Some people seem to be inclined to worry about everything. Worrying is not abnormal or unusual when things feel out of our control or when something very important to us is at stake. But if you can’t get out of the cycle of worrying, you may have become a habitual worrywart.
Merriam-Webster defines worry as “mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated.” But if you’re perpetually worrying over situations, you may have become a worrywart: “a person who is inclined to worry unduly.” There is a difference between worrying in certain situations as opposed to being inclined to be in a perpetual state of worry.
Being a worrywart is not only exhausting and difficult for the person who cannot help but worry, but it can antagonize relationships and create stress between people where none really need exist.
How Can We Stop All the Worrying?
Why do some people worry unduly? There can be many reasons. It may be due to the fact that certain people feel out of control in situations involving husbands, wives, lovers, children, work, the future, their health, their finances, schoolwork, the state of the world, and virtually everything in their lives.
Why would someone fall prey to worrying about everything? It is usually because they feel like they are victims in their lives, that things happen to them and that they are ineffectual in having any say or effect on every area of their life. This may stem from extreme parenting when everything they felt, said, or did as a child was overruled or criticized. They may have been made to feel that their opinion doesn’t matter. They may have had this dynamic lead to low self-esteem which stops them from standing up to challenges or adversity.
It’s also possible that some bad event or events have happened to this person and now they carry that trauma into their thoughts and beliefs that translates into perpetual worrying.
There may be other reasons as well, but the underlying cause is not the focus here. The symptom of perpetual worry is.
The question is, what can a worrywart do to stop all the worrying? Here are some helpful tips to get you on the road to being liberated from unnecessary worry.
1. Release the Worry
It is important to realize that worrying does not change the outcome of anything.
In other words, the more you worry or the less you worry, you will have absolutely no effect on what you are worrying about. The only thing you will affect is your own peace of mind. If your worry turns into nagging other people, it can have deleterious effects on your relationships. Think about it. Has any of your worrying, all by itself, ever truly had a positive effect on anything you worried about? Of course not.
Worry by itself is nothing more than a fear of a future outcome that you do not want. Spending time in a state of worry nets you nothing at all.
If what you are worried about is truly out of your control, then you can let go of worry for your own peace of mind.
Believe me, you will feel so much better knowing that without worrying, you will not be making anything worse.
2. Be Proactive
I just told you not to worry about things that are out of your control. However, there are many things we worry about that are within our control. Again, even if it is within your control, worrying about it will change absolutely nothing. However, if it is within your control, ask yourself what you need to do to help move things in the direction of your desired outcome. For example, you have a big exam coming and are worrying you won’t get a good grade. Studying might help you. So instead of worrying, put your attention and focus into studying.
Anything you can do in any situation to improve the odds of getting your desired outcome is on you. You must put in the time and effort needed to make a difference. Even if what you have to do is difficult and time-consuming, it will feel better to you than worrying. Do your best. Create your best working plan. Stick to it. This retrains you to attack challenges instead of fearing them. What you will find over time is that you will be worrying a lot less and you will be making many things happen that are satisfying and rewarding.
3. Plan Ahead
Most of our worry about things we have control over can be eased with proper planning. Instead of waiting till the last minute to get proactive, put a plan into action as soon as you are aware that there is something coming that you can affect some control over.
If you write down your upcoming challenges or deadlines and create a plan to tackle them in small, easy steps, you will most likely have the best outcome. Don’t wait to be overwhelmed. The best way to avoid worry is to have a cogent plan of action that requires a little bit of your time every day instead of waiting till the last second and spending an enormous amount of concentrated time under stress trying to accomplish what you now don’t have enough time to accomplish effectively.
By releasing worry, being proactive, and creating well-thought-out plans, you will eventually retrain your mind to take care of what it can and release what it can’t. This will improve your life experience, your relationships, and your ability to be successful throughout life. More importantly, when you are not stressing and worrying all the time, your health and vitality will improve.
Dr. Robert Kornfeld is a life coach and holistic podiatrist based in NYC and Long Island. He is the Founder of Change Your Story Coaching and assists people on their journey to making their dream life happen. Sign up for his email list and get all of his timely and informative articles in your inbox. Are you ready to change your story? Change your life? Contact Dr. Kornfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org.