7 Healthy Ways to Deal with Incessant Worrying

Woman Meditating

“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

When you think about the future, are you filled with hope or worry? If you are like most people, it’s probably anxiety. You have largely been experiencing worry. Your mind feels unsettled.

Worry arises because you realize that you cannot predict what is going to happen tomorrow and know that you cannot have full control over how events turn out. You are uncomfortable with not having absolute certainty.

Incessant worrying happens when you find it hard to let go. You fret over the same details repeatedly. A fertile imagination causes you to play out mental scenarios of doom, failure, and fatal consequences over and over again.

I Was a Worry Wart

Well, I used to worry incessantly over the smallest of things. Before learning meditation, I did not know how to relax. Worry was my psychological mantra.

When my children were born, my anxiety levels went into over-drive. Were they eating enough?  Were they having a happy time with their friends?  Were they faring well in school?

I soon realized that I was not the only one.  In talking with one of my girlfriends, I realized she was excessively worrying over her children, too. I noticed how tense she was. She was not fun to be with.

Eventually I knew that I needed to reclaim my sanity. Not doing so would mean continued misery.  I realized that it was only when I could lose my back load of worries could I be light and free.

Once I made a commitment, I started looking into the true nature of my emotions. Even though I continue to have my worries, I am now better able to cope with them.  I no longer obsess over every detail either.

Here is what I discovered.

What Worry Is

The mind likes to anchor itself to the known, which creates anxiety. Worry is a symptom of the deeper-rooted fear you experience when you have to tread into the unknown.

You prefer things to be predictable. You fear that any unexpected turn in events would throw your meticulous planning into disarray. The more energy you give to your fears, the more anxious you become.

In reality, all forms of worry represent an underlying lack of trust. You are unable to trust in the goodness of life. Even though things could turn out in a number of ways, you have a tendency to believe that things are going to turn out negative rather than positive.

Worry displaces. You become ungrounded. With your mind constantly in the future, it is difficult to be present. You lose the capacity to experience life in the here and now. With worry, you deny yourself the opportunity of living your moments in freedom.

Worrying causes you to leak energy. You feel low. You are more apt to complain about things and compare yourself with others, and you’re less likely to be rational. Excessive worrying can cause you to stifle your dreams.

Your relationships with others get affected, too.  No one likes being near a prophet of doom and gloom.

Healthy Ways to Deal with Worry

It is important to recognize that uncertainty is a natural part of life. You cannot know with absolute certainty what is going to happen next. When you release your attachment to control, it’s easier to breathe.

Some people deal with anxiety by drinking, overeating, and turning to other bad habits. However, none of these are real solutions for worrying. The best approach is to learn how to deal with your anxiety in healthy ways.

1. Work it off.

Although exercise may not actually solve the issues that are causing you to feel anxious, engaging yourself in activity takes your mind off things.  You become clearer after taking a break.

2. Address your fears.

Instead of suppressing your anxiety, it is important to face your fears head on. Ask yourself what is truly causing your anxiety. You may even find that your worries are mostly False Evidence Appearing Real.

3. Meditate.

Meditation helps your mind with needed breaks from all that clutter.  The practice also helps you with greater focus.  You find yourself experiencing increased clarity and less likely to worry over unnecessary things.

4. Stay hydrated.

Did you know that dehydration has been linked to depression? Just about every person has heard that it is important to drink enough water, but most people do not realize that their mental health actually improves when they are hydrated.

5. Change your perspective.

Energy flows where you focus your attention. Understand that you can choose to focus on positive rather than negative thoughts.  In fact, as you become more positive, you’ll be better able to create more positive outcomes.

6. Relax.

It’s hard not to feel bombarded living in modern times. You probably spend your days in a constant state of flux. Your heart beats a lot faster as a result. So set aside time to relax. You’ll find that your feelings of anxiety subside.

7. Seek help.

You may find yourself feeling worse and worse if you are unable to stop yourself from incessant worrying.  It may be a good idea to seek counseling or to talk to someone who can help. Anxiety is very common. There is nothing to feel ashamed about when you approach for help.

