Tips to Keep You Grounded and Help You Stop Worrying
There are several effective, easy-to-implement actions you can take when that feeling of dread starts seeping into your day. Try some or all of the following the next time your worry-thoughts interfere with your ability to function productively.
1. Take a break
If you’re in an overwhelming situation, the best thing you can do is step away and give yourself a chance to calm down. You might want to try closing your eyes and counting to 10. When you return to the situation, you’ll have a clearer head.
2. Focus on your breathing
Slow, deep breaths can slow your heart rate and allow more oxygen into the bloodstream, helping you calm down when your anxiety is high. Deep breathing can help distract you from your worries. You can take deep breaths or try breathing exercises, like the well-known 4-7-8 technique. Breathe in slowly for a count to 4, hold it for a count to 7, then exhale for a count to 8. Repeat 10 times.
3. Try mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation combines meditation with mindfulness. It’s designed to teach you how to be present in the moment instead of spending useless time worrying about the past, present, or future. If you’re new to mindfulness, a guided meditation app is a great place to start.
4. Think positively
When negative thoughts pop into your head, try to immediately counter them with something positive. The power of positivity works — research shows that positive thinking can significantly reduce anxiety and worry. For example, if you’re worried that an upcoming presentation will go poorly, think about how much you’ve done to prepare. Positive thinking is proven to have the ability to improve your state of mind and help you let go of worry.
5. Keep a journal
Journaling can help you track worry triggers and work through your emotions. You may want to jot down your thoughts when you wake up in the morning, or you can carry your journal with you throughout the day. This can help you to work with the negative emotion by taking each worrisome thought you have and leaving it on the page. Even journaling at night can be an effective way to release anxiety and help you sleep better. When you learn more about your own feelings, you can learn how not to worry so much.
6. Spend time with your pets
Pets have the power to elevate your mood and increase your feelings of emotional support. In fact, spending time with your pet can immediately reduce your anxiety. Caring for a pet can give you a sense of purpose, helping to distract you from your worries.
7. Recite daily affirmations
Positive affirmations are an easy and effective way to reduce negative thoughts. Every morning, you should look into the mirror and recite a positive statement. Affirmations can help boost awareness of your thoughts so you can change negative thinking patterns over time.
“In many of the support groups, there’s a prayer that is used in recovery, ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ This can help categorize our thoughts, so they don’t turn into worry.”
Talkspace therapist Dr. Carmen Smith LCSW DD
Exercise causes the body to produce endorphins, a chemical that triggers positive feelings. Physical activity can be an excellent way to unwind or work through negative feelings. Whether you hit the gym, go for a run, or walk around the block, exercise can improve your physical and mental health.
Volunteering can help you build a stronger support network and give you a sense of meaning. Studies show that engaging in volunteer work can also increase your sense of self-worth, helping you to avoid negative thought patterns. There are many ways to volunteer, which means you can seek out opportunities that you enjoy and are meaningful to you.
10. Seek professional help
If you feel like your worries are taking over your life, the best thing you can do is talk to someone. Worrying all the time can be taxing and overwhelming, but you don’t have to deal with it on your own. A therapist can help you figure out how to stop worrying and find effective coping strategies.
It’s normal to worry from time to time, but if your worries are all-consuming, learn how not to worry so much with coping mechanisms and treatment. Don’t let the fact that you tend to worry get in the way of your emotional and physical well-being. Work to break negative thought patterns so that you can lead a healthier, happier, more peaceful life. Seek online therapy with Talkspace to learn how to control your worried thoughts.