10 Tips to Reduce Worry and Anxiety

10 Tips to Reduce Worry & Anxiety
Everyone worries from time to time.  A certain amount of worry is neces¬sary for survival; it helps us anticipate future hazards and prepare for them. But many of us worry far too often and far too easily. Excess worry creates anxiety which can lead to depression, poison our relationships, and sap us of energy and the joy of living as we wrestle with relentless “what ifs.” Carry¬ing the weight of the world on our shoulders can also make us physically sick, with ailments such as back pain, digestive disorders, rashes, and recurring headaches.  The good news is that there are ways to reduce your worry and anxiety.  Below is a list of 10 ways to minimize anxiety from worry.

ALLOW ROOM FOR ERROR Consider the best course of action, remembering that everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Ask yourself, “Would it really be that terrible if I made a mistake?”  Chances are it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
NEVER FRET ALONE “Get it out. Talk to a friend, talk to a colleague, talk to your dog,” advises Dr. Hallowell. “This is the number one tool of worry control because it’s so simple and so effective.” To avoid overloading others with your anxiety, ask a pal for ten minutes of vent time, then offer your ear in return.
CONFINE YOUR WORRY TIME Devote a set amount of time—say, ten to 20 minutes a day—to your potential troubles. Let your imagination run as wild as it can during this period. Afterward, if an upsetting thought arises, file it away for the next day’s session. Too difficult? Start by working to postpone worries for a few minutes at a time.
CONSIDER THE WORST-CASE SCENARIO Pon¬dering how you’d feel and what you’d do if the worst did happen may help you see that the chances it will happen are slight and that you can handle less¬er events.  Increasing your initial anxiety may reduce your long-term anxiety about the scenario.
LIVE IN THE MOMENT Focusing on the here and now can go a long way toward soothing the soul. To get started, give yourself five minutes to absorb the details of your surroundings.
SAY YOUR ABC’S Challenge yourself to recite the alphabet in random order, without repeating any of the letters. This task is just tricky enough so that there’s no room in your consciousness to think about anything else.
USE YOUR SENSES For some, an act as simple as snapping a rubber band worn around the wrist or taking a warm soothing shower can derail the worry train. “It’s about using tac¬tile stimuli to tweak yourself to anoth¬er place. It’s taking action instead of letting the worry act on you,” says Dr. Hallowell.
DISTRACT YOURSELF Short-circuit worry by taking a walk, petting your dog, reading a chapter in a juicy mystery, or doing any other activity that you know will divert your attention and relax you. Yoga, meditation, a music tape, or a few minutes of deep breathing—which low¬ers the heart rate and, in turn, reduces anxiety—can also help.
SING your own version of the worry song in your mind, or out loud, for a few min¬utes, until you feel less anxious. It works because ‘the singing makes you feel ridiculous,” says Wilson. “And it’s very hard to maintain your distress when you’re doing something foolish. You step back from the worry and put it in perspective.”
LET IT GO Done everything you can pos¬sibly do? Then make up your mind to move on. Imagine yourself placing your worries in a box and tossing that box in the trash—for good.
Source: Diane Umansky, Good Housekeeping, March 2000
 

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