How to Stop Excessive Worry


There are probably as many tips for dealing with worry as there are four treating hiccups. However, one can never have enough.

Here are 12 tips:

  1. Exercise
    Run for about two kilometers or play a game of tennis. Afterwards you will feel less worried. This is almost guaranteed. Exercise reduces tension, drains excess aggression and frustration, enhances a sense of well-being, improves sleep, and aid concentration. It is probably the best natural anti-worry agent we have.
  2. Breathe
    Controlled breathing can reduce worry. For example, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly can provide temporary relief. Taking a series of deep breaths can do it even better. You can even get training in advanced breathing techniques to help manage worry.
  3. Make connections
    Be part of something larger than yourself. Connect with family, friends, organizations, your neighborhood, church and work. By increasing your connections in life, you will increase your feeling of strength and reduce your sense of vulnerability. Have dinner with your family. Read aloud to your children. Talk to your neighbors. Connecting is the one remedy I would recommend above all other in combating worry.
  4. Talk to God
    Pray everyday. Studies have found lower rates of depression among those who believe in God. As the saying goes, “Let go and let God.” Let go on your impossible need for control. If you are not religious, meditate. Prayer and meditation help us keep things in perspective. They calm our minds.
  5. Add structure to your life
    Many everyday worries are related to disorganizations. What have I forgotten, lost, overlooked, etc.? To remedy this, compose lists. Write a daily schedule. Put a basket next to the front door for your car keys, so you don’t start your day with a frantic search. That basket is worth a carton of Valium you might take to combat the anxiety you feel over losing your keys again and again. These concrete bits of structure can dramatically reduce the time spent each day in useless or destructive worry.
  6. Do something you like
    It is almost impossible to worry destructively if you are engaged in a task you enjoy.
    Nix the news
    The media love bad news and lacerate us everyday with upsetting stories. If you do not limit the amount of news you consume, you are likely to overdose on worry.
  7. Don’t drink
    Alcohol and other drugs may render you much less capable of dealing with worry because they can make you depressed. And they can cause you to do things that will give you a lot to worry about later.
  8. Get Physical
    People do better if they are touched and hugged regularly. We are social species. We don’t do well in isolation. Find someone you like a lot and hug them often. Your children are particularly wonderful to hug.
  9. Get up
    Disengaged from toxic worry the minute you feel it wrapping itself round you. You wrapping itself round you. You must do this deliberately. Get out of your chair. Walk around. Talk to a friend. Talk to a friend. Do not settle into worry. The longer you let worry last, the harder it becomes to escape it.
  10. Let music in
    In ways we don’t yet understand, music reduces tension and anxiety while often improving performance. Make your home a place of music. Sing. It’s bard to worry and sing at the same time. If you want a suggestion, try this old song: “What’s the use of worrying? It never was worthwhile. So pack up your troubles in your old kit bag. And smile, smile, smile.”
  11. Have a good cry.
    Sometimes worry is a form of pent-up sadness.
    Sometimes what you really need and want to do is let it go in a torrent of tears. A good can wash away bad worry.
  12. Laugh.
    As much as you can. Humor is one of the best ways of dealing with worry or stress in life. It is OK to laugh, even when times are tough. Toxic worry almost always entails a loss of perspective; humor almost always restores it.

Finally, don’t sweat the small stuff And remember, from the widest perspective, it’s all small stuff.