Worries and doubts are a part of everyone’s life. Whether it’s about an upcoming assignment, financial concerns, work, or relationships. It is entirely normal to feel anxious from time to time. Worry itself is not bad. Instead, it’s productive in small amounts as it helps us avoid mistakes and make the right decisions. However, if it crosses a healthy limit and becomes persistent, it can start to make our life harder than it needs to be.
According to a Swedish proverb, “Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” In the majority of the cases, the real danger is not the thing that worries you. Instead, it’s the irrational fears associated with that thing and our inability to see past our negative thinking that that makes it so hard to get a grip over ourselves.
Fortunately, there are plenty of helpful tips that can help us rationalize our fears, take back control of our thoughts and live a worry-free life.
Set aside designated time to worry
Instead of worrying all day, give yourself a set amount of time every day to fully concentrate on your worries. It should be a fixed time each day, such as from 4.40 pm to 5.00 pm or any other time slot you prefer. This means you only concentrate on your worries at that time. Whenever something worries you during your day, you instantly think about something else and remind yourself, that you will worry about it later during those twenty minutes but not now. When that worry time comes, only think of your worries and any productive solutions that can help you overcome those worries. In this way, you train yourself not to stay in endless cycles of anxiety and stress all day and give yourself a fixed time each day to think about ways to solve your worries.
Use the five by five rule.
The five-by-five rule is that if it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it. means that you should not spend more than five minutes worrying about things that won’t matter in five years. How often do you worry about something that won’t even matter after a while? We usually end up paying more attention to some worries than they deserve. For example, someone made a rude comment about your appearance, and it really made you feel bad. You are worrying about it again and again, but ask yourself, will it matter after five years? You will find out that five years aside, it won’t matter even after a couple of weeks, so there is no need to pay that much attention to it in the first place. When you look at things from a broader perspective, you often find out how useless it is to worry about it and that you are simply overthinking about them and thus giving them more power.
Write down your worries.
Writing is an excellent tool to work through your inner feelings, worries, and disturbing emotions. When you write your thoughts down, you see your worries for what they really are instead of what you are thinking of them to be. Writing gives you a way to let it all out and process your thoughts without involving your emotions. By writing, you get in touch with your inner self and work through your stress and anxieties, uncover different solutions that you were previously unaware of, and learn to look at things from a different perspective.
Talk it out with a loved one.
Having a heart-to-heart conversation with someone who understands and emphasizes with you can have an amazingly therapeutic effect. Sharing your worries with friends and family helps you vent, get valuable advice and look at your situation from perspectives that you were previously unaware of. Doing so interrupts your worry cycle and enables you to recover more quickly from worries and stress in comparison to dealing with it alone. Don’t underestimate close friends who you can count on in the hour of need. Your social circle plays a vital role in your mental health. Similarly, keep your distance from negative and worrisome people and prioritize positive and helpful individuals in life.
We often let our minds run on autopilot without ever paying attention to the quality of our thoughts. We either give too much attention to our future or are stuck ruminating about the past. The more we deviate from the present moment, the more worries we experience because our mind is not experiencing the current reality. Mindfulness is an age-old practice that has been scientifically proven to help you become more observant of your thinking, control your anxious thoughts and maintain an overall healthy mental wellbeing. Practicing mindfulness daily can provide long-term mental health benefits and be one of your best tools for overcoming worries.
Engage in meaningful activities
The more we stay isolated, the more time we have to overthink negative thoughts. Being idle and not having something meaningful to engage yourself in can fuel your worries. Stay busy and bring a variety of tasks into your daily routine. Exercise is also an excellent way to release stress and make you calm almost instantly. Try setting aside some time to exercise each day, read books, put some time into your hobbies and try to engage in healthy distractions as much as you possibly can.
Develop a realistic sense of control
There are some things that are under your control and there are some that aren’t. Life starts to become difficult when we stop putting effort in things that we can change and don’t let go of things that are out of our control. When you strike a good balance of control in your life, you can choose your own attitude and behavior towards how you approach your problems. For example, if an unhealthy relationship is bringing you down, try to see what you can do within your control to improve the situation, but if despite everything nothing seems to get better, it’s better to let go of it and move on with your life and try for someone better because after a certain point it’s out of your control and hanging on to it will only increase your problems. Similarly, see what other areas of your life require you to adopt a realistic sense of control and change your attitude towards those.