Excessive worry can really diminish your quality of life. Adopt a worry-free mindset with these tips.
- Step 1: Accept that you can't always have certainty about what's going to happen next. Enjoy the present without dwelling on what may – or may not – be around the bend.
- Step 2: List the worries you have during the day and reflect on them during a regular 20-minute time block, called a "worry period." This helps break the habit of dwelling on worries as you practice postponing your anxious thoughts.
- Step 3: Block worried thoughts whenever they arise with positive replacement thoughts. For instance, if you are worried you didn't do well in a job interview, remind yourself of your marketable skills.
- Step 4: Keep your mind busy with productive tasks and take action to solve your problems, even if they are unrelated to your major concern of the day. Accomplishing something boosts self-esteem and helps eliminate worry.
- TIP: Cultivate mental focus and calmness by limiting caffeine, alcohol, and sugar; exercising regularly; and getting enough sleep.
- Step 5: Keep a log of specific events you are worried about and their possible outcomes, both good and bad. When you know the actual outcome, review the list. It's helpful to see that your worst fears rarely, if ever, come true.
- Step 6: Work on active relaxation to help lower your anxiety level. Practice progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and meditation to help gain a positive perspective.
- FACT: Generalized anxiety disorder affects millions of Americans each year, as much as 2 to 3 percent of the population.