How to Stop Worrying

6 Strategies That Can Help Reduce Excess Worry

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Are you worried? People diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, including panic disorder, often struggle with chronic worrying. Frequent worrying may seem irrational to outsiders. For instance, you may worry about things that haven’t even happened or are out of your control, such as the health and safety of your loved ones or the current cost of living.

Worrying so much can become a heavy burden weighing negatively on your relationships, self-esteem, career, and other aspects of your life. It can also impact you emotionally and mentally, contributing to your symptoms of panic and anxiety. Considering how disruptive worrying can be, you may be wondering how you can stop worrying so much.

Quick Tips

  1. Schedule some worry time.
  2. Push past procrastination.
  3. Talk it out.
  4. Journal through it.
  5. Turn your thoughts around.
  6. Try relaxation techniques.

Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares a technique that can help you worry less.

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Tips for Reducing Chronic Worry

Even though you may be prone to worrying, the behavior doesn't have to control your life. Listed here are some easy tips to help you stop worrying so much.

Schedule Some Worry Time

It may seem counterintuitive to actually give your worries attention, but research has found that scheduling time to worry can help reduce anxious thoughts and improve sleep.

To get started, determine a time of day that you can put aside 20 minutes to do nothing but worry. Some people prefer to carve out worry time in the morning, freeing themselves of worry early in the day. Others prefer to schedule their worrying for the evening, clearing their minds of all the worries that built up throughout the course of the day.

Regardless of the time of day you choose, the point is to spend some time focusing on your worrisome thoughts. Worries will still come up at times outside of your scheduled worry time. When they do, briefly acknowledge them, but only give them your full attention during your scheduled worry time.

By making a commitment to rumination sessions, you may begin to notice that you are in control of your worrying. Scheduling your worrying time helps you to break the chain of frequent worrying you experience throughout the day.

Additionally, by only concentrating on your worries for a set amount of time, you may determine that they are not as urgent as you once thought. This can free up your mind to focus on more productive thoughts.

Push Past Procrastination

Focusing time and energy on your worries instead of taking action to solve your problems can become a form of procrastination. Many people spend time worrying about what they need to do instead of actually accomplishing their tasks. Plus, putting off responsibilities that you need to deal with will only add to your worries.

Push past procrastination by making a list of all of the things that you need to get done. Every time you worry about another thing that you need to take care of, add it to the list. By writing a to-do list, you get all of those anxious thoughts out of your head and on paper.

A list can also be a helpful way to get you back on track to being more productive. Instead of worrying about what needs to get done, focus yourself on knocking off each task you wrote down on your list.

Talk It Out

You may find some relief by sharing your thoughts and concerns with a trusted friend or family member. Loved ones can be a great source of support, providing you with empathy and understanding. Friends and family can also offer you valuable advice, giving you a different perspective on your problems.

At times, it can be difficult for even the most patient loved ones to always be available to listen to your worries. If you are a chronic worrier, you may want to consider getting help from a professional who treats anxiety disorders. Additional resources and social support may be found through your place of worship, group therapy, online support forums, or local support groups for anxiety.

Journal Through It

Many people with panic disorder and agoraphobia also struggle with feelings of loneliness and isolation. You may feel that you have no one to talk out your problems and worries with. However, a journal may be all you need to work through your inner thoughts, feelings, emotions, and worries.

Journal writing is a powerful and effective way to get in touch with your inner self. By writing in a journal, you can work through your difficult emotions, uncover solutions to your issues, and change your perceptions and worries.

Getting started with journal writing can be as simple as ​dedicating time each day to write down your inner thoughts. You can focus on addressing each of your worries—writing them out as they come up—and allowing yourself the freedom to fully express how you are feeling.

Turn Your Thoughts Around

Worry is a negative thinking pattern that can be contributing to your anxiety symptoms. Negative thinking tends to be a learned habit that can impact your mood and anxiety. Since negative thinking typically develops over time, it can be unlearned and replaced with more positive views.

Turning your worries and other negative thoughts around involves recognition, reality checking, and replacing. First, start by recognizing how often you are worrying throughout the day. It may help to even record these thoughts on a piece of paper as they come up.

Next, look at your worries and ask if you are being realistic. Try to look at the other side of the worry or negative thought. For example, if you worry that others won’t accept you due to your anxiety, ask yourself if that is really true. Do people only accept those who are completely flawless? Do you really want to be friends with someone who can’t accept you for who you are?

By reality-checking and disputing your worries, you may begin to take on a different perspective.

Last, replace these negative thoughts and worries with more realistic statements. For instance, you may begin to think to yourself that not everyone will accept that you are an anxious person, but you are working on your condition and you accept yourself the way that you are.

Try Relaxation Techniques

It's difficult to feel anxious when you are in a state of relaxation. Learning to relax can be made easier through the use of relaxation techniques. These activities are geared toward helping you release tension throughout the body and let go of your worrisome thoughts. The next time you are consumed with worry, give one of these relaxation techniques a try:

Typical vs. Excessive Worrying

All of us worry--sometimes, a lot. But there's a point at which worrying becomes problematic.

Feeling anxious about an event or situation is normal from time to time--but when the feeling not only persists but grows, regardless of circumstances, you may benefit from professional help. A qualified therapist can help you work through your anxieties and help you develop some strategies to get past them.

When to Seek Help

If your anxiety is getting in the way of daily life--affecting quality of sleep, appetite, mood, work, relationships, etc.--it's time to find a professional to help you manage it. Therapists are equipped with the latest thinking and proven approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

Why Worrying Can Be Challenging to Overcome

One reason this kind of anxiety is hard to beat is that some people believe worry somehow protects against what they worry about. Letting go of this notion can feel threatening, which a qualified therapist can help you work through.

Often, though, people don't know why they worry so much, so the task of uncovering the reasons ideally falls to a therapist.

A Word From Verywell

If you're consumed with worry and you're not able to stop, speak to your physician. Your doctor may want to rule out any medical causes or physical health issues. Your doctor may also have some recommendations about things that can help you worry less and feel better, such as therapy or medication.

2 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. McGowan SK, Behar E. A preliminary investigation of stimulus control training for worry: Effects on anxiety and insomnia. Behav Modif. 2013;37(1):90-112. doi:10.1177/0145445512455661

  2. National Institute of Mental Health. Panic disorder: When fear overwhelms.

By Katharina Star, PhD
Katharina Star, PhD, is an expert on anxiety and panic disorder. Dr. Star is a professional counselor, and she is trained in creative art therapies and mindfulness.