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How to Stop Worrying About Things You Can’t Change

You’ve just done a pitch for a potential client  and you’re waiting with worry to hear if they’d like to go ahead with the work you proposed. You had an extra cookie with your afternoon tea and you’re worried if it was one too many for the waistline you’re watching. Or maybe you’re about to go have a nice evening out with your friends and you’re worried whether it will rain. The common denominator in all these things is that you’re worrying about things you can’t change – so stop worrying!

5 strategies to stop worrying

You’ve already done your pitch so you’ve done what you can to get the job. You’ve already eaten the cookie so no point beating yourself up for it when it’s already in the tummy. And the weather is uncontrollable so worrying about isn’t going to change it. How often do you worry about things you can’t change? Probably at least a few times a day – if not more. This create unnecessary additional stress for both your body and mind, and actually prevents the joy and enjoyment you can experience today. So it’s time you learned to stop worrying.

Let’s start by looking at what research has said about worrying in general:

  • About 85% of the things we worry about never happen.
  • If what we worry about does happen, 80% of us said we handled the outcome better than we thought we would.
  • People who let go of worries instead of stressing over them are much healthier than those who don’t.

So how do you let go of this worrying that sometimes drives you crazy – especially when you’re worrying about things you have no control over? Try the six strategies below to stop worrying once and for all – there’ll be a time and a place for each of them.

1. Accept uncertainty & learn to thrive in it.

The beauty of life is in how unpredictable it is – you never quite know what’s around the corner! Learn to embrace this uncertainty and thrive in it. Who knows, it could even bring some exciting new opportunities you never even thought about. Put your heart and soul into the things you care about, and work hard on achieving your dreams. That’s all you can do. The rest is up to the world.

2. Call a friend to talk about you worry.

Talking about your worry will help you get your head straight about whether your worry is realistic, worth worrying about, and something you can actually do anything about. It will help you understand that there’s no point worrying about it if the outcome is out of your hands, and hence let’s you offload some of the weight you carry around.

3. Practice mindfulness.

Learning to be present will help you keep your mind focused on what you’re doing now rather than worrying about things you can’t change. Even simple meditations, such as 10 minutes of sitting down just focusing on your breathing, has been shown to reduce everyday stress by as much as 39%.

4. Distract yourself with another activity.

Really can’t seem to get it out of your head? Go do something completely unrelated and different that forces you to focus on something else. This is most effective if you choose an activity that you get fully immersed in, such as practicing your hobby or reading an exceptional book. For example, I’m able to escape the world when I go to my horses – even just brushing them and spending time with them takes my mind away from other things.

5. Exercise!

Doing some kind of exercise you enjoy will give you a break from your worries whilst reducing the levels of your stress hormones, stimulating the production of feel-good brain chemicals, and improving your self-image. If you’re struggling to get your mind to be quiet during exercise, put some fun music on in your headphones or push yourself even harder. When you challenge your body you will need to focus so you won’t be able to worry about anything else other than the exercise itself.

6. Have a designated worry time and worry notebook.

If you really want to take control of those worries and you’re finding that the above strategies don’t work, allow yourself to worry for a certain time period every day. Spend that time writing about all your worries in that notebook, and accept that when the time is up, the worrying will have to stop. That way you will get them out of your head and onto paper, which research has shown is very effective in clearing your head.

Stop worrying about things you can't change

It’s important to note that worrying is a completely normal human emotion and that there is no need for you to beat yourself up about worrying. But you will be able to reduce your stress levels and boost your positive emotions if you’re at least able to stop worrying about things you can’t change. For the things you can change, do something about them, fight your worry with action! For the things you can’t change, have a play with these six strategies and see how you get on with letting go of your worries!

Now I’d love to hear from you. Which of these 6 strategies will you test first – or do you have your own way to stop worrying about things you can’t change?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

If you liked this post, please share it, tweet it, pin it, like it – and you’ll be able to help people to put a stop to the 85% things we worry about that actually never happen.

Good luck in your adventures and until next week!

