How to Stop Worrying : 7 Simple Tips
You are a self-proclaimed worry wart – You can’t stop worrying and you know you need to stop – but HOW? How to stop worrying??? The more you try to suppress it, the more it’s occupying your mind. You’re worried because you don’t want to face failure, AGAIN. You’re anxious about whether you make it into your dream school or not. Your worries are making you unproductive and you are even having trouble sleeping.
Professor Ad Kerkhof, author of “Stop Worrying”, says “Worrying is a form of self-torture. Our own thoughts often make us suffer a great deal.” He mentions the French term for worrying – “torturer l’esprit”, which means “torturing the mind.” (Daily Mail)
It is time for you, little worry wart, to stop torturing your mind. Here I present 7 tips on how to stop worrying.
1.Create a worry period
Assign a 10-minute period, e.g. 1:50 to 2pm every day, to worry. When some worries pop up during the day, jot them down, then during the 10- minute period, go through your list and start worrying. The rest of your day? Absolutely no worries.
Your worries are either A) out of your control, or B) solvable –
“What if my boyfriend falls in love with someone else?” – OUT. OF. YOUR. CONTROL!!!
“What if I fail this course?” – you have completed your exam – now it’s out of your control.
“What if I don’t have an internship this summer?” – solvable – accept that this is a competitive world, and go and apply for more jobs.
2.Count your blessings
Right after you have gone through your list of worries, it’s time to go through a list of things you are thankful for! Keep a gratitude diary and be thankful for 3 little things each day. Know that you already have a lot of things others don’t. A balance needs to be kept between being content of what you have and achieving higher goals.
3. Prepare for the worst and think about the positive side.
What if I get a Level 2 in my Chinese DSE and I can’t get in any local universities?
Prepare for this to happen, and think about what to do if this happens, so that when it actually happens, you won’t fret. Sure, you’ll still be sad but at least you expected it.
Professor Kerkoff (quoted from the Daily Mail) said, “Many people can spend hours worrying about events they are very afraid of. They think they will never cope with some imagined future anxiety or distress. But, in reality, most people cope quite adequately with whatever adversity life throws at them.” You are stronger than you think, and whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
For example, I applied to CityU’s Joint Degree Program with Columbia University. I prepared for rejection and GUESS WHAT! – I was rejected. I cried for the whole morning although I had prepared for rejection, but then I eventually got over it by thinking positively – I would’ve saved my family HKD $2,000,000 in tuition fee. I prepared for the worst by thinking that my backup plan was to go on exchange in the UK and that I could still do a Master’s degree at Columbia.
4. Share your worries with your family and friends
Talking about it with your family and friends can ease your burden. You can think of solutions together and your friends can help you make sense of the situation – an outsider from the situation can make you see the issue for what it really is.
Although friends who don’t know how to react or don’t have any advice would just say to you “No worries mate. Everything will be fine”, you will feel better just venting it out and I’m sure your friend is more than happy to lend an ear.
Go for a stroll and get some fresh air – it helps to clear your mind. Or go for a workout – when you exercise, endorphins will be released and you will feel less stressed and happier. Exercise can help you feel empowered and more in control of your life.
6. Use the sociological imagination
Simply put, C.Wright Mills’ theory of the sociological imagination is that your personal problem may be not your own problem – it is a problem shared by million others – being laid off, being rejected by a dream school etc.
Likewise, being worried is a familiar feeling for all of us. It is impossible for anyone to say they have no worries. 38% people worry daily, and it was found that the average Briton spends five years and two months in a lifetime worrying. (Daily Mail)
7. Realize that worrying is pointless
Worrying is not “not a useful remedy against the harshest experience of life”, says Professor Kerkhof. (Daily Mail)
Worrying does not make the situation better, nor does it make it worse. Instead of worrying, you should either let the issue go because it is out of your control, or take action to improve the situation or prepare for the worst.
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”- Leo Buscaglia
Check out a video summary of the article here.
Stop being a worry wart and start living in the present! 🙂