How to worry less

how-to-worry-less

I’ve been a worrier for the most part of my life.

I remember being about 7 years old, sitting in the playroom of my aunt’s house with my 3-year old sister- my older cousin was baby-sitting us. All of the sudden, my sister picked up something that looked like an unwrapped piece of candy and showed it to my cousin who said something to the effect of “it’s candy, bro, you can eat it” and as she put the the piece of candy in her mouth, I started screaming “Nooooo!!!” Everything went into that slow-motion, as I thought to myself “This is it, this is how it happens. Mom is going to kill me for letting this happen”- I was convinced that she was going to die. I started crying, trying to get my sister to spit it out, while my cousin laughed at me. When we got home that night and were put to sleep, I kept getting up to check if my sister was still breathing. I stayed up all night that night, worrying about my little sister dying.

I think that might have been one of my first mini panic attacks…. pretty funny now that I think about it, but back then, I was definitely terrified.

Growing up, my life was filled with a lot of worry. My grandparents always gave me little speeches about how dangerous the world is, that I should never talk to strangers. I’d always hear adults in my life talk about things that they’d hear on the news, and as you can imagine, most of the time it wasn’t pretty. This sort of turned me into paranoid little girl who didn’t trust anyone. Another now funny but then terrifying story was when I was about 10 and was walking to my music class. It was winter, I wasn’t wearing gloves, carrying my violin and as I left the house, it started to snow. I knew I had gloves in my pocket, but I refused to put my violin in the snow in order to put them on. I felt someone walk behind me, and as I turned around, I noticed that it was one of our elderly neighbors, most likely on her way to church. She noticed me, came up to me and said “my God, aren’t you cold? Don’t you have gloves?” I said I did have gloves, but there were in my pocket “well, let me hold your violin and you can put them on” she said. I looked her right in the eyes, pushed her hand away and shouted “NO!” and then I started to run….. Yes, I thought that poor old lady was going to steal my violin and run away with it.

As I got older, my worrying eventually turned into anxiety and I was pretty miserable for a couple of years. Worrying drained my energy, I felt displaced and I knew that I was missing out on life. If you’re a worrier, the best thing you can do is develop some healthy ways of dealing with your worry and/or anxiety.

EMBRACE YOUR MISTAKES

Do you self-critize after making a mistake? If you do, you probably know that it doesn’t make things any better- it actually makes them worse. Try to challenge your need for perfectionism and embrace your mistakes. Have you ever heard of wabi-sabi? It’s a Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection, beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. This is something that can also be applied to life, not just art. The fact that you make mistakes is what makes you authentic, so if you happen to make them, don’t beat yourself up, embrace it. Forgive yourself and move on.

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE

You know that I’m all about sending out positive vibes, positive thinking and all that, but it’s easier said than done, right? Whenever I start feeling worried about something, I try to put things into perspective, asking myself, will this matter to me, a year from now?

SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS, RIGHT AWAY

This is probably the best piece of advice I can give you. If there are any things in your life that cause problems, whether it be a bad relationship, a financial or work situation- try to resolve those problems right away and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you keep putting things like that off, you will keep worrying about them which can get exhausting. When I started college I was convinced that I wanted to go to medical school. I spent three years as a pre-med major even though I started doubting my path just after first semester. I was so worried about what my college advisor or even worse, my family, would think. I was so afraid of disappointing everyone who was so proud of me, I felt this tremendous amount of pressure- I couldn’t sleep and every day I kept telling myself that I’ll go talk to my advisor “tomorrow”. When I finally got the courage to change my major, I felt so relieved and amazed at just how supportive of my choice everyone was. Things are never as bad as we imagine them to be; so if there are any “lingering” problems or issues in your life that you know you can take care of but keep putting it off- get it over with.

how-to-stress-less

STOP WATCHING THE NEWS

Look, I know that some some of you might think that this is ignorant, but that’s okay. I stopped watching news and reading newspapers years a go and there is definitely a lot less worry in my life. When was the last time you saw something happy and positive on news? Both news and newspapers have negative influence on your life. I see this happen at work all the time- we come in, have some coffee, someone picks up a newspaper and starts “oh my God, did you hear about this?” and that’s were I usually have to remove myself from a conversation because I know that whatever follows, will most likely not be anything positive. People read their morning newspapers as they’re eating their breakfast, they’re listening to the news as they’re getting ready for the day- they chose to start their day on a negative note. Because negativity sells. If there’s anything major happening, I always chose to do my own research and try to get my “news” from an unbiased source. Watching news always made me feel paranoid, scared and convinced that something bad was going to happen to me or someone I love. Try giving yourself a little detox and go without news for a week and see how you feel.

MEDITATE

Meditation does wonders for a stressed, worried mind. It gives your mind a little break, eases it and helps to clear your focus. If you feel your mind racing, you’re stressed and/or need help with difficult emotions- try meditating. If you don’t know where to start- click here.

Are you a worrier? Do you have a system for dealing with those emotions?

  • My trick is pretty simple – I ask myself ‘Is there anything I can do about it now?’ No? Then ignore it.

  • I like your story from childhood :) Great tips! I try to be more reasonable about it and aknowledge the fact that either I can do something about the situation or I should simply forget about that thing and move on.

    xx
    ALINA ERMILOVA | BLOG

  • Samantha Frances

    I LOVE the tip about not watching the news. I do this and it helps so much! I couldn’t imagine starting every day reading about the terrible things that are going on in the world, I’d never be happy! I’m also definitely going to try meditating, it sounds so good! xxx
    http://www.samanthafrances.co.uk

  • I never watch the news. It’s depressing most of the time and I believe it can leave some people jaded towards the world around them. I believe in being aware of the world around us but I don’t want to be paranoid or anxious 24/7 so it’s best for me to just not watch.

