Sometimes it can feel like your mind is working against you. You’re trying to live your life, but your brain won’t stop focusing on bad things that could happen. Whether or not those things actually will happen, these kinds of thoughts can be frustrating—and exhausting. It takes a lot of energy to be worried all the time!
The emotion you feel when you’re worrying all the time is called anxiety. Your body tenses up, and your mind becomes fixated on the thing you’re worried about. It can be hard to concentrate on anything else. Anxiety can also affect your appetite and make it hard to sleep.
A little anxiety can be useful. For example, if you’re anxious about an upcoming exam, it might motivate you to study so that you feel more prepared. But anxiety can easily get out of hand. If you’re so anxious that you can’t concentrate on studying, the anxiety is no longer useful.
Reducing your anxiety in the moment
If your anxiety has gotten out of hand, the first thing you need to do is bring it down to a manageable level. This can be easier said than done, but with some practice you should be able to find a few coping skills you can use. A few simple ones you can try are deep breathing, exercise, and writing in a journal.
Once your anxiety is a bit lower, you can start to think about what’s actually going on: What is your anxiety trying to tell you?
Worrying about real-life problems
It’s natural to feel anxious about something that realistically might happen. For example, if you’re about to move to a new city, of course you’re nervous—your whole life is about to change! But once you get there and have had some time to settle in, the anxiety will likely pass.
In the meantime, give yourself a set amount of time—say, half an hour—to sit with your anxiety. Make a list of everything you can do to prepare for the thing you’re worried about. The next time you feel anxious, use a coping skill to bring your anxiety down to a manageable level, then look at your list and see if there’s anything on it you can do. And if there isn’t? Use a coping skill and move on.
When your worries are about something that’s very unlikely to happen, or if you’re disproportionately worried about something relatively small, your anxiety is considered irrational. (“Irrational” is another word for “not realistic.”) Sometimes, when people realize their fears are irrational, they stop worrying about those things. But this doesn’t always happen, especially if you have an anxiety disorder. If you think you might have an anxiety disorder, take a mental health screen to find out whether that’s likely. Fortunately, anxiety disorders are treatable.
There’s a brutal truth in life that some people refuse to accept–you have no control over many of the things that happen in life.
Some of the people who resist that truth become control freaks. They micromanage, refuse to delegate tasks, and try to force other people to change. They think if they can gain enough control over other people and the situations they find themselves in, they can prevent bad things from happening.
Others know they can’t prevent bad things from happening, but they worry about them anyway. They fret about everything from natural disasters to deadly diseases. Their worries keep them occupied, but ultimately, they waste their time and energy because worrying doesn’t do any good.
If you waste a lot of time worrying about things you can’t control, here are six things that can help:
1. Determine what you can control.
When you find yourself worrying, take a minute to examine the things you have control over. You can’t prevent a storm from coming but you can prepare for it. You can’t control how someone else behaves, but you can control how you react.
Recognize that sometimes, all you can control is your effort and your attitude. When you put your energy into the things you can control, you’ll be much more effective.
2. Focus on your influence.
You can influence people and circumstances, but you can’t force things to go your way. So while you can give your child the tools he needs to get good grades, you can’t make him get a 4.0 GPA. And while you can plan a good party, you can’t make people have fun.
To have the most influence, focus on changing your behavior. Be a good role model and set healthy boundaries for yourself.
When you have concerns about someone else’s choices, share your opinion, but only share it once. Don’t try to fix people who don’t want to be fixed.
3. Identify your fears.
Ask yourself what you are afraid will happen. Are you predicting a catastrophic outcome? Do you doubt your ability to cope with disappointment?
Usually, the worst case scenario isn’t as tragic as you might envision. There’s a good chance you’re stronger than you think.
But sometimes people are so busying thinking, “I can’t allow my business to fail,” they don’t take the time to ask themselves, “What would I do if my business failed?” Acknowledging that you can handle the worst case scenario can help you put your energy into more productive exercises.
4. Differentiate between ruminating and problem-solving.
Replaying conversations in your head or imagining catastrophic outcomes over and over again isn’t helpful. But solving a problem is.
So ask yourself whether your thinking is productive. If you are actively solving a problem, such as trying to find ways to increase your chances of success, keep working on solutions.
If however, you’re wasting your time ruminating, change the channel in your brain. Acknowledge that your thoughts aren’t productive and get up and go do something for a few minutes to get your brain focused on something more productive.