Happy Regards,

Susanna :)


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73 Comments

  • I think number 1 is the most important strategy. None of us are really in control, so if we could just learn to deal with the fact that life is all about uncertainty, and learn to thrive from it, we would all be a little less stressed. :)

    • Yes exactly – all life is endlessly dynamic and continuously moving, which is what makes life so exciting in the first place!
      Thanks for your comment :)

    • Sally J says:

      I really learned to control my worrying after using “stop worrying” by Rachael Eccles

    • Thank you for sharing Sally! Hypnotherapy & NLP can definitely be powerful with things like this!

    • Richard Deal says:

      Yes i need help worrying about losing my house need TO sell it and take the lost and move on,its just driving me crazy!help

    • Sounds like you have a plan already so simply stick to it now! What is one thing you can do to take the next step in selling it? Do it! Once you’ve done that, what is the second step you can take? Then do that. Break it down, step by step, and everything becomes easier and more achievable. Also, when you start doing something to change your situation, your worries will have less power over you because you’re taking control by taking action. Good luck & all the best! :)

  • Suzanne says:

    Hi
    Just came across your post and I’m glad I did. I think number 6 will probably help me the most so I can write all the things I worry about down and see how silly I’m being about different things
    I mainly worry about my health and constantly going to my GP

    • Hi Suzanne – thanks for sharing & glad to hear you’re going to action one of the strategies to help you to stop worrying.
      If you want to take it a step further, you can also play around with the following question: “If a friend worried about these things, how would I advice her to overcome these worries?”. Sometimes taking yourself out of the situation also helps put things into perspective.
      You could also think about why you worry about this and what could you do to stop worrying about it. Perhaps there is evidence to show that what you worry about doesn’t actually happen that often?
      Good luck & I’m sure you’ll get the worries in control in no time! :)

  • April Praise says:

    Hi Susana, from now on I’ll try first the 10min sitting down focusing on my breathing. It’s a good start I think. Right?

    Thank you so much for your site. It feels inspiring. And Happy of course!

  • Loren says:

    I never had any real luck with no. 6. The trouble with worries is that they tend to rear their head at any or all times of the day so trying to designate a ‘time to worry’ doesn’t work for me. The only way to combat them is to work on the other 5, particularly those that distract.

    I think, however, there could be a no. 7, leading on from no. 6. Really exploring your worries and concerns can be a good thing, but the important element is that you then look at them and investigate if there is actually anything that you can do about them. If there is, then great – get working on it. If not, then go with no. 1 and just accept it and move on with something more productive.

    • Hi Loren – Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s so true that you need to find the ones that work for you, it’s not always a ‘one size fits all’ model.
      Thank you also for your additional comments about really exploring if you can do something about the things you worry about – great point!
      Enjoy the rest of your week :)

  • Philip says:

    Hi,
    I am 71 years old and have worried for as long as I can remember, and in 1996 I had to take six months off work. I have had various forms of therapy, but none of them seem to work for me, I still worry about things. Not what I call minor things, but major events happening that could cause a serious loss, do you think your suggestions could/would help me?

    • Hi Philip – thank you for sharing your story and for being so honest, it makes it easier for me to help!
      I think the first step is to acknowledge that there are always going to me some form of worry that creeps up from your subconscious, because even simply acknowledging it can help minimise the effect it has. It’s natural for us to worry about things that are meaningful to us (I’m interpreting ‘major things’ as meaningful) because we often care about them so much that we start to fear losing them. But all you are really doing is worrying about things you can’t control and preventing you from enjoying them when they are right on front of your eyes.

      I would definitely recommend trying some of these suggestions as research has suggested that they are effective in preventing worry from happening. Maybe try a maximum of 1-2 for 21 days to see if they start to make a difference. The key here is to overcome your worrying habit so you need to replace it with one of these habits here – hence sticking to it for 21 days (it takes about 21 days to build a habit). Pick the 1-2 strategies here that appeal to you the most and give it a go! You could even find someone else to join you in this exercise and you could then hold each other accountable whilst sharing your experiences of them!

      Good luck! :)

  • Emma Snow says:

    Please help!
    During the day I am the happiest girl in the world!! With my friends gopfing around trying to make sense of my French lessons etc! But when I try and sleep…….. I can’t! There are too many things that might happen the next day to worry about! Such as – I must remember homework, French essay, the list goes on! And I just can’t sleep! Please help me exams soon and I need sleep!!! Help!

