Stop Worrying

12 Techniques to Stop Worrying

“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened” -  Mark Twain

What Is worry? Worry is a very strong feeling of anxiety. It’s fear of the unknown – the thought that the worst will happen.

We may become overly concerned with future events. We may engage in repetitive negative self-talk with all the worst case scenarios. A lot of our thoughts will begin with …

“If only ….
I would have stayed at home”
I would have said”
I made the opposite decision”

Or

“What if …
I get into a car accident?”
I get fired or laid off?”
My teenager gets pregnant?”
I become ill?”

Worry is a behavior – a habitual way of thinking. If your parents were chronic worriers, chances are you will be too – then you’ll pass it on to your children. Since worry is a habitual behavior, you do have the ability to overcome it – to replace worry with a more positive habit.

What Do We Worry About?

When it comes to worry, studies have shown the following statistics:

40% never happens – so in essence we are wasting our time by worrying.

30% of what we worry about has already happened. Learn to “let go” and forgive yourself and others. You cannot change the past – no one can. Accept it for what it is and go on.

12% are needless worries, such as what someone else thinks about us.

10% are petty and unimportant such as we worry about what’s for dinner, we worry about being late, we worry about what to wear.

8% of what we worry about actually happens. Of this percentage…

4% of our worries that happen are beyond our control. We cannot change the outcome. These worries may include our health, the death of a loved one or an impending natural disaster. Often times the reality of these events are more bearable than the worry.

4% of what we worry about we have some if not all control over the results. Basically I think this is the consequences of our actions or inaction on the problems and challenges we face.

Given these statistics, you may find it worthwhile asking the following questions:

  • How many times do we work ourselves into frenzy over a situation that is beyond our control?
  • Why do we allow worry to stress us out so much that we become ill?
  • Why do we waste our mental energy with worry?

I can’t answer these questions for you. What I can do is offer you techniques to overcome worry. It’s up to you to decide to stop the worry habit.

How Can You Stop or Reduce Your Worries?

“Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.” – Mary Hemingway

1. Prepare for the worst – Hope for the best. This comes right from the advice of Dale Carnegie in “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”. Accept the worst possible outcome and then take action to improve upon the worst.

2. Get Busy. When you find yourself beginning to worry – get busy on your to-do list. If you don’t have a list – then write one. List your goals and the action steps required to meet them. One of the benefits of your to-do list is you will stop worrying about forgetting something important.

3. Distract Yourself. Call a friend. Read a good book. Watch a funny movie. Take the kids to the park. Take a walk. There’s dozens of things you can do.

4. Get Support. Friends and family can be an excellent source of support. Especially if they will tell you how they see things. Sometimes just talking things out, helps the worry go away.

5. Make a Decision. If you’re worrying about an unresolved personal or business issue – then it’s time to make a decision. Once you decide what to do, you can begin taking steps for the best possible outcome.

6. Confront the Problem Head-On. It’s usually not the problem itself that is causing your worry. It’s usually the anticipation of the problem. How will others be affected or react? Deal with the problem as soon as possible.

7. Practice Relaxing. It is important that you take time to totally relax. Close your eyes take long deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. With each breath tell yourself to relax. It just takes a couple of minutes of this exercise for the tension to leave your body.

8. Listen to CDs. This can be your favorite music, brainwave CDs or behavior modification tapes that are designed to dissolve worry and anxiety. (These do not have to be self-hypnotizing or subliminal – but of course you can choose these types of tapes.)

9. Journal. After writing down everything they are worried about in a journal, most people feel a sense of relief. In writing you may have discovered what you are really afraid of, and then you can objectively work on improving the situation.

10. Take Care of Yourself. Get plenty of rest. Eat a healthy diet and exercise. When you nurture your body and mind, it’s easier to put things in perspective. It’s easier to cope with the unexpected.

11. Count Your Blessings. You have a lot to be thankful for. Look around you … We live in a beautiful world. You can be thankful for your health, your family, your mind, your country, your house, your job, your TV or even your microwave!

