Are you always thinking about what’s to come and need to stop worrying about the future?
You thought you were just getting ready, preparing for whatever could happen, but one day you thought to yourself: “This isn’t living!”.
Although worrying is normal up to a certain point, when your worrisome thoughts take away the joy from your present, it means you’re going overboard and you need to stop.
And if you don’t know how to do it, here are 11 ways to stop worrying about the future.
11 Ways To Worry Less About The Future
Identify your Worries
If you find yourself stressed or anxious about something that you think will happen, take a moment to identify what’s worrying you.
For example, you might be feeling restless about an upcoming activity, dreading that you have to meet with a group of people. Instead of just worrying about it in general, take a moment to pinpoint what’s bothering you exactly.
Is it the fact that you have to do a long drive to get there? Is it that you feel you might mess up your speech? Identify what’s worrying you exactly so you can do something about it if you can.
Make Sense Out of Your Worries
After you’ve put some thought into identifying your worries, then it’s time to confront them with reality to decide if they have a foundation.
So, going back to the reunion example, you’ve identified you’re truly worried about messing up your speech. First, you should ask yourself why you’re worried about that? Does it have a reason?
Are you improvising your speech? Have you messed any public speeches before? Are you rehearsing your speech?
Confronting your worries with reality can help you create a plan of action if needed or reassure you if you find your worries don’t have a foundation.
One way to stop worrying about the future is to take action on the present.
You see, sometimes your worries are signaling you about something that needs to be taken care of. It could be something that needs improving or something you’re neglecting.
For example, you might need to strengthen your skills, prepare a savings fund, or improve your communication with someone.
Whatever the scenario, your worries could be an incentive to work on improving yourself or resolve an ongoing problem.
Confront it with Real Facts
But, what happens when you’re worried about a situation that doesn’t make sense and you can’t take action to solve them?
Let’s say you have to drive for three hours to get somewhere and you’re worried about getting into an accident. You can’t do anything about it, there isn’t any skill you have to master or something you need to improve.
You already know everything you need to know and have the necessary experience to drive there. But, you’re still worrying. It’s time to confront your worries with reality.
If you’re worried about an accident then state the chances of an accident are low if you take the right precautions. If you’re worried about getting lost, state you have a GPS.
The point is to use facts and reality to ground you and dismiss useless worries.
Set a Time to Worry
If you can’t help but worry about certain things, then it’s important they don’t overtake your life. To draw the line, you can set a specific time to worry.
Studies have shown that people that limit their worries to a specific time of the day are less anxious and reduce their worries.
It can be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes a day, but you must designate it as your worry time. If worry creeps in at any other time of the day, then you should do your best effort to dismiss it. You know you’ll have time to think about it later.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
There are a few relaxation techniques that can help you to worry less about the future by grounding you in the present moment or relaxing your mind and body. Some of the most popular are:
- meditation – meditation involves sitting, even if it’s just for a minute, and focusing on what your body feels.
- journaling – the act of writing your thoughts and worries helps you to empty your mind while putting them into perspective.
- guided imagery – sometimes imagining yourself in a relaxing place like a field of flowers or the oceanfront can help to ease your mind.
- breathing exercises – controlling your breathing to get more oxygen to your brain and body relaxes both of them.
- progressive muscle relaxation – worrying and stressing about the future can make your muscles tense and uncomfortable. Progressive muscle relaxation consists of tensing and relaxing your muscles until your body relaxes completely.
To stop worrying about the future, you need to focus your mind not only on the present but on something more positive.
While stress, anxiety, and worries will constantly tell you what can go wrong, being thankful focuses on what has gone right.
When you start to think about your past achievements, what you’ve done, and what you’ve got, not only you’re deciding on optimism, but you’ll also realize that the thing you thought could go wrong in the past, actually turned out great.
Trust Yourself and the Process
Your worrisome thoughts will revolve around catastrophic scenarios and negative “what if’s”. So, a good way to stop yourself from worrying about the future when your mind asks you “what if X or Y goes wrong?” is to answer back, “SO WHAT?”.
If something goes wrong in any situation, you can always turn things around. You need to face your worries with confidence in your abilities and the thought that everything will work for the best.
Bad things can happen to everyone, it’s how you face them that makes the difference.
Focus on What You Can Control
In life, there will be many things out of your control and it’s normal those things cause you to worry when they come your way.
But, instead of getting consumed by your worries and wasting energy away on not being able to do something, how about you focus on what you can do?
Not being able to control things is scary, but if you shift your energy into what you can do, you’ll feel more in control of your life. Ultimately, this prevents you from worrying so much about the future.
Measure your Worries
There are different types of worries. Some concerns have to do with life-changing situations while others have to do with daily activities.
So, if you want to stop worrying about something, you need to measure the importance of that thing. Ask yourself:
- Will it matter at the end of the day?
- How important is this in comparison with this other preoccupation?
- Will I remember this in two weeks?
- Is it something someone would commonly worry about?
These questions allow you to get some insight and recognize if what you’re worrying about deserves your time and energy. As a result, you can discard those worries that are useless.
Talk to Someone
Have you ever talked to someone about a situation and then walked away feeling relieved?
Well, that happens because when you’re having any type of trouble, your mind won’t think clearly and objectively. When you talk to someone about your worrisome thoughts, you get advice, perspective, and insight.
Or you just can get it out of your system! And suddenly your worries don’t seem as big anymore.
Why Do you Worry?
Worrying is normal to some extend. Thinking about possible upcoming challenges can help you to plan and prepare for them.
But, when that worry sticks to every common situation and it prevents you from living your life comfortably, it means you might be worrying too much.
One common reason behind it can be anticipatory anxiety, which means you’re always thinking about negative outcomes and catastrophic scenarios. Other reasons could be past trauma or perfectionism.
Whatever the reason, if worrying is stopping you from living your best life and you don’t know what to do about it, you can look for professional help.
Up to You
Chronic worrying and anticipation anxiety can make your life miserable if you don’t take action. Small actions like setting a time to worry, being grateful, or talking to someone can help you to stop worrying about the future.
One last thing you should remember, worrying is a habit you’re used to. It takes time and patience to change it.