How To Worry-Proof Your Life In 3 Steps
Written by: Emilyn Gil
How To Worry-Proof Your Life In 3 Steps
Have you ever laid in bed wide awake for hours because you can’t stop worrying about something going on the next day?
Well you’re not alone, because studies have shown that 55% of people’s main worry time is between 9PM and 3AM. Talk about sleep deprived!
So what can you do to get a little more care-free spirit into your life, stop sweating the simple stuff and get your beauty sleep back?
Worry-proofing your life doesn’t come overnight, which is a bummer since we’re all awake anyway. It takes time and dedication. I’ve boiled it down to three stages. Three ways you can take your worry-levels down tremendously.
STAGE 1: Stop Doing Things That Worry You
Surprisingly, a lot of things you worry about are things that you have complete control over and can all be avoided by learning to use the word “NO.”
Saying No To Worry
It’s not easy! Trust me, I have been there countless times. But the bottom line is that if you can’t say no to what you don’t want and need, you will never have the time or energy for the things that you do want and need.
If you know this is a bad week to volunteer at your daughter’s class, offer a donation to the cause instead. If you’re fretting about what your mom is going to say when you tell her you won’t be able to make it to thanksgiving dinner, stop avoiding the phone and talk to her about it. If getting on the scale every morning is making you sulk about gaining weight rather than motivating you to lose it, put the scale in your closet for a while and try something else!
And Saying Yes To YOU
Evaluate your life and find the things that are causing you more trouble than they are worth. Then cut them out! Reconnect with what you really want to do and how you really want to spend your time. Find your non-negotiables and let everything else go.
Replace your worrisome tasks with things that really make you YOU. Find time to play your instrument each day. Write in your journal. Go on a walk. Do yoga. Meditate. You need to treat yourself as a priority and as important as you treat everyone and everything else in your life.
STAGE 2: Stop Worrying About Things You Have To Do
Now that you’ve eliminated all the unnecessary worries from your life, let’s look at the worries that you can’t control.
A delayed flight, a conference you’re speaking at, or the stain on your shirt that you didn’t notice before your interview. These are all examples of things that, despite your every last effort, you can’t get rid of. You can’t ignore them and you can’t kick them out of your life. You have to face them.
I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know that worrying about these things doesn’t actually improve the situation.
Face It In Phases
The best way to deal with these cases is to work on calming your worries and facing the task at hand. One thing that can help you to do this is breaking up the big task into smaller tasks. Take it one step at a time. Focus on one thing on your list until it’s done. Then move on to the next thing.
Don’t look ahead to worry about something you’re not dealing with. Do what you have to do, then move on to the next thing on the list.
Separate Yourself From Your Worry
Sometimes you may be worried about something that isn’t immediate, such as an upcoming event or a sickness. In these cases where you can’t eliminate the worry, what you can do instead is separate yourself from it.
Think of your worry as an annoying pest who wants you to feel stressed and afraid. Realize that it is your worry talking and that you don’t have to listen to it. Take some deep breaths and focus on calming your body and mind. Being worried is not the same thing as being in danger.
Sometimes it is appropriate to simply find a distraction. You don’t want to suppress the worry and pretend it doesn’t exist because that can be unhealthy as well. Recognize that you are worried and recognize that you will simply have to wait it out.
Come back to your daily self-care activities to take your mind off whatever it is you’re worrying about. This can be some much needed fresh air during a stressful situation, which can really help to keep your spirits high.
STAGE 3: Stop Making Up Things To Worry About
It is estimated that 40% of the things you worry about will never happen, 30% has already happened, 12% are for health problems that you don’t have, 10% are miscellaneous and petty worries throughout the day and, finally, 8% are real and legitimate worries.
So, if you haven’t done the math already, this means that 92% of your worries are needless and inaccurate.
Anyone else feeling like their life has been filled with lies?
So how can you stop this useless worrying once and for all? Here are some tips.
- Be mindful. Instead of worrying about the past and future, think about where you are now. Focus on what you are doing. Focus on the moment at hand and truly live in it.
- Write it down. Putting your worry on paper can help to take it off your mind and can also help you to evaluate whether it is a legitimate worry or not. Is this really a worry that you need in your life? Can this worry wait until a later time?
- Set aside a specific time to worry. Sometimes it can be helpful to schedule 30 minutes a week to worry. This way when worries come to your head you can put them aside and not let them soil the present moment. Some even find that when the scheduled worry time comes around they don’t have any legitimate worries left anyway!
- Get active! Never underestimate the power of physical and recreational activity! Keeping yourself occupied and your body moving can help to keep your mind off of unnecessary worries. Also, exercise releases positive endorphins and who doesn’t need more of those when you’re worried?
After a lifetime of worry, this habit can be hard to break. There will always be new challenges to face and new things to worry about. But remember, the goal is not to wait until the worry is gone, it’s about facing your worries and taking them down piece by piece.
Put your mind to it, take things one task at a time and little by little you’ll find that all your worries have been replaced with peace of mind. And peace of mind means a good night’s sleep, so let’s keep it that way!
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Emilyn Gil is a 22 year old English Major at UVU. She started writing at age 6, and since then has won several awards including the Scholastic Art and Writing Gold Key and was featured in the Kolob Canyon Review in Cedar City. Aside from the written word, her other passions include performing in the occasional musical theater production, and playing piano, guitar, and ukulele. Some of her favorite pastimes are baking, napping, and spending time with family. She likes monkeys, homemade rolls, and the color yellow. She has traveled to Ecuador, Argentina, Mexico, and Canada, and currently resides in Orem, Utah with her husband Jorge. You can find more of her work online at emilyaddn.blogspot.com or on Instagram at @emilyncan.
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