5. Create a plan to manage your stress.
Exercising, eating healthy, and getting plenty of sleep are just a few key things you need to do to take care of yourself. You have to make time to manage your stress so you can operate more efficiently.
Find healthy stress relievers, like meditation, spending time with friends or engaging in a hobby. Pay attention to your stress level and notice how you cope with distress. Eliminate unhealthy coping skills, like drinking too much or complaining to other people.
6. Develop healthy affirmations.
I have two phrases I use to remind me to either take action or calm down. The first one is, “Make it happen.” Whenever I catch myself saying something like, “I hope I do OK today,” I remind myself, “Make it happen.” It reminds me I’m in control of my actions.
Then, when I find myself thinking about something I have no control over, like “I hope it doesn’t rain on Saturday,” I tell myself, “I can handle it.” Those quick little phrases I have on hand keep me from wasting my time on things I can’t control. I’ll either do what I can to make it happen or deal with the things I have no control over.
Develop a few healthy mantras that will keep you mentally strong. Those sayings will help you combat self-doubt, catastrophic predictions, and endless rumination.
If you are a worrier, you know how difficult it can be to stop when you start. Ruminating over everything and anything and nothing is a vicious cycle to fall into.
Deadlines, responsibilities, partners, to-do lists, children, dinner, laundry, appointments. ANYTHING. Sometimes people worry about worrying itself!
If you can relate, you aren’t alone. Studies show 38 percent of people worry daily. So, why do we worry? One word. Uncertainty.
Worriers believe that, by worr y ing about things, they will be able to control their future. They think that they are protecting themselves. The line of thinking is, “I’ll be safe if I worry.”
Here’s the kicker…none of us have control over the external world. The only thing that we can control is ourselves.
Research shows that 85% of the things that worriers worry about have a positive or neutral outcome. But they continue day after day — year after year — to worry about bad things that almost never happen.
Abraham Hicks said it best, “Worrying is using your imagination to create something that you don’t want.”
Professor Ad Kerkhof, the author of the new book “Stop Worrying”, believes people can learn to break, what has often become, the habit of a lifetime.
Let’s talk about 3 ways that you can kick the worry habit.
Life is unpredictable. We can’t even be sure what is going to happen tomorrow, let alone in the future. All that we have is the present moment, which is why we need to embrace it.
In the words of Eckhart Tolle, “Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are caused by too much future and not enough presence.”
Change is coming whether you like it or not, so why not jump on board the change train.
It all starts with letting go of the illusion of control.
Psychotherapist and spiritual advisor Estelle Frankel, in her book “The Wisdom of Not Knowing,” explores the power of the unknown to be friend rather than foe, saying that it is the key to our personal growth.
When we let go of the need to know everything, we are able to create our own path in life. There is freedom in uncertainty.
Learn how to embrace the spontaneity of life and be open to new opportunities. You never know when one experience could change the direction of your life forever.
When we worry, our nervous system goes into overdrive. When our mind spirals our body follows suit.
Whatever you are worried about, whether it’s family drama, a stressful job, or a difficult relationship, don’t allow it to have its way with your health.
A study published in the journal BMJ Open shows that this type of worry, ironically, is linked to a 70% higher risk of heart disease. This is no way to live.
In the words of Bryant McGill, “Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.”
When we get caught in a state of worry it’s easy to forget that we are in control of how we feel. There are many ways to chill out when your mind gets the best of you — meditate, go for a walk, breathe, do yoga, or go to the gym.
When we worry, we live in a perpetual state of fear. To make matters worse, a lot of the things that we worry about never actually happen.
Worry is future-focused, so a powerful way to rid yourself of it is to focus your attention on the present moment. Studies show that more than anything else, a wandering mind — especially a mind that’s wandering in a negative direction, such as when you worry or obsess over the past or future — is what makes people unhappy.
If you are constantly thinking about things that might happen as much as you are about things that are happening, you will make yourself miserable. Be more intentional with your thoughts. The next that your mind drifts, be aware of it and stop.
The more present we are, the happier that we will be.
Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere
Kick the worry habit once and for all. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you for it. Are you ready?
Head shot serious puzzled African American businessman looking at laptop screen sitting in office. . [+] Executive managing thinking received bad news keeping fist at chin waiting hoping positive result
Worrying stems from a desire to be in control. We often want to control our environment. Or we may want control over the outcome of every situation.