12. Monitor Your Thoughts. Be aware of your thoughts and be ready to replace worries with positive thoughts. Be prepared with a positive thought or quote, such as “Calmness is the cradle of power” (Josiah Gilbert Holland).

There are many techniques you can use to stop worrying. The important thing is to consistently use them until the new behavior becomes a habit.

 

Cindy Holbrook manages a blog that focuses on Overcoming Life’s Obstacles. She pulls from her personal experiences as well as through her 15+ years working in social services. Pick up your free e-book “Your Guide to Happiness” when you visit CindySense.com.

  • http://thecapeofgoodhope.blogspot.com Trailblazer

    Nice statistics. And they are true.

    Well written.

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  • http://www.warriordevelopment.com Jarrod – Warrior Development

    Worries are thoughts (often followed closely by emotions to charge them), they are unnecessary.

    Discard the thoughts that manifest themselves and deal with reality.

    “It’s usually not the problem itself that is causing your worry”

    That is correct, because there is no problem until your mind conceives it. Previously it was just a physical reality, no problems no solutions.

    • http://yahoo michael

      that is very correct

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  • gsempe

    Great post.
    I’m very interested by the subject.
    Could you divulgue the studies from which you find these statistics ?

  • http://shanelyang.com/blogs/articles/ Shanel Yang

    Often we adopt the doomsday advice of naysayers and well-meaning family and friends, and, then, their worries become our worries. That’s why I advice people to “Fire Your Devil’s Advocate” t http://shanelyang.com/2008/09/08/all-about-you-day-21-fire-your-devils-advocate/ and “Be Your Own Guardian Angel.” : )

  • http://www.docpotter.com Dr Beverly Potter

    The job of worry is to anticipate danger before it arises and identify possible perils, to come up with ways to lessen the risks, and to rehearse what you plan to do. Worrywarts get stuck in identifying danger as they immerse themselves in the dread associated with the threat, which may be real or, more likely, imagined. They spin out an endless loop of melodrama, blowing everything out of proportion. “What if I have a heart attack?” “What if there is an earthquake?” “What if someone breaks in when I’m asleep?” “What if . . . ?”

    While worrywarts insist worrying is helpful, little is solved. Stuck in thinking ruts, they stop living in the here and now–the present moment. Worrywarting is torment–a kind of self-imposed purgatory that makes you feel bad, stresses you out, and wastes precious moments of your life.

    Worse yet, worry begets more worry, setting into motion a vicious circle of frightening thoughts and anxious response. It is self-perpetuating, pushing into greater anxiety and more worry. Allowed to continue unchecked, chronic worry can evolve into panic attacks and, in extreme cases, agoraphobia, which is a paralyzing fear of having a panic attack, especially in public. It can be so severe that, in the worst cases, the sufferer can’t leave home. Sometimes panic attacks can be so extreme that the worry-victim thinks he or she is having a heat attack and is rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.

    Trying to stop worry is usually futile. Instead, we need to become “smart worriers”. Smart worriers do the work of worry and then they soothe themselves to get back to balance. Smart worriers designating a time and place to worry in order to contain it. When mulling over the worry they talk to themselves as a good friend would. After the worry session they employ one of the below techniques to back to balance.

    21 ways to soothe yourself and worry smart.

    1. Evaluate the cost of the worry
    2. Take a deep breath
    3. Relax your muscles.
    4. Distract yourself.
    5. Take a walk.
    6. Smile and laugh.
    7. Say a little prayer.
    8. Find the joy.
    9. Avoid caffeine.
    10. Shoulds to preferences.
    11. Count worry beads.
    12. Eat a sweet.
    13. Take a warm bath.
    14. Imagine a happy ending.
    15. Do a good deed.
    16. Joke about the worry.
    17. Rock yourself.
    18. Count your blessings.
    19. Make a list.
    20. Practice under-reacting.
    21. Watch a funny movie.

    • Eden

      Yes! I always worry about getting sick/throwing up and i tell myself that if I dont worry than it will happen!

