How to Worry Less
In this month’s issue (March) of the brilliant Psychologies Magazine, a piece I wrote on ‘How To Worry Less’ is featured. With the word limits on such articles, I thought those worrywarts out there might like to read the full version of the piece.
Worrying tends to stem from a fear of the unknown. We find it difficult to cope when we don’t have control over the outcome of something. To stop worrying, you need to work on ways to help you feel more in control and prepared for all eventualities.
1. Get comfortable with uncertainty:
The more practice you get at coping with unpredictable situations, the more confident you can be in your ability to cope with all that life throws at you. Try changing bits of your routine (e.g. try a different route to work, try somewhere different for lunch/coffee). Say yes to things that feel out of your comfort zone (e.g. a party you think might be awkward, something you've never done before). When you starting thinking, ‘Oh no. What if a, b or c happens?’ you can think, ‘It doesn’t matter, I can cope and deal with whatever happens’.
2. Do something about it:
Ask yourself what you can control about the outcome of what you are worrying about. Do two or three things which will address the concern (e.g. if you’re worried about money, make an appointment with your Bank Manager/Mortgage Advisor; if you’re worried about your job, arrange a meeting with your Line Manager).
3. Have a plan:
By planning for the worst eventuality you give yourself control over the situation. Think of the worst possible outcome; then write down a detailed and confident plan of what you’d do if it happened. When you worry about the same thing again you can think, ‘It doesn’t matter so much now because I know what to do if it happens.’
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I really enjoyed my sessions with Alice. They have helped me look objectively at the areas of my life I am happy with and those areas which need a bit more attention. She has put together some thoughtful suggestions on how to improve my life, which have been invaluable.