How To Stop Worrying By Challenging Anxious Thoughts

Do you find yourself excessively worrying about things that are out of your control? From relationships, to job security, to fears that arise from future scenarios, you can likely name at least a few things that you are worried about right now. Whether we realize it or not, worrying appears in so many different aspects of our lives and can hold us back from reaching our goals and aspirations. 

It is important to acknowledge worrying when it appears in your life and identify strategies that work best for you so that it does not control you and your decisions. Worrying can have serious mental and physical health effects that can be very detrimental to your wellbeing. Excessive worrying can be tied to mental health issues such as anxiety that can begin to take control of your life and keep you from taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone.

There are many ways that you can learn to reduce the amount that you worry throughout the day and about future situations that allow you to let go of fear and anxiety. Below are a few ways that you can challenge anxious thoughts and not let worrying prevent you from getting to where you want to be. 

What Are Anxious Thoughts?

Before we discuss the impacts that anxious thoughts have on our wellbeing, it is important to identify them. Many of these thoughts happen subconsciously or happen so much that we forget they are there, so identifying them may take some inner work. You may have to be honest with yourself about the amount you worry in order to come to terms with anxiety and identify ways to let go. 

According to an article published by the University of Michigan, the first step in identifying anxious thoughts is asking yourself whether they are helpful or not. This will get you on a path in the right direction to figuring out the roots of worry some thoughts and why they are occurring. There are a few main categories that are important to understand when categorizing your worry some thoughts.

1| Worst Case Scenario

This is a form of thinking that is generally tied to anxiety disorder. Also known as catastrophic thinking, this is when you look at a situation that will happen in the future and assume that the worst possible thing that could happen will. You look at the worst scenarios and replay them over and over again. Eventually, this may prevent you from ever putting yourself into the situation because fear gets in the way.

2| Over-generalizing

This type of anxious thinking often stems from living in past situations. If something happened to you at a previous time, such as a failure or some form of trauma, you subconsciously link it with your future. You assume that all future events will have the same outcome as the past and you will exaggerate these feelings. For example, if you failed once and use the words “always” or “never” to discuss your ways of life, you are probably letting the past get in the way of the future.

3| Negativity

This is a very common form of thinking that leads you to think of the worst possible outcomes and hold you back. It also may involve worrying too much about what others think of you and assuming that they are thinking the worst. This will lead you to be very fearful when taking risks and interacting with others which prevents you from reaching your potential. Be cautious of thinking too negatively about the future.

4| Personalizing

This is a type of thought pattern that may induce worry in unnecessary situations and most often happens subconsciously. Personalizing means that you are always assuming that external events are all your fault. 

This form of blaming yourself and assuming that mistakes are happening because of you leads to a very low level of self-esteem. It is important to be cautious of this form of thinking because it can have serious impacts on your confidence and self-worth.

These are just a few of the many categories that worry some thinking may fall into. It is important to observe your thoughts when they arise, especially when they bring up negative, fearful, or anxious emotions.

Identifying what type of thought you are having and being able to look at it from an outside perspective is one of the most important ways to take control of your thoughts and stop them from impacting your life.

Impacts of Worrying

As you are probably aware, worrying has very extreme impacts on your mental, emotional, and even physical wellbeing. Whether you realize it or not, the way you think determines your beliefs, actions, self-confidence, and even success in life. When you are able to realize that everything that happens within impacts your daily life, you will want to come to terms with your thoughts and take control of them. 

Worrying in the short-term can be detrimental to your satisfaction with life and happiness. When you are worried about potential negative outcomes and worst possible scenarios, you will prevent yourself from ever taking risks and will put yourself in a very bad place without realizing it. 

Even though you may feel that playing out all potential outcomes and worrying will keep you safe and protected, they will often only keep you from advancing in life. Worrying keeps you stuck in what is comfortable and prevents you from stepping out of your comfort zone because it makes you feel that everyone is out to get you and that the world does not work in your favor. 

It is important to realize that these thoughts are just a result of your overthinking and anxiety within and that worrying becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

When excessive worrying and anxiety begin to take over your mind and are not treated properly, you may have long-term health conditions that can be very difficult to reverse. They include digestive disorders, heart disease, and put you at risk for heart attacks. 

You may also experience muscle tension due to stress and always being on edge. You may experience dizziness, weight gain, and Alzheimer’s disease due to the stress that anxiety has on the body. Rather than brushing worry to the back of the mind and letting it get in your way, it is important to come to terms with it before chronic worry has deteriorating impacts on your health. 

11 Ways to Stop Worrying

There are several ways to challenge your thoughts and become a more positive thinker. Worrying can be reversed and can be used to your advantage once you commit to finding the best strategies for you. 

When you are honest with yourself and are able to identify the ways that worry gets in your way, you will be able to sit with these thoughts and learn how to deal with them. Below are a few techniques that you can use to start letting go of anxious thoughts and finally stop worrying about the future.

