The uncertainty of the future places handcuffs of worry -Afam Uche
How to stop worrying? Phew! This is a huge question that trails through our minds in the constant struggle of survival. It is so difficult to navigate through the phases we are structured to go through without worrying. The fear of failure crawling in, the pressure from family, the stress of time clicking away. It is almost impossible to go on without worrying.
Our minds are full of handpicked emotions, and as it grows, we grow with it. We have to realize that not all of the light goes where you need it. Not everything that happens needs to take a toil on you.
There are several phases and processes in life that will fold you in and out, you must be patient to learn with a calm mind and not lead your thoughts to the extreme by worrying. It’s a maddening part of being human, but once you find your sweet spot the fruit will always fall for you.
Do not get entangled in bad times or problems but rather the need for that phase or time, how to solve the problem and what you have to learn from it.
I bet this sounds extremely easy but not for all of us, personally, I have my worry volume higher than normal. I find myself worrying about even the littlest things and extremely scared by what the future holds.
I know we are all afraid and restricted to faith by the ifs, nots, and uncertainties due but in this journey, I have come to the better knowledge and realization that life shakes things up in your journey so it can place you where you’re meant to be.
Everything happens for a good reason. Trust me, it will get better as you continually fix those puzzles. You do not have to continually sit on the swing of uncertainty and entertain its fears or torture.
Life itself is made up of mistakes, learning, unlearning, waiting, growing practicing patience, mindfulness, setting boundaries, being persistent and finding the right balance and in no time everything will fit into the bigger picture even the attribution of fear, worry, and happiness; as the path of liberation starts the moment you stop worrying.
Enjoy what is present in front of you and do not worry about that which is not present. It can be difficult and we can’t help but we have to learn how to stop worrying about the future and how to stop worrying about what we can’t control.
Worrying is the unneeded machinery of disturbing the peaceful flow of our thoughts. It’s a bad habit that has a way of leaving a negative print on the pages of our emotional and physical realities.
I might not know a lot about the person reading this right now, but I do know for sure, that at some points in their life, they have been faced with challenges that threatened their peace and welcomed fear into their thought-space. Sadly, for many other persons, that fear builds up into anxiety. Fear and anxiety are not the same.
Although fear is one of the greatest limitations to the fulfillment of our purposes and if we really want to reach our goals in life, we must first quench the fiery flames of fear; it is a normal feeling in every human.
Fear is what you feel the moment when you wake up seeing a king-cobra staring straight into your eyes while you look down helplessly. Fear makes a lot of sense. What doesn’t make sense is anxiety.
Anxiety is the uncontrollable fear or nervousness about what might happen. It is normal to worry or have fear about a first date, a delayed response from an interview, or an unpaid bill, but all these become abnormal when the fear becomes so uncontrollable, they start looking like compulsory parts of one’s life. Let’s have a look at what the stats for anxiety in the U.K. and U.S. look like:
- In 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the United Kingdom.
- In England, women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders as men.
- In a survey of close to 10, 000 people across the U.S., it was discovered that almost all of the population has experienced at least one anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.
You’d agree with me that these are really scary stats. But what’s scarier is the fact there are even more heartbreaking facts and figures about anxiety in both countries and across the world.
Chronic worrying is like judging lemons based on the sour taste they give, and not realizing that lemonades are made out of them. Anxiety fuels the negative thoughts in your head. You start to worry about “what ifs” while making situations that are yet to happen in your head.
In my case, those thoughts disrupted the normal flow of my day and reduced my ability to concentrate at school, work and almost everywhere I went.
Habitual worrying and negative thinking are thieves of our emotional and physical strength. They can leave you with a migraine, stomach aches, inability to concentrate on important things, or as it was in my case, cause insomnia.
Life isn’t supposed to be hinged on “what ifs”. I mean, I understand that we must prepare for the future but more often than not, those “what ifs”, don’t even happen. And even if after making assumptions, you come up with a solution, you can’t be sure it will work because your thought space was on the fritz when you made it.
