"My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened." Michel de Montaigne
You want to experience life with plenty of peace and joy, right?
We all do.
But many people (and I mean large masses of society) experience more anxiety and worry than feelings of peace or joy. It’s actually at epidemic proportions, really – which COVID has certainly made its share of contributions.
According a recent Gallup poll, around 60 percent of adult Americans report daily worry and chronic stress. The percentage is up 14 percent from just last summer, before Coronavirus arrived.
What Does It Mean To Worry?
To worry means to fret. To get worked up. To ruminate typically on negative things that could happen, but haven’t happened yet.
Worry and fear are strong emotions that can have a negative effect on the mind and body. Chronic worry can really do some damage over time. It can lead to a nervous breakdown, depression, an anxiety disorder, and/or physical health problems.
Sure, some level of worry is a good thing. If you’re worried that you’ll have to live on the street if you can’t pay your rent, this can motivate you to get out there and work.
If you’re worried about having lung problems, this can motivate you to quit smoking.
But chronic fear or worry – especially about things you have no control over – just won’t serve you well.
Anxiety stems directly from fear. If you feel anxious about something, you’re worried. We worry about many things that never even happen.
How Fear And Worry Affect Your Mind And Body
Let’s discuss how fear and worry can affect your mind and body. Of course, the severity can depend on various factors, but generally symptoms of chronic fear are the same.
Physically, you may experience:
A faster heartbeat
Mentally, you may experience:
Lack of ability to concentrate
I’ve been stuck in a worry loop. When I knew I had to give a presentation in front of a group of people, I worried about it for an entire week. Sure, I used anxiety reduction techniques, and they did help some. I lied down and meditated. I envisioned the presentation going well. I did affirmations.
But at times, the worry loop got the best of me.
Have you ever heard about someone being a “worry wart”? They worry about so much! Every time you talk to them, they’re telling you all about their concerns and worries. (Which is why you might not always pick up the phone when they call).
The reality is that they’ve programmed their minds to stay in the worry loop. Until they do some reprogramming, it’s likely they’ll stay stuck.
How To Get Free From Being Stuck In A Worry Loop
Living with chronic worry can make life feel super hard. It can also cause physical ailments due to the boost of stress hormones that are constantly being released in your body.
What do people worry about?
You name it: Their kids, parents, jobs, money, illness, dating, spouse, being rejected, making rent, getting COVID, dying, public speaking, and so much more.
How can you break free from worrying so much?
The following are some helpful tips:
Recognize if you are living in chronic fear and worry. Are your thoughts more future-oriented, worrying about what might happen? Have people flat-out told you that you worry too much?
If you recognize that you’re stuck in worry mode, you can then do something to change it.
Break The Cycle
If you recognize that you worry a lot, it’s likely worrying has become a habit and a cycle. You’re stuck it that worry loop.
The good news is that you can break that cycle.
Instead of letting your mind wander off with thoughts of worry, learn the art of living in the present. Some call this mindfulness. Learn to “get out of your head” and into your body – into the present moment, where worry thoughts aren’t allowed.
Right now, make the intent to bust out of the worry loop mode. Realize and affirm that you CAN break the worry cycle with some effort and helpful tools.
Meditation is a wonderful tool to help you gain some control over your thought life and enjoy the present. It’ll also help you worry less.
Even if you start with just a few minutes a day, meditation is a practice that can help you feel more calm, centered, and peaceful. But remember, it’s a practice and to really get the benefits out of it, you must practice it regularly.
Face Your Fears
It’s normal to have some fears and encounter situations that bring on some anxiety. Face them. Don’t run from them or entertain the thoughts all day long.
If you can’t do this on your own, seek help from a mental health professional or holistic practitioner like a spiritual coach. Some find attending support groups helps them worry less too. For example, Parents that worry about their child that’s struggling with addiction may attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon for support.
While it may be common to have some concerns, you don’t’ have to allow worry to keep you from living a good life.
The Feeling Of Peace
We all want to experience more peace in life. It’s a wonderful goal. While we may encounter situations where we worry, we don’t have to let that worry ruin our lives. We don’t have to stay stuck in a worry loop.
You don’t have to live with worry as your master.
Hopefully, you’ve gotten some great tips from this article and will go on to experience less worry and more peace and joy.