But the more you try to control everything around you, the more anxious you’ll feel.
It’s a vicious cycle to break — worry, try to gain control, fail, and worry again. Repeat.
Worrying about things you can’t control — like the state of the economy or someone else’s behavior — will drain you of the mental strength you need to be your best.
It can also lead to other toxic habits, like blaming yourself too much or micromanaging other people.
Fortunately, you don’t have to resign yourself to being a lifelong “worry-wart.” You can take control of your mind and train your brain to think differently.
Here are two things you can do the next time you catch yourself worrying about things you can’t control:
1. Develop a realistic sense of control.
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Identify what is within your control and what isn’t. For example, you can control how eye-catching your marketing ads are, but you can’t control whether people buy your product.
Additionally, you can give your employees the tools they need to succeed, but you can’t force them to be productive.
When you strike a healthy balance of control, you’ll see that you can choose your own attitude and behavior, but you can’t control many external factors.
So when you’re faced with a problem or experiencing discomfort, ask yourself, “Is this a problem I can solve? Or do I need to change how I feel about the problem?”
If it’s within your control, tackle the problem. If it’s out of your control, focus on changing your emotional state. Use healthy coping skills, like engaging in a hobby or practicing meditation, to deal with the uncomfortable emotions that get stirred up when things are out of your control.
2. Schedule time to worry.
Most of the people who come into my therapy office looking for a solution on how to stop worrying want it fast and easy. But there isn’t a magic trick or special pill that will make you stop worrying right away.There is a psychological trick, however, that can help you contain your worrying. The trick involves scheduling time to worry.
It sounds ridiculous on the surface. But it really works. And there are studies to back it up.
Set aside 15 minutes each day to worry. Mark it on your calendar, or add it to your schedule. Make it consistent if you can. Think something like, “I’ll worry from 7 to 7:15 p.m., every night.” (You might not want to worry right before bedtime though. That might keep you up).
Whenever you catch yourself worrying outside of your time frame, remind yourself it’s not time to worry and that you’ll have plenty of time to think about those worries during your scheduled time.
Once you arrive at your worry time, then worry all you want. Sit and think about all the worries that are outside of your control. You can even write them down if you prefer.
Then, after 15 minutes have passed, tell yourself it’s time to get back to your everyday life. Get up and go about your usual business. With consistent practice, research shows you’ll contain your worries to just 15 minutes a day. That’s a big improvement if you’re used to worrying 24/7.
Build Your Mental Muscle
Becoming mentally stronger requires you to have a balanced sense of control. After all, you can do a lot to increase your happiness and your chances of success, but you can’t control every factor around you — like the weather, the economy, or how other people behave.
When you stop worrying about things you can’t control, you’ll have more time and energy to devote to the things you do have control over. And this can be key to reaching your greatest potential.
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, the author of the bestselling book "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," and the host of The Verywell Mind Podcast.
JGI / Tom Grill / Getty Images
Are you worried? People diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, including panic disorder, often struggle with chronic worrying. Frequent worrying may seem irrational to outsiders. For instance, you may worry about things that haven’t even happened or are out of your control, such as the health and safety of your loved ones or the current cost of living.
Worrying so much can become a heavy burden weighing negatively on your relationships, self-esteem, career, and other aspects of your life. It can also impact you emotionally and mentally, contributing to your symptoms of panic and anxiety. Considering how disruptive worrying can be, you may be wondering how you can stop worrying so much.
Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast
Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares a technique that can help you worry less.
Tips for Reducing Chronic Worry
Even though you may be prone to worrying, the behavior doesn't have to control your life. Listed here are some easy tips to help you stop worrying so much.
Schedule Some Worry Time
It may seem counterintuitive to actually give your worries attention, but research has found that scheduling time to worry can help reduce anxious thoughts and improve sleep.
To get started, determine a time of day that you can put aside 20 minutes to do nothing but worry. Some people prefer to carve out worry time in the morning, freeing themselves of worry early in the day. Others prefer to schedule their worrying for the evening, clearing their minds of all the worries that built up throughout the course of the day.
Regardless of the time of day you choose, the point is to spend some time focusing on your worrisome thoughts. Worries will still come up at times outside of your scheduled worry time. When they do, briefly acknowledge them, but only give them your full attention during your scheduled worry time.
