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How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

As the old saying goes, worrying is a bit like riding a rocking horse. It gives you something to do when you’re bored, but doesn’t actually get you anywhere! Here’s how to stop worrying and start living.

Worry sucks the life out of you

Do you find yourself consumed by worry? Do you spend much of the day thinking about all the things that could go wrong in the future? If so, you’ll know this is not a happy or healthy state to be in. More than that, excessive worrying tends to inhibit you from achieving what you want, and can lead to depression.

When you spend a lot of time worrying, you’re spending less time taking positive action, so your productivity goes down. You also tend to miss out on enjoying whatever it is you’re doing, because your mind is elsewhere. You may be at a friend’s barbeque; eating, drinking and chatting away, but in the back of your mind you’re actually thinking about that presentation you have to give at work next week.

“I really need to start doing some preparation for it”

“What if I don’t get it done in time?”

“I hope I don’t embarrass myself in front of my colleagues”

Worrying can stop you from enjoying your life, and savouring the present moment. So how can you reduce the time spent worrying? The simple answer is to stop doing it! Easier said than done, I hear you say, and you’re right. But by identifying and labelling them as “unimportant” (because they don’t lead you anywhere constructive) and then making a conscious and consistent effort to dismiss them, you’ll begin to form a habit of letting go of these stressful thoughts. This in turn allows you to be free to enjoy whatever you’re doing in the moment.

Worrying isn’t planning

Remember, you are not ignoring your problems or denying reality, you’re just trivialising any worrying thoughts that may drift into your mind. Later, when you schedule planning time, and are in a calm and rational mood, you can think constructively about how you’re going to address any particular problem that you may have. This is different to worrying, as you’re actually looking for practical ways to solve issues, and to take action on your plans.

Sometimes it can be a good idea to set aside 10-15 minutes every night that you use for “worry time”, and save up all your worry for then. When worrying thoughts enter your head during the day, you can think “I’ll worry about that during my worry time tonight”. It may sound silly, but this simple exercise has actually been shown to reduce stress in anxious people.

But I have to worry

You might be thinking, that’s all very well in theory, but I need to worry. I have big important issues to think about! It’s my job to worry, that’s what I get paid good money for. I have to worry constantly about my kids, otherwise I wouldn’t be a good mother. A good life coach can help you to drastically reduce your worry and get you enjoying life again.

But always remember – worrying doesn’t achieve anything (apart from stress, anxiety and depression). The sooner you can learn to let go of it, the happier you will be. So stop worrying, and start living!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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