  • http://financialphilosopher.typepad.com/thefinancialphilosopher/ Kent @ The Financial Philosopher

    Great post! I am interested in your statistics from “studies” about worry that you list in this post. Can you point me to the source?

    Thanks…

  • CF

    Also from Dale Carnegie’s “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” – live in day-tight compartments. Might not make much sense to someone reading this comment, but this one has stuck with me since I read the book. Do yourself a favor and read it too – it’s extremely simple, yet profound, as Dale Carnegie tends to be.

  • http://www.cindysense.com Overcoming Lifes Obstacles

    Thanks Peter for listing the sources.

    Thanks for your comments. In regards to the statistics:

    I looked far and wide for exact sources. I probably came across 50 to 100 references of the above statistics – unfortunately I didn’t keep track of them all.

    When doing research I tend to lean on books or trusted sites. I know that I have seen and heard those statistics in various places over the years. I was unable to pinpoint it to a specific research ….

    http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Wojtowicz4.html

    http://yourowndevices.ca/devices_6_012.htm

    Another Link that points to Nightingale …
    http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:BOVYRk3uzWIJ:www.transporter.com/fatherpeffley/files/PersDevSem2.rtf+worry+statistics+40%25+never+happen&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&gl=us

    In looking at what I have worried about myself – and what worries my clients have had over the years, I believe the statistics are fairly accurate.

    If anyone knows of specific sources, I’d love to know about them – even if mine happen to be incorrect.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.varsityblah.com/about Eugene (Editor, Varsity Blah)

    “There are a lot of things in life that cause anxiety, most of which are unlikely to occur, unlikely to last, or nowhere near as bad as we make them out to be. We worry about what may or may not happen and whether our lives will work out the way we want them to. Clearly, this isn’t healthy and it’s another thing we need to consider. We need to get over the fact that life is uncertain and that things change. Nothing is forever. We grow up and we move on. All we can do is plan wherever possible and then hope for the best because the rest is out of our hands.”

    (From http://www.varsityblah.com/carpe-diem/)

  • http://www.somedaysyndrome.com Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome

    I use worry to procrastinate. If I’m busy worrying then I’m not doing but I’m not just staring at the sky, because I’m often planning and replanning to avoid the outcomes my worry produces.

  • teresa

    i’m feeling not good now ,cause my teacher who I like is worrying about his younger sister who has just divorced.
    I should stopping my worrying since I am in such an important time of my life that I need to pay full of my attention to prepare for the coming Postgraduate Qualification Exeminations in China . Sigh….
    How should I do ? How could I comfort my teacher meanwhile I can narrow my mind and get it out of my teacher ?

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  • http://www.mypromdresses.co.uk/ prom gowns

    Really very nice site!I have you bookmarked your site.

  • http://www.foldingcampingchairsreview.com folding camping chairs

    The habit of worrying seems hard to stop. These techniques are useful to help stop worrying, it’s worth looking at in detail. So solve problems in positive and creative ways, and ask for and get support when needed.

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  • http://www.beginners-meditation.com/ meditation sound

    it is really essential to stop worrying. too much worrying can cause illness.

  • ktebazaalwa

    guys u r doin us addicts great work, thank u!

  • Blackjack Players

    While worrywarts insist worrying is helpful. Stuck in thinking ruts, they stop living in the here and now–the present moment. Worry warring is torment–a kind of self-imposed purgatory that makes you feel bad, stresses you out, and wastes precious moments of your life.

  • http://www.myresumetemplate.com Resume Template

    I’d must verify with you here. Which isn’t one thing I normally do! I enjoy reading a publish that will make folks think. Also, thanks for allowing me to remark

  • http://worrylessenjoymore.com Damir

    Hey Cindy,

    Great stuff here. I like step 12 the most, Monitor Your Thoughts.Cheers

  • Supotco

    i read through this blog entry while i was extremely worried to the point where i was crying, and found this to be no help.  Maybe it would help when I’m not feeling this way.

    • jan

      Are you a zoophile, by any chance?

