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Shippy's avatar

How do you worry less?

Asked by Shippy (9857 points ) December 8th, 2012

I’ve seen so many people really harmed by worry. Or stress. Call it what you will. I am a worrier. When I say harmed, I mean strokes, heart attacks. So really it is not worth it of course.

So how do you stop worrying? I meditate, I watch Lounge V TV. I talk, I burn lavender. But I must say, it lasts mostly in the moment. Then I continue to worry. What is your best “Quit Worry Prescription”! That has a lasting effect?

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12 Answers

jaytkay's avatar

While I am not religious, the serenity prayer sums up my hopes.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can change, And wisdom to know the difference.”

burntbonez's avatar

Meditation and yoga.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I look at what I can affect and what I can’t. If I can change what’s going to happen, I’ll think about worrying about. Otherwise screw it. If I can’t affect it I’m not worrying about it.

hearkat's avatar

Despite being non-theistic, I do go to the AA saying “let go and let god” because it reminds me that struggling with things I can’t control is a waste of my energy, and my experiences have taught me that things usually do work out in the long run.

gailcalled's avatar

Look back and examine just how useful worrying was in the past. Did it change the outcome of anything? No? Did it make you feel better about things? No? Did you notice a positive jolt in your life? No?

Just how slow a learner do you have to be?

Brood on that and call me in the morning.

CWOTUS's avatar

I get “concerned” about many things. If they are things that I can do something about, then I make plans to act as effectively and energetically as I can to try to achieve my ends. If I fail, then I fail, but I don’t do it while “worrying”.

If there are things that I can do nothing about, which seems to be “most of life around me”, then I attempt to observe it with open eyes – and mind – so that I know which way to move when things start to crash down around me, and then make effective moves to do the things I can to survive and thrive.

But if I knew for certain that the sky was really going to fall, then I’d be as amazed and curious as others might be “afraid of that”, and go outside to watch it, and enjoy it while I could – and look for a way out of disaster.

Bellatrix's avatar

I try to be mindful about what I can influence and what I cannot. If I can’t change the situation, I try not to worry about it. It won’t help. If I can influence the situation, I will try to act and do what I can to improve things where I can. I’m not always successful, but it does help me.

CWOTUS's avatar

One of the things that helped me to make up my mind about the uselessness of “worry” was… a joke. (What else is new, right?)

There Is Nothing To Worry About
=========================

Either you are healthy, or you are sick. If you are healthy, then you have nothing to worry about.

If you are sick, then your disease will kill you or it won’t. If your current malaise won’t kill you, then you have nothing to worry about.

If you have a terminal illness, then you’re either going to die “sooner” or “later”. If you’re not going to die for a long time, then you have nothing to worry about.

If you’re going to die soon, then the choices left are that you will die peacefully, or in pain. If you’re going to die peacefully, and soon, then obviously you have nothing to worry about.

If you’re going to die in pain soon, then your only worry is “how soon” and “how much pain” and “can I end it sooner, and on my own terms?” If you can end your life quickly, then you have nothing to worry about.

If you’re going to die painfully, soon, and can do nothing about it, then you already know that worry is the least of your worries.

Live long and prosper.

Unbroken's avatar

Exercise and I find if i stay busy I usually am taking care of potential problems.
Also if something is really bugging me i ask myself what is the worse that can happen the probably liklihood it will and what I can do to mitigate or reduce friction if it looks impending. In most cases its not. Lately there has been a lot of anxiety revolving around all the changes I am trying to make whether I see progress whther i have messed up etc. I am working on realistic goals. I also try to notice and right down small changes I notice in my behavior that are improvements. I stop myself from beating myself up by realizing that it is the most counterproductive technique I could employ.
So these alleviate worries. Also recognizing and acknowledging my concern as the symptom rather then patient zero I can usually trace my fears back to irrational patterns.

Yeah my life is like a self novel for the blind. LOL. but people are noticing even though changes have occrued slowly over the past few months. I get questions and people are starting to ask what my secret is. God help them.

wundayatta's avatar

Sometimes I give in. I just worry the hell out of something, figuring I’ll get tired of it after a while, and exhaust myself, and I will give up. If I can achieve that, I let go of a lot of worry. But sometimes that doesn’t work and I have to stop myself if I can. Usually that doesn’t work, so then I’m screwed. At times like that, I think of taking a clonazepam.

Mariah's avatar

I was one of those who was physically harmed by stress. I had ulcerative colitis…it’s not caused by stress but stress can aggravate it, and boy did it ever. My worst flare up started during the week of my SAT. I nearly died following complications that occurred. Obviously learning to handle stress became a very huge priority for me after that! I tried a lot of things, I tried yoga, took a lighter courseload, yada yada. Can’t say I noticed any benefit from yoga, and the lighter courseload was more an attempt to avoid stress, not learn to manage it. Then I went to college and stress levels skyrocketed and I was sick again. It was obvious I hadn’t learned much of anything.

I started therapy. That was the first important step. I became aware of my thought processes and how useless some of my anxiety was. I mean, anxiety isn’t rational to start with. But it can really help to step back and say, “wow, this thing that I am worrying about, does not actually warrant this level of concern.” Or even if it is truly a huge problem, I learned methods to handle that as well. That is harder to describe. The main thing I have learned is how not to fixate.

I used to think distracting yourself was just a band-aid, but now I realize that it is actually pretty important to do. Dwelling is pretty pointless. You’re not more in control of the situation if you sit and stew on it. You’re just making yourself more miserable than you need to be. Now when I have big worries, I call up a friend and go do something fun, or I go pound on a piano. I find this breaks me out of my usual thought patterns which would normally tend to spiral down into despair. When I get done with my friend or the piano, I feel calmer and more capable of handling whatever life chucks my way. It doesn’t feel like a catastrophe anymore.

I’m also on an antidepressant medication, and it has worked wonders for me. I am considering trying to quit it because I do feel I have better control over my thought patterns now, although maybe that control is partially because of the medication. I haven’t made any big decisions yet.

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