Everyone worries, but most of the time, worrying is unnecessary. Plus, excessive worrying can cause tension, sleep irritability, fatigue, problems concentrating, and unhappiness. Who needs that? Here are five surprising ways to worry less:

1. Let go of perfectionism

1. Let go of perfectionism

Most people who worry a lot are perfectionists. They are overly preoccupied with making mistakes or feel like they always have to make perfect decisions. These beliefs cause people to worry excessively about things that are out of their control. To worry less, you need to become aware of your tendencies to be a perfectionist and try to let go of those beliefs. Part of becoming less of a perfectionist is accepting and understanding how much of life's outcomes aren't in your control. Allow yourself to make mistakes.

2. Write it down

2. Write it down

Writing is a great way to let go of negative thoughts and lessen worrying. It's also an excellent way to gain perspective. Do a mental dump each night of everything you're worried about, so it's out of your head and on a piece of paper instead. Then rip up that piece of paper to symbolize letting go of all your worries.

3. Imagine the worst-case scenarios

3. Imagine the worst-case scenarios

A lot of worrying is about being afraid of the worst-case scenarios that are unlikely to happen. To worry less and come to terms with things that are outside of your control, imagine the absolute worst-case scenarios. Then backtrack until you find a more realistic scenario. From there, you can create workable plans to manage your current reality and solve the problems.

3. Imagine the worst-case scenarios

A lot of worrying is about being afraid of the worst-case scenarios that are unlikely to happen. To worry less and come to terms with things that are outside of your control, imagine the absolute worst-case scenarios. Then backtrack until you find a more realistic scenario. From there, you can create workable plans to manage your current reality and solve the problems.

4. Accept uncertainty

4. Accept uncertainty

If you're an excessive worrier, then you probably value certainty in your life. But, if there's one thing that's for sure is that nothing is certain. Uncertainty is a fact of life. Worrying a lot might give you the illusion of control over future events, but it doesn't actually help. To worry less, you need to make a conscious choice to accept that some things are uncertain. When you feel yourself start to worry, bring yourself to the present moment, and remind yourself that you are safe.

5. Rehearse success

5. Rehearse success

Instead of worrying about what could go wrong, envision successful for yourself. Mentally rehearse acing a job interview, having a great first date, or passing your performance review at work with flying colors. Imagine what it would be like to overcome obstacles, accomplish goals, and resolve conflicts. Anticipating success can decrease your worrying and increase your self-esteem.

Don't worry, be happy

When you're in the habit of worrying all the time, it takes practice to learn how to worry less. Continue to actively practice worrying less until you feel less anxious and more confident. Remember that excessive worrying can suck the joy out of life, make you unhappy, and take you away from being present.

References
  1. "4 Surprising Ways to Worry Less," Psychology Today, May 2, 2018.
  2. "10 Ways to Worry Less," Huffington Post, January 23, 2014.

mental health | wellness | health