  • sunnny day

    Don’t ever worry about things that don’t worry about you! ~  Wiz Khalifa obtained from Wiz Khalifa

    Quotes

  • ??????

    thanks a lot helped lots hope it works for other people. i  spent ages looking for a site like this: one that acually works! thanks again
     

  • http://www.saumyaray.com saumya

    thank you.

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  • http://pinkcheck.wordpress.com/ France

    Your favorite reason seemed to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal.

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  • genie in a bottle

    the statistics actually made me feel better.

  • genie in a bottle

    the statistics actually made me feel better.

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  • Lee

    Great article and it got me on a chase to find the original quote…and i’ve found it :)

    “A lady realized that her fears were running and ruining her life so she made for herself a “worry table” in which she tabulated all her anxieties. She came up with the following figures: 40%–will never happen because fear is the result of a tired mind; 30%–about old decisions which I cannot alter; 12%–others’ criticisms about me, most untrue, made by people who feel inferior; 10%–about my health, which gets worse as I worry; 8%–”legitimate,” since life does have some real problems to meet. (From Thomas S. Kepler, Jesus’ Spiritual Journey and Ours).Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/262997

    Heres the book on Amazon… http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1163810401/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=leejacksonorg-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=1163810401 

  • Daied

    I have so much time to dwell.People now are calling people on benefits scroungers I would swap my boreing life with anyone.I would love to work.
            I hate being called a scrounger but I can understand how they feel paying taxes and all but work where i live is like gold dust and getting worse by the day.

  • Teh_victo

    these work just fine but the problem i have is if i have a worry about something and i distract myself  most of the time whatever is bad happens

  • Jakechs14

    make me fell better now

  • Jakechs14

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  • Ab

    Very bad suggestions….”prepare for worst”….worst suggestion i have ever heard

    • Pat

      I was wondering if anyone else felt this.

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  • Jlmurillo79

    Wow ! I like the stats and information provided. This was given to me asHW in my group therapy and never thought it would be this helpful. My mind is more clear and I am able to understand somethings better.

  • http://rezaali.net Reza Ali

    Thanks for writing a great article. My proven strategy for getting over worrying was to pretend the thing didn’t exist. That obviously didn’t work.

    I remember having sleepless nights over some money and debt issues that I had. It lasted for 2 years. I would pretend the problem didn’t exist during the day and worry about it at night. I finally took the step to manage it and now I don’t worry about it anymore. I can’t believe it took me 2 years to do it and it wasn’t because I couldn’t afford to manage it. It was because I didn’t want the stress of managing it.

    So strategy 5 and 6 definitely works for me. I’m now working on strategy 4- getting support.

    Thanks for the great article. Im writing something similar and will definitely refer to this article.

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  • 123

    awesome

  • 123

    awesome

  • Union

    Thank you.

  • VFEFGVEG

    WORRYING WONT HELP ANYTHING KEEP THAT IN MIND

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  • http://www.stopworryinganswers.com/ stop worrying

    I’m always open when it comes to suggestions about tips on how you can reduce your everyday worries… New techniques always gives way to how it meets your needs…Worrying is a part of life, if you worry it’s normal, just how you deal with it is the constant problem…Thanks!

  • Tarachand

    Thankx.I was aware about the techniques but you only put it in sequence and my problem was solved.

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  • Nicholas Mills

    Thanks for this post! I will hopefully be able to apply these techniques to my life.

  • Guest

    Thank you. ❤

  • chintan

    is it possible for a man/woman to change his/her behavior without counseling and  

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  • fedelix

    well …lol i love it by the way i am fedelix and i love to worry about distractive words i love this place i dont have to worry anymore

    • Nonesense2012

       How we  can change our mental setup  which is a gift or curse of God.

  • Courtney Sorgney

    my brother black mails me and the thought of the past just worries me! i alway sthink maybe this will happen or that cuz he used to blak mail me but i told my parents at i did wrong but now i het him literally its fake love im just afraid! i nned help ASAP txt memor email me courtney.sorgney@gmail.com tnx!

