Self Help Skills

15 Methods That Will Help You To Stop Worrying

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage

Worry about cleanliness

Worry about efficiency

Worry about horsemanship...


Things not to worry about:

Don't worry about popular opinion

Don't worry about dolls

Don't worry about the past

Don't worry about the future

Don't worry about growing up

Don't worry about anybody getting ahead of you

Don't worry about triumph

Don't worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault

Don't worry about mosquitoes

Don't worry about flies

Don't worry about insects in general

Don't worry about parents

Don't worry about boys

Don't worry about disappointments

Don't worry about pleasures

Don't worry about satisfactions

- F. Scott Fitzgerald (in a letter to his daughter)


These are the methods that science and experts agree on.


1. Find your 'locus of control': There will be things we won't have control over (old age, death, and all the uncertainties of life), and then there are thing we can control - things we can do, things we can think instead. On a piece of blank paper, in a circle, list things you can do, and in an outer circle, things you cannot control.

Also list the things you think you need to do/be, but have never done. Being very much aware of things we can control, we stand a better chance of become achievement-oriented. As the saying goes, 'there is no stopping someone who knows what he/she can do.' Nothing beats worrying more than getting busy living.


2. Accept the worry, and then move on: No use suppressing unwelcome thoughts. 'Worry, I see you eager to jump at me from that wall. You silly pest, you.'


3. Write your worries down: Put all your thoughts on paper - the scenarios, the effect on you personally, etc. Keep a journal. It has a cathartic effect seeing our demons as just a collection of words, sprawled helplessly before you on paper.


4. Break the worry into pieces: This is the Dale Carnegie method. Look at your worry/ies. Analyze. Question the worry thoughts. What is the underlying problem? What is the cause of the problem? What are all possible solutions to the problem? What is the best solution? Do it.


Also ask, 'What is the worst that can possibly happen if I can't solve my problem?' and then prepare for the 'worst'.


5. Schedule the worry: Psychologists push this idea of worrying only at a scheduled time of day, treating it just like any other activity of your daily life (not giving it anymore importance than that), and then at the 'scheduled' time, worry. It makes this writer smile while he types. Dale Carnegie wrote of Sir William Osler who lived in 'day-tight compartments.' He thought about worry, future etc only during bedtime.


6. Crowd out the worry from your mind by keeping busy: Mosquitoes like the lying/sleeping person the best. Move. Exercise if you don't have anything else to do.


7. Live one day at time: And live it well, like it is your last. It sounds so cliched but it is true. No one saw a tomorrow.


7. Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries: Ask yourself: 'What are the odds against this thing's happening at all?'


8. Make the inevitable your friend: If you know a circumstance is beyond your power to change or revise, say to yourself: 'It is so; it cannot be otherwise.'


9. Put a monetary value on your worries: Like the 'schedule' method, this tactic also deconstructs worrying. Start giving a rating/monetary value to each of your duly analyzed worries. 'Ah, the future. That is not worth more than a dime to me.'


10. Let the past bury its dead: This one is a favorite. As they say, 'Don't saw sawdust.'


11. How to deal with worrying about criticism: 'Let's ask for unbiased, helpful, constructive criticism' - E.B. White.

If that is not coming, then think of criticism as whining of jealous and envious people. Want to do one better? Keep a list of things you think you should be criticized. Nobody is perfect.


12. Fake happiness: Force yourself to smile a little. Do it consciously often and the new habit will help push the worrying habit to the margins at least, whenever it comes tiptoeing around.


13. Change your self talk: Observe the things your mind keeps obsessing over, and change them. See 'positive thinking' for more on this.


14. The 'Stop, Look, and Listen' technique: Whenever you find yourself worrying, say 'Stop'. Start to take deep breathe ins and outs. Then, for next five minutes 'look' at the world around you, not at what you are worked up about. Look at the sky, feel the sounds, look at other people and things... and then 'listen' to yourself say positive, reassuring things, for example, 'This too shall pass'.


15. Get some rest: Finally, take some time out. Just go to sleep and push the depression out.


Thank you for reading.
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