How to Stop Constant Worrying About the Future

Tired businesswoman with head in hands looking away

Agnieszka Wozniak / Getty Images

It’s normal to worry from time to time. Given life’s many unknowns and challenges, worry could be considered a natural response to many situations. But chronic and all-consuming worry can be troublesome and interfere with our ability to function freely and calmly in our daily lives. More importantly, problem worry can make recovery from panic disorder or agoraphobia more difficult.

5 Tips for Reducing Chronic Worrying

Here are some helpful tips to reduce your worrisome and negative thoughts:

Avoid Fortune Telling

When you find yourself worrying about a future event because you are picturing a negative outcome, you are, in effect, saying, “I can predict the future.”

But, the fact is, you can’t, and you are worried about what may happen, not what will happen. Worry itself serves no purpose unless it spurs a plan of action.

Analyze the Risks

If your mind has been taken over by chronic worry, your risk assessment skills may be distorted. You may even find yourself consumed with worry about future possibilities when there isn’t any real evidence that the negative event will actually come to pass.

For example, perhaps you constantly worry about your job performance and fear being fired, but, you have received no indication from your boss, or anyone else, that you’re not performing up to par. Looking at your situation realistically may help you reduce your worry.

Schedule Time to Worry

Some people find it helpful to schedule 30 minutes each day just to worry. If worrisome thoughts creep in at any other times, put them aside by telling yourself you have a scheduled time to worry. Your goal is to worry only during your scheduled 30 minutes each day.

Identify and Replace Worrisome Thoughts

Write down your worrisome and distressful thoughts. Alongside each worrisome thought, list some positive substitution statements.

For example, if you worry that your plane may crash during upcoming air travel, you may counter this thought with:

Statistically, air travel is safe. Professional and competent airline staff are in control, and I can just relax and enjoy my trip.

You can also try using thought stopping to quiet your worrisome mind.

Learn and Practice Relaxation Techniques

By learning and practicing relaxation techniques, you will be able to reduce intrusive worry. Some techniques that may be helpful include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagerymeditation, and journaling.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Granier KL, Segal DL, Coolidge FL. Relationships among executive dysfunction, constructive worrying, and worry responses in older adults. Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2020;1-16. doi:10.1177/0091415019896227

  2. Brown VJ. Risk perception: it's personalEnviron Health Perspect. 2014;122(10):A276–A279. doi:10.1289/ehp.122-A276

  3. Larsson A, Hooper N, Osborne LA, Bennett P, Mchugh L. Using brief cognitive restructuring and cognitive defusion techniques to cope with negative thoughts. Behav Modif. 2016;40(3):452-482. doi:10.1177/0145445515621488

  4. Khng KH. A better state-of-mind: deep breathing reduces state anxiety and enhances test performance through regulating test cognitions in children. Cogn Emot. 2017;31(7):1502-1510. doi:10.1080/02699931.2016.1233095