Are you a constant worrier? Do you get preoccupied with what might happen, or stay focused on a past event that didn't go as you hoped? Do you worry about money, relationships or what the future holds? Do you come from a family of worriers?
This kind of stress can be harmful. It can exhaust you. And it can lead to real health issues, like high blood pressure, overeating, depression, anxiety, aches and pains, poor sleep and other ailments. It can make you tense and edgy. And it can affect your work, home and personal life.
Train your brain
There is hope for chronic worriers! You can reprogram yourself to deal proactively with your challenges instead of letting them weigh you down.
10 tips if you're often worried
- Escape the stressful situation when you can. Get out, be physically active and take your mind off your worries.
- If you can't escape the uncomfortable situation, change how you deal with it. You'll feel more confident if you take action, even if that action is walking away.
- Don't fret about things you can't control. Deal with some of the little things to save your energy for bigger matters.
- Don't go into stressful events unprepared (like a big meeting or a job interview). Being prepared is something that you can control.
- Embrace change. It can be a good thing. This may take some repeat experiences — some people are more comfortable with change than others. But the more we deal with change positively, the better we can cope with change when it comes our way.
- Try not to let conflicts with others fester. Either shrug it off or politely confront the situation. Weigh how much this person means in your life on scale of 1 to 10 and ask yourself if your personal life or family life (also rated on scale of 1 to 10) is worth having this person interfere with what is positive in your life.
- Find a good listener. Talk with a counselor, a trusted friend or relative to get through rough times. You might gain some insights and perspective. Be sure you have a good support system of family, friends and co-workers.
- Don't expect too much of yourself. Set realistic goals and know how to say no to keep from feeling overwhelmed.
- Take care of yourself. Regular exercise and eating healthy meals, along with enough sleep, can give you strength to deal with life's challenges.
- Find some quiet time just for you. Even if it's just for a few minutes, close your eyes and relax your muscles, thinking of a pleasant place to be.
A key to controlling your worries is to ask: Can I solve this problem? If you can, then write down some possible solutions and commit to taking some action to fix it.
If you can't — if it is truly something you can't control, or a pessimistic fear of something that might happen — you will have isolated the issue. It helps to acknowledge your feelings about it. Life happens. It's full of uncertainties. Take a look at all the good things in your world and work on letting go of your worries. Remember, if you are still having trouble coping with worry, seek professional help, such as talking with your doctor or a mental health professional.
Created on 03/25/2008
Updated on 04/17/2014
- American Academy of Family Physicians. How to cope better with life’s challenges.
- Helpguide.org. How to stop worrying: Self-help strategies for anxiety relief.