Break Free of the Worry Trap

With Thanksgiving only a few days away and the holiday season in full swing, life is bound to get a little (or a lot) more stressful than normal. There are meals to prepare, parties to host, gifts to purchase and wrap, cards to address…and probably a dozen other things you’re thinking about right now.

This extra stress is often accompanied by worry. How can I possibly get everything done in time? What if I forget something important? Will my guests be disappointed with the food? Have I done enough?

Worrying is a vicious cycle. It feeds on itself, and you can easily get trapped in your anxiety. This is known as rumination, and it definitely keeps you from living your best life. It’s also a waste of both your time and energy. Fortunately, there are ways to break free from the worry trap by following these four tips:

  1. Consider Past Worries. We can often take a lesson from our past. In this case, it has to do with your past worries. Think about some of the things that once worried you the most. How many of those things actually came to be? Chances are, they never actually happened at all. You only worried that they would. Knowing this should help to relieve some of your current anxiety.
  2. Reflect on the Worst-Case Scenario. Our old friend, the worst-case scenario, definitely comes into play again where worry is concerned. As with our past worries, our current worst fear isn’t likely to happen. If it does, you’ll probably survive and it’s not likely to be as bad as you thought. So, go ahead and think about the worst. Then break it down to realize how unlikely this scenario is to occur.
  3. Don’t Read into Things. One thing that can really fuel worries is wondering about the motivations of others. You can’t control anyone else’s actions or beliefs. You only have power over yourself. Therefore, it’s not worth taking the time and energy to worry about what others may think about you or why they are acting a certain way. Chances are good that you had nothing to worry about in the first place.
  4. Let It Out. One of the best ways to get rid of worry is to let it out. You probably know it’s not healthy to bottle up your feelings, and this includes worry. Instead, find someone you trust to talk to about what’s on your mind. Having an unbiased source to help you process things can provide new perspective and reduce your worry. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone about what’s bothering you, try writing it down. Make a list or write in a journal about the issue. This is another way to process your feelings and manage your worry. It can be just as cathartic as talking it out.

So, the next time you feel yourself starting to fall into the worry trap, remember these four tips to maintain perspective of the situation and help stop the cycle of worry before it starts.

I also find that using a weekly planner, like my Unlock Your Potential Planner, can help you stay organized in all aspects of your life and reduce worry and anxiety – especially during more hectic times of the year.

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