By making a commitment to rumination sessions, you may begin to notice that you are in control of your worrying. Scheduling your worrying time helps you to break the chain of frequent worrying you experience throughout the day.
Additionally, by only concentrating on your worries for a set amount of time, you may determine that they are not as urgent as you once thought. This can free up your mind to focus on more productive thoughts.
Push Past Procrastination
Focusing time and energy on your worries instead of taking action to solve your problems can become a form of procrastination. Many people spend time worrying about what they need to do instead of actually accomplishing their tasks. Plus, putting off responsibilities that you need to deal with will only add to your worries.
Push past procrastination by making a list of all of the things that you need to get done. Every time you worry about another thing that you need to take care of, add it to the list. By writing a to-do list, you get all of those anxious thoughts out of your head and on paper.
A list can also be a helpful way to get you back on track to being more productive. Instead of worrying about what needs to get done, focus yourself on knocking off each task you wrote down on your list.
Talk It Out
You may find some relief by sharing your thoughts and concerns with a trusted friend or family member. Loved ones can be a great source of support, providing you with empathy and understanding. Friends and family can also offer you valuable advice, giving you a different perspective on your problems.
At times, it can be difficult for even the most patient loved ones to always be available to listen to your worries. If you are a chronic worrier, you may want to consider getting help from a professional who treats anxiety disorders. Additional resources and social support may be found through your church, group therapy, online support forums, or local support groups for anxiety.
Journal Through It
Many people with panic disorder and agoraphobia also struggle with feelings of loneliness and isolation. You may feel that you have no one to talk out your problems and worries with. However, a journal may be all you need to work through your inner thoughts, feelings, emotions, and worries.
Journal writing is a powerful and effective way to get in touch with your inner self. By writing in a journal, you can work through your difficult emotions, uncover solutions to your issues, and change your perceptions and worries.
Getting started in journal writing can be as simple as a dedicated time each day to write down your inner thoughts. You can focus on addressing each of your worries, writing them out as they come up, allowing yourself the freedom to fully express how you are feeling.
Turn Your Thoughts Around
Worry is a negative thinking pattern that can be contributing to your anxiety symptoms. Negative thinking tends to be a learned habit that can impact your mood and anxiety. Since negative thinking typically develops over time, it can be unlearned and replaced with more positive views.
Turning your worries and other negative thoughts around involves recognition, reality checking, and replacing. First, start by recognizing how often you are worrying throughout the day. It may help to even record these thoughts on a piece of paper as they come up.
Next, look at your worries and ask if you are being realistic. Try to look at the other side of the worry or negative thought. For example, if you worry that others won’t accept you due to your anxiety, ask yourself if that is necessarily true. Do people only accept those who are completely flawless? Do you really want to be friends with someone who can’t accept you for who you are?
By reality-checking and disputing your worries, you may begin to take on a different perspective.
Last, replace these negative thoughts and worries with more realistic statements. For instance, you may begin to think to yourself that not everyone will accept that you are an anxious person, but you are working on your condition and you accept yourself the way that you are.
Try Relaxation Techniques
You can’t feel so anxious when you are in a state of relaxation. Learning to relax can be made easier through the use of relaxation techniques. These activities are geared toward helping you release tension throughout the body and let go of your worrisome thoughts. The next time you are consumed with worry, give one of these relaxation techniques a try:
A Word From Verywell
If you're consumed with worry and you're not able to stop, speak to your physician. Your doctor may want to rule out any medical causes or physical health issues. Your doctor may also have some recommendations about things that can help you worry less and feel better, such as therapy or medication.
Learning to live in the moment is a special gift of a healthy childhood. That’s ideally when we discover simple pleasures like playing with crayons, learning to ride a bicycle, and making friends. We also start to realize that in healthy secure relationships, parents are there for their children.
But sometimes, terrible things happen that twist happiness into something horrible. A parent’s rage, a bully’s ridicule, bouts of depression or waves of loneliness can shatter a moment’s joy to pieces. How can you enjoy being with a friend, discover what makes you laugh, or feel good about yourself, when it all might come crashing down? If you tend to worry something bad will happen if you dare enjoy the here-and-now, you may tell yourself, I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Are You Waiting For Bad Things to Happen?
Though it’s a sentiment I hear often, you do not have to live a life where you are waiting for the other shoe to drop! If you think this way, let me ask: Do you have any trauma in your history? Did you grow up in an environment without secure attachment? Did you grow up in a family where one or both parents frightened you, or were even frightened themselves? All of these things may be at the root of your worrying behavior.
