10 Ways To Squash The Worry Bug

When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.
— Winson Churchill

I have always been quite the worrywart. It’s probably my least favorite personality trait of mine. I have always heard that worrying can become even more in the forefront of your life once you have kids and that has undoubtedly been proved to be my experience thus far. I have been working very hard to squash the worry bug because I while I think some fear serves purpose, letting it dictate your daily thoughts is not a way that I want to live.

Below are 10 things you can do that will squash the worry bug once and for all:

1). Write Down Your Worry: When a worry tends to recur, write it down on a piece of paper and then throw it away. Throwing your worry in the trash allows you to experience a physical way of letting go of it which can be reassuring and rewarding. Also, by writing it down, you give that worry less power because once you write it, you are no longer sitting with it in your brain alone.

2). Think, “Am I MSUing?” MSU stands for making shit up. Yup, that’s right, when we worry about a future interaction, conversation, or situation, we often make up what’s going to happen in our minds before the experience actually occurs. The next time you create a drama script unfolding in your mind, ask yourself, “Am I MSUing?” The chances are that you probably are. Many people will make up what they think another person will say, act, think or feel beforehand (especially when confrontation is involved, like telling your boss you need a day off because your kid is sick after just coming off a vacation). Simply put, stop trying to guess what in someone’s mind!

3). Take a Time Out: Tell yourself that it’s okay to take a few minutes to hit the pause button. Make yourself a cup of tea, read a book or take slow deep breaths. Doing a little something for you everyday helps decrease stress, and in turn, lessens anxiety and worries.

4). Practice Mindfulness on a Daily Basis: Research shows that mindfulness has many benefits. One of the greatest is that by doing mindfulness, you actually train your brain to deactivate the flight or flight system in your brain. “If your body feels less of the physical symptoms of stress, your mind will interpret that there is less to to worry about because the body is not in a state of heightened arousal.” (SOURCE: healthynaturalfamily.com). A good app to get started on how to do mindfulness is called Calm.

5). Increase Physical Touch: It's been proven that when we hug or cuddle loved ones, our body releases a feel good hormone called oxytocin. Make a concerted effort to spend quiet time embracing your loved ones, sitting with your child on your lap or cuddling with your spouse during movie night.

6). Tap Into Your Senses: Eat a good piece of chocolate, listen to your favorite song, smell a flower or rub some essential oils on your wrist (lavender is a good one). Doing these things can distract your from your worries and increase your awareness and focus towards things that are much more enjoyable.

7). Get Outside: Nature has a way of creating a calming effect and can be the perfect remedy to your worries. Try to get outside everyday. Go for a short walk, look at the moon each night before you go to bed, or read your a book outside on your porch. A little fresh air can go a long way.

8). Move Your Body: Stretch in the morning before looking at your phone, go for a long walk with your kids and dog, take up yoga or kickboxing. Whatever you need to do, get moving, do it. Not only is exercising good for your body, it’s great for your brain!

9). Focus On What You Can Control: When your worries start to unravel ask yourself, “What can I control to lessen my anxiety?” While there may be may things you can’t control, look for the small part that you can. For example, if you tend to get anxious in the car, check the traffic status beforehand to find the quickest route to your destination. Giving yourself a small sense of control can help you to not to get so overwhelmed with things that you can’t.

10). Find Grace: Be gentle with yourself. Worrying is something that everyone deals with. Give yourself some slack when you do worry. Keep this list with you and remind yourself that it certainly takes time and practice when learning how to squash the worry bug.

Photography by Brittany Renee