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    The problem I have is that my worrying is almost supersticious.

    I worry because on some level I believe that if I don’t fret about the worst happening the universe will punish me by making it happen. Conversely if I do worry about it it won’t happen and something good will happen instead.

    It’s ridiculous. I even know it’s ridiculous, but if I try to challenge my worries it provokes a panic attack.

    I don’t know what to do.

    • Askhina

      Becka you describe exactly how feel to…I am not sure what to do.

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  • Allicolman

    My mam worries alot and it is really getten bad that its like walken in egg shells cause she worries and then just gets annoyed and upset I really don’t know what to do we have all tryed talken to her and she listens but then just worries that were worried over her I really don’t know what to do any suggestions or cause she doesn’t go out much and doesn’t like to so it’s tricky to get her to do stuff

  • worriedallmylife

    I worry about the things I can’t control-something dreadful happening to my children or family members-what can one do about that?

    • Chloe Stevens

      Dear worriedallmylife,
      Here are some tips,
      1.Find a hobby
      2.Distract yourself with anything
      3.Think of the best
      4.Spend time with your family.
      5.Go to your GP ( doctor ) and get some medical advice.
      6.Make sure your family are healthy and active.
      7.Try to go on holiday ( take a break .)
      8.Treat yourself!
      I hoped these tips helped.

  • http://www.IamBullyproofMusic.org/ IamBullyproofMusic

    Great post! We teach kids to not worry so much by planting healthy song hooks in their heads that stick like glue. A serious example; our Messy song “Life’s kinda messy, but oh, what a journey, so God bless my mess!” A fun example; our Whatever tune “Whatever feels better!” Oh, the thank yous we get on that one–from moms too! And for those who understand the Monkey mind; our Monkey song which is 2cute and kids tell us saves their day often. Isn’t it all about how we think? Or what we think? Sometimes the biggest bullies are the ones in our heads. Worry worry worry NOT.

  • Bencol3

    SOME OF YOUR HURTS YOU HAVE CUREDAND THE SHARPEST YOU STILL HAVE SURVIVED
    BUT WHAT TORMENTS OF GRIEF YOU ENDURE
    FROM EVILS THAT NEVER ARRIVED?

  • Ben Colcol

    SOME OF YOUR HURTS YOU HAVE CURED AND THE SHARPEST YOU STILL HAVE SURVIVED BUT WHAT TORMENTS OF GRIEF YOU ENDURE FROM EVILS THAT NEVER ARRIVED?

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  • Waltman3

    Thank you, this page is now bookmarked. Awesome reading material.

  • E Mcfarland2017

    I think this was interesting and the statistics are true and thank you for telling me some ways i can do to stop worrying

  • John

    Great

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  • http://www.aces-counseling.com/ DUI evaluation

    I do believe that as human beings, it is normal for us to worry but not completely be worried of everything. Personally, my way of reducing or stopping my worries is doing your first tip. I have this “negativistic” thing but in a good way, and it works best for me. I think of the worst possible scenarios that may happen and decide on the best promising solutions for them. So when things really go wrong, at least I have already thought of a possible way out. It does not work for some but it certainly helps me reduce my worries in a huge way. I guess, we are unique from others and all we have to do is search for the things that work best for us. Thank you for all these helpful tips.

  • http://1000lifelessons.com Leo Tabibzadegan

    If you have a HUGE problem you are trying to deal with right now try the following,

    1) Ask yourself, “What is the absolute worst thing that could happen to me?”.

    2) Accept the worst case scenario.

    3) Take baby steps to improve on that worst case scenario (hint: runaway to mexico).

    :)

  • Jeffrey James

    Thanks for these tips — it’s true, when we constantly focus on the worst case scenario and ask lots of “What if…?” questions, we are only hurting ourselves. The tips listed here can definitely help break that habit!

  • Bob

    Fuck off

  • cheeks2cheeks

    can someone help me with problem? i applied for an events job but im worrying that it would be the same people that i worked with in my previou job. Theyre assholes and I cant work in that kind of environment. please help me any suggestions

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