This chronic state of hyperarousal is a coping mechanism that makes sense given a traumatic upbringing. Moving forward, there is hope. These coping skills can be replaced with new, healthier ones that serve a bright future, not a traumatic past.
How Trauma and Worry are Connected
Preparing for disaster (big or small) is something that is common among trauma survivors, who regularly feel hypervigilant. Being hyper-aware was once a necessary survival mechanism that kept you safe. But it’s a coping skill that’s no longer working in your life. You may not need it anymore. It may be hindering your growth, your healing, your contentment and your relationships.
- If you’re always anticipating the worst…
- If you’re always double-checking with the people in your life – “Are you sure?”…
- If you’re always prepared with a Plan B…
- If you don’t believe what people say…
I want you to know: You don’t have to live like this.
Life doesn’t have to be this hard.
You don’t have to feel like this.
Perhaps you think it’s just part of who you are now? It’s not. It’s a coping mechanism you learned. And it can be helped and healed by noticing it.
At the beginning of their healing journey, many people feel like their negativity is never going to change — even if they work on it. They can’t imagine a life where things are pleasantly consistent, where people do what they say. But I can promise you….
It CAN change. It DOES change. You CAN heal.
How to Stop Worrying: 3 Steps
Here are three important steps you can take towards healing worried thoughts and actions that don’t serve you anymore:
Step 1: Have an honest and compassionate dialogue with yourself—because being compassionate with yourself is where the healing starts. Gently notice your behaviors. Also notice if you’re using a something (like drugs/alcohol, food or self-harming behavior) to try to not feel this pain. Read this: To Heal Trauma, Free Your Most Compassionate Self.
Step 2: Experience a secure relationship in therapy. Consistency is a powerful force that can help you heal, and therapy is an excellent place to build your first secure relationship. A good therapist will be there for you. They will do what they say. When you experience what that consistency feels like, you can take that outside into the real world and your other relationships. By engaging in therapy, you can work on issues rooted in your past that are still plaguing you in the present. You can reassess the coping skills that once kept you safe, but are no longer serving you in living a healthy life. Read this: How to Find a Good Therapist.
Step 3: Have a conversation with your loved ones. To help you heal, you can build secure attachment in your current relationship—whether it’s with an intimate partner, parent, friend or sibling. Have a dialogue that goes something like this:
This is really important to me given my history. It isn’t personal to you. It’s personal to me. Basically, this is how I live my life, in hyperarousal. When I always ask, “Are you sure?” and I doubt what you tell me, I’m doing this because of my history. I want to trust you and stop doubting you. The best thing you can do for me is to be true to your word and be consistent. Read this: How to Trust in a Healing Relationship as a Trauma Survivor and Finding New Skills to Talk Through Relationship Pain
As a therapist, I DO what I say.
I want you to discover that safe, trustworthy people are available. Whether you learn this from me, or another good trauma-informed therapist, it’s important to know that consistency is available. Hope is available. Compassion is available. Healing is available. And a future filled with pleasant moments— without waiting for the other shoe to drop—is possible for you.
This is what I do every day. I help trauma survivors make and maintain positive changes in their lives, create safe stable environments, healthy relationships, and cope with everyday challenges with new strengths and abilities.
Do you ever catch yourself being critical, judgmental, or full of fear and worry? And do you ever worry about how many negative thoughts you have? If you do, this post is for you.
We’re taught that negative thoughts are bad, that they’re “toxic,” they “lower your vibration,” keep you stuck, and so on.
We’re taught that in order to feel self-assured and confident, we should banish negative thoughts from our lives. Kind of like, goodbye, negative thoughts; hello, higher vibration, better boyfriend, nicer car, inner peace, and so on.
So what do you do with all that negative junk in your head? How do you make it stop? And is trying to jam a positive thought over a negative one really the best way to manage the situation?
The reason I’m thinking about this today is that it’s 7:30am and for the past three hours I’ve been watching Mad Men. Yep. Instead of setting myself up for the day with a restful sleep, I’ve been watching T.V. for half the night.
To be fair, it’s an unusual thing for me to do, but still, you should hear the rubbish my mind is telling me:
You’re such a lazy little missy.
You’re going to have a bad day.
You’re not going to get anywhere like this.
