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Stop Worrying Right This Second

Worrying is a coping mechanismWhat are you worried most about right now? Finances? A relationship? Someone’s health?

All of those are significant. Trouble with any is worrisome.

But as we know, worrying is pointless. It can’t pay the bills, repair a relationship, or heal a disease. 

But still, we worry.

Focus on Feelings

If you want to stop worrying, you’ve got to control your focus. Everyone knows this. But what everyone doesn’t necessarily know is that it’s not a matter of changing what you think about.

Actually, changing your thoughts is exactly the wrong way to stop worrying in the long run.

The right way is to focus on the emotions (not the thoughts) that are fueling the worry. Here’s what it looks like…

You find yourself worried about something. So you ask yourself, “What am I feeling about this?” 

It’s usually some form of fear that’s creating the worry. It might be fear of rejection, deprivation, humiliation or ruin. In extreme cases, it’s the fear of actual death.

Worry vs. Fear

Focusing on the fear itself takes the wind out of worry’s sails. Fear is the problem; worry is just a coping mechanism.

So to stop worrying (coping), you must willingly experience the fear itself. Know it. Own it. Embrace it.

Talk yourself through it, labeling the emotion. E.g., “I’m terrified that this relationship may be over. I’m scared sick at the thought of losing this person.”

You might ask, “Why on earth would I experience raw fear on purpose?” Good question.

It’s up to you. You can shepherd yourself through the reality of your fear, or you can worry.

The Hard Choice

Let’s say you choose to feel the fear. Once you’re on the other side of that, you’ll be in a different place from where you are now. You might even be a slightly different person.

As far as I can tell, there’s no “other side” of worry. It’s perpetual, unless/until the fear underneath it is faced.

Did you like this post? If so, here’s more on the topic:

How to Stop Worrying When Your Thoughts Won’t Cooperate | Psychology Today

About Tina Gilbertson

Tina Gilbertson is a psychotherapist, speaker and author based in Denver, Colorado. She specializes in supporting parents of estranged adult children through therapy, consulting and other resources, and offers assertiveness training and executive coaching for organizations. The author of "Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them" and the "Guide for Parents of Estranged Adult Children," Tina is often featured in the media as an expert on communication and relationships. Her blog on PsychologyToday.com is called "Constructive Wallowing."
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