Live for today.
You know that feeling: tossing, turning, and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments.” Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, and your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present moment.
The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past. This is, of course, easier said than done, but if you really want to learn how to stop worrying and start living, learning to compartmentalize in this way is imperative. Find a place for everything, just as you would in a perfectly organized closet.
4. Get organised.
There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.
But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to develop good working habits and stay organized: a desk full of unanswered emails and memos is sure to breed worries.
Research has shown that “clutter in one’s living space, negative emotions, and impaired social ability all predicted high procrastination scores”. Clutter will not only stress you out, but it will also make you put off the things you need to be doing, which will only cause more stress.
5. Take rest.
Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions, so it’s important to learn how to prevent both fatigue and worry.
It should be clear, therefore, that when you’re learning how to stop worrying and start living, learn to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.
It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively. Resting can include taking a nap, enjoying a walk through nature, or sitting on the couch with a good book. Find the form of rest that works for your unique body and mind.