Anxiety and worry are common experiences that can interfere with daily life if left unchecked. It’s understandable many of us are anxious with our 24 hour news cycle, the uncertain economy, world events, seemingly endless gun violence and divided politics. Fortunately, there are proven ways to stop worrying and improve mental health. These include challenging negative thoughts through cognitive restructuring, practicing mindfulness to increase awareness and promote relaxation, getting regular exercise to release endorphins and boost mood, connecting with others for social support, prioritizing self-care with healthy habits, and seeking professional help when needed. By incorporating these strategies, individuals can reduce worry and improve their overall well-being.
Challenge your thoughts
One of the most effective ways to stop worrying is to challenge your negative thoughts. This technique is called cognitive restructuring, and it involves identifying and replacing negative, self-defeating thoughts with positive, realistic ones. For example, if you find yourself worrying about an upcoming job interview, challenge the thought by asking yourself, “What’s the evidence that I won’t do well?” or “What’s the worst that could happen?” By challenging your thoughts, you can gain a more balanced perspective and reduce your worry.
- Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Research has shown that mindfulness can help reduce anxiety and stress by increasing awareness and promoting relaxation. To practice mindfulness, try sitting quietly for a few minutes each day and focusing on your breath. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring your attention back to your breath. You can also try a guided meditation or yoga to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine.
- Get regular exercise
Regular exercise is a natural stress reducer and mood booster. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, and can help improve your overall mood and reduce anxiety. Even small amounts of exercise, such as a 30-minute walk, can make a big difference in your mental health.
- Connect with others
Social support is essential for good mental health, and connecting with others can help reduce worry and stress. Talking with friends or family members, joining a support group, or seeking professional counseling can all be helpful ways to connect with others and reduce worry.
- Prioritize self-care
Taking care of yourself is essential for good mental health, and prioritizing self-care can help reduce worry and stress. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and engage in activities that you enjoy. It’s also important to avoid self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, which can make anxiety and worry worse.
- Seek professional help
If your worry is interfering with your daily life and you’re not able to manage it on your own, it may be time to seek professional help. A mental health professional can help you develop coping skills and strategies to reduce worry and improve your overall mental health.
In conclusion, anxiety and worry are common experiences, but excessive worry can be detrimental to your mental health. By challenging your thoughts, practicing mindfulness, getting regular exercise, connecting with others, prioritizing self-care, and seeking professional help when needed, you can reduce worry and improve your overall well-being.
American Psychological Association. (2018). Understanding anxiety and anxiety disorders. https://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety/
Harvard Health Publishing. (2018). Exercise is an all-natural treatment to fight depression. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-is-an-all-natural-treatment-to-fight-depression
National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Generalized anxiety disorder: When worry gets out of control. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad/index.shtml
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