1| Meditation

Meditating and sitting with your thoughts is the most crucial habit to incorporate into your daily routine to become aware of excessive worrying. Meditation forces you to observe your thoughts and allows you to see them from a different perspective. This will allow you to finally discover the roots of your worry some thoughts and identify what category they are in.

When you are fully aware of the thoughts you experience on a daily basis and the emotions that form as a result of them, you will feel in control of your mind and your life in general. Meditating for around 20 minutes a day will allow you to let go of the brain fog that occurs from worrying and figure out what is making you fearful and holding you back in life.

Meditation has been linked with reduced levels of worry and anxiety because it changes your brain chemistry and improves cognitive function. When you observe your thoughts, you can challenge the recurring anxious thoughts and gain the skills necessary to replace them with positive and hopeful thoughts.

2| Journaling

Writing down your thoughts, especially recurring ones and the emotions that are behind them will significantly improve your mental wellbeing because you will be able to let go of your attachment with your thoughts. When you are able to see your thoughts on paper rather than trying to deal with them within, you can look at them from a different perspective and identify their origins. 

Journaling each day about the things that are causing you to feel anxious can help you to be better at identifying negative and worry some thoughts that are holding you back. Since these are often subconscious thoughts, writing down your worries brings them to the front of the mind and forces you to take control of them. 

Being in control of your thoughts is the best way to take control of your life, actions, and decisions. You will discover what makes you feel worried and anxious and ways that these issues can be resolved so that they no longer get in the way of you reaching your goals. Keeping a daily journal is one of the best ways to be honest with your thoughts and take control of them in order to challenge and let go of your anxiety.

3| Make Yourself Uncomfortable

Sometimes the best way to get rid of excessive worrying and fear is to force yourself into a situation that you know will be scary. When you are face-to-face with your worries, you will realize that your mind makes up scenarios that would never happen. When you practice being uncomfortable, you will have less negative self-talk and will become more confident in stepping out of your comfort zone. 

If doing things like job interviews make you feel doubtful and lower your self-esteem, it is important to practice them and do as many as possible in order to get out of your head and your worries. 

When you are always thinking about the worst possible outcome of a job interview, you will walk into it thinking the people are out to get you and you will never want to do one. This will prevent you from getting the job of your dreams and keep you feeling miserable. By forcing yourself to do a job interview, you will experience the discomfort and realize that it is not as bad as you made it out to be.

4| Focus on the Present

When you are constantly worrying or are doubtful of yourself, you are probably not living in the moment. Our worries are often a reflection of our past experiences or anxiety about the future, so it is important to learn how to take a step back and live in the present.

By understand that worrying about the future will not give you the control to determine the outcome, you will realize that it is usually unnecessary. By discovering the roots of your thoughts, you also may find that many of them come from potentially negative past experiences that are repeating in the subconscious mind. When you are fully present, you allow yourself to leave the past where it belongs and prevent it from changing your future. 

Focusing on the present allows you to step away from the categories of worry some thoughts discussed above. This will allow you to make smarter decisions and not be stuck worrying about potential outcomes because you will realize that they are out of your control. This will allow you to change your perspective on the future and reprogram your mind. 

5| Talk to Others

When you are able to discuss your worries and hear them out loud, you will find that you have a different perspective on them and will be able to challenge your ways of thinking. Talking to someone can free the mind from feeling like there are bottled up worries that are causing you stress and negative thinking. 

Talking to a trustworthy friend or family member is a great way to get support and advice that can change the way you are thinking about a certain scenario. Your mind will be aware that the conversation is a judgment free zone and you will be able to discover the reasons behind your thinking. 

You will realize that you are not alone in your worry some thinking which will allow you to feel more positive about your circumstances. Speaking with loved ones about the worries and anxiety going on in your life is a great way to gain a different outlook on the situation and change the way you feel about it. This is a great place to start when trying to get out of your own head.

6| Speak with a Therapist

Therapy does not always mean that something extremely traumatic happened in your life or that you have some sort of mental health disorder. It is very common to go to a therapist to discuss the day to day worries and problems that you are going through in order to seek professional advice.

A therapist can be extremely helpful in identifying your ways of thinking and the roots from the past that may be sparking these thoughts. It is important to get professional help when you feel that these worries are taking control of your life and preventing you from reaching your goals. 

Making time for therapy is an extremely important form of self-care that can make you mentally and emotionally stronger. This will teach you how to be better at taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone which will significantly improve your professional and personal life. 

7| Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

We are all aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for our physical health, but we often do not put as much priority on it as we should. We forget to realize how significantly a proper diet and exercise routine impacts our thoughts and cognitive function.

According to research conducted at Harvard University, exercise has direct links with lowered levels of anxiety and stress. Physical activity relieves tension and releases endorphins in order to clear the brain fog that worrying brings on. Exercise enhances your mental health and overall wellbeing by significantly improving your brain functionality. Getting at least 30 minutes a day of proper exercise will significantly reduce excessive worrying and stress and allow you to think more clearly about future situations.

