By Steven Gillman
We all worry at times, and there is probably no way to stop worrying forever. There are some specific ways to stop right now, however. The following tips on how to stop worrying come from experience, because I've always been a bit of a worrier, and I had to learn some good techniques for stopping this energy-sucking habit. Here are five of the best.
1. Take action now. Any action towards a goal tends to diminish worry. Thinking too much about your goals or plans, especially if you dwell on the hurdles, will cause you worry and stress. Of course you should plan well, but when planning drifts towards worrying, it's time to start doing something positive. Take action!
2. Make decisive decisions. When you want to stop worrying too much about an unresolved issues, you need to make decisive decisions, and even bad decisions may be better than doing nothing. Often you will immediately resolve the stress when you, for example, finally decide to quit that job, buy that house, or make that phone call. Nothing crowds and clouds your mind with worry as much as decisions waiting to be made. Make them now, or at least start gathering the information you need to make them. If they prove to be bad decisions, just make new ones.
3. Use mental categories. Too many things going on in your head? Put them on lists and you may feel better. It works well for many of us worriers. When you are dwelling too much on something, and you stop to schedule a time to work on it, or just put it on a list, it is easier to let go of it for now. Jot down that phone call you have to make on tomorrow's list, and you'll feel less worried now. You're basically creating "mental categories." In fact, just saying to yourself, "There's nothing I can do about this until Monday," can put a worry into a category of "nothing to worry about right now."
4. Deal with problems directly and quickly. To eliminate worry when there are real problems, try to confront them head-on, and resolve them quickly. I once had to sue someone over a business matter, and I was worrying about it for weeks. When I finally just filed the papers, got on the phone, and came to an agreement, my stress was gone. Actually, my worrying began to dissipated as soon as I started acting, BEFORE the resolution (See #1).
There is more mental pain and worry in anticipating problems than in the problems themselves. If you lost a thousand dollars in the stock market last year, you probably suffer less from that today than you would from wondering if you'll make it on time to a concert you paid $50 for. The anticipation of problems is what causes the most worry. Just deal with them head on as soon as is possible, and resolve them to the extent possible.
5. Meditate to eliminate worry. Meditating is a great way to relax and to stop worrying, but what if you don't have the time for more involved meditative practices? Don't worry. Just try this: close your eyes, let the tension out of your body and take several deep breaths through your nose. That's it. Want even easier meditation? Try brain wave entrainment CDs that do all the work for you. Just pop on the headphones and they'll relax you by slowing your brain waves.
Try the above techniques. Make habits out of whichever ones work best to stop your worries. They need to be habits because nothing works if you forget to use it. In fact, until they become habitual, you may want to carry a list of your favorite techniques for eliminating worry.