Worry is always on the horizon. It leads you to live in expectation of the worst possible outcomes. Paranoia can develop. You try to fight it, but you crawl into your safe space when it comes back. Worrying is not good; in fact, it’s counterproductive and can be very frustrating.
The good news is, people who worry can make changes. You can fight back against this menace. You can use strategies to train your mind and replace worry with much more positive, productive thoughts. Here’s how…
Don’t Self Isolate
It is common for people who struggle with mental health to suppress their feelings and try to deal with their problems all by themselves. Taking the self-isolation route will only lead to more issues. And, usually, you can’t do it alone. If this sounds like you, your first move can be reaching out to a friend or family member you trust and express your concern. It is so important to talk about how you are feeling with an understanding person. If the person you reached out to believes that you should seek further help, trust them, and know that it is for the best. There are so many resources, support groups and counselors out there. Your chances of recovery are much quicker if you push yourself to get help. Remember- what you resist persists.
Stop Caring What Other People Think
It’s not easy to let go of what other people think of you. Self-doubt causes so much unnecessary anxiety and is a common cause of worry for younger generations and even for older people.
An article on pickyourbrain.com stated, “We often worry about what people think of us. We worry endlessly that we might not meet society’s expectations”.
With this mindset, you will continuously be looking for the approval of others. Developing greater self-confidence is up to you and only you. Once you truly love yourself, self-doubt will begin to disappear and you will stop seeking approval from others to boost your ego. This will not happen overnight, but it will happen if you work daily to train your brain to detach from others’ judgments. Why would you want someone else to control your life? You are in control of your happiness. Focus on making yourself proud.
Be Real With How You Feel
As I said before, what you resist persists. Don’t deny your feelings – they are legitimate. It is entirely OK to feel angry, sad, or anxious. Let yourself feel these feelings and then ask yourself, “why do I feel this way?”. This way, you can learn about yourself and how you react to situations. Then, you will gain more self-confidence because you will know how to deal with your emotions.
Accept That You Cannot Control Everything
Worrying can often be a direct result of not being in control. The best way to fix this is to be present. Try not to think about problems that you may have in the future or had in the past. The future does not exist yet, and the past is over, so why would you worry about it? The only thing that you have to deal with is what is happening right now in this present moment.
Many people have hectic lives and completely forget to take care of themselves. Finding the time to take care of yourself is vital and will make such a big difference in how your day goes. Whether this is exercise, meditation, your diet, or just simply quiet time alone, there is always time to squeeze in something for yourself. Try waking up 20 minutes earlier, and begin your day with movement. Whether that movement is a short walk or stretch. It will set a fantastic tone that you will carry with you throughout your day.
Be Mindful and Intentional
Throughout the day, check-in with yourself. Remind yourself to be mindful and intentional. Ask yourself how you are feeling and examine those feelings. Once you tune in to those feelings, do something to change them if they are harming you. An excellent way to do this is to set intentions at the beginning of your day. There are many intentions setting journal prompts out there. Once you have your intentions, remind yourself of them throughout the day.
Matt Tenney, the author of The Mindfulness Edge, summarizes mindfulness like this: “We train our awareness so that we become less distracted by our own thinking, which allows us to enjoy our lives more, to be more present with people, and to see our world, both inner and outer, with greater clarity.”
Focus on Positive Thoughts
Practicing gratitude is a great way to change your mindset from negative to positive. Before getting up in the morning, think of three things that you are grateful for. The feeling of gratitude is so powerful, and it will take over all other emotions allowing you to put things into perspective. Every day you should reflect on how lucky you are. Did you know you can train your brain to switch negative thoughts into positive ones? When a negative thought comes into your mind, recognize it, and change it into something positive.
Don’t Try to Guess What’s Going on in Someone’s Mind
Have you ever laid in bed at night, unable to sleep because you can’t stop thinking about that one conversation you had that was a little bit awkward? Often times, we make up a story about what someone else is thinking when in reality, we have no idea. There we go again, worrying about what someone else is thinking. Life comes with many uncomfortable situations, but rather than overthinking them after they are in the past, we can choose to learn from them and move on.
Take Control of Fear
Before a big presentation at work, a performance on stage, or an interview for a job, fear often kicks in. Events like these are often associated with being “scary” or “intimidating”, but who decided that? It is hard not to be fearful when anticipating things because you begin to think about everything that could go wrong. But again, you are in control of this fear. When you trust yourself and stop worrying about what others will think, these fears will disappear. Train your brain to switch off fear, accept that there is no threat, and turn that feeling into something positive.