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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work-Life Balance

3 Proven Ways to Stop Worrying So Much

In a totally rational world, worry would be directly correlated with your circumstances. If everything were going swimmingly and your life were all around comfortable, the surface of your mind would not be troubled by the faintest ripple of worry. When things looked dire, you’d sensibly start to fret about how to improve the situation.

But here in the real world, we all know, things are nothing like that. Some of us seem to be gifted from birth with a naturally imperturbable brain that sails through even the choppiest waters without too much stress. Others face a lifelong struggle to keep their tendency to fret and worry about potential disasters or possible future troubles in check.

When this latter type joins the inherently unpredictable and unstable world of work, you’ve got a recipe for perfect storm of worry. If that’s you, is there anything you can do to calm your fears and keep worry within the bounds of reason?

Yes, writes self-confessed “chronic worrier” Ashlee Christian on the Freelancers Union blog recently. As one who struggles with her propensity for worry, Christian rounds up tips and tricks that have helped her in the hope of assisting others in the same boat. Among her best ideas:

1. Make and Analyze a List

If a child fears there’s a monster under the bed, the cure just might be screwing up the courage to force herself to look under the bed and examine the dust bunnies that lurk there. A similar principle can apply to worrywart adults, suggests Christian. To calm the worst of your worry, take a minute to list exactly what it is you fear and consider whether those fears are well founded or pure fantasy.

This has the double benefit of dismissing irrational fears while focusing your mind on those worries you can actually do something about.

“Not all worrying is entirely negative, addressing the productive worries of something that is causing anxiety, and being aware of them can help you stay on track with being in control over the things you actually can control,” she writes.

2. Write it Out

We’ve said it before at Inc. and we’ll say it again: Journaling isn’t just for angsty teens. Writing out your fears can be one good way of stopping them from playing through your brain on an endless repeat loop.

“Writing these issues out will help to dissect the cause for worry and make it more manageable going forward. Additionally, journaling is great for reducing stress and boosting immunity,” concurs Christian.

3. Get to Know Your Brain

The way your mind works may drive you crazy sometimes, but the better you understand its quirks and patterns, the more likely you are to find more ways to stay happy and productive. Sticking your head in the sand or trying to blindly will your way through stress just won’t work.

“Be aware of your brain’s modus operandi when it comes to worrying and nip it in the bud. When you feel like you are starting to slip into that negative cycle of worry and anxiety, replace the negative with something positive,” Christian advises.

Worrywarts, share your top tips for keeping your anxieties at bay!

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