Written by Shannon,
7 Minute Read
Medically reviewed by:
Erin O'Callaghan, PHD
Director of Therapy
10 Minute Read
As we get older, life can start to feel overwhelming. One day you’re playing soccer with your friends after school, and the next minute you’re an adult worrying about paying bills and finding a good job. One of the hardest things to come to terms with about our lives is that it moves quickly, and we often have no control over what happens in the process.
People who have a hard time accepting this often become consumed by trying to control everything, and can even end up spending their days worrying about worst-case scenarios.
When this worry gets to the point where it affects your day-to-day decision-making or interferes with your relationships, you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders generally involve feelings of worry that may not be rational, may cause difficulty interacting with others, may affect your ability to have a normal day, and more.
If you’re someone who tends to worry, here are some tips that can help, and some guidance on when it might be time to seek professional help.
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Think About What You Can Control In Your Life
For a lot of us, it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole of worry when we think about potential outcomes of things we can’t control.
One of the best remedies? Back away from the rabbit hole as soon as you see it.
When you’re right at the beginning of starting to think about and worry about things you can’t control, step back and focus on what you can control.
If you’re worried that you might get anxious on a trip to a new place, remember that you can always just stop, sit down, and give yourself a second. If you’re worried about leaving the baby with grandma and grandpa for the weekend, think about what you can do to help them prepare in advance and set them up for success.
For all the things you can’t control, there is almost always an equivalent that you can control, and redirecting your attention to things that you can actually influence is a much better spend of your energy.
Figure Out Where The Anxiety Stems From
Another way to get to the root of your worrying is figuring out why you feel this way in the first place. If you are afraid of a catastrophic event, what are you actually afraid of? Is it disappointment? Abandonment?
A trained therapist can help you identify the root of your anxiety and work through it. One of the main goals of therapy is to really help you understand your feelings, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy focused on helping you find ways to cope with and manage these feelings.
Talk To Someone
There is a lot of stigma attached to mental illness. Many people who worry about what they can’t control struggle with some type of anxiety disorder, and it shouldn’t be considered taboo to reach out to someone and ask for their help. Talking to a therapist can be one of the most effective options for understanding and managing your worry.
An expert therapist will give you a toolkit to help you manage your fears and anxieties. They can help you retrain your brain’s way of thinking and come up with healthier coping mechanisms. Brightside offers therapy online to support you and guide you on your path to feeling better.
We’ll match you with a therapist who is licensed in your state, has had a comprehensive background check, and holds a Master’s degree or higher. They can offer supportive guidance with unlimited messaging and four video sessions per month, using evidence-based approaches to therapy that are proven to effectively help you break the negative thoughts and patterns associated with anxiety. You’ll also complete interactive lessons that help you build and practice the skills necessary to overcome your anxiety.
Brightside is available to people 18 years or older who are experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety. We offer convenient, affordable, and private therapy to equip you with the skills you need to feel like yourself again.
Taking Medication To Help With Worrying
Sometimes therapy isn’t enough to help retrain the way your brain processes worry and fear. Although medication isn’t for everyone, it can help alter the receptors in your brain, helping you worry less. It’s crucial to figure out which type of medication is right for you, which is where Brightside can help.
Our team of psychiatric providers can work with you to help you understand what your worrying means and what you can do about it.
You’ll be matched with a caring, expert provider who will use your data to match you with the right medication for your individual needs (if medication is deemed appropriate for your situation).
Coping Strategies for Reducing Worry and Anxiety
Developing a hobby or other type of activity can help keep your brain focused on other things. When you have nothing to do, it often leaves time for your brain to ruminate. This means you may replay conversations or situations in your head and imagine all kinds of catastrophes that will never happen. There is a huge difference between problem-solving and ruminating, so try to figure out which one your brain is doing. If you are thinking about how you can solve a particular problem, that’s okay. But if you are overthinking and worrying, try to acknowledge in your brain that those thoughts aren’t helpful.
Creating a daily routine can also be extremely helpful in reducing worrying and anxiety. Providing yourself with structure allows your brain to predict what will happen next without fear of change. Making time to exercise every day and eat consistent meals are great places to start.
Practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques like yoga and deep breathing can help manage your stress and worry. Doing breathing exercises helps your body to relax on a physical level, and in turn, on a mental level as well. Journaling in the mornings or at night is also a helpful way to take control of worrying thoughts. Try to write down your goals for the day, positive affirmations about your life, and the things that you’re thankful for.
Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. If you are too focused on the big picture all the time and worrying about how you’re going to be happy, you miss out on a lot of tiny victories. Take some time for yourself to be proud of how far you’ve come. Even if you only accomplish one thing today, give yourself a mental pat on the back. This gives your anxious brain happy things to focus on instead of huge, terrible problems.
Consume less social media and negative news. Since we live in the modern world of technology, our phones are basically attached to our bodies. Looking at a screen all day for work or communication puts the world at our fingertips. This means that we are constantly bombarded with news stories from around the world and celebrity drama. This can fill your head with so much meaningless noise it can make you feel dizzy. Putting your phone down and reducing your screen time (unless you’re talking to your therapist) can be extremely helpful for your mental health.
The Bottom Line
Anxiety affects 18% of the population in the United States alone. Odds are you’ve probably met someone else in your life who struggles with anxiety and worry on a daily basis. It’s important to know that you aren’t alone and there is help available to you. Even if you cannot control everything, you can change the way you react and think about these things. Brightside can help you get control of your life back with therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.