Worry Less and Live More

Provided by Joshua Hook, a professional psychologist and professor at the University of North Texas.

Provided by Joshua Hook, a professional psychologist and professor at the University of North Texas.

Hope Taylor

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Stop worrying so much. Everyone worries. Worrying can even be helpful when it makes you to take action and solve a problem. But if you’re preoccupied with “what if ‘s” and worst-case scenarios, worry becomes a problem. Unrelenting anxious thoughts and fears can be paralyzing. They can weaken your emotional energy, send your anxiety levels soaring, and interfere with your daily life. But chronic worrying is a mental habit that can be broken. You can train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more balanced, less fearful perspective.

How to stop worrying:

Get up and get moving. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment because it releases endorphins which relieve tension and stress, boost energy, and enhance your sense of well-being. Even more importantly, by really focusing on how your body feels as you move, you can interrupt the constant flow of worries running through your head. Pay attention to the sensation of your feet hitting the ground as you walk, run, or dance, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the sun or wind on your skin.

Try deep breathing. When you worry, you become anxious and breathe faster, often leading to further anxiety. But by practicing deep breathing exercises, you can calm your mind and quieten negative thoughts.

Let your worries go. Notice that when you don’t try to control the anxious thoughts that pop up, they soon pass, like clouds moving across the sky. It’s only when you engage your worries that you get stuck.