Every day it seems that there is something more to worry about. This constant worry some of us find ourselves in is harmful to both our mental and physical health. Whether our worries are financial, political, or work-related, we could all do to get away from the worry and enjoy ourselves a bit. Lucky for you, I am very good at worrying and have formed some tools that help me.
The first, and the one you will probably want to do least, is being physically active. Regardless of how much you don’t want to go on a walk or go to the gym, I promise you that it will help you clear your head and feel a bit better. Start small and work your way up to more time spent on physical activity each day.
My second suggestion (and my personal favorite) is to set aside designated worrying time. When I was still working as a social worker in nursing homes, I would set a five-minute timer every day when I would get home from work. During these five minutes, I would allow myself to worry about anything and everything that had been occupying my mind. Once the timer ended, I would say “stop” to myself out loud and go about my personal life. Did it always work? Absolutely not, but sometimes it did and that’s what mattered. The more I did this exercise and the more I made it a part of my daily routine, the better I got at shutting off the worry.
Something else that helps me a lot is making lists. I’ve always been more of a visual learner and when I am feeling particularly stressed, I will make a list of everything stressing me out, no matter how small that worry may seem. My favorite part about this exercise is that the list is always so much shorter than I expect it to be.
Everyone stands to benefit from being reminded about how little we actually remember. If you are worried about an embarrassing moment, odds are the other people probably don’t even remember it. On top of this point, never try to “mind read” or assume you know what someone else is thinking. What happens when you do this is that you are actually projecting your own worries and negative thoughts onto that person–causing you to imagine that your thoughts are actually theirs. So, cut yourself some slack and don’t let yourself worry about what others think. Because on the inside they are probably just as worried as you are.
I hope these thoughts and tools have offered some help to you. We want everyone to be their best self and trying to reel in your worry is just one way to get closer to that. As always, seize the day!