How to Stop Worrying

I’ve found in my practice that simply telling someone to stop worrying and not focus on the doubts, fears, and negatives associated with anxiety or depression, is often met with confusion, “I just don’t seem to be able to get it. The more I try to let go of worry thoughts, the more I find myself thinking about letting go and getting frustrated.” The simple remedy for this confusion is learning to become reactive to life. Here’s a simple visual that will help make this important point. 

Imagine that you’re driving your car, windows rolled down, feeling the beautiful warm breeze, listening to your favorite CD. All of a sudden a squirrel runs out in front of your car! What do you do? Instinctually, you hit the brake while jerking the steering wheel enough to avoid the little critter. This happens without any formal thinking, you just react. 

When it comes to driving a car, you don’t drive around anticipating, What if a squirrel runs out in front of my car, should I hit the brake first or should I...? You don’t do this because you trust your ability to react, in the moment, to the road’s changing circumstances. Living with insecurity and worrying is no different than anticipating life’s squirrels (i.e., the doubts, fears and negatives). Next time you find yourself anticipating, worrying, or ruminating, remind yourself, Stop looking for squirrels! Trust your instincts to handle and react appropriately to what crosses your path in life. Release yourself from the congestion of anticipatory worry and then turn up the music.


Disclaimer: The diagnosis of clinical anxiety or depressive disorders requires a physician or other qualified mental health professional. The information provided is intended for informational purposes only. Please understand that the opinions shared with you are meant to be general reference information, and are not intended as a diagnosis or substitute for counseling with your physician or other qualified mental health professional.

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