    • Hi Emma – so glad to hear you’re feeling happy but sorry to hear you’re struggling with your sleep!
      Sometimes excitement and/or stress get the best of us by not letting our minds and bodies shut down at night and hence we struggle to get the rest we so crave!
      Have a look at my earlier post to find some tips on what will help you have a good night’s sleep: https://happyologist.co.uk/wellbeing/sleep-happy-feel-happy/
      Other things which can help are practicing meditation as it teaches you to gain more control of your mind and your thoughts. You can also search for ‘sleep meditation’ on youtube and you can find some good ones you can try during bedtime!
      Having a plan for the next day with your priorities also helps you relax in the evening because then you feel more confident that you will get everything you need to get done because you already have a plan for it – and hence your mind is more likely to relax.
      Also think about having pen and paper at the side of your bed if it gets really bad – and simply write down all your worries down so they are out of your head and you know you haven’t lost them. You can then look at the list from a more positive, proactive angle the next day.
      I also have a routine of putting lavender spray on my pillow to calm me down and some calming herbal creams on my wrists (where the pulse goes) to help me breathe more calmly.
      Basically I’ve created a sleep time routine for winding down in the evening and now it has become such a habit my body and mind really have learned to slow down when I do it – and hence I get a wonderful night of sleep then.
      I hope this helps – and if not it might be worth you getting some one-to-one help on this as sleep is the most important thing for you – especially when you’re learning new things! Good luck! :)

  • Nathaniel Dwayne says:

    My worries have been a little complicated… my partner cheated on me with one guy, I got to find out…i really broke down and that guy happens to be her course mate in school….when ever she’s in school or in the hotel anywhere around the guy, i worry about it…..I feel it’s still happening….. how can u help since they are course mates, they will be around each other so long as school years last…..

    • Hi Nathaniel – I’m sorry to hear about your challenges with your partner. These situations are always tricky as your trust has been broken and this makes it even harder to deal with the uncertainty. In order for you to overcome this challenge, I encourage to really talk to your partner about it. Tell her how you feel and ask her how she plans to make sure this doesn’t happen again. In the end you need to learn to trust her again if you want to keep the relationship going and that will only happen over time when you keep your communication with her open. It’s up to her to earn your trust again.
      I wish you all the best in this challenge and sending you lots of courage, strength and love! :)

  • Krista Lynnie says:

    Hi, i just wanted to ask for your opinion of what should i do cause i’ve been overthinking lately cause i’m so anxious about what my friends think of me.. it really felt like i’m being left out and it made me stressed out since december, i tried to focus myself on doing something else but at night i felt that anxiousness again.. it really bothers my heart and makes me sad everyday..
    i started being like this when i tried to be nice by starting the topic of conversation but they all seem like they didn’t care about it and somehow ignored me just like that.. and it is still happening.. i tried talking to one of my friends and she said that no one’s mad or judging/talking behind my back, but inside i still feel so uneasy cause they’re still like that and it still happening.. is it just me that’s overly sensitive, worry too much and overthinking things ? I need help :( i’m sorry for bothering you i just can’t stand it :(

    • Hi Krista – I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling anxious.
      From what you’ve said it sounds like you are overthinking things a bit, especially as you spoke to one of your friends about it and she tried to reassure you that everything was fine.
      It’s often at night that our mind worries the most so I recommend creating a sleep time routine that helps you unwind and totally relax. Maybe it’s guided meditation, maybe it’s reading a good book, or maybe it’s as simple as drinking a nice cup of hot herbal tea while you think about what you’re thankful for in that day.
      I would also recommend looking into self-compassion meditation to help you become a bit nicer to yourself and also confident in who you are.
      I hope this helps and good luck!

  • Rach says:

    Hi Susanna. Thank you for posting such a beautiful article. I have been through a lot in my personal life during the last few years. Been through a divorce in my 20’s and haven’t really found anyone since (its been almost 3 years). I’ve have recently been getting really worried for my future, I have been feeling that I would never find the right person who would treat me right and I’d be left alone etc. However, the first point you state makes me think that life isn’t too bad afterall. Its so unpredictable, you never know when something good might happen. Quite a few exciting things have infact happened in my career in the last few years and they have randomly come to me. I’ve accomplished so much in my career, things that I had not even planned for, things that I had not even expected. Who knows what might me in store on the personal front too. Thanks for putting this in words. I’ve got something to think about now!

