Worrying is actually a habit – and one that’s sometimes very difficult to break. Chronic worriers are so busy projecting themselves into a future filled with disastrous consequences that they miss the present moment. The “what if's” that worriers obsess about rarely come true but can wreak havoc on the physical and mental health of the person worrying.
Breaking the worry cycle takes a lot of practice. You’ve got to pull yourself back from anxious thoughts about the future and plant yourself firmly in the present moment so you can observe and identify the problems and then do something about them.
Here are some tips to help you worry less and live more mindfully:
- Acknowledge your anxiety. It won’t do you any good to fight the feelings, so just acknowledge them and observe why you have them. Is it from a past experience? If so, you can begin to analyze those feelings for what they are (unfounded fear) and then let them go.
- Don’t engage the worries. When you acknowledge your worries rather than fighting them, you can treat them like passing cloudy weather. But, when you focus on the worries, it’s challenging to let them go and get on with your present life.
- Use meditation to focus on the present moment. Unless you’ve tried meditation before, you may become frustrated about staying focused, especially if you’re in the throes of anxiety. But keep practicing when you’re stuck on a worrisome thought, and your attention will soon be trained to remain in your control.
- Practice other worry-busting techniques. There are many relaxation techniques that can help you set the worries free so you can get back to making the most out of your life. Try Tai Chi, yoga, and deep breathing exercises.
- Focus on the important things. It’s especially difficult to break the worry cycle if you’re stressed by a deadline or other imminent problem. During these times, try and focus on things to get done in the order of how important they are.
- Declutter. Clear out the clutter on your desk so you’ll have a clean slate. And don’t forget about the clutter in your mind. Exercise, get into the fresh air, listen to music, or do something to clear your mind.
- Begin a task with enthusiasm. That’s an essential element in getting your mind on the task at hand and away from the worries and "what if's" of the world.
Worry is often unavoidable, and it sometimes seems that you can never get ahead of it, but with a little practice and patience, you will. 🙂