It’s normal to worry about various things and events from time to time as it is a natural response to life’s many unknowns and challenges. But chronic and all-consuming worry can be troublesome and interfere with our ability to function freely and calmly in our daily lives. More importantly, being worried all the time can make recovery more difficult. Here are some helpful tips to reduce your worrisome and negative thoughts:
Remind yourself that worrying doesn’t stop things happening. Things will happen – or not happen –anyway.
Recognize that “What ifs” don’t usually help with problem-solving. It’s better to use logic and brainstorm for solutions. Take control of your emotions by using rational thinking.
Motivate yourself by something other than worrying. Take a break and do something fun, and then go back to your work again. That positive approach will reap more benefits.
Face your fears. The thought is often much worse than the actual thing you fear. President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Training your brain to accept that there’s no threat will help you to switch off the fear response. You’ll soon realize that it’s the fear of fear that you fear, nothing else. And that will eventually become easy to manage.
Ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Then, “What are the chances that it will happen?” Then “Will you survive it if it happens, in the end?” Usually, that helps to move us from an extreme and irrational way of thinking to a more realistic, and reasonable way of thinking.
Teach yourself a range of relaxation strategies – and then concentrate on them instead of on your different fears. Or, adopt a mindful approach – and keep your focus on “right now”. Mindfulness is one of the best-kept secrets to help people deal with anxiety. You can practice it by intentionally putting the focus on your emotions, and accepting in a nonjudgmental way whatever thoughts and sensations you’re experiencing at the moment. Matt Tenney, the author of The Mindfulness Edge, summarizes it 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.”
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