For most of us, worry is at least an occasional visitor. Like anxiety, it is manageable in smaller amounts, but in larger doses it can become crippling. Worry probably has spoiled many a night’s sleep. Here, our experts provide strategies that can help you to stop worrying and get on with life.
Let’s say your worries are realistic, and they are eating you up. Perhaps you fear not having enough money to retire on. Money worries sometimes turn into an avoidance problem. Your fears should ideally lead you to estimate your financial needs after retirement, learn as much as you can about investments and seek information and advice.
Are you worried about your health or a loved one’s? Waiting for the results of a medical test can seem worse, emotionally, than actually having a disorder. Try to use your worries constructively. It may help to look for more information on treatments. Talk with someone who has been through this. Perhaps you are already dealing with chronic illness. Worry (and grief) may seem unavoidable, but you can try to accept what has happened, plan how you will cope and look for resources.
Remember, simply running over the problem in your head is counter-productive. Worry actually can keep you from thinking clearly. Ask yourself what purpose your worrying serves. You may have good reasons to worry, but simply brooding about the future is not enough. Taking action to solve a problem is an antidote for worry.
Odd as it sounds, scheduling a worry time may help. Give your worries a full 10 minutes every morning, try to come up with at least one constructive solution and then move on. If your worries pop up later, try to focus on something else.
Go out for a meal and a movie. Exercise can be particularly helpful. Get away for the weekend, if possible.
If you or someone in your family is disabled by worry, or is always depressed and anxious about the future, it’s wise to seek professional help. Worry can make you sick. For example, a study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research noted that such symptoms as headaches, fatigue and nausea might arise from worries about health. Persistent, uncontrollable worrying can spill over into mental and possibly physical illness. Counseling and, in some cases, medication can be useful.