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How to stop worrying can be a big challenge. I was what you would consider a professional worrier. I was constantly worried about what others thought of me. I worried about my health, my job, my non-existent social life, my future… Everything!
I also suffered from insomnia. You know how it is right? Lying in bed, worrying about all the things that might or might not happen. And the clock ticks further and further…
… And then, after a few hours of worry and anxiety you start to worry about how little sleep you have left.. More worries! It doesn’t end!
It took me years to overcome it. But this was because I did not have any of the effective tools below back then.
Over the years I have found tons of techniques that teach you how to stop worrying. I personally used them all and still use some of them.
In this article I share with you the ones that I found to be practical and effective.
To me, worrying is when you are negatively thinking about things that might or might not happen in your future. Or when you are constantly thinking about things that happened in the past. Something you said or did. Or what you should’ve said or done.
If you think about it logically, this is a waste of time.
If you don’t know how to stop worrying you might want to try this effective worrying technique:
Think about the worrisome situation. Once you’ve thought a situation over, take these 4 easy steps.
Don’t over think what the best solution is exactly. Go with your first thought. Your subconscious always gives you an answer and the best answer is the first thing that comes up.
You worrying about whether or not it is the best solution is your conscious, way less intelligent mind interfering. After you have found the best solution, stick with it!
Then realize that you can deal with it when the moment is there. Confirm this to yourself. Affirm to yourself that you are capable of handling anything and everything that comes your way. Make it an affirmation.
Counter the thoughtWhenever a worry enters your mind, counter it with the positive opposite. Then continuously repeat that positive to yourself in your mind.Say you think “these people don’t like me”. The positive opposite would be “these people like me very much”. So you repeat to yourself in your mind the positive opposite. Do it for a minute or two. Notice how your anxiety level drops.
The thought might come back later, but you now know what to do. Keep doing this until the thought doesn’t show up anymore.
Have you ever heard the saying: “If you say it long enough you might start to believe it”? This is actually true. Your mind doesn’t care what information you feed it. So keep doing this until you have taught your mind how to stop worrying.
Communicate When you are doom thinking and wondering how to stop worrying and you just can’t get out of it, call someone. Contact a friend or family member. Or just go talk to someone. You don’t necessarily have to talk about your worries per sé. Just the act of getting your mind of your worries will help you get out of anxiety.
Positive how-questions Turn the statement in your mind into a positive how-question. Your subconscious mind will always search and come up with an answer if you ask it a question. So by asking a positive how question you are shifting your worry into a solution.
Worry: I can’t do it!
PH-Q: How can I do it?
Worry: I am afraid of making a mistake!
PH-Q: How can I feel confident about making a mistake?
Worry: I can’t perform under pressure!
PH-Q:How can I feel motivated by pressure?
15 minutes of worry Set a specific time every day to worry. Preferably the same time every day. Say from 6PM until 6.15PM. In this time span you can allow yourself to worry as much as you want.
During the rest of the day however, you should write small notes of your worries for your 15 minutes of worry. This way you learn to postpone your worry and this will in turn give you more control over your thoughts.
Overcome irrational beliefs Ineffective worrying drains your energy and causes you to feel anxious. A contributor to your worrying is how you think about it. What are your beliefs about worrying and how to stop worrying?
You currently might believe that excessive worrying is protecting you from making mistakes. But this is a false irrational belief. Excessive worrying is only doing you harm. Change your irrational belief and only worry in the effective way described above.
Write it all down on paper By writing down all your worries on paper you get it OUT of your head. You will get some clarity on the games you are playing in your mind.
You can better rationalize as the worries are now just sentences on a piece of paper and are not linked to your anxiety anymore.
Acceptance Imagine the worst possible scenario. Think of how you would handle it if it indeed would happen. Then, after that, accept the worst case scenario.
If you can accept your fear of the unknown and live through the worst case scenario, then there’s little to fear.
Journal Store all the major ”what-if” scenarios you are worrying about in a journal. Then do the thing you worried about so much. Afterwards go back to your journal. How many of the things you worried about actually came true? Probably none.
If you do this a couple of times you start to convince your mind that there is nothing to worry about. That it is safe.
Exaggerate This sounds counter intuitive, but it really works. Whenever you have one of these nagging thoughts, exaggerate them until they sound ridiculous to you.
Say for example, you are afraid of being laughed at for saying something. Make it a story so impossible that you can laugh at it. Think that you will be laughed at by everyone around you. Everyone will then contact everyone they know and tell them about it. They will inform the local newspaper…
…It will show up on the news. There will be planes flying over with your name and the text “xxxxx was laughed at”. It will go on CNN. It will be videotaped and it becomes the number one video on you tube. People will get a ring tone with the laughter that was directed at you. Etc etc. Have fun with it!
The above techniques on how to stop worrying are all very effective. Pick a few of them that speak to you and apply them to your life.
Life’s a lot more enjoyable when you are free of worries!
If you want to completely overcome your social anxiety disorder, getting coached by me personally (from the comfort of your own home and the ease of sitting behind your PC) have a look at the specifics of my 1 on 1 Skype coaching package Social Anxiety Coaching
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