    • Thank you for posting such a beautiful comment Rach!
      It sounds like you are making some amazing progress and I love positively you are thinking about yourself and your life now.
      I am sure there are only more positive things for you in the future – especially with that positivity you’ve got going on.
      Wishing you a wonderful rest of the week! :)

  • Aris Moreno says:

    Most of us are having a hard time living the life we want because we are always trying to control what life sets in our path. We usually find ourselves in the midst of the night worrying about these things, asking ourselves what we could do to make the people and situations work in our favor. Think! Whether we like it or not, there are things in life that we can’t control. Instead of beating ourselves up with this kind of perception, we should accept the realities of life and learn to live with them peacefully.

    • You are so spot on Aris!
      A lot of life is uncontrollable so we need to learn to thrive in the uncertainty and focus on what we can change – our perception of them! That’s when we can learn to live with them peacefully.

  • Gina says:

    I’m consumed with worries concerning ‘what ifs’. I obsess about events that took place in my past and imagine all the possible worst case outcomes. For example, what if I had forgotten to turn the gas off that time? What if the apartment caught on fire? What if I was trapped? What if I died or caused harm to others? What if I didn’t die, but was left with horrific scars? And so on and so on. I’m always on the internet trying to ‘solve’ my problems…how explosive is cooking gas? Cases of gas explosions? etc. Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy. I might be able to reassure myself with one particular worry, only to have another worry pop right into my head the very next minute. It’s like my brain needs to be worrying about something all the time. Nothing seems to work…distraction, exercise, mindfulness. It’s like I can’t fool my mind into thinking about something else. It’s too smart for me.

    • Hi Gina – it sounds like you’ve got a serious case of the worry bug!
      I’d recommend a few things for you to think about:
      1. Why do you feel the need to worry about silly things like this? Does it make you feel more prepared, more caring or what? Once you try to identify what it is that’s causing you to worry, it might help you realise how silly it is and how you can stop doing it as well. As Mark Twain wisely said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”
      2. Have you tried limiting yourself to a worry notebook & time everyday? If you give yourself an allowance to do it at a certain time of the day and focus all your energy on doing it then, it might be that your brain calms down knowing that you have a designated worry time that you stick to and hence the rest of your day you can stop your worries and simply enjoy the day.
      3. Make piece with your worrying mind. The more frustrated you become with it, the more energy and fuel you’re giving to it. As you hear your worry come in, take a deep breathe, acknowledge it and then let it go. This won’t come naturally right away, but the more you learn to do this with self-compassion and love towards yourself and your mind, the easier it will become.
      Have a try at these things – and remember that you can always outsmart your brain (especially as in this case your brain isn’t really being smart but really silly!). If you do feel that the worries start to take over your life, then I’d definitely recommend seeing a counsellor or therapist as they are professionally trained to help you rewire your brain in situations like this. All the best & good luck – I know you can do it! :)

    • DOREEN RUGGIERO says:

      Hello Gina…Doreen here:
      I am not expert, but I have been writing about self-improvement/help for years & was a life time
      worrier and now at age 74 rarely worry or even concern myself with things I cannot change. Here is my advice to you. Since the age of 3 till the age of 30, I would lie awake planning how I would get my family out
      of a burning home & my sister told me I saw 2 houses burn to the ground when I was under 3 yrs. of age.
      I do not know if this applies to you, but I think it is very possible you have Compulsive Obsessive Disorder and need to see a Psychiatrist to be find out. Also, what develop better self-esteem and writing things out if it is not Compulsive obsessive disorder that is causing your problem. I quit be accepting what I cannot control and found the answer in the bible and spiritual text/reading/studying…in fact the bible
      is the answer to everything most of the time so faith & God’s word always helps or fixes things. But see
      the Psychiatrist for sure. If you do have this mental condition, next see a Nathopathic doctor or do a research to see if any natural herbs/supplements will get your thoughts in order, if not, you might have to take a drug, but if you do be sure to see a Pharmacist to be sure the drug or drugs do no cause liver or kidney damage or other serious effects before you agree to take them. You can ask the doctor to make a
      list so you can check them out before you take them. I hope this helps.

