How to stop worrying about things we can't change: tips from psychologists

Yulia PoteriankoLife
It's okay to worry, the key is to not let the worry take complete control of your life

Things that are beyond our control usually bother us the most. On the one hand, we do not influence the course of events and it would be logical to let the situation go, while on the other hand, we are constantly under stress because of it, running through many variants of the course of events in our heads and trying to find a foothold.

However, it is possible to learn to worry less in such situations. The publication Woman and Home asked professional psychologists for advice on how to worry less about things beyond our control. Here are their tips.

Distract yourself

Find some fascinating activities that will absorb your attention completely. The main condition is that it should have nothing to do with the source of your anxiety. For example, take a long-forgotten hobby, invite friends to visit or go to the gym. Load your brain with extraneous thoughts and you'll feel better.

Talk to someone

They say that a problem shared is a problem solved. Talk to someone about what's bothering you, talk it through in great detail. It doesn't matter who it is. It can be your friends, partner, family members or a professional counselor. The important thing is that the person should be willing to listen to you. There is also a chance that you will get some sound advice or come up with some solution on your own during a conversation. This can also give you a sense of clarity that will not only reduce stress and anxiety but also help to increase your resilience.

Don't forget about physical activity

Exercise does more than just distract your thoughts. Physical exercise triggers the production of happy hormones called endorphins in your body. As a review by the Boston University School of Medicine points out, regularity is more important than intensity. Make exercise your routine and they'll be an island of stability you can lean on in times of uncertainty.

However, if you've never been physically active, having to keep a schedule and attend workouts can be extra stressful for you. In that case, start with something that won't require you to make drastic changes in your life. For example, start walking, gradually increasing your distance and changing your route, exercise on your own with online workouts or apps or dance at home for a few minutes a day.

Make small changes to your diet

Unhealthy foods can increase the effects of stress on the body. Thus, reducing alcohol, caffeine and deeply processed foods is a good idea when you feel like things are spiraling out of control. A study by Cardiff University shows that caffeine speeds up your heartbeat and breathing and raises your body temperature, causing more stress. When overusing coffee, you're only going to make things worse, because the body doesn't recognize the difference between excess caffeine and real anxiety. It just makes the sympathetic nervous system go into fight or flight mode.

Alcohol acts as a depressant. Its regular consumption can disrupt an important brain neurotransmitter called GABA, which helps regulate our nervous system. A disruption in this system will make it harder for the body to fight stress.

Remember the importance of sleep

Feeling anxious can disrupt sleep and lack of sleep can exacerbate feelings of anxiety. A vicious cycle indeed. At the same time, the level of stress hormone called cortisol will gradually increase in your body. Therefore, take care of sleep hygiene, go to bed on time every time, do not change the sleep schedule on weekdays and weekends, do not stay up late and put away all the gadgets and spend this time doing things that give you relaxation an hour before falling asleep. If you still can't sleep, get out of bed and go back to relaxing. Sooner or later it will work. Most importantly, don't be nervous about not sleeping. Praise yourself for trying to get better sleep.

Try meditation

Meditation is another popular way to learn how to deal with stress effectively. The key is to focus solely on what is happening to you right now. Try not to think about anything at all but rather watch whether your back is straight, how cool the air you inhale is and how warm the air you exhale is. An app can help you learn how to meditate properly.

Do something positive

When something is out of your control in one area, take matters into your own hands in another. Make your bed, sort through your closet like you've been planning for a long time, cook your loved ones your speciality or call a dear one and ask how they're doing. It will help you not to be destructive but relaxed. When you see yourself dealing with chaos, the feeling of the ground beneath your feet will return to you.

Practice mindfulness

Meditation isn't the only mindfulness practice that can help reduce stress. Breathing practices or muscle relaxation practices also work well. Use pleasant sounds, scents or anything that helps you come back to the present moment and enjoy it.

Write down your thoughts

Keeping a journal is another well-known mindfulness technique designed to transfer feelings of anxiety from your mind to paper. Psychologists claim that putting your feelings into words is very beneficial for mental health. Keeping an emotion journal can reduce anxiety and symptoms of depression, as well as improve stress management.

Recognize the presence of anxiety in your life

No matter how much you try to pretend that stress doesn't exist in your life, it won't make it go away. Therefore, acknowledge its presence. Tell yourself that it is a legitimate part of your reality, that you must accept it and learn to live with it while moving on. Let stress be your traveling companion, not your driver. The less you pay attention to worrying, the better. Just accept that there is stress in your life, which may cause you to act this way and require this kind of self-care. Cherish yourself, not your anxiety.

Earlier OBOZREVATEL shared how to turn pain into a driving force in your life during the war.

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