Learning How Not To Worry: Breaking The Habit

Learning how not to worry is something many of us wish we could do. The truth is, we can. Although worry is inevitable in some situations, most of us worry far more than we need to. Worry has simply become a habit and, like all habits, it can be broken!

Understand Whether Worrying Can Be Productive

There are two types of worry. The first is the kind of worry that’s good for us, that makes sure we take care of things we need to. The second kind of worry is just a waste of time and leads to mental exhaustion – this is the kind of worry over things that we have no control over.

Think carefully about what you’re worrying about. Learning how not to worry means learning how to differentiate between the two types of worry. If it IS something you can do something about, make sure you take steps to do that. If you sit there doing nothing you’ll only keep worrying. If you know you’ve done all that you can, and there’s nothing more you can do, keep telling that to yourself to put it out of your mind.

Set Aside Dedicated Worry Time

If you find that you’ve got a lot of things on your mind, and they are legitimate things to worry about, try setting aside dedicated time every day to do the worrying. This could mean waiting until your partner is home from work so you can discuss productive solutions together, or it could simply mean taking half an hour to worry each day so that you’ll feel a little better ignoring your worries later on.

Catch Yourself When You’re Worrying

Learning how not to worry isn’t always easy – many of us get carried away with worrying without even noticing! Sometimes we can be doing one thing and suddenly find our thoughts wandering, or we start looking up things on the internet related to our worry. Unless this is going to do something to solve a problem, it’s a waste of time.

But how do you catch yourself? It is going to take practice. If you find yourself worrying at work, put a post-it on your computer or your desk. It doesn’t have to say “stop worrying” – it could be as simple as a picture of a smiley face to remind you to take control of your thoughts again. You also need to be actively looking for worrying thoughts. You won’t always catch worry out quickly, but you’ll gradually catch yourself sooner and sooner.

Remember, learning how not to worry takes practice. At first you might not think that these strategies are working, but with practice you’ll find that taking your mind away from your worries is easier and easier.

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