Our brain is designed to react to things quickly. Strangely enough, most reactions come without us even having to ‘think’ about it. This is a useful little tool most of the time. But, when your brain’s initial reaction to most things becomes fear or worry, it can create larger problems for your everyday life.
Worrying occasionally is not unhealthy. We all find something to worry about from time to time. But, when that worry takes over situations that don’t warrant it, you might start to recognize that it’s a problem. Perhaps you feel paralyzed by an upcoming dental appointment, or a meeting with your boss, or even going out to dinner with friends.
If worrying has ever taken over your thoughts and started to affect your life and relationships, it may be time to ‘re-train’ your brain. There are simple but effective steps you can take to stop worrying so much. These tips on training your brain can be used to really think about the upcoming situations that you’re worried about, and how you can handle them better.
Make Meditation a Habit
Meditation might sound cliché when it comes to calming down your thoughts, but it’s literally been around for thousands of years for a reason: It works! Meditation has been proven by research to improve cognitive health, lower anxiety, and allows you to feel more focused throughout the day.
If you have never meditated before, you may have some incorrect preconceived notions about it. Meditation doesn’t take hours a day. You don’t need to make certain noises or dress in a certain way. You only need a few minutes a day in a quiet space to take your thoughts captive, and remove stress from your mind. Worrisome thoughts may still come. It’s the job of your meditative state to let them go by and not dwell on them for too long.
Train Your Body
One of the best ways to train your brain to stop worrying is to train your body. Exercise has many benefits, one of them being that it can help to reduce stress. But it can also reassure your body’s ‘fight or flight’ responses. Our body often responds to stress before our mind does. If your body feels less anxiety in a certain situation, your mind will interpret it as nothing to worry about.
One of the best ways to combat physical stress is to get more physically fit. Any form of exercise can be beneficial, you don’t need to go to the gym for hours each day for it to have a positive impact. A 5-10 minute walk in the middle of the day can help your body to combat stressful symptoms. This is achieved by sending signals to your mind that everything is going to be okay.
Accept Your Worry
Sometimes, we can worry so much, that we end up stressing out over how much we are worrying! It’s an endless cycle that can wreak havoc on both your mind and body. If you are a worrisome person by nature, one tool you can use to overcome it is to simply accept it. Accept the worries as they come into your mind for what they are.
The important aspect of this tip, though? Once you accept it, you have to be able to move on. You can accept that a certain upcoming situation might cause stress. It might be something you are not looking forward to, and it could even be something that scares you. But, once you have talked yourself through that acceptance, you have to let it go. Sometimes, telling yourself it’s okay to be worried is the best thing you can do, and can actually help you to feel calmer when the actual situation arises.
Empty Your Worries onto Paper
It might seem silly to write all of your worries down, since that puts them all out in front of you. But, think of this action more like an emptying of the mind. When you write down your worries over a certain situation, you are pinning them to the paper and giving your mind a break. If you are not using a daily journal, I highly recommend that you start.
Studies have shown that this tactic is great for people who get nervous before taking tests, for example. When your stressful thoughts are out in the open, you can look back at them. They become tangible, but they also may become less intimidating when they are just words on a piece of paper. Transfer your worries from your mind to a written list or journal, and you will feel more confident in overcoming them.
Give Yourself a Break
It is impossible to be perfect all of the time. Unfortunately, that’s what many of us strive to be on a daily basis. Many of us know that we will fail sometimes, but some people have a harder time accepting this than others. It seems like every day we are told we have to do something new for better health, or better relationships, or more success. If you fall short of those ‘expert’ tips, you might start worrying that you are doing something majorly wrong with your life.
The key here is to cut yourself some slack. Your goal should be to live your best life, not the perfect life. This mindset should be at the forefront of every area of your life, including your health, relationships, workplace, and more. When we are able to take some of the pressures off ourselves that society unfortunately puts there, it makes it a lot easier to stop worrying so much about the things we’ll never be able to live up to.
Stop Worrying and Find Freedom
It might be impossible to get rid of worrisome thoughts altogether. You may just be more conscious of stressful situations than others. The solution is to be able to control those worries. You can’t let those thoughts take over your life, or it could damage your overall health and wellbeing.
By using some of the suggestions in this article, you can be more mindful of your thoughts, and fight back against damaging worries every day. It is unlikely that you’ll stop stressing about everything overnight. But, with conscious effort and tips like the ones listed here, you can keep your worries in check, and live a more fulfilling life in the absence of fear.