How to lose the worry habit and find energy, joy and inner peace.

Today is my birthday.

Every year on this day, I like to put aside some quiet time, to reflect on my life and write my thoughts in my journal. I know it may seem kind of nerdy, but I’m an introvert so this kind of stuff rocks my cradle!

Although I’m blessed with a pretty great life, I am still a work in progress. When I think back to one of the biggest changes I’ve made over the years, I’m struck by the positive impact it’s had on my life. That change was overcoming the worry habit.

Are you a worrier? Take it from me, this habit is not helpful. In fact, it can keep you stuck and rob you of so much joy. But you can eliminate it and free yourself of the burden.

Worrying is needlessly suffering in advance. The first step to letting it go is acknowledging what a colossal waste of time it is. Most of the things we worry about never happen. And thank goodness, because my imagination had conjured up some scary scenarios. What a waste of time and energy that was. Not to mention the effect that kind of stress can have on our health.

So what did I start to do differently? Well, I began spending less time in the future and more time here, in the present moment. Rather than imagining the worse when I thought about what might happen, I focused on what I could do right now – and then trusted that everything would work out.

When trying to cancel out the negative thoughts, it helps to replace them with more positive ones. Focus on the best possible outcome. Picture yourself as successful doing whatever it is you are worried about doing. Keep a record of your past successes in this area. Do the best you can and trust that whatever happens in the future, you’ll be able to handle it.

“The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven”. – John Milton

Managing my thoughts wasn’t always easy; it was often one step forward, two steps back. And although the worry habit didn’t dissolve overnight, it fell away little by little. And it’s only when I look back over the years, with the help of my journal entries, that I realize how far I’ve come.

Overcoming the worry habit has given me the energy to take advantage of so many opportunities I would have otherwise been too overwhelmed to notice and too drained to explore. It can do the same for you.

What do you worry about? How is it getting in your way? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic – please share in the comments section below.

 

 

 

 

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This post has 12 comments

  • Liisa says:

    I was in a deteriorating relationship and I would worry about everything, including crazy things that didn’t matter, every little thing seemed so life shattering. When I found the strength to end my marriage everything got better, I felt I had control over my life again and the worries faded away, nothing so seemed so urgent anymore. I sleep better and I no longer spend hours in bed worrying about silly things that were out of my control. Its been 11 months and a hard journey but I am healthier and all my friends say how much happier I am too.

    • That must have taken a lot of courage Liisa but I’m glad to hear you are doing so well. I’m sure you will inspire others who are struggling with similar circumstances.

  • Denise says:

    I have always been a worrier…and then 10 years ago, my eight month old daughter died suddenly and unexpectedly to an undetected heart condition. I had put her in day care when she was 4 months old and I felt tremendous guilt for not having stayed home with her. With my second child, I worried (more than most parents of newborns) that something would happen to him. When he was born, I quit work, and stayed home with him for 7 years. I enjoyed every minute of his babyhood and toddlerhood, and even now I just work part-time, so that I can be with him more. What I’m trying to say is this: Worrying will not make things better and will not keep bad things from happening. Appreciate the joys of the “here and now”. Every day is precious. And happy birthday Hellen! You have helped me a lot in recent years with my memorabilia clutter.

  • Annette says:

    If I pray, why worry, If I worry why pray?

    Learned this in a study for sure…
    Tks for sharing Hellen…you are the real deal girl!
    Annette
    The Shy Buster!

  • Twila Peck says:

    Oh how I need to work at this! My mother was an expert worrier and I seem to have got it from her — plus I am an intuitive learner and thinking about all possibilities of any scenario can lead right to worry, when there’s a problem to be dealt with.
    I find myself going for days, even weeks, at a time, spending very little time living in the present — and usually that “present” time is when I’m with other people. When I’m by myself I go much too often into that other world of worry. Yet I know that living in the present, when I’m by myself, is very empowering and rewarding.
    Just talking to myself here — thanks for getting me thinking! Your third paragraph woke me up!!

  • Twila Peck says:

    Worrying can also be a way of punishing oneself for not getting something done…

  • Ann Charpentier says:

    Hello Hellen,
    Thank you for sharing your heart and for being so vulnerable.
    Worry (which leads to anxiety) is something I have experienced in the last 10 years or so. My worry was more so about health and dying…all that jazz.
    The ways I have found help is to think that this moment is what is important, not tomorrow. Also that worry cannot add anything to my life, it can only ruin the moments that I do have.
    A counselor told me to have 10 minutes a day for “Worry Time”. If you want to worry but its not your designated time to worry, then say, “I will think about that worrisome thought at 4:00 pm” Then when 4:00 comes around, you sit and start to worry about all the possible scenario’s that could happen. After 3 minutes it seems silly to worry and I can’t even finish my 10 minute worry time.
    Thanks for your monthly ezine, I always look forward to reading all your tips and such.
    God bless you,
    Ann – Milton

    • Carol says:

      I love that idea, Ann! Thanks for sharing. I do that with food (one treat day a week), and it works like a charm. Perhaps it will help me with my worries too.

  • Lisa King-Reed says:

    I keep a note on my computer: “Worry takes the strength from today.” So true. Helps me remember to let the worry go and not let it rob me of joy. Nice article.

    • Sylvie says:

      Thanks Lisa. Love your idea for keeping a reminder in plain view (especially at the computer where many opportunities for worry come up… emails for work, from family, friends). I’m going to do the same… I know this will help remind me till I’ve broken the habit.

  • Jackie says:

    I can’t stop worrying about getting things done. I have a constant nagging voice in my head telling me that I have to be more efficient, accomplish more and be successful in all things. Drives me crazy, but I can’t stop!

  • Carol says:

    I am a chronic worrier, but I’m working on it. One of my favourite quotes (which has now become a mantra for me) is, “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.” – Charles Spurgeon

    That is so true!