Do you ever worry about money? Your health? Or maybe your performance at work? These kinds of worries are quite common and most of us have them from time to time. However, for some people, worrying may become constant. These people may constantly worry about their performance at work. They may also frequently worry that something bad is about to happen to themselves or their loved ones. Or become convinced that they have a serious illness every time they experience some pain. For these people, worrying can take up such a big part of their lives that it has a huge effect on their wellbeing. Do you feel that worries take up too much space in your life? If so, understanding why you are worrying so much and how to stop worrying can be crucial steps towards a more fulfilling life.
Why Do I Worry Too Much?
The first step to help you stop worrying is to understand why you are worrying so much. People may worry for different reasons. In some cases, worries may be triggered by difficult life events. These may be a buildup of stressful events over time, or one big event that is very scary. A person who experiences a lot of stress at work over time may start to worry a lot about their performance. A person living with a chronic illness may worry a lot about their future. And someone who has survived a life-threatening illness or event may constantly worry that the event will happen again. These worries may also spill over to other parts of these people’s lives. Therefore, if you have experienced a difficult life event, this might be causing you a lot of worries.
Unhelpful Ways of Thinking
Certain ways of thinking can also make people more prone to worries. One thinking style that can cause unnecessary worries is focusing on limited pieces of information instead of the whole picture. This may include judging the likelihood of bad events by focusing only on what we read in the news or in social media. When bad events happen, these often receive a lot of attention in the news and in social media. Therefore, if we spend a lot of time on social media or reading the news, it is easy to think that flight crashes are common. Or that robberies happen all the time in our neighborhood. This can make it hard to stop worrying that these events may happen to us. However, if we also looked at the actual likelihood of these events, we would realize that they are in fact very rare. Another way of thinking that may cause unnecessary worries is always expecting the worst. A person who has just failed an exam may think that they will never be successful in life. Or a person who has not heard back from their friend may automatically fear that their friend has been in an accident. What often happens in these situations is that people let their emotions overtake their reasoning. When this happens, it can be very hard to stop worrying. However, the truth is that these worries are often out of proportion. A person who fails one exam is not doomed to be unsuccessful. And a person who does not reply to a text message straight away has not necessarily been in an accident. They might just be very busy at work or at home.
Mental Health Problems
Finally, in some cases worrying may be a sign of poor mental health or misuse of drugs or alcohol. People who suffer from conditions such as depression, anxiety or PTSD often worry a lot. Drug and alcohol use may also make people worry a lot. If you think that your worries may be caused by poor mental health or misuse of drugs or alcohol, you should get support from a mental health professional. They will be able to help you with the underlying problems of your worries.
How to Stop Worrying
You now have some insight into why you may be worrying too much. Next, it is time to take active steps to help you stop worrying. A first step you can take, is to become aware of your ways of thinking. Do you tend to focus on only some details instead of the whole picture? Or blow things out of proportion so that relatively small events seem catastrophic? If so, try to notice when you engage in these styles of thinking.
Once you are aware of your thinking styles, try to explore whether there might be alternative ways of thinking. If you take a look at the successful people around you, you might realize that being successful is not necessarily about never failing. Instead, it may be about how you overcome setbacks. And if you take a look at the actual likelihood of flight crashes, or robberies in your neighborhood instead of relying entirely on social media or news reports, you might realize that your worries about these events are out of proportion. This way, becoming aware of and challenging your ways of thinking may help you worry less.
Talk to Someone about Your Worries
If you have tried to challenge your thinking styles but still worry a lot, talk to someone about your worries. Talking to someone about your worries can help you break down and work through your worries. This may make you feel less overwhelmed by your worries. Talking to family, friends, or a mental health professional may also offer new views or tools that can help you worry less. Furthermore, talking to someone can lighten the load of your worries because you no longer have to carry them yourself. Finally, it may help you realize that you are not the only one who has worries. That way, you may feel less lost and alone with your worries.
Focus on Changes You Can Make to Worry Less
Another step you can take to reduce your worries is to consider what aspects of a situation you can control, and what aspects are outside of your control. Once you have considered this, focus on what you can control, and accept what you cannot control. If you are worried about your health, focus on lifestyle changes that you can make. This may include healthy eating and staying active. If you are worried that you may fail an exam, focus on studying well. These steps will increase your likelihood of staying healthy or of not failing your exam. Worrying about things that are outside of your control, such as your genes or the performance of others, will not.
When we worry a lot, it often means that we are caught up in our past or our future. It also means that we are judging our past or our future. Mindfulness is a practice that involves focusing on the present moment. Therefore, practicing mindfulness can help you live in the present instead of being caught up in the past or future. Of course, practicing mindfulness does not mean that your will not think about the past or future at all. However, since mindfulness also encourages a non-judgmental stance towards your thoughts, it may help you accept and let go of thoughts about your past or your future, instead of getting caught up in worries about them.
Exercise More to Help You Stop Worrying
Regular exercise can also help you worry less. Exercise such as running or going to the gym can help give you a break from your thoughts and worries. In addition, exercise has many beneficial effects on the brain. These effects on the brain may help you deal with stress, make you less prone to worries, and help you handle your worries. Therefore, regular exercise is a great habit to have if you want to worry less.
At Epsychonline we have several resources and tools that can help you live a life with less worries. We have a series of self-help courses, including one on
You can visit our Courses page to find a course that suits you. You may also want to read up a bit more on