wikiHow to Eliminate Worry

Five Methods:Identifying WorryVenting about What Worries YouLetting Worry GoTaking Care of YourselfMeditating

Do you catch yourself thinking about the same things over and over again? Do you often think about things that haven't happened, but could happen? If so, you probably suffer from worrying. Worrying is a form of thinking. [1] It can be repetitive and non-productive because it doesn’t solve a situation, and at times, it can make situations worse. When you worry, your stress levels rise. This can affect decision-making skills, your happiness, and relationships. Worrying can seem like not a big deal at first, but it can quickly get out of control and take over your life.[2] If you feel as though you can't control your worrisome thoughts any longer, it's time to take back control of your mind and eliminate worry.

Method 1
Identifying Worry

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    Know what worry is. You can't solve a problem if you don't know what it is, so the first thing to do is learn what worry feels like to you.
    • Write down when you think you are worrying. It may help to start with writing down how you feel and then what is happening around you and the thoughts you are having. Notice how your body is feeling - are your muscles tense or maybe your stomach aches. You can then go back and analyze what led you to feeling the way you did.
    • Ask people around you to help you identify when you're worrying. Sometimes when people worry, they ask a multitude of questions attempting to feel as though they know what is to come. Usually, people who worry will talk about it and their friends and family will know they are worrying. Having them point it out will help you learn about how you worry.
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    Separate what is and is not reality. Worrying lies in the unknown. It makes sense because the unknown can be frightening. There are a lot of what ifs wrapped up in the future. The problem with what ifs is that they may never become problems and you'll end up worrying for nothing. This is why worrying is unproductive. It’s important when identifying worry to know if you are concerned about something that is actually happening or something that COULD happen.
    • Write down what you're worrying about.[3] Circle what is actually happening and cross out what is not happening but could happen. Focus on only what is happening because that's all you can deal with right now.
    • It is ok to plan and prepare for the future, but once you have done so, accept that you have done all you can do for now.
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    Ask yourself if your thoughts are productive. When thinking about situations, it can be easy to get off course and start thinking about what could happen. When you’re in a stressful situation, it can be difficult to know if you are on the right path of dealing with it because of your worrying. Asking yourself if what you’re thinking can help you get out of the situation. If it doesn’t, you know you are worrying.
    • An example of this is dealing with a car that has broken down. You need to get to work, but have no idea how you're going to get there with no car. You immediately start to think about how if you don't get to work, you're going to lose your job. You then think about how you won't have money to pay your rent, and you may lose your apartment. As you can see, you can quickly unravel. However, if you focus on the situation at hand, you won't have to deal with losing your job or apartment. That can be quite a relief since you really don't know if those things are going to happen.
    • You love your children so much. You don't ever want anything to happen to them, so you take every precaution necessary to ensure they do not get sick. You stay up at night thinking about all of the ways they could have gotten hurt that day. Focusing on them being healthy, safe, and happy will allow you to spend quality time with them that they will benefit from, so bringing yourself back to the present will help you do that and end the downward spiral of worrying.
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    Write down the things you worry about from the past, present and future. Some people worry about the past and how it has affected them. Other people worry about what they do now and how it will affect their future. There are even people who worry about all of them, so their past, present and future. Write down your worries to give you a sense of catharsis and relief in the moment. [4]
    • Use a journal to write down what you worry about each day. You may choose to do this at the end of the day or just jot a worry down every time you have one.
    • Use your smartphone to type in each one of your worries. You can use the memo app or an app for journaling.

Method 2
Venting about What Worries You

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    Talk to someone you trust. It can help to talk about what worries you. Choose a friend or family member that will understand how you’re feeling.
    • Let your loved one know that you understand that you are worrying, but you need to get it out of your head, so you can move on. Most of the time, loved ones will understand and be more than happy to be your soundboard.
    • If possible, find someone who has the same worries as you, so you can feel less alone in your worrying. You can then both work on calming fears by focusing on what you both know is true at the moment.
    • Sometimes worry is brought on by feeling like you are going through something hard all alone. Talking with someone can help offer you support and comfort.
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    Journal about the situations you worry about. Continue to write until you can’t write about it anymore. This free form of writing can unlock some of the things your subconscious is dealing with at the moment. It can be surprising to see what you write down afterward because many times, your worries are wrapped up in things that you really don't understand consciously.[5]
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    Speak to a therapist about your worries. A professional can help you vent the worries, process them and then let them go. Therapists understand that worrying is a state of mind that can be changed. You just need to work on it and follow the guidance of your therapist.
    • Find a therapist that has experience helping people who worry or have anxiety disorders.
    • Let the therapist know that you are working on eliminating worry, so you can be happier.
    • Don't be afraid to discuss your worries in depth. Sometimes, that's the only way to get them out and gone.

