Stop worrying about the future and things you cannot control

I used to worry a lot about all sort of things. Especially in my early and mid twenties I had periods of extreme worrying, most of them related to work. When I look back at all those worries they now seem very insignificant, hardly worth the effort to think about them. Still they kept me awake for many nights.

Worrying always means you worry about future events, things than may happen, but never about the present moment.

One worrying thought was not enough. For some reason worrying thoughts like each other and before I knew it I was worrying about a bunch of things. A single worry like “I forgot to make that call” could lead to “I may lose my job” and all sorts of worries in between.

Another symptom of my worrying was that it was related to my level of fitness. If I was fit, I did not worry that much or not at all, but if I was tired I worried a lot more. At the end of the day, or doing the night, my worrying was at its prime. In the morning those worrying toughs that kept me awake, somehow seem less important.

I do much better now and if there’s one lesson to learn from the past it must be that problems that looked huge at that time are nothing, peanuts, after 1, 5 or 10 years. Another thing I noticed is that I always worried about the things I couldn’t control. I made possible problems bigger than they actually were and always worried about the worst thing that could happen. I can tell you it almost never happened and when it did I actually felt relieved.

Below you can find some tips on how to stop worrying about the future and things you cannot control:

  • Realize that worrying always means you worry about the worst case scenario. It is not very likely this will come true. What is the actual chance that the worst case scenario, the thing you worry about, actually comes true? Do the math and see how very unlikely this is.
  • Take things into perspective. Imagine yourself being in the future looking back at you worrying. How important is the worrying thought now?
  • Worrying means there is some uncertainty in your life, something you cannot control. Let go of control, nothing is certain in life.
  • The thought about something happening is always worse than the actual event itself. In most cases, when a worrying thought actually comes true, you stop worrying about it and will take it as a fact.
  • Keep your energy level up. Make sure you have enough rest, being tired will increase the chance of worrying.
  • If you do worry and feel tired, realize that your level of worrying is related to how tired you are. Being aware of this can reduce the worrying thoughts.
  • When worrying, stop thinking and start feeling. Take your attention away from your thoughts and focus on your body. Is there a place in your body where you can locate your worrying? Can you feel it and what do you feel?
  • Start moving. Do something with your body, take a walk and you will see it will make you feel better.
  • Write down all your worries before going to bed. This is especially useful if you worry a lot about things you may forget to do. When you write the thought down, you write them out of your mind so to speak. When you wake up in the morning you can pick-up the list and start doing all the things you planned to do.
  • Have you noticed that worrying always is about the future, things that may happen, and never about the present moment? Ask yourself: Do I have a problem now?

Good luck, and stop worrying now.

1 comment… add one
  • Nicole Bandes Apr 13, 2010 @ 8:51

    One thing I have found very helpful to reduce worry is to understand that all things happen for a reason. When I know this to be true, I can accept whatever may come my way. We may not always understand the reason something happens to us but knowing that there is a reason, reduces the need to worry.

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