Managing Worries: Ways to Deal With Your Worries
Worry and stress are emotions that everyone has from time to time. If you begin to feel out of control or think worrying is impacting your life, it might be time to consult a professional. Confidant can connect you with a trusted treatment provider and get you the help you need.
If you’re fixating on things you can’t control or having paranoid thoughts, these tips for managing your worries can help you when combined with your treatment.
Practice Accepting Uncertainty
When you worry about uncertainty, you allow your imagination to focus on worst-case scenarios or theoretical problems. In this light, all uncertainty is bad. But it doesn’t need to be scary or dangerous.
The first step in releasing unwanted worry is accepting uncertainty. You will find that by accepting the unknown, you will worry less, enjoy life more, and seek out less reassurance.
Remind yourself that uncertainty is inevitable, and no one—absolutely no one—has all the answers. When you accept that it is a natural part of life, you can begin living yours more fully.
Let Go of Perfectionism
Learn how to let go of perfectionism. Mistakes are a normal part of learning and growing. They do not define you, and neither does perfection. Be sure to talk through irrational fears of failure with a professional to understand what positive and healthy goal-setting should involve.
Externalize the Worry
Rather than letting anxiety get the better of you, acknowledge how it affects your body. For instance, instead of saying, “I’m an anxious person,” switch to, “Anxiety makes my palms sweaty, and my chest hurt.”
Then, name your anxiety. You can refer to it as “the worries” or something unique to you, like “the dark cloud.” That is narrative therapy. By practicing narrative therapy, you separate your worries from who you are as a person.
Learn Acceptance-Based Mindfulness Meditation
Acceptance-based mindfulness meditation is a specific branch of scripted meditation that observes and acknowledges thoughts without judgment. Unlike traditional meditation, which may require you to clear your head, acceptance-based mindfulness meditation encourages you to be fully present for all thoughts.
During acceptance-based mindfulness meditation, you allow yourself to experience uncomfortable or uncertain thoughts without attaching any particular value to them. That means you don’t judge yourself or feel embarrassment for what you think. By regularly practicing mindfulness meditation, researchers found that you can reduce the frequency of negative thoughts.
Practice Body Scan Meditation
Mental anxiety can manifest in physical aches and tension. Body scan meditation makes you aware of each part of your body and helps identify areas of discomfort.
To start, lie flat on your back and take several deep breaths. Focus on your feet and acknowledge any sensations you're experiencing, like tingling or tension. Pay attention to any areas of discomfort and the emotions that accompany it. Then gently breathe through the tension, visualizing the pain, and stress leaving your body. Move on when you feel ready, slowly making your way up to your head.
The goal isn’t to relieve tension, but rather get you acquainted with where your body internalizes worry. The more you learn about how your body reacts to stress, the better you can manage it.
Talk About Your Fears
Internalizing worry gives it power over you and your emotions. An effective way to externalize your worry is to talk about it with friends, family, or a trusted therapist. Speaking about your fears opens a channel of communication to more rational thinking.
Keep a Worry Journal
Designate a sketch pad or notebook as your worry journal and spend a few minutes each day listing worries on one side of the page. On the next side, jot down any plans you have to resolve these worries or to stop them from recurring. Once done writing, close the journal, and put it out of sight.
Take Time to Exercise
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), regular exercise can decrease overall levels of tension and elevate and stabilize mood. Just five minutes of aerobic exercise, like running, biking, or jogging, can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
With the help of a trusted treatment provider, these steps can help control your worries along your treatment journey.