Author and life coach Liz Tucker tells us how to stop worrying needlessly, and find peace of mind.
Set a benchmark for the things you worry about. Are they life-threatening to you or those you love? Will they leave you emotionally or financially abandoned? If not, they should be scaled into categories ranging from “minor concern” to “major concern”.
New thinking: It may be a worry, but it’s not the end of the world – I am still healthy/in love/have money/a roof over my head.
Follow this plan: Isolate the problem, accept what you can’t change, assess what is achievable and break that down into small manageable steps. This process will help you to feel in control, to understand the situation and accept it.
New thinking: Think of what you can do, rather than what you can’t. Any action – no matter how small – will still help.
By accepting the problem and moving on, you’ll reduce the effects of secondary worries like anger, regret and guilt. You can’t change the past but by setting positive future goals, you can take control of your current situation and improve it.
New thinking: Use your experience of past concerns to help you overcome any future ones more effectively.
A worry in one area of your life can pollute the happiness of the rest of it, often making it an even bigger problem. Focus on the positives in your life, make time to relax and socialise, and work towards achieving a long-held goal, such as learning a new language.
New thinking: Schedule some weekly “me” time where you put your concerns on hold and take time to read a book, have a long, luxurious bath or watch an old film.
An unhealthy body and mind makes it harder to deal with your worries. A bad diet raises blood sugar levels and triggers an adrenalin rush – a stress response that puts your body into stress mode. Alcohol and caffeine can over-stimulate your system, making it difficult to switch off. According to the Mental Health Foundation, smokers are 16 times more likely to suffer from panic attacks than non-smokers.
New thinking: Allow your body time to rest, fill your mind with positive thoughts, people and places you love, even if they’re fantasies. Pleasurable diversions boost energy and give your brain a worry-free breathing space.