We all worry. But worrying does not need to be destructive.
Worrying is a way we prepare for future events. We anticipate the coming of something, we feel nervous, and we prepare for it. For example, if you’re worried about an important business presentation, you’ll prepare for it. If you worry about your cholesterol, you’ll eat better. Worrying helps us to be productive.
But we often can find ourselves worrying too much, or in a way that is destructive to our mental health. If we worry too much about that business presentation, it may prevent us from being able to prepare properly. And if we worry too much about being healthy, we may make unhealthy decisions.
Worrying can take up much of our day. We worry about things that could happen, or about the worst possible situation. When it turns out that most of the stuff that we worry about probably won’t happen anyway.
As Winston Churchill once said ““When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
Here are some tips on how to worry the right way:
Avoid Unhealthy Worrying
If you only think about the worst-case scenario, you’re just going to feel more anxious, uncomfortable, and helpless about the situation. There is a Swedish Proverb that says “Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” Even the simplest situation can seem overbearing if you spend too much time worrying about it.
Worry VS. Rumination
Worrying describes the anticipation of future events. Rumination involves thinking of past failures and mistakes. Try not to confuse ruminating with worrying.
Limit Your Worrying
Try to set aside a specific amount of time that you are willing to let yourself worry. Allow yourself to feel those feelings during that period. This way you start to train yourself to not worry all the time.
Engage Your Mind
Distract yourself with other activities to get your mind of worrying. Amazon has a great selection of stress-relieving adult coloring books. Or binge your favorite show on Netflix. Feelings are natural, but you don’t have to consume yourself with them.
Think about how productive you are when you worry. And think about how productive you could be if you did not worry. Help yourself realize that you have a choice of whether to indulge in negative thoughts.
There are many mindfulness Apps available for smart phones. These are simple and convenient ways to practice meditation and help ease the worried mind. Insight Timer is one of the most popular free meditation apps out there. It offers thousands of guided meditations from teachers around the world. You can also use the meditation timer to practice independently. Calm is an app that offers relaxing sounds of falling rain, fireplaces, and other soothing natural sounds. Calm also offers a number of free guided meditations. Headspace is one of the most popular meditation apps and offers a variety of step by step tools to ease your way into a daily meditation practice.