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Summary: Learn how to manage your fears and eliminate worries.
Worry is a big part of some people’s lives and at least a small part of everyone’s life. It’s our human nature to want to control what’s happening in our lives and when we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future it can cause us to go through worst case scenarios. While it’s normal to worry a little bit, as it shows you care and are focused on doing your best, worry can become a real problem. Many people lose sleep, feel nauseous, tense and exhausted.
Shoving your worries under the rug and ignoring them will only cause them to explode later on. Telling yourself to just “think positively” won’t a big a difference either. However, there are things you can do to help this kind of anxiety. If you find yourself anxious far too often, here are six steps to work through to help you free yourself from worry.
What is the worst possible outcome? When we’re worried, we often run through various scenarios, especially ones that are bad. Think about it and write it down: what’s the absolute worst that could happen? Could you get through it? Would you be okay a month later or a year later? If you walk through that outcome and realize it might not be the end of the world, it can really calm your fears.
What evidence do you have that this will come true? Now that you’ve walked through your worst outcome, do you think it would really happen? Write down the actual evidence you have that this outcome will come true. For the most part, it’s probably all in your head and it’s an unlikely outcome.
What is the most likely outcome? Now that we’ve gotten the worst out of the way, what’s the mostly likely outcome? For example, if you’re worried about an event you’re hosting, is it really going to go horribly wrong or is it most likely to turn out just fine (or even great!) and you’ll have worried for no reason.
What evidence do you have that this will come true? Just like you did with your worst case scenario, write down the evidence you have supporting that your desired outcome will come true. Do you have far more evidence for this outcome than the horrible one? Probably. Trust in that evidence and know that your fears mostly, if not all, come from inside your mind.
Can you completely control the outcome? In all likelihood, your answer to this question will be ‘no.’ When we’re worried about something, it’s usually because we can’t control what’s going to happen and we hate not being in control. Even if it’s a big decision that you’re making and you’re worried you won’t make the right one, once you make that choice, everything else is out of your hands. Know that this is why you’re worried and that if you can’t control what’s going to happen then there’s no sense in worrying at all. Sit back, relax and let go of the need to control. It’s out of your hands.
Will worrying help you at all? Think back on other similar situations: did you end up needing to worry? Does worrying about the outcome change the outcome or help you cope? No, it doesn’t. If things go well, you’ve worried for no reason. If things do go poorly, then you’ve put yourself through the negative feelings twice. There’s no sense in worrying when you can’t do anything - it only makes you miserable. Again, take a few deep breaths and try your best to just give it up to the universe.