How to stop worrying about the future

It is normal to worry occasionally. Given the many unknowns and challenges in life, worry is a natural response to many situations. However, long-term, ubiquitous worries can be troublesome and interfere with our ability to function freely and peacefully in our daily lives. Here are some useful tips to reduce your worries and negative thoughts.

Press Play for advice on reducing worries

This episode of The VigorTip Mind Podcast, hosted by LCSW’s editor-in-chief and therapist Amy Morin, shares how to stop worrying about things beyond your control. Click below to listen now.

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Why should we worry about the future?

Stress is a natural response to uncertainty. When we are in a new situation or facing a chaotic situation, it is normal to be worried about what may happen in the future. These feelings help us predict what may happen and may even inspire us. A small amount of pressure may be beneficial.

However, when this stress becomes chronic, we may begin to see negative effects on our physical and mental health. Worrying too much can also cause us to avoid things that make us feel stressful, which can exacerbate anxiety.

People who have been worried for a long time may also view things differently from others. They may expect negative things to happen more frequently, and may show higher responses to real and perceived threats.

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A certain degree of stress and worry is normal, but long-term anxiety about the future can adversely affect your health and well-being.

Avoid fortune telling

When you find yourself worrying about future events because of imagining a negative result, you are actually saying: “I can predict the future.”

But the truth is, you can’t, and what are you worried about possible Happened, not something will occur. Worry in itself has no meaning unless it inspires a plan of action.

Analyze the risk

If your mind is dominated by long-term worries, your risk assessment skills may be distorted. When there is no real evidence that negative events will happen, you may even find yourself worried about future possibilities.

For example, maybe you have been worried about your job performance and afraid of being fired, but you haven’t got any signs from your boss or anyone else that you are underperforming. Looking at your situation realistically may help you reduce your worries.

Arrange time to worry

Some people find it helpful to schedule 30 minutes a day just for worry. If worrying thoughts appear at any other time, tell yourself that you have a predetermined time to worry about, so you can put them aside. Your goal is to worry only within the predetermined 30 minutes each day.

Identify and replace worrying ideas

Write down your worries and painful thoughts. In addition to every worrying idea, list some positive alternative statements.

For example, if you are worried that your plane might crash during an upcoming air trip, you can refute this idea: “Statistically speaking, air travel is safe. Professional and competent airline staff are in control, I can relax and enjoy my trip.”

You can also try to use pauses to calm your worrying thoughts.

Learn and practice relaxation techniques

By learning and practicing relaxation techniques, you will be able to reduce intrusive worries. Some techniques that may be useful include:

Get help

If long-term worries hinder your daily life, it may be time to seek professional help. The therapist may help you understand your concerns in depth and learn coping skills and techniques.

Generalize

Worry is a normal part of life, but long-term or excessive worry can negatively affect your health and well-being. Learning stress-reducing and relaxation techniques can help you manage the symptoms of chronic worry. Cognitive skills such as avoiding fortune telling, eliminating negative thoughts, and worrying about time can also be beneficial. If you are experiencing chronic anxiety about the future, treatment can help you learn new coping skills.

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