The best way find relief from constant worrying is to learn to let go. Worrying does not bring you any closer to solving problems. In fact, it only makes it more difficult to find clarity.

Make a commitment to reducing your anxiety levels today. It starts with a simple choice.

Woman meditating image via Shutterstock

About Evelyn Lim

Evelyn Lim enjoys sharing the philosophy of “mastering self, manifesting abundance.” Her life took a dramatic change for the better after she went on an inward journey. For practical tips, insights, and inspiration, please subscribe to receive weekly updates from her site, Abundance Tapestry.

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  • For me the best way to focus on the future has been to set my goals in writing and then paint a picture of it as vividly as possible with my imagination.
    Whenever I think of the future I think about my wonderful future goal. I feel a longing in my whole spirit and I cannot wait to be in the future.

    This is the motivation that helps me focus on working hard today so that I can reach my goals and all the wonderful benefits of the future.

  • “If you are distressed by anything external,
    the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it;
    and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
    Charles F. Kettering

    I like all your points…especially the change perspective one.  So often if we are gripped by worrying [which is a habit we have formed] and if we go and do something for a short while which is not habitual it breaks the mini cycle we are in.  Helping to set us on the way to moving out of worrying

  • DebJ

    @evelynlim:twitter  This is a great article. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. And, thanks always to @tinybuddha:twitter for bringing more light to the world. 

  • Robin kilburn

     I used to worry about every thing, and the mind games were just awful. then I read a story about a man who said he learned to tell himself “It is not time to worry yet.” I was amazed by this statement, and to me it rang true. A few week ago I had an ex ray of my chest that showed a shadow, on my lung, and I was told I needed to have a cat scan to find out exactly what was going on. This took place on a Friday, My cat scan would not be until the following Tuesday. So for the next 4 days I walked around and told myself it was not time to worry yet, and it worked, I didn’t do the what if’s, or maybes or any of that. I just knew it wasn’t time to worry yet.the results from the cat scan said that I have COPD and it is still mild and with medication I should do just fine, and It isn’t time to worry yet.

  • Salty Smile

     I am re-using these 7 idea’s and creating an “in case of Emergency” sheet. I’ll be placing it near my work area just in case I need a reminder. THANKS 🙂

  •  What a wonderful article! You certainly have captured the essence of worry – fear. Fear of the unknown, what will happen.  How much easier it is to let things happen but how difficult that is.

    Worry is also learned from childhood.  I know my sisters and I are worrier’s as was my mother. So along with the unknown it is also, I believe, lessons taught to us at an early age.

    Thank you for enlightenment.    Ginny

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  • Archie

    Good suggestions, although I take issue with #6, Relax. This is exactly what chronic worriers *cannot* do; the worry disrupts any attempt to relax. Relaxation is the end goal of worriers, not the means! It must be learned through other methods, like mindfulness and meditation, or warded off, via activity. I personally have found mindfulness practice, which encompasses both your #2, Address Your Fears, and #5, Change Your Perspective, to be effective in curbing constant and pointless worry. And now I am able to relax!

  • I’m working on learning this myself, but often times we plan “perfectly” for things and they still don’t turn out the way we expected them to.  Life has a funny way of doing everything the way it wants, without asking for our input.  So what’s the point of planning anyways?  I personally enjoy having my to-do lists and my schedule and knowing what’s coming up each week.  However, as far as long-term goals it doesn’t make sense to fret over exactly how things will pan out.  I feel like letting go and enjoying the experiences that come to you makes more sense than trying to force certain things to happen.

  •  Excellent advice on something that I also struggle with. I particularly like the “False Evidence Appearing Real” part, as I have a habit of mulling things over & over, instead of letting them go. I also didn’t know the effects of hydration on mood. I don’t drink enough water & I’m trying to add more in to my daily routines. Thank you for the great advice!

  • Hi Robin,

    Thanks for sharing about the statement.  It’s interesting.  Do you happen to know what’s with the word “yet”?  How does saying “yet” actually help? 

    Wonderful news about nothing serious on your lung! In any case, do take great care!!

