Worry weighs you down with uneasy thoughts. It tells you the worst-case scenario and all the potentially harmful things that will happen to you or others. Worry steals your ability to enjoy your life. You may be surprised to learn how easy it can be to break free of your anxiety. Check out these ten ways therapists suggest for you or anyone to beat worry. Why not get started today?
So what are the differences between worry and anxiety? Fear and anxiety get used interchangeably, but they’re very different. Here are their definitions.
Worrying is when you have obsessive, recurring thoughts. Worry happens only in your mind without affecting your body.
If you’re anxious, however, you’ll feel it in your body (often your gut) and mind. Stress and worry can lead to anxiety. Physical symptoms of anxiety include the following:
- Racing heart
Ten ways to beat worry in your life
How do you beat worry? Here are ten tips that therapists suggest to their patients who struggle with fear. See if they help you to get rid of your worries.
1 – Write down your worries
Writing down your worries is a physical way of breaking free from your worries. Some people suggest that writing down your thoughts helps you calm down. Dumping your worries on paper is a tangible way to feel like you’re moving them away from you. You may want to add an area of your journal called “Gratitude.” This part of your journal is for you to write down what you’re grateful for. This way, you can look back at your journal to see the negative worries and positive blessings.
2 – Give yourself a limited time to worry
Set an allotted amount of time for you to worry about something. If you start to worry about an issue or a person, tell yourself, “I’ll worry about this for the next ten minutes, then I’m done worrying about it.” Once the time is up, don’t allow your mind to go back to these thoughts. Please stick to your time limit, seeing it as a budget you must stay within. If you practice this habit over time, you’ll begin to find that you’re not worrying all day about a problem.
3 – Use worry to take action
Worry can be productive if it makes you problem solve or take action. If you’re worried about your house’s paint peeling, take action by calling a painter to come out and give you an estimate on painting your home. Your worries should not control you. You should handle it. Let worry serve you by taking positive action.
4 – Reroute your worry
When you start to worry, step into your thoughts, and declare a cease-fire. Being aware of worrisome thoughts can help you deal with them. Don’t allow your imagination to run wild with ideas of potentially harmful outcomes. It is a waste of your time and your mind. Stop your worries in their tracks, reroute your thoughts about more positive things.
5 – Live in the present
A wise saying in the Bible emphasizes the importance of living in the present. It says,
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34 Amplified Bible)
It’s saying that today is enough for you to take care of. It’s not helpful to get ahead of your self thinking about tomorrow or next week. Living in the present means, you’re fully engaged in your day instead of feeling distracted. Some people call this state of awareness mindfulness. When you’re fully into your day, you don’t worry about “what if this happens” or “what will happen.” You’ll feel free to enjoy the day.
6 – Talk about your worries
You may have heard your grandma say she was worried sick. It can happen. Studies show that fears and worries can lead to distressing anxiety, which activates a stress response in your body. It makes your body go on high alert, setting off a racing heart, headaches, or heart palpitations. If you’re a worrier, talk with a trusted friend or counselor about your worry. Just talking about it helps you find relief from its grip on your life. A counselor can give you strategies for dealing with your concern, depending on what sets it off. Don’t keep your worry to yourself so that you become worried sick like your grandma.
7 – Choose to be positive
Worry is negative. It eats at your ability to enjoy life. Choosing to be positive is a healthy alternative to worry. Having a positive attitude can help you physically as well as mentally. Researchers have found that people who have a more positive attitude in life still have negative emotions, but they can bounce back from their negativity quicker. These people are more resilient and able to beat worry. That’s because they hold firmly to positive emotions longer, plus look they can look see the bright side of things.
8 – Eat a healthy diet
Eating healthy helps you stay strong, physically, and mentally. Researchers have found that there’s a strong connection between the foods you eat and your emotions. This is in part from the connection between your brain and your gut. Your gut hosts bacteria that affect neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which carry messages from your gut to your brain. When you eat a healthy diet, your gut maintains beneficial bacteria, ensuring a good connection between your gut and your brain. Junk foods cause inflammation in your gut, causing interruptions in your stomach to brain signals. This affects your moods as well as your health.
Here’s a list of the best healthy food to eat.
Fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, and salmon. Omega 3 builds up your brain cells and keeps your heart healthy. Your body doesn’t produce Omega 3, so you need to get it from your food.
Veggies are a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin A, folate, and vitamin C. These promote good heart health, so you feel better.
Whole-grain foods are packed with B vitamins, which help you feel good. They’re also rich in iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium.
Foods to avoid
There are some foods that you should avoid to maintain a healthier mood. When you’re feeling a sense of well being, you’re less apt to be drawn into dark, damaging thoughts that lead to worry.
When you eat sugar, you’re feeding the harmful bacteria in your gut. Sugar alleviates dopamine for a short time, but you feel a sugar crash, which leaves you feeling irritable. These mood swings leave you more vulnerable to worry. Your sour mood reinforces your negativity.
Food dyes have been known to affect the moods of children and adults. Side effects of dyes include angry outbursts, signs of hyperactivity, lack of focus, and inability to think clearly, feeling irritated, and prone to arguing.
A diet of high fat like that found in fast foods lower your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a hormone that regulates your mood and sense of well-being. You feel happier when your serotonin levels are stable. It also helps your digestion. Eating a high-fat diet increases the inflammation in your gut and blocks the omega-3 fatty acids that help your brain produce healthy cells for good brain function.
9 – Exercise to release tension
Exercising gives your mind and body an outlet for tension and worries. Exercise allows the chemicals in your brain called endorphins to be released. These chemicals make you feel happier. Try these exercises for healthy tension release
- High-intensity exercise-Running, biking, or HIT classes give you good heart health and make you feel more comfortable.
- Yoga-Yoga relaxes you and calms your mind.
- Kickboxing-Relieves tension with kicks, punches, and punches.
- Martial arts-Release your tension and builds your stamina.
10 – Don’t believe everything you think
When you begin to worry, challenge your worrisome thoughts. Ask yourself questions, such as these:
- Are these thoughts real?
- Are these thoughts positive or negative?
- Why am I thinking about these bad things right now?
- Can I control this bad thing that I’m thinking about?
- Does thinking about this make me feel happy or sad?
Your brain can run away with thoughts of dangerous diseases, car accidents, and other wildly imaginative things. Perhaps you heard something on the news, and now you’re sure it’s going to happen to you, but 99.9% of the things you worry about will never happen. Negative thoughts can take over your mind, but don’t believe them just because you thought it. Challenge your worry, take back your thoughts, and replace them with positive truth.
You can beat worry. It’s not your master. You can control it. These tips can help you find relief from worry. Try one or two strategies to see if they help you overcome a worried mind. If they don’t work, try a couple more. Whether you decide to journal, or talk to a trusted friend or counselor, or begin to eat a healthier diet, every little bit helps to ease the grip of worry. Everyone worries once in a while, and strangely, worry can be positive if it motives you to take constructive action. But worry that eats at your gut is harmful, so don’t give up the fight against worry.