Worrying is a normal feeling to experience, as it helps us to assess and make choices about our environment that can help keep us protected. But what about when we worry too much?
Spending too much time worrying can reduce your ability to concentrate, cause sleep issues and prevent you from being able to fully relax. Not only that, but if worrying becomes excessive, it may start affecting you physically. Muscle tension, shallow breathing and heart palpitations are some of the other symptoms that can occur if you get stressed or anxious from a lot of worrying.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to help reduce your worry time; take a look at these tips.
Working out releases feelgood hormones including endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, which can help alleviate anxiety and stress.
This doesn’t necessarily mean an all-out bootcamp-style training session. Do something you enjoy – such as dancing or yoga – or just go for a brisk walk outside in the fresh air to get your heart rate up and the blood flowing around your body. Just 30 minutes of physical activity can help reduce your worries and increase your energy.
Keep a journal
Jotting your worries down on paper and ‘talking’ yourself through them in a journal can help you process your thoughts and potentially help you to move on from them.
This doesn’t have to be the type of diary you keep every day; if you have something in particular you’re worrying about, create an entry about it and think about that issue analytically. What feelings and emotions are you experiencing? How stressed do you feel? Is there anything you can do about the problem? Is it a definite problem or is it something that could potentially happen? Questions such as these can help you put it into perspective and as it’s all down on paper, you may find you don’t have to keep going over it in your head.
Talk it over with someone
For a similar experience to the journal, verbalising your worries to someone can feel great to help get them off your chest. Often, the person doesn’t even need to provide you with a solution; as long as they are good at listening you will likely feel comforted and reassured.
This person could be a friend, relative, counsellor or psychologist. Make sure it’s someone you can trust and that you feel comfortable with. Lifeline telephone counselling may be useful (0800 543 354 or www.lifeline.org.nz)
Learn how to meditate
Even just a short few minutes spent in meditation can help reduce stress and calm your mind. Contrary to what many people think, meditating doesn’t have to be a spiritual experience. If you’re new to meditation, the best way to get started is to lie down somewhere comfortable and quiet. Breathe slowly and deeply so that your chest and belly rise and fall, and you can feel your rib cage expanding on all sides. Focus on the sound of your breath and the feeling of it as you inhale and exhale.
By redirecting your concentration to what’s happening physically in the present moment, in can help take your mind off other things going on in your life.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Stuart Miles