People often advise you to trade a negative thought for a positive one using techniques like affirmations. Quick, quell those negative thoughts! But is this really the best way forward?
Most people misunderstand this whole negative thinking debacle because they misunderstand what thoughts are in the first place.
Happiness doesn’t depend on how few negative thoughts you have, but on what you do with the ones you have.
This brings me to the first piece of good news:
1. It’s normal to have negative thoughts.
The human mind thinks about a squillion thoughts every day, and on average about a squillion minus a hundred are negative. It’s true. I Googled it.
Most of us are awash with negative thoughts. Even ones that seem positive, like I’m so great because I just got a new car, are really only negative ones in disguise, since they reinforce the belief you weren’t great before you got the new car.
And that’s the good news—negative thoughts are a normal part of human functioning.
This means you don’t have to worry about the fact that you’re having them in the first place. No matter how gnarly they get, it’s all pretty normal.
This brings me to the second piece of good news:
2. You don’t have to believe your negative thoughts!
You don’t actually have to believe your thoughts. It’s as simple as that. Sort of. No, it is, but let me explain.
Your mind would like you to believe that all of your thoughts are correct. One of the ways it does this is by having you think that you and it are one. The truth is your mind is just one part of you; it isn’t you.
Being able to separate your thoughts from your sense of self is one of the most useful things you can do. Try this: think of yourself as being made up of four parts.
- Physical body
- Spiritual aspect
This means: You. Are. Not Your. Mind. Your mind is just a tool for you to use.
All of your thoughts and perceptions are filtered through your unique belief system, and it’s this filter that causes negative thoughts. The negativity is in the filter.
When you try to “heal” and “grow,” what you’re trying to do is change the filter; you’re trying to change your belief system. You are the bit underneath your thoughts, and you will never change. You can’t—nor would you want to. You’re perfect.
You don’t have to analyze your nasty, critical thoughts, or worry about them. They’re just thoughts. If you really want to have fewer of them, stop listening to them.
Feeling solidly peaceful and contented occurs when your mind is quiet, or in the moments, no matter how small, when you remember that you don’t have to believe your thoughts.
Or, as I like to say, ”I don’t feel bad; my mind does!”
One thing I find helpful for dealing with a long held critical belief is to treat it like a game.
I think to myself, what if I didn’t believe this, even for a few seconds? The result is always strangely exhilarating. I can actually feel what it’s like to not believe it. (And sometimes it does only last for a few seconds!)
So what about thinking positively—that’s good for me right?
Sure, but the trick is in how you go about it, which is the third piece of good news:
3. You can get positive about negative thoughts.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing to have a positive thought. Just know that the negative thought didn’t matter in the first place. It probably wasn’t true and it doesn’t “mean” things about you.
When you jump on “negative” thoughts and reject them in a knee-jerk way, you’re saying to yourself, “I’m not good enough. If I were good enough, I wouldn’t have had that thought in the first place.”
This is at least as negative as the initial thought.
It may seem a subtle difference, but that tiny step of noticing the thought and not believing it is where the growth lies. And the more you do this, the less “negative thoughts” you have and the easier it is to recognize them when you have them.
People think that “thinking positively” is the way to healing, but the quickest way is to first accept that the only reason you feel bad in the first place is because you’re listening to the rubbish your mind is telling you.
You could try and figure out where your negative thoughts come from—but since they’re just based on faulty beliefs, why not just ignore them?
Learning to ignore the voice inside our head telling us we’re not good enough, not worthy of love, and so on is what we’re here to do. Next time you have a thought that makes you feel uneasy, try this:
Notice your thought, as in: ah, hello, thought. I know you’re not real; you are just a thought. Oh well, you can stay there if you like, but I have things to do today so I’m just going to go ahead and do them.
Then if you want to think a positive thought, go right ahead!
And as for me I’m headed to the kitchen to make porridge after which you’ll probably find me tucked up on the sofa having a nap.
About Lisa Esile
Lisa grew up in New Zealand and now lives in Los Angeles. Lisa and her husband Franco are the authors of WHOSE MIND IS IT ANYWAY: GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND INTO YOUR LIFE (Penguin Random House, 2016). You can grab a FREE copy of her book, “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Feeling Awesome and Ultimate ALL the time,” here!
“Whether in war or peace, the chief difference between good thinking and bad thinking is this: good thinking deals with causes and effects and leads to logical, constructive planning; bad thinking frequently leads to tension and nervous breakdowns.”