So, anxiety often disguises as a means of problem-solving, but in the real sense, it is just a mean of creating more problems! What’s more? Anxiety makes you miss out on the real world and fun around you.
I remember a few years back. I was battling with anxiety and I didn’t know how to stop worrying. I had a whole lot on my hands and I was struggling to focus; “Was I going to succeed with my business? Was this new idea going to work? Would anybody read my content or visit my blog? How would I financially foot all the bills? How do I strike a balance between my academics and work? Would I fail? How many people will purchase a product if I ever choose to make one?”
These deep and imposter syndrome questions started creating loops for me to worry without caution. Thankfully, I figured the tips I’ll be sharing with you in the next few paragraphs and my life changed.
So, in this post, I will be working you through the several tips on how to stop worrying about the future and start working towards actualizing your dreams, how to stop worrying and starting living anxiety-free, how to stop worrying about your health, how to stop worrying about work, how to stop worrying about relationships, how to stop worrying about things you can’t control and many more!
Quite a lot, right? Roll up your sleeves. We have work to do…
How To Stop Worrying And Starting Living Anxiety-Free
Fear and worry hold us hostage, getting unnecessarily bothered over what is yet to happen is one of the ways to increase anxiety. The future is yet to come, so why bother about it when all you have is now? One step at a time! As a matter of fact, what happens to you in the future is a direct consequence of your actions today.
So, why worry about the future? Well, here are some tips that will help you solve the problem of worrying about the future.
1. Let Your Journal Be Your Outlet
I journal a lot. I use my journals to identify my worries. Since I realized the power of journals, I have constantly made it a culture to keep one every year. Instead of allowing those thoughts to take a considerable part of your heart, you could release them into a journal.
Write out those things bothering you, identify how you can change them and strike out the ones that are out of your control.
Well, you won’t be doing this alone… I am willing to walk through the journey with you and that is why I have taken on the project to work on my self-improvement journal which will be launched in Fall. I am positive that this journal would help every single person on my blog to become better versions of themselves.
I am as excited as you are because, honestly, this is a new phase in my writing journey too! And I am confident that this journal will help you in your journey to becoming anxiety-free!
The first thing I do in my journal is to outline a note of mindfulness and appreciation to myself….
This is a firm reminder from the catalog of experience to remind you of the reason you are doing just fine in spite of the challenges, difficulties, and disappointments you face. You are in charge and you are totally taking charge and leading situations. The rough time or hand patches don’t last forever and you’ll overcome.
Everything you ever need to sustain you on this journey is within you, let go of the worry, uncertainty, fear, and obstacles. No matter what the situation is, remind yourself that you are in charge, you are doing just well, building your momentum, taking charge of a sprint at your own pace.
You are stronger than you think never underestimate the strength residing within you. You are capable of achieving all that you want to all you need to do is gear focus with determination and hard work. You are worth it, you deserve the good and positive vibe and more so darling never reduce your value or your worth, do not let the storm underplay your ability to sail a ship. Worrying is not helping you, but draining your energy, limiting your magic and siphoning your light. Let the uncertainty charge you instead of keeping your peace hostage.
Feel free to make use of this inspirational note!
2. Get Busy
Dale Carnegie, the author of the iconic book “How to Stop Worrying and start living” (I suggest you get a copy of this) recommends constant action as a great tool in fighting anxiety.
In his book, he suggests that when you get busy “your blood will start circulating: your mind will start ticking- and pretty soon this whole positive upsurge of life in your body will drive worry from your mind”. I totally agree with Carnegie.
The moment you get busy with something, you’ll notice slow-but-steady washing away of worry about the future. Your mind gets distracted and gradually, life begins to pump itself into you! Now, the moment you get busy, you get distracted but then, for how long do you want to be distracted? What happens when there’s nothing to distract you? Well, let’s see the next point.
3. Face Your Worries
Not wanting to be around anything that reminds you of worries is completely understandable, however, the best way to deal with anxiety disorders and worries is to face them but stopping your emotions! The last two points are good ways of dealing with anxiety, but one thing you must realize is that they are not permanent.