    With love,

  • Thank you for sharing the quote by Charles Keating, Beverley.  It comes back to the point that it’s all in the mind!! If worry is something we have created, we certainly have the power to change it!

  • Thumbs up to keeping an eye on your goals and using the power of your imagination.  It’s great that you are able to focus on your dreams and bring them to reality.

  • Hello Shelly, I’m glad to know that you’re finding the recommendations on my post helpful.  Most certainly if we can take some simple steps, we can reduce our stress levels.  To better health and well-being!!

  • You are welcome 🙂

  • Hi Jessie, I avoid planning too much myself.  I find that when I get too fixated, things seldom work out well.  I lose sleep, worry and start to fret.  It’s best to ease up and allow the Universe to reveal the best way forward 🙂

    All the best,

  • Hello Archie, thanks for sharing your thoughts.  I write from my personal experience.  I find that relaxing does help me set aside the issue for a while and there have been a good number of times when after returning, I’m able to see things with a fresh perspective.  In some cases, relaxing may be a good precursor to meditation.  When one is unable to relax, it is also hard to start to meditate. 

    By all means, do what works for you.  It’s great that you know how to help yourself effectively 🙂

  • Good point about learning from our role models when we are young.  My mother is a worrier too. It was pretty much a fear- and insecure-based environment that I grew up in.

  • I’m glad to know to you are finding the tips useful.  It’s a great idea to keep them handy 🙂

    All the best,

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  • Jenny

    Thank you so much for this article! I have dealt with anxiety issues for years, and it really threatens to take away enjoyment from events that should be happy.  This article has been really comforting.  I am going to print it out and use it as a resource to remind myself to live a gentler, worry-free life.

  • Rob

    Hi, this page really helped me out earlier, just wanted to say thanks a lot! I was really anxious earlier after I read this, 20 mins later I was ok! Thanks so much!

  • Alicia Marie

    What a great bit of advice. I loved perspective that we worry because we don’t trust in the goodness of life. We expect that if we don’t force good to happen, it won’t. There is a lot to be said for hard work and changing a situation you are not completely comfortable with, but sometimes there is only so much we can do. We just need to relax and know that we’ve done what we can and that things will work out how they are supposed to. I also did not know that dehydration was linked with depression! I will certainly be keeping a water bottle on hand from here on out!

    I think your advice is particularly important as excessive worry has been shown to be linked to coronary heart disease and hypertension. These steps may certainly help worry prone individuals maintain their heart health! Thanks for this article!

  • cw

    This has helped me alot. God bless the internet & people like you!!

  • Spaceballs12345

    This is a brilliantly analytical and practical approach to the issue. What was mentioned on trust, changing your perspective, and working it off I’ll really take to heart.

  • Hello

    I learned that worrying could affect you physically and mentally. I diagnosed OCD because of my anxiety towards life and because of worrying. The past is gone, the future is for preparation and the present is always a gift no matter what 🙂 Btw I learned how to handle my OCD and not obsess over thinking about everything. OCD is funny, lol life is funny and amazing. What we have in the present may not be in our future cx.

  • Genesis Muñoz

    The way this describes my problems is really accurate. My problem though came from a TV show I watched about the end of the end of the world, point is it triggered lots of mixed feelings, the most important was life. I realised how frightened I am of the future, of aging, of change. I can’t go on living like this with negative thoughts, but at the same time I’m still scared, I don’t want to grow up. I’m not ready. Everything is going way to fast. Please give me further assistance in this matter.

  • halimat

    Am particularly pleased to find that am not alone. Am a worry freak and a very anxious individual. My mum was a worrier too and my elder sis. I had a baby 9 weeks ago and during my postpartum visit to the hospital, the Dr noticed my heartbeat and asked to measured my bp which was 130/90 and since then I’ve been so worried. Am afraid i might have high blood pressure and subsequently stroke. My mind has refused to go off.

  • Latonya Campbell

    I have been hospitalized 4 times this year and put on medication. I can’t help worrying and being scared. The doctors said it isn’t serious and they’ve checked me through to make sure everything is okay. But I cant stop crying about my health

  • Brennan

    this did really answer some of the quetions for my project

  • Brennan