Method 3
Letting Worry Go

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    Ask yourself if the worry does any good for you. Since you want to care for yourself, you don't want to hurt yourself in any way. Worrying can hurt you, so remind yourself of that. Usually, when people are able to be honest with themselves, they have an easier time letting go of the worry.
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    Count your breaths.[6] Breathe in through your nose and then breathe out through your mouth. Count your breaths since worry can be exasperated with high-stress levels, this will reduce those levels.
    • If you continue to worry as you are breathing, allow yourself to consider it for a moment and then breathe it away. Use your breath to blow the worries away from you.
    • Do as many you need to feel relaxed. Some people will do 10 breaths, while others will do breathe in and out 20 times. You don't even have to decide before you start this technique. Allow yourself to gauge if you need to continue when you hit 10 .
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    Give yourself 30 minutes [7] to worry. Learn to control your worry by allowing yourself only 30 minutes. Once your 30 minutes is up, tell yourself that you need to focus on other things. It may help to set a timer so that you are not tempted to worry after your time is up.
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    Use the thought-stopping technique. [8] As soon as you start to worry, tell yourself to stop. The action of telling yourself to stop replaces the negative thought [9]. You can do it aloud or you can use self-talk to tell yourself. Many therapists use this technique to help people avoid negative thoughts. As soon as a worry enters your mind, telling yourself to stop can help you let go of it quickly. Just keep in mind this is a learned behavior. It may not be effective at first, but after some practice, you may just be able to stop any worrisome thought in its tracks. This techniques works better for some people more than others. If you find this technique doesn’t work for you, try mindfulness instead.
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    Condition yourself to not worry. Place a rubber band [10] on your wrist and snap it every time you worry. This is a type of thought stopping and it can help you to stop worrisome thoughts, then focus back on the present.
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    Put something in your hands. Studies [11] show that people who use their hands are less likely to worry. When you're focused on whatever is in your hands, you won't be focusing on what you're thinking about for too long. You may want to put a string of beads in your hands or use a stress ball. Try counting the beads, or squeezing the ball in a rhythm.

Method 4
Taking Care of Yourself

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    Get enough sleep. Most people need seven hours of sleep a night. [12] Since sleep deprivation can contribute to elevated stress levels, which leads to worry, it’s important to get enough sleep.
    • If you have trouble sleeping at night because of your worrying, speak to your doctor. Sleep aids may be needed to get your sleep back under control, and that may be enough to eliminate worry.
    • For those who want a natural sleep aid, consider taking melatonin.[13] Speak to your doctor before taking it to make sure it's safe for you.
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    Eat a healthy diet. The vitamins and nutrients you get from healthy foods can help reduce your blood pressure and improve brain functioning, which can help with stress. [14] This can then lead you to worry less.
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    Exercise. [15] Exercise reduces stress, so you don’t worry as much. When you are worrying, it can help to go for a run since it’s difficult to be physically active and worry. Vigorous activity can also release endorphins, which can calm you while giving you energy to get through the day.
    • Go for a bike ride with beautiful scenery around you.
    • Run through a park.
    • Play tennis with a friend.
    • Walk through gardens
    • Go hiking through the woods with friends.

Method 5

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    Start meditating daily. Studies [16] report that meditation can relieve anxiety in the brain. This is because meditation has a calming effect on the brain. Since worry is rooted in anxiety, getting your nerves under control can help you worry less or not at all.
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    Sit with your legs crossed and place your arms down beside you. This relaxes your body. When you are able to relax your body, your mind takes that as a sign that you are not in danger and it can start the process of relaxation.
    • If you can't cross your legs, sit in any way that is comfortable for you.
    • You can lie down, but be sure not to get too comfortable or you may fall asleep.
    • If you sit in a chair, be sure there is a soft area around you in case you do fall asleep during meditation. This can happen to some people because of the intense relaxation they experience.
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    Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. You have an inner calming mechanism - your breath. When you focus on breathing, you will notice if you are breathing too quickly. If you are, just slow it down by breathing in deeper and exhaling completely.
    • Try counting down your breaths.[17] Breathe in for three seconds and then breathe out for another three seconds. Hold your breath for just a second or two before you exhale. Keep it all slow and steady to relax.
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    Focus on how you feel right at that moment and allow yourself to feel peace. Pay attention to what is going on inside of you while you are meditating. If you feel anxious, repeat the word “calm.”[18] You may pick a different word or even a sound, as long as it is something that calms you.
    • If you think of something that worries you, don't fight it off or you'll just get anxious. Consider it for a moment and then let it go. You may even want to say, "Let it go..."
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    Stand up slowly. To bring yourself back to your day, open your eyes slowly, sit quietly for a moment, and then get on your feet. Stretch if you need to and walk away feeling relaxed and totally at peace. Easing yourself into your day will keep you from getting anxious, which can lead you to start worrying again.


  • Use these methods whenever you find yourself worrying too much or for too long.
  • It takes practice to eliminate worry, so keep trying these methods until they work for you.
  • Don’t allow yourself to become anxious because you are worrying because it will just make matters worse. Allow yourself to worry and then try to move on from it with these methods.
  • If you can’t stop worrying no matter what you try, seek professional help from a therapist, psychiatrist or physician.


  • Worrying can lead to depression. If you experience the signs of depression for more than a week, seek help from a mental health or medical professional.
  • If you feel like harming yourself or others, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

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Categories: Facing Fears and Worries