Do You Worry Too Much?
by Susie Cortright
Worry is negative visualization. That's what authors Michael Gelb and Tony Buzan point out in Lessons from the Art of Juggling.
It's true: Worry is a focus on fear, which leads to tension, anxiety, anger, and exhaustion.
Here are ten tips to help you stop worrying:
· Hope for the best. A positive attitude works wonders and prevents us from falling into the dark pit of worry and obsession. Stay focused on what's going right in your life.
· Prepare for the worst. Dale Carnegie offers some classic advice in How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. First, identify the worst-case scenario. Accept it. Then, set out to improve upon it. Meanwhile, ask yourself, "Just how likely is this worst-case scenario?"
· Write down your worries. Recording your worries in written form can help you channel nervous energy and pinpoint the real subject of your anxiety. Then you can work to solve those problems rationally and objectively.
· Try behavior modification tapes. Mike Brescia has a good one for dissolving worry and anxiety here: http://www.momscape.com/thinkrightnow/anxiety.htm This audiotape is not self-hypnotizing or subliminal. You'll hear every message, but these messages are subtle and, for many people, effective.
· Recognize that it's simply not worth your time and your hard-earned energy to obsess over the little things in life, nor about issues, events, and people over which you have no control. Repeat this fact to yourself, over and over if necessary.
· Take it one day at a time. It's important to plan well, and to prepare for the future. A daily checklist can help you break up larger tasks into more realistic nuggets. After you make your daily to-do list, concern yourself only with the issues at hand. Focus on making the most of the present moment.
·Trust yourself. Each time you find yourself worrying about some future event, remind yourself that you are capable of handling the problem when it arises. Develop a sense of trust in yourself to handle anything that comes your way. The best way to develop this trust is to charge your "confidence battery." Reflect on all of your successes...the times you succeeded in something on the fly. Spend less time worrying about what could happen with thoughts of what did happen-and how well you handled it.
· Get help. A support system is vital, but resist the temptation to exaggerate things when talking to your friends. Remind yourself that the level of stress you experience is directly related to the way you internalize it.
· Keep busy. George Bernard Shaw said, "The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not." If you're obsessing over something you know is silly, distract yourself. Start a new project. Take the kids out for ice cream. Call your mom.
· Keep the faith. Your religious faith can go a long way in breaking the worry habit by helping you give those anxieties to a force greater than yourself.
It's important to recognize that everyone struggles with worry at some point. Talk with your friends and family about possible new ways you could handle these jittery
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