  • I never watch the news and I barely ever read the newspaper. I always start my day reading Thought Catalog on my iPhone because I feel like it enriches my brain instead – even if that sounds ridiculous! The news does nothing other than make me worry!
    xx lacoconoire.com

  • I am the kind of person who need to be aware to not worry ! Nice post !
    Alexandra
    http://littlefrenchblog.blogspot.fr

  • Biana Perez

    I’m definitely a worrier…I don’t know when it started but as I’ve gotten older it’s gotten worse!! I try to stay positive because I find when my thoughts go to a negative place I obsess over it oye! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  • Totally with you on the news!

    moremindfulyou.blogspot.com

  • I also do not watch the news. But as a bartender, I get clients reading the newspaper in front of me and what results is them being all pumped up about things that don’t even matter in their personal lives. My parents also watch the news and it’s particularly bad on my mom. I don’t want to live like that. I want to deal with my own stuff and not worry about a car accident that happened at the other side of the province!

  • No news….defenitely!

  • I am such a worrier, I get myself worked up about the most silly things, sometimes I have to take a step back and realise I am the silly one x

    Zoe Mountford x

  • desireecherisse

    Love this. I stopped watching the news years ago because of my anxiety. Now I just need to get a hold of my health anxiety.

  • Thank you for all these tips, I am a constant worrier and some of these tips do help. I want to try taking yoga classes to help with my anxiety. Whenever I’m feeling anxious I’ll read a book because it helps me relax.

    Perfect Shade of Mauve

  • I am definitely a worry wart most of the time! These are really helpful tips and I try to take time to meditate most days and I find it definitely does help :)

    Kathy xx
    http://www.alongcamekathy.blogspot.com

  • I always worry, worry over the tiniest of things and transform them into a giant problem! After reading this the “Changing of Perspective” really stood out for me, it has now become so obvious to start thinking that way why haven’t I thought of that before?!?! Thanks for this, awesome post!

    http://globeoflove.com/

  • Yes, worry can give us some queasy little surprises but one must try to combat it as soon as possible. Great post and thanks for the wonderful tips. I love the versatility you bring into your posts. :)

    Chaste & Beautiful
    .

  • I am an eternal worrier. I worry about the silliest things. I wish there was a way to let go, but unfortunately it’s not as easy as just flipping a switch. Good tips though!

  • Thanks for this post Paula. I love your positive vibes. I have been dealing with a lot of stuff and these posts helps so much. I posted your 7 positive affirmation on my desk at work. I read it often xx

    • Awww wow you’re so welcome Elre! That is so awesome, you have no idea how happy that makes me that you like these posts!! :)

  • The Sunday Mode

    I’ve been a long time worrier as well and I think naturally after a while that just sort of swirls into anxiety. A lot of the time I look back and laugh at what I’ve worried about, but at the time whatever it is can seem so big and overwhelming. I also never watch the news either, my Louise Hay tape that I listen to before bed every night always says never to watch the news or read the paper right before bed. Words to live by!

    http://www.thesundaymode.blogspot.com.au

    • Yes! I’m surprised at how many people said that they also don’t watch the “news”, I think that’s awesome because I know how negatively they can impact us.

  • I am a big worrier and I’ve always been one, sometimes it gets out of hand. When I get worried, I always think about the worst. I tried talking about with others but their reactions kinda stopped me doing that. Also worrying about disappointing others doesn’t make things easier. We should also think about what we want and what makes us happy.

    Ela BellaWorld

    • Aw that can be definitely be exhausting Ela! You just have to tell yourself that it’s your life, and you’re bound to make mistakes- being afraid can keep you from really living your life and being happy.

  • Great advice for someone who is always worrying!

    Abigail Alice x

  • I love this post a lot! I’m always stressed or worried about something and keep thinking about it which then keeps getting worse and worse! These are definitely going to come in handy! Thanks for sharing girl x

    TOUCHOFGUCCI // BLOGLOVIN

  • This is so handy!
    I’ve been a worrier for as long as I can remember – even the little things like “did I lock the door” or “oh dear maybe I shouldn’t do that because people might find me annoying or think I’m stupid” bugs me everyday. I’ve desperately been trying to overcome this to the point where everything has to be perfect or I start stressing out like crazy.

    I can agree with the pointer on sorting stuff out right away – it’s one of the things I do to deal with my endless stressing & worry. I can’t wait to try everything else on this list though, this post is so handy!

    Lizzie Bee // mysticthorn.com

    • Oh that is so me, sometimes I come back to my room 5 times before leaving the house, making sure that I unplugged my hair iron haha :)

  • Adaleta Avdic

    The number thing my boyfriend tells me every time I’m in a bad mood is “change your perspective” it sounds so incredibly easy, but is so hard. Sometimes when I’m cranky and upset, I just don’t want to change my perspective but it’s the one thing that’s still holding me back from worrying! Great post xx adaatude.com

  • I can totally relate to your childhood, its difficult growing up with adults telling you all the things to worry about. Even though they’re trying to protect you, it makes anxiety quite likely in adulthood. My mother was a worrier, and I definitely inherited that trait learning from her. It can make everyday life a struggle, simple things like running around the block in the evening is a challenge. But life is meant to be lived, not feared. Thanks for the great tips, I’ll be using them!
    Krystal
    http://floradelsoul.com/

    • I definitely think that that’s where some of my anxiety came from. It is nice to know that that you can actually shift your mindset a little and just not feel so paranoid about everything :) It’s definitely doable- even for an ex life-long worrier like me haha :)

  • Momina Arif

    stop your problems right away. i like that one. this should’ve been a mental health post.