Creating a Life Free From Chaos

Stop Worrying! Tips for Reducing Anxiety

Stop Worrying! Tips for Reducing AnxietyConfession: I am a worrywart. And I know I’m not the only one. Many people today are crippled with anxiety. We worry about everything and anything. The high-tech, fast-paced society we live in today is literally toxic to many people, a key factor contributing to some chronic illnesses. With the crazy world we live in, it’s not surprising so many people are plagued with anxiety-inducing stress. No matter how many times my husband has told me to “just stop worrying” (I wish it was that simple!), it’s been an ongoing struggle I’ve faced for years. So I’ve pulled together some tips for coping with chronic worry and minimizing the stress we put on ourselves.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Additional Stress

A lot of worrying is caused by not being prepared. If you often find yourself being worried in the morning about being late or forgetting something at home, be sure to prepare yourself as much as possible the night before. Set out the things you need to take with you near the door or make a list to check off each morning so you don’t forget anything. I like to keep my purse in my Launch Pad area and stack up anything that needs to go with me right on top so I don’t forget anything. I’ll even add a note to the top if there’s something important I’m worried about forgetting. Even seasoned pilots use checklists every single time they fly to avoid missing something.

Get Rid of Time-Sucking Habits

You’d be shocked at how much time you probably waste in a day with time-sucking habits that just add to your stress (hello Facebook and Netflix!) If you’re lying awake at night with your mind swirling with thoughts and worries that just won’t go away, try turning off the screens two or three hours before you go to bed, so you can rest easier. If you’re worrying about what’s for dinner, spend a few of your Facebook minutes planning a weekly menu instead, so you’ll know what’s for dinner each night. Review your time-sucking habits (we all have them!) and see what you can eliminate or cut back on so you can spend more time addressing those little worries that constantly plague you.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Some forms of worrying come from being in unknown situations or being caught off guard. The best defense of this is to be mindful of what is going on around you.

If you are going to give a speech and you’re nervous, try going into the room that you’ll give the speech in well in advance so you can get a feel for the environment. You can figure out where you will stand, where your microphone is, and even where the exit is.

I worry when I have to drive somewhere new — will I get lost? Where is parking? Is the neighborhood safe? To combat the worry, I now leave earlier so I can get to my destination early and even take a lap around the block to check out parking and safety so I’m comfortable with my surroundings, particularly if my kids are with me!

Accept that Some Worrying Is Natural

No one on Earth is truly worry-free. This is an unrealistic expectation that can ultimately cause more worry when you start to worry about worrying. Try to differentiate between the worrying most people experience and the unnatural worrying that leads to anxiety. It’s normal for people walking alone to feel uneasy when walking through a strange neighborhood at night. It’s normal for children to worry about a math test or who they’ll sit with at lunch. It’s normal for speakers to feel nervous before walking on the stage to present. It’s normal for parents to worry about their child’s first day of school or when they take the car the first time. Not all worry is bad, so don’t beat yourself up for it.

Keep a Journal

For some people, writing down their feelings (including their worries) can do a lot to flush them out of their systems. Seeing the worries and how they manifest can be cleansing. But don’t just write down the worry — also write down how to handle the stress so the next time it comes up, you can deal with it easier.

Meditate or Pray

Taking the time out of your day to focus inward for 10 minutes or so is one of the best things you can do. You can do this through meditation and prayer. Try reading through Scripture related to what you’re worried about, praying about your fears, or meditating on a scene that helps you relax.

Exercise and Eat Right

Few things are as important as the food you eat and how you take care of your body. Treat yourself right by moving a lot and eating healthfully. Most of us think we don’t have enough time to eat right and exercise, but the truth is, you don’t have enough time not to. You only need about 30 minutes a day of exercise. Eating right is easier when you plan your meals ahead of time, and shop intentionally for fresh, healthy food.

Set a Time Limit for Worrying

Sometimes you just have to let the worries flow. Set aside some time each day or for each situation that causes you to worry, and just worry as much as you want for a short period of time. Set an alarm on your phone to help you end the worrying, and stop immediately if you bypass worry and move into panic. Some worrying is OK, but don’t let it get too far. For most people, just knowing you’re allowed to worry will result in less worry.

You do have control over worrying, and with practice, you can feel less anxious in most situations.What are your favorite tips for conquering worry? 

Stop Worrying! Tips for Reducing Anxiety