3 top tips from a self-confessed worry wart

To worry is to “feel anxious or troubled about actual or potential problems”. Feeling worried can be distressing; it can cause feelings of agitation, of feeling stuck or trapped. Sometimes worry can feel blinding, like there are so many possible options or no options at all and you can’t see the wood for the trees.

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How do you recognise worry showing up for yourself?

For me, I always notice a tightness in my jaw, and the more worried I get, the tighter it feels. Sometimes I will notice a tenseness in my shoulders that I cannot seem to relax. Other times it is a busy mind that gets louder and louder, throwing me all the possible lines of inquiry to solve the problem at hand.

Worry can come at any time. Sometimes it will just jump up on us and we feel quite unaware about what the cause of it is, perhaps something deep down we know we have been avoiding. Other times, it will be loud and clear – the times when we feel so caught up in our own thoughts that we actually start to feel out of our minds.

Once we are able to notice the physical symptoms of worry, we can hold a bit more space for it and start to accept and release it. It’s amazing how necessary the mind can make worry feel. It makes us feel like we’re getting somewhere and unfortunately, for the worriers amongst us, worry changes nothing at all.

Worry does nothing but takes all our attention and energy elsewhere. Perhaps you are focussing on something that happened prior to this moment or maybe it is a feeling about something you are expecting to happen in the future. Ultimately, worry only serves to take away the present moment.


So how do we stop worrying?

1. Become aware

Becoming aware of the physical ways in which worry shows up for you in your body. is the first step towards stopping worrying. Take a few moments throughout your day to check in with yourself and scan through your body. How does it feel? Is there any tightness in your body? Any heaviness? Any unsettled feelings? Do those sensations attach to the emotion of worry? They may be something else completely, in which case, I think the steps below are still applicable. The power is in this noticing.

2. Notice what your mind is ruminating on

Ask yourself if there are any actions you can take that will move you forward in any way? For example, if it’s a worry about money, can you make a saving plan? Do you want to make a job application? If it’s a worry about a relationship, is there a conversation you could have? If it’s a worry about something going on at work, can you speak to someone? If it’s a worry about your health, do you want to book an appointment?

 “Inaction breeds doubt and fear”

Dale Carnegie

Taking any action, if we are able, puts us back in the driving seat and stops us in the path of continuing to add negative, worst-case scenarios to our growing pile of worrisome thoughts.

3. Bring yourself back to NOW

If there is no action you can take, for example, if you are worried about something that is outside of your control, then it’s time to take back the power of this moment. Accepting we cannot control everything allows us some inner peace. There are lots of ways to bring yourself back to the present moment, but if you’ve been stuck in worry for a long time, it might feel difficult.

Continuing to gently draw yourself back to now can feel like an effort, but it does get easier with practice. One great way to bring yourself back is through focussing on your breath, closing your eyes, and feeling the air moving in and out of your body. Another way is through self-hypnosis, focusing on:

  • five things you can see
  • four things you can hear
  • three things you can feel
  • two things you can smell
  • one thing you can taste

There are lots of excellent coping mechanisms out there to be used. If you sense your mind running away with something, I offer you this, a chance to notice and check in with what’s going on for you.


Finding a professional 

If it feels too much to go it alone, and it often can, particularly if you spend more time in worry than in the present moment, working with a wellbeing coach can be a really safe, non-judgemental, and impartial space to work forward on the things going on for you.

To book a free 30-minute consultation, send me a message

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Peterborough, Cambs, PE6
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Written by Emma Humphrey, Coaching (Dip. Personal Performance Coaching)
Peterborough, Cambs, PE6

Emma holds a distinction level diploma in personal performance coaching (via the Coaching Academy). Her mission is to support people through coaching to be well, feel well and live well through making changes in life, career, mind, and body.

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