Do you spend a lot of time worrying about things that may or may not occur? If you may be over worrying or potentially suffering from chronic worrying, it seems natural, almost like a good luck charm, to anticipate the worst. But this thought process doesn’t give you any more control over the outcome. As an alternative, try these five techniques to help learn how to overcome worry get a handle on distressing situations.
1. Assess the Odds of a Negative Event
Experts have studied how worry and fear predict actual results. It turns out that 85% of what we worry about never happens. So, the worst-case scenarios you focus on are a waste of energy. A more productive approach is to review the situation and ask yourself how likely is that negative event REALLY going to happen. If the odds are >50%, then identify one action you can take to control the situation. If odds are <50%, then accept that you’ll have to wait it out and move on.
2. Set Realistic Expectations for Yourself
If you have an Inner Critic mindset, you may have unrealistic expectations of what makes for a “productive” day. One way to
find out is to ask yourself to what standards you’d hold a good friend or respected colleague. Then consider holding yourself to
the same standards.
3. Rely on Your Role Model
We all know someone who seems to be cool under pressure – use that person as your role model. Stop to think about how that person responds versus reacts to a situation, and next time try to approach anxiety the way they do. Instead of engaging in negative self-talk, think positively and overcome your fears.
4. Chunk Your Time to Better Manage It
As someone who worries, it can feel like you are paralyzed by the enormity of a situation. But, breaking it down into multiple mini-projects will make the job easier to
tackle. Most importantly, remember to delegate your day-to-day life responsibilities when possible!
5. Trade “Balance” for “Fit”
Instead of “Work-Life Balance,” which implies two competing forces that take equal parts of your time, consider the idea of “Work-Life Fit.” With our 24/7 accessibility, a 50/50 balance isn’t realistic. But by thinking of all your priorities (work, family, relationships, community and healthy self-care) as intersecting pieces in a puzzle allows you to fit them together in flexible ways that result in a more satisfying, less stressful life.
6. Take Deep Breaths
If you feel yourself overcome with worry or anxiety, engaging in deep breathing exercises may help manage your fear. Start by first breathing out and try to completely empty your lungs. Then, take long, slow deep breaths through your nose as this helps to slow your breathing. Other tricks that may help you feel calmer include counting and saying "relax" in your mind when you breathe.
7. Get Moving
Another way help keep your excessive worrying at bay is to get moving. Studies show that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise may help reduce anxiety. Even a simple walk or jog may provide hours of relief from stress and anxiety. Federal guidelines recommend at the minimum 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity and 1.25 hours of vigorous activity each week. Take the time each week to get up and move to help boost your mood and worry less! The next time you feel anxious or worried, think about the tips above and how you can overcome those gloomy thoughts and lead a life of positivity. Although overcoming the everyday worrying will take time, there are many ways to curb your stress and anxiety. Remember, you are in control of your thoughts and can turn them from negative to positive.