Worried that you worry too much? Here are 6 tips to break the habit.

by Katie on July 14, 2014

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia”. – Charles Schultz

After experiencing my first big earthquake as a little kid, it took me several months to get over it. I was so worried of another one occurring, it was all I could think about. I always had this nervous filling in my stomach, and I didn’t like to be alone. It took time to get to a healthy state of mind about it.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a worrier. I always wanted to be one of those carefree people who could easily clear their minds of fear and worry. But it hasn’t always been that easy.

I’ve also noticed that my tendency to worry has gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older. More responsibility = more things to worry about.

For me it is a constant practice to keep my monkey mind in check. It takes a lot of awareness and vigilance. Most of us worry from time to time, but for some of us it is much stronger and more frequent.

Worry can become a bad habit that happens subconsciously, and until we take steps to stop the negative pattern, it will continue unfettered.

[Side note: I’m talking about the worry here that doesn’t really serve a purpose. If you’re worried about that presentation you have to give next week that you haven’t prepared for, or that strange looking spot you need to get checked out, by all means take action! If taking action will reduce the worry, take action as soon as you can. But often times we worry about things that are totally made up in our minds, or things that are outside of our control.]

If you are someone who errs on the side of worry, here are some tips I’ve used to lessen the load:

  1. Breathe: This seems so simple, but is so powerful. Often when we get stuck in our head and fear thoughts, we forget to really inhale and exhale. Taking a deep breath can bring you back to center and remind you that everything is okay in this moment. It gives you something else to focus on, instead of the abstract thing you’re worrying about.
  2. Come back to the present: (breathing can be really helpful here). “Live in the moment.” Seems so cliche and is definitely easier said then done. But most of the time we are worrying about something that happened in the past, or something in the future that hasn’t even happened. In this moment right now you are OK. Whatever you are worrying about is most likely not happening right now, so bringing yourself back to reality and out of your negative thought patterns is crucial.
  3. Surrender (i.e. pray, meditate, journal, nature) Having a spiritual practice can be very helpful when worry starts to take over. Surrender your fears to a power or energy greater than yourself. Whatever method you choose to do that. Pray, meditate, journal, walk in nature. Sometimes we have to just give it up and let it go.
  4. Limit your intake: I’ve learned to limit what I consume, and am more careful about what I read, watch, and listen to. We are bombarded with fearful messages constantly, so limiting where you can is very helpful. There is a lot of beauty, love, and hope all around us as well, which often isn’t represented. If you’re highly sensitive to this stuff like I am, it can be very refreshing and healthy to limit your intake, and be aware of what you take in and how it affects you. This isn’t about totally avoiding everything, or living in denial, but rather honoring your limit and not letting the fears overtake you.
  5. Creativity + Purpose: I’ve noticed that my worry level rises when I am not doing work that fills me up. When I’m not honoring my authentic desires and intuition. When I’m not following my creativity, and fully expressing myself. It’s like worry fills the void of my suppressed soul.The lack of creativity and purpose leaves a hole, and worry is more than happy to move in and set up shop.When I get back in alignment with my purpose and desires, there isn’t as much space for the worry to take hold. Worry rears its ugly head when I’m not honoring my creative path.
  6. Gratitude: Thank you. Two of the most powerful words. Recognizing all that is around you, all the blessings, and feeling gratitude, brings you back to a healthy state of mind. To a place of joy and peace.

Hopefully these tips will help you release your worry and find more joy and peace in every moment. For me, reducing my worry thoughts is a work in progress. Something I work on everyday. But it’s worth it because we are meant to live joyful lives. And the problem with worry is that it sucks joy out of the present. It prevents you from feeling true happiness, because there is this worried voice constantly in the background.

With love, awareness, and a little bit of work, we can tell the worried voice to move on.

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