Worrying is an unnecessary evil when it comes to your mental health. Some consider it simply a bad habit that can be unlearned with practice. Some think worrying serves a purpose for the brain, such as helping us to learn from past experiences and prepare for new ones. Whether good or bad, the anxiety that results from worry occupies our brains as we focus on a future we can’t control.

Some say that depression is a focus on past events you wish you could change. They also caution how worrying is focusing on future events you have no control over. Notably, instead of worrying, you can choose to take action by preparing for whatever it is that has you worried. In this article, we will look at active ways you can train your brain to stop worrying.

How To Train Your Brain To Stop Worrying

worrying meme

1. Stop your brain from worrying by writing it down.

This technique might be the most valuable when you are training your brain to stop worrying. If your brain keeps you up at night by thinking about something, put it down on paper. (Electronic formats also work.) This action lets your brain breathe a mental sigh of relief by no longer spending energy trying to remember these details. If you’re worrying about what to serve for a gathering of friends, write down “What to serve?”

Writing it down also is a way for you to put your brain on notice. In other words, you tell your brain, “This is important enough to write down.” Your brain has now been alerted to put resources toward solving this problem rather than being worried.

Why write it down? Researchers now have evidence that chronic worriers may be chronic problem-avoiders, too. Scientists in the journal Anxiety, Stress & Coping allowed worriers to write down three possible outcomes for problematic situations. Then, they analyzed their answers for practical solutions.

The scientists say, “When participants’ problem elaborations were rated for concreteness, both studies showed an inverse relationship between degree of worry and concreteness. The more participants worried about a given topic, the less concrete was the content of their elaboration. The results challenge the view that worry may promote better problem analyses. Instead, they conform to the view that worry is a cognitive avoidance response.”

2. Meditate for a worry-free brain.

Meditation can help train your brain to stop worrying. Researchers in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine studied the effects of meditation and found that meditation is perfect for reducing cognitive anxiety. Although some people believe they do not have time to meditate, meditation is as easy as closing your eyes for thirty seconds or longer. The act of tuning out other sources of stress actively trains your brain to stop worrying.

When you consciously take a few moments to avoid any non-natural noise in your life, you center around what is most important to you. Worrisome thoughts may come to you while you meditate, yet this is normal. Those who have mastered the art of brain-training recommend observing worrisome thoughts as they enter the mind and simply watching them pass like clouds on a breezy day.

3. Exercise to train your body and brain to stop worrying.

Worry is how your brain learns to survive by deciding whether or not to activate the fight-or-flight system. If a cougar jumps out at you, you instantly feel a rush of adrenaline. This fear response is the same thing happening to your body when you worry, just at a much lower level over a more extended period.

The same study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that exercise, on the other hand, is good for you, especially when your body feels anxiety symptoms. If your body feels fewer physical symptoms of stress, your mind will interpret that there must be less to fret about because the body is not in a state of heightened arousal.

Exercise gives the body a secondary reason for the rapid heart rate and perspiration that we may feel when we worry. Exercise can help lower blood pressure, which is another physical symptom of stress in the body. If you identify that you are worrying, go for a five to ten minute walk – get outside if possible. Appreciate the sights and sounds of nature while focusing on the motion of your limbs and the breaths you take.


4. Practice mindfulness to stay present and reduce worry

Mindfulness is a powerful technique for staying present and reducing worry. It involves paying full attention to the present moment, with acceptance and without judgment. By practicing mindfulness, you can train your brain to focus on the current situation rather than dwelling on past regrets or future anxieties.

As explained by the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) significantly decreases worry and associated symptoms. To practice mindfulness, start by taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breath, observe your thoughts and feelings, and engage fully with your surroundings. This practice can help you develop a more balanced perspective and reduce your worries.

5. Establish a regular sleep schedule to enhance mental well-being

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is essential for mental health and can significantly reduce worry and stress. Adequate and quality sleep allows the brain to process emotions, consolidate memories, and enhance decision-making skills. When we are well-rested, we are better equipped to handle challenges and manage stressors effectively.

To establish a regular sleep schedule, aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Create a relaxing bedtime routine to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime, and limit exposure to screens, as the blue light emitted can interfere with melatonin production and disrupt sleep.

By prioritizing sleep and ensuring you get the recommended 7-9 hours per night, you can improve your mood, cognitive function, and overall resilience, making it easier to manage worry and maintain a positive outlook.

6. Seek professional help when needed

Sometimes, worries can become overwhelming and interfere with daily life. In such cases, seeking professional help can be beneficial. Therapists and counselors are trained to help individuals develop coping strategies, address underlying issues contributing to worry, and improve mental well-being.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly effective in treating chronic worry and generalized anxiety disorder. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional if you find your worries are persistent and affecting your quality of life.


Final Thoughts on Training Yourself to Stop Worrying

Training your brain to stop worrying is a valuable skill that can significantly improve your quality of life. You can develop a more balanced and resilient mindset by incorporating techniques such as mindfulness, gratitude, and seeking professional help when needed. Remember, it’s normal to worry from time to time, but with practice and persistence, you can reduce the impact of worry on your well-being.

So, addressing worry is not about eliminating it altogether. Instead, it is all about learning how to manage it effectively. Consistent practice of the abovementioned techniques can help you build mental resilience, foster a positive outlook, and navigate life’s challenges with greater ease. Remember that everyone’s journey is unique, so be patient with yourself and stay committed to your mental health journey.