Worry can consume you. Worry can mean expending energy on something that ultimately hasn’t happened, will not happen or isn’t even likely to happen. This is not a healthy situation to be in and can be completely debilitating and prevent you from making correct decisions or making positive steps forward.

There are several techniques and thought patterns you can use to overcome worry.

Ask Yourself Will This Matter In A Year’s Time?

Perspective is easily lost, the importance of things is easily lost and you can become overwhelmed with thoughts that if you logically think about it are of no significance. Whenever something is worrying you, ask yourself “Will this matter in a year’s time?” — The answer is almost always no. In general, most of these things will not matter in a week’s time. Once you realise this it can remove the worry that has been building up. You have survived everything up until this point. What would make this any different?

Learn to Postpone Your Worries:

Choose a time of day when you are going to allow yourself to worry, it can be ten minutes or half an hour — whatever you feel comfortable with. Make sure this time is the same each day. Throughout the day if you feel yourself start to worry, write it down and then only look at it during the time you have allocated for worrying.

You may well find that what seemed a massive concern earlier in the day isn’t even relevant any more. This way you can retrain your mind and prevents you from dwelling on worries over the course of the day. If you keep this up you regain control over your worrying and it allows you to be more discerning over what affects you throughout the day.

Practice Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice which is very relevant for life today. Mindfulness is a very simple concept. Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally. This increases awareness, clarity and acceptance of our present-moment reality:

  • Acknowledge any worries that you have but do not react to them. Just observe them and the thought structure behind them.
  • Let your worries go and do not engage with them. Do not react with fear or panic to the worrying thoughts, just accept them for what they are, thoughts and let them go. It is only when you allow yourself to react to the thoughts that they become something of uncontrollable substance.
  • Stay focused on the present, this is difficult to do and may be frustrating to start with. However once you practice this it can erase the paralysing thoughts and worries that may be affecting you. Deep breathing exercises are very useful when trying to focus upon the present moment.

Worrying, stress and panic can be completely debilitating and are affecting more and more people throughout society. These things can be changed and can be conquered, it does take effort but it is possible to alleviate the cycle of negative thoughts and worry.

If you still find you have worries that concern you, feel free to share your story, thoughts or feelings on cathartic.

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