Looking for how to stop obsessive worrying? Read on!
Ever had worrying thoughts play over and over again in your mind? To the point where it can be challenging to focus, or difficult to see the positive in any situation, or to even be able to fall asleep at night?
I have fallen into this thinking trap one too many times.
Obsessive worry is harmful to our mental wellness and our overall well-being. And the more time we spend in this negative thinking spiral, the deeper we fall into it, and the more harmful it can be.
The tricky part of obsessive thinking is it can be tough to break out of. The constant negative repetition starts to gain power over us, and we can begin to feel helpless in our ability to control our thoughts. Helplessness can then lead to depression and even more anxiety.
To stop obsessive worry, we must do it on purpose. We must do something deliberately. It takes a deliberate act.
As someone who has experienced overwhelming negative thinking, here is how I learned to stop obsessive worrying.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this blog is written from personal and lived experience. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional mental health services, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health or mental health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.
How to Stop Obsessive Worrying:
# 1 – Get physically active
Going for a run, a walk, or just dancing around the house – any time I’m feeling my worry is getting out of hand, I do some type of physical exercise. I couldn’t tell you the exact science behind it, although I have read about the release of endorphins that happens, all I know is that anytime I’m active, I’m feeling less worry and less anxiety.
Most of us know that being active is good for our physical well-being, but less of us know that it’s equally as beneficial to our mental wellness. So, the next time you’re feeling overcome with worry, trying getting active!
Read more: How Your Mental Health Reaps the Benefits of Exercise – psychologytoday.com
# 2 – Distract
Distracting myself, by doing something else I enjoy, has also been a helpful way to stop my obsessive worry. Although, at first, it can sometimes be difficult to focus on the distraction, with the worrying thought trying its best to stay at the forefront of your mind, distraction can be really helpful.
Watching your favourite movie, baking cookies, reading a book, listening to music, the list goes on – distraction can consist of all sorts of things and will vary for each of us.
If you’re finding visual types of distractions (i.e. watching a movie) to be ineffective, a sensory-motor distraction, such as cooking or gardening for instance, could be a better technique for you.
It’s true – when your mind is focusing on something else, it’s got no more room to focus on the worry!
# 3 – Do a relaxation exercise
I have to admit that this technique wasn’t always helpful to me, taking longer for it to actually work for me.
Although I would attempt to do relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, guided imagery or progressive muscle relaxation, I couldn’t get my brain to stop worrying! As much as I tried, I couldn’t get my thoughts to stop. And, quite honestly, it would feel like I was focusing MORE on my thinking as I was sitting in one place. But, like many things in life, I discovered that practice makes perfect.
The more I worked on relaxing my body, the easier it got to refocus the brain and bring my thoughts back to the present moment.
My advice to you is this: If you’re new to working on stopping your obsessive worry, by all means, give a relaxation exercise a try. But, don’t be discouraged if you’re finding it challenging in the beginning.
Finding what works best for you is key. And remember, be patient with yourself and don’t give up on your self-care. Spending time figuring out what ways work for you when it comes to improving and maintaining your well-being is so important!
# 4 – Use positive affirmations
Positive affirmations have helped me overcome some difficult times in my life. They’ve also been super motivating when I’ve been feeling stuck in a rut.
One way I stop my obsessive worry is to turn to a positive affirmation and repeat it daily. It’s important to create an affirmation that is personal to you and your situation. And affirmations can be used in many circumstances, such as overcoming fear, building self-esteem, or helping to achieve your goals.
Repeating a positive affirmation specific to worry, such as “I am letting go of my worries”, can help replace your negative thinking into more realistic and positive thinking, all helping to stop obsessive worrying.
# 5 – Talk to someone
I’ve discovered that when my worrying thoughts are stuck in my brain, they are more harmful. When I’m able to release them, by sharing them with someone I trust and feel safe with, I feel better.
Feeling stuck in our negative thinking spiral can be incredibly overwhelming and make us feel helpless, but when we release these thoughts into the world, there is something powerful that happens.
It’s as though we’re taking our power back, and our harmful thoughts lose some of their control.
It’s sort of like writing something down. Ever heard of the power of writing? Jotting down our thoughts on paper can help us process them and sometimes even release them. This is what talking to someone does for me.
Finding someone you trust is so important. I know many of us don’t have someone like that in our lives, which is why I’m such a big supporter of therapy.
If your obsessive worry is becoming too much, please consider reaching out to someone and giving counselling a try. In Canada, we’ve got community health centres that offer counselling for free. If money is an issue, try seeking out these types of services in your area. Hopefully, there will be some available or at least you’ll learn about more affordable resources you could try.