“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” ~ Leo Buscaglia
‘Don’t worry about it, it will be fine!’ How many times have we heard this and how many times has it stopped us worrying? I am going to guess that the first answer is a high number and the second answer is a number close to, or is in fact 0! We can all be prone to worrying and research reveals managers are feeling the pressure of stress more than ever. Once a worry takes hold, it tends to continue to grow and grow and impact both our mental and physical energy. Whatever keeps us awake at night with worry, it is time to tackle the state of worrying once and for all and rid your life of the chaos of worry! Read on for some tactics and techniques that will help you much more effectively than someone saying that phrase of ‘Don’t worry about it, it will be fine!’
A lot of the things we worry about do not actually end up happening. Think back to the list of your recent worries and consider how many of the things or ‘what ifs’ that were overtly worrying you, actually ended up happening and if they did happen, did they end up being as bad as your mind built them up to be? Taking a moment to think back over your past worries will help you to approach these worrying topics more rationally.
What will worrying actually achieve? Sitting there getting yourself all worked up will not help the situation or change the state of it. This quote by Van Wilder sums this point up perfectly; “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” So when worrying takes hold, ask yourself, ‘how is feeling like this helping the situation?’ Instead it is wasting our time when we could be addressing the next task on our to-do list to avoid undue stress.
Put the worry into context and ask yourself ‘What is the worst that can happen?’ Shine some clarity on the situation and spend a moment taking back the reins to your mind to stop yourself from blowing things out of proportion. This will save you a lot of wasted time worrying and contemplating ‘what ifs’ that simply do not deserve your precious time!
Communication can help with worrying in two key ways. Firstly, do not try to guess what other people are thinking because no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot. As the Positivity Blog rightly comments, when we try to second-guess what others are thinking, we end up creating an exaggerated and sometimes disastrous situation. Save yourself the stress and simply speak to the other person to discuss what is troubling you. Communicating your worries to someone can also have a very positive impact either through providing you the opportunity to voice your worry out loud which helps to solve the issue, or gaining a different, external perception on your worry.
Exercise is a sure way to tackle a worrying state as it is found to reduce the stress hormone adrenaline and cortisol and stimulate feel-good endorphins. It gives us the chance to remove ourselves from the situation and release tension. Exercise can give you the one opportunity in your day to disconnect from everything; you cannot respond to emails or phone-calls and instead you focus simply on yourself and your exercise.
A simple thing to change which could help is getting to bed earlier. Researchers at Binghamton University studied the habits of 100 students and found that those who had habits of sleeping for shorter periods of time and going to bed very late were often overwhelmed with more negative thoughts than those who had a regular sleeping pattern.
Trial some breathing exercises when you feel yourself starting to get anxious. Fast Company recommend the 4-7-8 breath technique by author of Spontaneous Happiness: A New Path to Emotional Well-Being, Andrew Weil. This involves doing the following, “first exhale completely through your mouth, then inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for seven seconds, then exhale through your mouth for a count of eight.” Weil promotes this for combating worry as he claims it is not possible to be anxious when you are concentrating on deep breathing.
Implementing these techniques when you feel yourself becoming overwrought with worry can help you to regain control and stop yourself sacrificing valuable time in your life to unproductive worrying! Do you have any sure-fire techniques you can recommend?