Do you worry a lot? I used to be a big worrier. For example, I would be on pins and needles whenever my husband flew until he touched down safely.
Eventually, I realized: Worry never helps, it only harms me.
Since that “aha” moment, I worry far less. I can’t say I’ve extinguished worry entirely, but it’s no longer such a prominent force in my life.
According to WebMD:
When worries and anxiety become excessive, chances are you’ll trigger the stress response.
In addition to stressing you out, chronic worry can make you physically ill. Repeatedly turning on the fear, flight, fight stress system in your body can contribute to annoying symptoms like headaches, insomnia, and muscle aches and even big health problems like immune suppression, digestive disorders, and heart disease. If you need more help with stress, read: 21 Ways to Eliminate Stress from Your Life.
Let’s take a look at how to release worry because each time you let go of worry, life becomes more spacious and free.
5 Simple Antidotes to Worry
Check out these 5 antidotes to worry and see which ones resonates for you.
1. This Isn’t Happening Right Now
Worry usually means you’re in a thought of the the past or future. So when a worry thought or feeling arises, remind yourself this isn’t happening right now. It’s just a thought moving through your mind.
Embrace Shantideva’s advice:
If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.
In other words, if there’s a solution, take action. If not, let go.
2. Change the Channel
When your mind drifts to worry, use your senses to help bring yourself into the present moment. Notice what you see, hear, feel (physical sensations), smell or taste right now. For example, “I see a yellow wall and hear birds chirping and a weed whacker in the background.”
You don’t need to announce it to yourself out loud. Just be aware of what your senses are receiving, and rest in that awareness without creating thoughts about it. If thoughts do arise, don’t chastise yourself. Just let them go and return your attention to your senses.
This is a simple form of mindfulness practice. If you would like to learn more about how to quiet your mind, read: 21 Meditation Tips You Need to Know As a Beginner.
3. Use An Affirmation
Create an affirmation to replace the worry thought. Craft one that goes to the core of your fear. For example, “I feel safe.” Or “I have everything I need in this moment.” Then, whenever the worry thought comes, immediately apply the affirmation in its place.
4. Love Yourself, Worry and All
I love this phrase used in Tapping: “Even though I_______, I completely love and accept myself.” When worry comes to your mind, fill the blank in with “worry” and repeat the phase to yourself.
Even though I worry, I completely love and accept myself.
5. Set Aside Time for Worry
Set aside a specific time each day – 20 to 30 minutes – to think about your worries and explore solutions. Then, intentionally avoid thinking about those worries for the remainder of the day. If worry does arise at other times, just remind yourself that you’ll focus on it during your special worry/solution period. Research has shown this to be an effective way to reduce worry.
Don’t Go to War With Worry
Whatever you do, don’t go to war with worry! Feeling aversion for any emotion will just make it stronger. Instead, accept worry as another thought that sometimes arises in your mind. Realize that it comes from nowhere and disappears into nothingness. Worry only grows larger if you keep fueling it with more thoughts.
Select one of the 5 antidotes to worry, and practice it. If it doesn’t make a difference, try one of the others.
At the same time, be patient. Some people acquire a stronger tendency to worry in childhood, as a result of experiences as an adult, or due to genetics or a combination of all three. It will take commitment and practice to dispel worry, but you can do this. Celebrate every time you let go of a worry thought and enjoy the sense of relief you feel instead.
If you can’t shake worry or are suffering from anxiety, be sure to to get support from a mental health professional. These tips are not meant as treatment for mental health issues.
Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious! Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always. With love, Sandra