A Guide to Overcome Anxiety: How I Stop Worrying About Things I Can’t Control

A Guide to Overcome Anxiety: How I Stop Worrying About Things I Can’t Control

Worry is helpful only if it leads you to a positive change, not if it leads you into obsessive thoughts.

While growing up, I don’t have any idea of how life would shape up for me, or how will I end up in this happy zone and this comfy chair I am sitting right now and writing this article. All I could think of is I was always a worried child, a teen, and almost a worry-sicken grownup.

I am a 90’s kid and brought up in the suburbs of West Bengal, India till age 20. I have got a loving family, who supported me through my thick and thin. However, growing up was never easy.

As a kid, I was afraid to say what is happening inside my head. If somehow, I gathered the courage to speak with my Mum, she was already busy with her household chores and managing the entire home.

Cut short to the present, I am in a much happier place now, managing home and office, juggling my blog and writing spree. This article will be all about how I helped myself to get into this place and do better in life.

There are few books, daily practices, a well-balanced diet, and my writing habits help me to overcome my worry.

What is worry?

We start worrying when our mind dwells n negative thoughts, uncertain outcomes that what could go wrong. “Worry tends to be repetitive, obsessive thoughts,” said Melanie Greenberg, the author of “The Stress-Proof Brain” (2017), also a clinical psychologist in Mill Valley, Calif.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), nearly a million people in the U.S. suffer from an anxiety disorder.

How does it work?

Luana Marques, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the president of the ADDA said, “worry is a way for your brain to handle problems in order to keep you safe, it’s only when we get stuck thinking about a problem that worry stops being functional.”

You might have experienced a benefit of stress to get an appointment or pulled together an important assignment in the final hour. These stresses won’t last long as it attached to a definite result, and the rush wore off when the situation was resolved.

Chronic stress which is faced by many, is when our body stays in the fight-to-fight mode continuously. It usually happens because of the situation doesn’t resolves, situation which is not in our hand, as with financial stress, facing a challenging boss, on a daily basis, etc.

Chronic stress is linked to health concerns, such as an increased risk of heart disease, digestive issues, obesity, and a weakening of the immune system.

Why was I so stressed?

From childhood it was mostly to get good marks on science subjects. When I grew up, it was mostly about love life and how would I live if I had to leave a certain person. That worry led me to the dark path of alcohol and drinking, finally pushed me to depression.

During 22 to 26 years of my precious life, I was worried about my work life, mostly how to manage the excess stress in office. How to deal my senior’s remorseful comments, how to say “NO” and an extra baggage of guilt and the list would go on and on.

Now, its time how I manage the stress and anxiety I was facing from my childhood and channelize my thoughts towards positivity.

How to overcome the stress?

I applied three things to deal with the excess amount of stress while I was on my journey to healing. Not contradicting that there are no other ways to deal with the problem, and you can build your hierarchy as per your routine and stress level –

I give myself a worry budget — I constantly keep a check on how my thought process works in an entire day. By allow myself a 2-minute worry window (I started with 15 minutes), where I quickly ask three questions (which I covered below). Then I consciously redirect my thoughts.

When I notice that I am worried — First it’s normal to worry, but you must also consider it effects your mental and physical health. So, when I’m worried, I push myself to come up with a next step how to solve my source of worry.

I always write down my worries. Writing my thoughts down helps me calm my obsessive thoughts and clear my mind.

Worry is helpful only if it leads you to a positive change, not if it leads you into obsessive thoughts.

Three questions to ask yourself when you are worried –

Q. Is the worrying helping me to solve the problem?

A. Most of the time, we worry what worst could happen to us. So, while asking the above question, do think of the worst that could happen if you are in certain situation.

Q. Now, when you have thought of the worst outcome. Does it really kill you or push you to leave everything you have now?

A. I’m not talking about an emergency situation (matter of serious attention, like financial or life threats etc.), and if so, you should get authorized help for your problem. I am talking here about the 100 problems we face in our daily chores.

Q. If it doesn’t kill you, what will be the next steps to overcome the situation?

A. Here writing really helps to collate your thoughts into a constructive outcome. Jolt down whatever you think through to overcome the problem you are facing. Like you prepare an alternative plan if friends backed out on Saturday movie night. There will be plan A, B or even ten alternative ideas to overcome a situation.

While doing this exercise, you will realize, you are 80% clear and relieved from the tension you are feeling before doing this exercise.

This exercise I started after reading How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. I would highly recommend giving it a shot.

What to do when I worry too much?

I exercise. While doing exercise, our body recovers from the increase explosion of adrenaline and cortisol.

I stop comparing my stress with anyone’s else’s stress. Your friends may control or response the same kind of stress differently.

I write “TODAY” on a sticky note in front of my workstation. It keeps me sane to take my daily activities at a day/24 hours basis. I try to listen to soft music or munch healthy snacks to divert my thoughts.

Few quotes that keep me going all the time and help me stay away from stress –

“99% of the things you worry about don’t even happen.” — Anonymous

“Worrying doesn’t get you anywhere.” — Van Wilder

“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.” — Dale Carnegie

“Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.” — Henry Ward Beecher

Are you too worried or anxious to read the whole article?

Here’s the takeaway — Give yourself a “worry budget”. Write your worries down. Get lots of water and exercise. Get clear on what you can and can’t control. Always remember that worry is a mental response that is a normal part of our lives. Live for today, don’t think about the past which you can’t change, and stop thinking about the future which you can’t control. Get enough sleep, eat regular and healthy, and move your body.

Stop worrying start living!

Archi Roy Choudhury

Archi is an avid reader, dreamer and a pollyanna by nature. Writing her heart out, she wants to paint the city with the colour of her thoughts. She loves to explore the famous food joints in Kolkata. Parents and friends all she needs to feel content. "Never Give Up" what boost her every day.

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