The food choices we make also have a significant impact on our brain function and mental health. When you constantly choose to eat comfort food and junk food, you will find that your brain is very foggy, and you will have very low energy levels. Eating whole grains, proper vitamins, and fruits and vegetables will keep your brain running properly and will allow it to work to your advantage. When you eat healthier, your mind will be more mentally and emotionally stable allowing you to take control of your thoughts and think more positively.

Both the food choices you make and the amount of exercise you get will improve your risk of excessive worrying and anxiety. When you choose to have a healthy lifestyle, your mental health will improve, and depression and anxiety will be reduced. This is very important when trying to change your brain chemistry and take control of your life once and for all.

8| Identify a Safe Spot

When you find yourself in a constant state of fear of the future, it is important to identify a safe place to think and take control of the mind. When you are constantly in different environments that cause you stress and negative thoughts, you are failing to take care of yourself from a mental perspective. 

Take time to find a safe spot that you can go to once a day or once a week and sit with thoughts that may be causing you to be stressed out throughout the day. In this spot, you can meditate or determine solutions for yourself as you will be free from interruptions and distractions. 

You may want to write down any negative or worry some thoughts that appear in the mind as you sit with your thoughts so that they do not continue to appear and hold you back in life. Writing them down can help you identify solutions that can help you deal with these situations. 

9| Be More Accepting

When we get worried, stressed, or are fearful about a situation, we try to reject or brush off these thoughts in order to prevent them from getting in the way. However, these thoughts will not go away, and they will likely arise again in stronger and more powerful ways. Rather than trying to fight them, it is important to realize they are there, come to terms with them, and fully accept them.

Accepting your thoughts requires inner work that will force you to feel uncomfortable and honest with yourself. Although this will take time and effort, it will get easier over time and will significantly improve your mental health. By coming to terms with the thoughts that are holding you back, you will be able to accept the thoughts for what they are and learn to observe them in a different lens. 

10| Incorporate Mantras

Mantras can be extremely helpful when your mind is on a negative loop of excessive worry. Mantras originated from Buddhism practices and can be very healing and reduce your anxiety. When worry some thoughts happen during times when you do not have time to sit with your thoughts and are forced to act, mantras are a great way to shift your thinking and let go of whatever may be getting in the way.

Mantras are powerful phrases or group of words that motivate you and inspire you to move to a place of positivity and gratitude. When anxious or negative thoughts arise, you replace them with your personal mantras that give you confidence in important situations to let go of what is holding you back and get rid of negative self-talk. Examples of common mantras include:

“This too shall pass”

“This is just a feeling, not reality”

“I am not alone”

“Celebrate what could go right”

When you feel anxious, repeat a personal mantra like the ones above to snap yourself out of the negative loop and let go of the limiting thoughts and beliefs repeating in your mind. By learning to replace your thoughts, you will learn how to take control of them and prevent them from getting in the way of your successes.

11| Use Gratitude

Gratitude is one of the best ways to replace worrying and get out of the anxious loop that may be holding you back. When you feel worried about the potential negative outcomes of a situation, it is important to replace limiting thoughts with the realization of how grateful you are for the opportunities that arise. 

Gratitude has been proven to effectively reduce your stress hormones, increase positive emotions and satisfaction, and change your brain chemistry to work in your favor. By replacing negative thoughts about what could go wrong with thoughts of how grateful you are for what you have, you will be able to free your mind of negative thinking. 

Gratitude is extremely important for your mental health and overall satisfaction with life. When you are happy and positive about the way your life is going, you will force yourself to let go of the past and be present with your surroundings. This is a practice that will take time and repetition but will be very beneficial to you as you rewire your mind.

Conclusion

There are many things that we all worry about on a daily basis. It is important to understand that you are not alone in feeling this way and that you can rewire your mind to take control of these thoughts. When you are able to let go of the anxious thoughts and negative beliefs about potential situations, you will become fully present in the moment and your wellbeing and satisfaction with life will improve significantly.

When you learn to challenge the mind and anxious thoughts that arise through practices like mantras, meditation, and talking to others, your confidence in your capabilities and self-esteem will improve making you more prepared to take on fearful situations. This is a great way to advance in life and let go of the anxiety that may be holding you back from reaching your goals and aspirations. 

Being present and positive reduces anxiety and depression and will change your brain chemistry. By identifying what causes you these limiting beliefs and being honest with yourself, you will become more grateful for potential opportunities rather than immediately going to the worst possible scenarios and playing out negative outcomes in the mind. This will allow you to let go of what is holding you back and become more satisfied with your life as a whole.

Start by incorporating some of these strategies into your daily routine and determine which ones work best for you. This will allow you to learn more about yourself and give you the time for self-care, which will improve so many aspects of your life both personally and professionally. It is important to understand that these techniques will not improve your life overnight but can significantly help you through commitment and dedication. 

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