How to Stop Worrying About Things That Haven’t Happened Yet

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Worrying can drive you crazy – especially when you might be worrying about things you simply have no control over whatsoever.

Did you know that 85% of what people worry about never even actually happens!

Life is short, so there is no point worrying about what the future holds because:

  • You cannot predict it.
  • You cannot control it.
  • You will miss what’s happening in the current moment.
  • Sometimes it’s not quite as bad as you think.

If you are a constant worrier, this can cause complications with your general health. Stressing out about something can cause your body to release a hormone called cortisol which causes all kinds of things to happen to your body such as:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Muscle Tension

So it is with good reason that many people tell you not to worry, because frankly, you will cause yourself some physical health problems.

Does it really matter? – Can you actually prevent it from happening? Most likely the answer is a resounding no anyway. So why give it a moment’s thought in the first place?

Try the eight strategies below to stop the unnecessary worrying once and for all. You will find use for most of them which will help you manage your worrying much better.

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1. Learn to Accept Uncertainty & Thrive in It

Life is beautiful because of how uncertain it can be. You never quite know just what’s around the corner after all.

Learn to embrace spontaneity, bring exciting new opportunities that you never even thought possible before. Putting your all into everything you care for and work hard to achieve your dreams. That’s all you can do. The rest is up to the big wide world.

2. Keep Your Circles Tight

Talking to close friends and family can certainly help you get a load off your mind and get your headspace straight. Your inner circle can also suggest ways you may not have thought of before to rectify the thing you’re worried about because they will have a different perspective on things.

3. Be More Mindful

Try to remain focused on the now and be more mindful of your surroundings and actions which will definitely take a load off your mind when it comes to worrying.

Take a few minutes a day, sit down, get comfortable and practice some deep and slow breathing techniques. You could also try meditation as a method to help you concentrate your mind and ease yourself out of the negative mindset you get yourself into by worrying. This will help you think much more positively, calm you down and improve your mood.

4. Do More Activities to Distract Yourself

There are plenty of things that you can do to help busy your body and mind enough so that you forget whatever it was that you were so concerned about. Try reading a book, take a shower, go for a run or interact with animals.

If you are alone, call somebody and start a conversation or organize a trip or event. You could even take a nap and stick on some headphones and melt away into a warm sleep for a while whilst listening to some soothing sounds.

Whatever you choose to do, remember the aim is to take your mind off of what it was you were worried about in the first place. So, maybe choose something that you can do repeatedly whenever your worry emerges again.

5. Get Lots of Exercise

Exercise is proven to release hormones in your body to make you feel happier. So exercise is actually one of the very best ways in that moment to transform your mood and relieve stress quickly. Granted, it isn’t always possible to bang out 50 star-jumps if you’re in an elevator or driving, but there are things you can do to increase your heart-rate, get that blood pumping and ensure that the good vibes flow.

Maybe you could do a little dance or shuffle to music, tap your feet or strum your fingers. Any prolonged movement can work even if it is just a little.

6. Reprogram Your Anxiety Restoring you Back to Your Original Calm Self

Taking back control of your worry and anxiety is not as difficult as you think. Honestly, your anxiety levels really aren’t that bad when you think back to our forefathers from many years ago.

Using this emotion they were able to tap into the “Fight or Flight” mechanism which occurs in stressful situations. Which was great for our ancestors because they had two choices:

“Hey, see that mammoth approaching?” -They either ran like crazy or had dinner for a month. Win, win.

In fact, it was necessary in those days for them to have panic alarms to even stay alive.

Fast forward to the present and here we are as a more evolved species with much more sensitivity and cautious behavioral traits because there are so many more risks and we have gotten much more intelligent.

So it is natural to experience heightened feelings of stress and fear of the unknown. It’s often your DNA saying fight or flight. So, what this all means is that when we find ourselves worrying about something it is the result of the pattern of our brains trying to deal with it, therefore, it can be reprogrammed by your actions in that moment and repetitive actions thereafter.

Your brain is a super computer at your disposal. Become a super user of your own mind and you will see just how easy it can be to control your emotions.

7. Don’t be a Hypochondriac

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a treatment option that involves analyzing and then altering your thoughts. Challenging your negative thoughts is extremely powerful treatment, but it isn’t always your thoughts alone that are the problem. It’s more like the feelings you experience that are your issue.

This is because of your mindset. Again, when you start to feel unwell or light-headed for example, it is because you have already worried yourself enough to cause that feeling. The trick here is to find out what the proximate cause of your stress and worry is and nip it in the bud right there. The solution here is to actually question what you’re experiencing and to explain to yourself these are effects of stress, this is your body’s reaction and nothing more.

Then (and here’s the real interesting bit) – reverse engineer what actually started you off in the first place. Was it a bad breakup, or just being stuck in traffic? – maybe you have a meeting or presentation coming up and have reservations or you feel uneasy in public places.

Whatever your rational, find it, and in your mind isolate it. Then, all you need to do is focus hard on what that aspect actual IS. No matter what it is, you can explore the facts.


Meeting at work is the “cause”

Questions you might ask yourself to trigger the “cause”:

  • I don’t feel comfortable talking to more experienced people.
  • I get nervous in front of my bosses.
  • What if I make a mistake and embarrass myself?

Reasons that these are totally OK:

  • It’s just people sat around a table talking much like having a meal out with friends but discussing different topics.
  • They employed you in the first place so they already like you.
  • So what! You are human and everyone makes mistakes, laugh it off or start again.

Here’s another example:

Worried about flying on a plane is the “cause”

Questions you might ask yourself to trigger the “cause”:

  • I don’t feel comfortable with someone else in control.
  • I get nervous in the air.

Reasons that these are totally OK:

  • Flying is statistically the safest form of transportation and the pilots are highly trained.
  • Think about the positives like how much faster you’ll arrive at your destination.

If you tend to overthink things, check out our article on how to stop overanalyzing situations.

8. Keep a Journal of Your Worries

If you want absolute control over the things that cause you to worry, then start by recording them in a notebook. Then when you have a definitive list of things that start you off worrying you can simply flick to that page and start to write down some reasons that help you avoid them just like the example above.

Soon, the reasons will far outweigh the worries themselves and eventually you can begin to cross your worries off the list altogether.

In closing, whatever it is that you feel causes you concern, there is an old adage: “You die if you worry and you die if you don’t, so why worry?”

Need more tips on how to manage stress? Check out our list of 170 stress management techniques!

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Additional Resources

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About the author

I'm an avid reader and love anything to do with mindfulness and mental health!

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