What is worrying?
Worrying is a fairly broad topic. This may involve worrying about certain situations, but it may also be that you spend a lot of time thinking about things that have already happened. Anyway, it’s not a good experience. Research has even shown that prolonged worrying can lead to a greater chance of mental problems. That’s why reducing worry is so important. There are four main types of worrying:
- Daydreaming. This is not about fun situations, but focusing on the negative thoughts you have at that moment.
- ruminate. Thinking about negative events from the past. Sometimes traumatic experiences are also discussed here. It is very difficult to stop worrying at such a moment.
- Fear of failure. The fear that you will not perform well. This can be about school, but also work relationships and even hobbies.
- Unsolvable Problems. Thinking about major problems in the world over which you as an individual have little influence, such as poverty or climate change.
Tips to stop worrying
Not being able to sleep due to worrying is very annoying and can lead to problems in the long run. It is therefore essential to learn to stop worrying before it gets worse.
1. Breathing Exercises
Just like with Zen meditation, focus on your breathing. Breathe in deeply and long through your nose, and slowly out through your mouth. Focus on the air that fills and exits your lungs. As a result, you pay less attention to your thoughts.
2. Distract yourself
By doing other things, especially things you enjoy, you will distract yourself from the negative thoughts and will make you feel happier. If you like to cook, you can bake something, for example. Or else you read an exciting book or watch a comedy TV show.
3. Name your successes to stop worrying
If you suffer from performance anxiety, it can help to list your successes. Like that one time, you gave a speech and everyone was impressed, or the first time you had a solution to someone else’s problem. By emphasizing your successes, your fears become a lot less. This is ideal to stop worrying.
4. Recognize Negative Thoughts
Try to recognize your negative thoughts and patterns. When you do this, you can lead them in a different direction. The thought “I should have reacted differently today.” can be converted to “Next time I know exactly how to respond!”.
What if I can’t stop worrying?
When you keep on worrying with no end in sight, it may help to seek professional help. A psychologist specializes in these problems and can guide you to learn how to deal with worrying and how to stop worrying in the future.