Have you ever thought about how much time you spend fretting over things that haven’t happened yet and might not? If you learn how to stop worrying about those matters and focus on the present, you could reach a state of greater contentment. Try these five strategies when future-oriented ponderings overwhelm your mind.
1. Show Gratitude for the Present Moment
One way to experience how to stop worrying is to recognize the reasons to be grateful for everything happening now. For example, while walking in the park, you might find your head filled with thoughts about an upcoming work presentation or something on your schedule. Shift your thinking by concentrating on things occurring now that help make life wonderful.
Once people commit to teaching themselves how to stop worrying, they often discover how easy it is to savor the present. Then, they aren’t so preoccupied with the future.
2. Recognize and Stop Thought Rumination
Ruminating thoughts happen when people keep thinking of the same things repeatedly and can’t let them go. Many such thoughts start with “What if…” Worriers might ask themselves, “What if I fail that test on Tuesday?” or “What if my doctor finds something wrong with me at my checkup tomorrow?” Unfortunately, rumination fosters fixation on negative aspects instead of solutions, meaning it rarely helps.
People who enjoy low-stress lives often practice mindfulness and make conscious decisions to have fun. You can do both of those things when you stop having repetitive thoughts. Once they pop into your mind, push them out by thinking of something else, getting involved in an activity or both.
3. Seek Mental Health Treatment if Necessary
You might realize your worries over the future aren’t just due to an issue with overthinking. It could be that you’re dealing with untreated anxiety, especially if you find nothing gives relief and you can’t rationalize yourself out of an ongoing thought pattern.
A mental health professional could pinpoint the causes of your future-based fretting and teach you strategies for not giving too much headspace to things that might never happen. Anxiety is a recognized mental health disorder, and there’s no shame in seeking help when you need it.
4. Learn the Beauty of Full Engagement
Social media distractions and encouragement from bosses to multitask are two things that could result in missing out on life because we aren’t fully engaged with our environments and the people in them. You can become more engaged in several ways. For example, when speaking to someone face to face, keep your phone in your pocket so you can fully focus on that individual. While at dinner, concentrate on the flavors in your mouth and the texture and aroma of the food.
When you practice being more engaged with your environment, it should become easier to focus on what’s happening now instead of what could happen later.
5. Make Your Bedroom More Suitable for Sleeping
It’s common for people to dwell on thoughts about the future when trying to sleep. The issue is frequently so severe that they don’t sleep as much as they should because slumber is so elusive.
A 2017 poll found that 65 percent of American adults lie awake at night worrying over money. Most commonly, they specifically feel concerned about health care costs, but saving for retirement and paying off student loans also weigh on their minds.
If you frequently have difficulty sleeping, try making sure your bedroom is a place that promotes sleep. Use dark curtains or blinds that shut completely to block outside light. Also, turn clock faces away from you to avoid looking at the time late at night and feeling even more stressed you can’t sleep.
As for the things on your mind, trying remembering something simple, such as, “There’s no point in thinking about this now.” If that doesn’t work, realize that if you don’t get enough sleep, it’ll be hard to cope with the tough parts of life, including dealing with whatever’s robbing you of shut-eye.
Aim to come up with a plan to ease your nighttime worries, but only during your waking hours. Doing something that’s in your power — no matter how small — to urge things in the right direction should make you feel empowered instead of helpless and take action instead of merely worrying.
Connect to the Present
Everyone feels plagued by worries at least occasionally. When the future grabs too much of your attention, put these tips into practice and focus on living in the now.
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