- Meditation and Mindfulness
- Avoid Procrastination
- Talk to Someone
- Write a Journal
- Set a "Worry Time"
- Stay Busy
- Try Deep Breathing
- Get Some Sleep
Chronic worrying means being worried about things non-stop or for an extended period. Many people worry instantly or start getting anxious about something that still has to happen in the future.
All these things can harm your mental and physical health. Worry sometimes also becomes a more significant concern, such as anxiety. People who worry too much struggle to sleep, keep their immune system in check, and maintain their mental health.
These nine steps to end chronic worrying might just be what you need right now.
Practice meditation and mindfulness
While they may sound slightly unconventional to some people, mindfulness and meditation can help you renavigate your thoughts. There are many mindfulness apps, such as Headspace, that you can download on your phone.
Mindfulness helps create a sensation of calmness and distracts you from worrying thoughts. It will allow you to focus on things in front of you rather than worry about what's yet to happen or may happen.
Procrastination is both a symptom and an effect of worrying too much. Often, we end up spending our time worrying about something rather than doing it. If you put off responsibilities, you will only have to do them later.
They will also create additional stress and worry.
Talk to someone
For some people, talking to a friend or family member helps ease their worry.
If there's someone around you who is trustworthy and a good listener, talk to them about your problems. They may also give you good advice and help you look at your problems from a different perspective.
Don't talk to people who you know are judgemental or may make your worry worse.
Write a journal
Journaling is a powerful way to stop worrying about things you can't control. If you have no one to talk to or feel like no one understands, write about your inner thoughts, worries, and emotions in your journal.
Putting your thoughts on paper can sometimes help you get to the root of the problem and solve the cause of that worry. If you don't want to use an actual paper notebook, many phone journaling apps are also available.
Set a "worry time"
Why let worry consume your whole day? Set a specific time in your day just for worrying. For example, you could have 30 minutes in your day when you worry about things you have to do, the deadlines creeping up, and everything else. Setting limits on the time you spend worrying will help lower your stress and improve sleep.
Here are four steps to make this work:
- Identify what you are worried about.
- Find a time to worry about it.
- If you worry about it outside this timeframe, push yourself to think about something else.
- Instead of just thinking about a problem, use the "worry time" to brainstorm solutions.
Staying busy is a great way to distract yourself from unwanted thoughts. It can also help take your mind off things that you don't have the time or energy to deal with right now.
Research has also shown that when your hands are busy, the action interferes with the creation of visual images in the brain. So, do something with your hands if you feel like a negative image or scenario wouldn't leave your brain.
For most of us, our worrying mode is laying on the couch or in bed under the cover of blankets. This is only making the problem worse.
Instead, you need to get your heart pumping, because that's known to reduce stress and anxious thoughts. Research has shown that exercise reduces anxiety levels and induces the release of "happy" hormones in the body.It may be challenging initially, but make a habit of going for a jog or doing some form of aerobic exercise daily.
Try deep breathing
Breathing exercises are helpful if you want to stop worrying instantly. Instead of focusing on your problem, they allow you to focus on your breathing pattern and distract you from the worries.
Get some sleep
Chronic worry might keep you up at night, but your body and mind need sufficient hours of sleep to stay stress-free. Remind yourself that staying up will not help solve your problems.
Instead, if you stop worrying about the future and sleep the night away, it will help restore your energy. You can then wake up on a fresh mind the next day to resolve the worry.
If you have trouble falling asleep, try to:
- Avoid caffeine before bedtime.
- Drink a cup of chamomile tea.
- Put your phone away when you get in bed.
- Use natural sleep aids, like melatonin.
With these tips, you can stop anxious thoughts and lead a relatively stress-free life.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Behavior Modifications: "A Preliminary Investigation of Stimulus Control Training for Worry: Effects on Anxiety and Insomnia."
Cleveland Clinic: "4 Simple Steps to Get You Back to Sleep Fast."
Frontiers in Psychiatry: "Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Anxiety."
Frontiers in Psychology: "Movement Interferes with Visuospatial Working Memory during the Encoding: An ERP Study."
Genus: "Social relations and life satisfaction: the role of friends."
Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine: "The benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices during times of crisis such as COVID-19."
JMIR Mental Health: "Online Positive Affect Journaling in the Improvement of Mental Distress and Well-Being in General Medical Patients With Elevated Anxiety Symptoms: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial."
Neurological Sciences: "The role of deep breathing on stress."
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