stop worrying

10 Ways to Stop Worrying

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.” The same is true for a good father. When he feels fear about meeting monthly bills, or his child possibly doing drugs, or paying for college, he digs deep and determines to do the right thing and stick it out. He keeps his promises. He keeps his word to his kids. He leads a life of self-sacrifice so his children may live better than he.

It is said of righteous old men that they plant the acorns of trees they will never sit under. In the same way, your courage will allow unforeseen generations of your family to flourish. You matter more than you imagine. Don’t lose heart. Here are 10 ways to stop worrying:

1. Admit it.

Admit your worries and face them when they occur. Don’t run from them or they will continue to haunt you. Don’t worry about worrying. That just reinforces and perpetuates the problem.

2. Write them down.

Itemize your worries and anxieties on a sheet of paper. Be specific and complete as you describe them. Keep track of when each one occurs during the day.

3. Identify the reasons.

Write down the reasons or causes for your worry. Investigate the sources. Is there any possibility that you can eliminate the source or cause of your worry? Have you tried? What have you tried specifically?

4. Figure out your focus.

Write down the amount of time you spend each day worrying.

5. Think about the effect it is having.

Make another list. Note (a) the way your worrying has prevented a feared situation from occurring; (b) the way worrying has increased the problem.

6. Cut out the sources.

Try to eliminate any sources of irritation if you are nervous or jumpy. Stay away from them until you learn how to react differently. For example, if troubling world events worry you, don’t watch so many newscasts. Use that time to relax by reading, working in the garden, or riding a bike for several miles. Avoid rushing yourself. If you worry about being late, plan to arrive at a destination early. Give yourself more time.

7. Get your rest.

Avoid any type of fatigue—physical, emotional, or intellectual. When you are fatigued, worrisome difficulties can loom out of proportion. Take a healthy amount of breaks and get plenty of sleep.

8. Maintain perspective.

When you start to worry, ask yourself: “Is this something for me to worry over?” In other words, is this something that really pertains to you and your life, or does it properly belong to someone else? Focus on the things that are under your control.

When a problem arises, face it and decide what you can do about it.

9. Plan and take action.

When a problem arises, face it and decide what you can do about it. Make a list of all the possible solutions and decide which you think is the best one. If these are minor decisions, make them fairly quickly. Take more time for major decisions.

10. Don’t look back.

When you make decisions don’t second guess yourself. Look at the facts, then make the decision you think is best. After you have made your decision, don’t question or worry about your choice. Otherwise, the worrying pattern erupts all over again. Practice this new pattern of making decisions.

Sound off: What do you worry most about?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you worry most about?”