Table of Contents
How To Stop Worrying And Start Living: Short Summary
How To Stop Worrying and Start Living is by Dale Carnegie is a celebrated classic on how to dissolve worry and live a fulfilling life. Carnegie details the many ways worrying too much can ruin your life and how to solve it. The book contains tips and tricks on conquering worries that are worthwhile.
Fundamental Facts You Should Know About Worry
More than half of all hospital beds are occupied by people with nervous and emotional problems.
Worry will make you die early and live an unfulfilled life. Some of the diseases associated with worry include stomach ulcers, heart attacks, strokes, arthritis, high blood pressure, cold, and mental illness.
To overcome worry, live in day-tight compartments. In other words, shut the doors of the future and the past and embrace the moment.
“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” — Thomas Carlyle
A three-step process to handle any problem without worrying:
- Analyze the situation fearlessly and honestly. Figure out what is the worst that could happen
- Reconcile yourself to accept the worst that can happen. Tim Ferriss calls this concept fear-setting
- Devote your time and energy to try and improve on the worst that can happen.
How To Analyze and Solve Your Worry Problems
The three basic steps of problem analysis:
- Get the facts. Unless you have the facts, you cannot even begin to tackle your problem
- Analyze the facts. Find out what the facts say about the problem you are facing
- Arrive at a decision and then act on that decision. After analysis, arrive at a decision and commit to it
When tempted to worry about a problem, write down answers to the following questions:
- What is the problem?
- What is the cause of the problem?
- What are all possible solutions?
- What is the best solution?
How To Break The Worry Habit Before It Breaks You
Rules to break the worry habit:
- Keep busy. When you are busy, you will crowd out the worry in your mind
- Don’t fuss about trifles. Don’t permit little things to ruin your life
- Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries. Ask yourself: “How likely is it that the thing I’m worried about will happen?”
- Cooperate with the inevitable. If it is going to happen and you can do nothing about it, accept and move on
- Put a “stop-loss” order on your worries. Decide whether the thing giving you anxiety deserves that much attention or not
- Let the past bury its dead. Don’t dwell on the past
Seven Ways To Cultivate A Great Mental Attitude
7 ways to cultivate a mental attitude that will bring you peace and happiness:
- Fill your mind with the right thoughts. The outcome of your life is a reflection of your thoughts
- Never try to get even with your enemies. When you try to get even with your enemies, you hurt more than them
- Don’t worry about ingratitude. Expect it. The only way to find happiness is through the joy of giving
- Count your blessings, not your troubles. Be grateful for what you have
- Do not imitate others. Be yourself
- When fate hands you a lemon, make a lemonade. Make the best out of every situation
- Forget your unhappiness by creating happiness for others. When you are good to others, you are also being good to yourself
The Golden Rule of Conquering Worry
Three rules to keep you from worrying about criticism:
- Unjust criticism is often disguised as a compliment. When you are unjustly criticized, remember it is because others are jealous of you
- Do the very best that you can. Your work will speak for itself
- Engage in constructive self-criticism. Keep a record of the fool things that you have done since you can’t hope to be perfect
Six Ways To Prevent Fatigue and Keep Your Energy and Spirits High
How to prevent fatigue and keep your energy high:
- Rest before you get tired. Don’t allow yourself to be too exhausted to continue
- Learn to relax at work. Take a break and even a nap sometimes
- If you are a housewife, learn to relax at home. This will protect your health and appearance
- Apply the following good working habits: clear your desk, do things in order of their importance, when faced with a problem, solve it there, and then. Also, learn to organize, delegate, and supervise
- To prevent fatigue, demonstrate enthusiasm in your work. If your work is exciting, you will never feel like you are doing any work
- No one has ever been killed by lack of sleep. Don’t worry too much about not sleeping well
How To Find The Right Kind Of Work For You
Finding the right work is a tremendous decision.
“Even at the risk of starting family rows, I would like to say to young people: Don’t feel compelled to enter a business or trade just because your family wants you to do it! Don’t enter a career unless you want to do it! However, consider carefully the advice of your parents. They have probably lived twice as long as you have. They have gained the kind of wisdom that comes only from much experience and the passing of many years. But, in the last analysis, you are the one who has to make the final decision. You are the one who is going to be either happy or miserable at your work.
When choosing your career, seek advice from people who are pursuing that career.