I mean, you can’t distract yourself from your worries for life. They are thoughts, boxed up in your head. So, the last two points are only temporary ways of dealing with worries. But if you really want to win the fight against anxiety, then you would have to FACE IT.
Yeah, I do agree that it is okay to avoid things that trigger your anxiety, but then again, avoiding them helps keep them alive. When you worry and regard your worries as irrelevant, you’d get to a stage known as “extinction”. The extinction stage is the stage where your worries gradually leave your mind until they are no more.
You can only get to this stage when you start to see your worries as silly. Now, if you are not working on getting to the extinction stage, you are definitely working on getting to the “reinforcement” stage. The reinforcement stage is basically where you begin to fuel your worries by attaching significance to them.
Truth is, if you keep on avoiding your worries, as opposed to facing them, you are teaching yourself to see them as normal and worthy of being afraid of. That’s the way to reinforcement and it helps fuel the worries.
The question now is, how do you get to the extinction stage? How do you face your fears? Well, you’d have to first accept them. Your emotions are yours and yours alone. You would need to observe them, accept them and label them.
Whenever the worries kick in, ensure that you observe them. Be intentional about it. Tell yourself “okay, I’m worrying again”. And then, look at your body reaction. Are there any sensations of emotions? Maybe your muscles are tense, your heart is beating fast, you have an uneasy sensation in your stomach, or you are feeling nauseated.
Whether it is fear, anger, confusion, irritation, trepidation or sadness. Whatever it is, just ensure that you pay attention to it. Tell yourself that it is ok to feel what you are feeling and it won’t last for long. In no time, you would see yourself normalizing these things and they would no longer be a cause for worry anymore. It is an exacting skill, but it is worth it.
To adequately face your worries I want you to ask yourself these questions
- What are you worried about?
- What is the worse that could happen?
- If that were to happen, what would you do to bounce back?
- Will you survive?
After successfully answering these questions, facing your worries will be an easy walk!
4. Spend More Time In The Present
This is definitely one of the best ways to know how to stop worrying. Let the past be in the past. More often than not, people who worry, do so because they are trapped in the past. The more time you spend in the past, the more time you have to feed your worries about the future.
So, it is better to focus your time and attention in the present moment. I’ll suggest two ways you do this. The first is by slowing down. Most times, when you are lost in the world of anxiety, you tend to do whatever you are doing faster, but when you deliberately do that thing you are doing in a slow way, you tend to connect better with the present and you are more aware of what is happening internally.
The second way of spending more time in the present is by disrupting your worry-thoughts and reconnecting with your present.
If you have a feeling that you are starting to get worry-thoughts, then you can disrupt the thought process by intentionally screaming STOP. That way, the thinking process is disrupted and you are going to be fine again. The essence of the whole exercise is to ensure that you spend more time in the present.
5. Practice Mindfulness
In many of my posts, I have talked about the ancient art of meditation and its power to clear the mind. Mindfulness and meditation can help you break free of your worries by drawing your attention to the present.
- Look for a quiet place.
- Sit comfortably on a chair with your back straight and your hands on the tops of your upper legs.
- Slowly, breathe in and breathe out, through your mouth while closing your eyes.
- If your mind wanders off somewhere else, ensure you return to the present.
- Try doing this about 4 times a week.
So, there you have it. Worrying does absolutely nothing to you. It deteriorates your health and makes you mentally uneasy. How do/did you deal with your anxiety? Feel free to drop a comment and let me know what you think.
I am happy you read this article, to this point! I am certain that you’ve learned so much on how to stop worrying and start fighting your anxiety. And yeah, I talked about journals earlier.
Well, one of the most important ways of achieving self-development is journaling. I have realized that many people don’t have journals. And for those who do, their journals aren’t as engaging and helping as they should.
Well, I am willing to help out with my journal! Yes, that’s right, I am launching my journal come fall this year. I’ll keep you guys updated. Remember, there’s no reason to worry. Fight that anxiety today and you’ll be fine.
Save for later!