    • Hi Doreen – thank you for your useful tips! I’m sure many of the other Happyologist readers will find them helpful.
      It’s nice to see everyone uses different approaches and how different things work for different people.
      Thank you so much again for sharing both your story and your take on how you got over your worries.

  • Anastasia says:

    Hi Susanna, your advices are really helpfull!! It’s been 3 years from when i got to junior high school.. i wanted the childrens to like me so i started to act like the others wanted. Anywhey i lost my self by trying to be someone i am not. I have stoped doing this but i steel try to be liked.. and when i do something i really want to do, the others always judge me and that makes me feel really bad!! I feel like my friend don’t really like me and that they are being my “friends” to achieve something they want.. maybe this is just in my mind and this is why i haven’t talk to them about it. I don’t like talking to others about how i feel and what i thing so i just keep everyting inside me.. Writing a notebook helped me with that. I just need some help cause i feel so sad all the time by thinking what the others think of me and espesially the bad things they think of me. I was recently gone to vacations and i met a boy.. i really liked him so i tried to be liked by him too. One night we were at a party and (i don’t know why but..) i wanted to drink alkohool and get drank. So that’s what i did, but a friend of mine told me that he thinks i am immature for not being able to control my self. He said that without knowing that i wanted to get drank and that i didn’t want to control my self.. anyway it makes feel awful that he has a bad opinion about me. I just wanna run away from everything and everyone!!!! I feel my life is awful and some times i just wish to die. Do you think i need to go to a psychologist.. and if yes how am i going to tell my parents that i want to go to a psychologist???

    • Hi Anastasia – thanks for sharing your story so authentically. You are being so brave!
      I believe the things you are going through are normal for any teenager. What you should truly focus on is learning to love yourself for who you are and trust that the right people will stick around you when you do that. If seeing a therapist or counsellor is something you want to do, then you can talk to your parents about it. I always believe open communication is the best road to anything, so talk to your parents about how you’re feeling and they will probably also be able to give you the type of support and encouragement you want. Remember that you are perfect exactly the way you are – I’m sure your friends will be the first to tell that too if you give them the chance! Sending you lots of love, strength & joy :)

  • Di says:

    My brothers have Power of Attorney. They refuse to update my mother’s financial statements, because they don’t want the rest of us to know the amount of money my mother has already given to them, because it may effect their inheritance. I’m disabled, cannot work and live at the poverty level. How can I not worry about my future? How can I keep my brothers from taking my entitled share of inheritance?

    • Hi Di – you have two choices here. To try and do something about the situation, or accept it as it is. Either way, simply worrying about it will not make change happen. I understand your situations is stressful but especially then it’s important to preserve your energy on focusing on what you can change. Can you get help from a lawyer yourself? In the UK we have a service called the Citizens Advice Bureau that offers free legal advice – can you get in touch with an organisation like that in whatever country you live in? Can you talk to your brothers, or other family members, about the situation and the stress it’s causing you? Usually open communication is the best way to resolve any conflict so try this a few times to see if you can get progress.
      I wish you all the luck!

  • Jessica says:

    Hi, I have a problem with the sport that I do. It’s swimming, And I am Good at it but I just don’t like it. In fact I hate it and I can’t quit cause if I do I will get no exercise and it is too late for me to start another sport. I just don’t want to do swimming 2 times a week and get no holidays which I have been doing for the past 11 years. I know I have been doing for a long time but I just kinda grown out of swimming I find it boring but if I stop I am gonna lose many opportunities and I don’t want to.
    But your advice I hope will help me. So I am gonna try.
    Thanks
    Jessica .P

    • Hi Jessica – thanks for sharing your swimming story!
      I’d truly urge you to challenge yourself to try other sports if you feel like you do not enjoy swimming anymore. Even if you do it competitively, you can find another sport and get good at it if you want to compete in it – I truly believe there is no such thing as “it’s too late”. Life is too short to do things you don’t enjoy and there are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of sports you can try so I’m sure you can find something you are both good at (or will learn to be good at) and still enjoy.
      Alternatively, you can also think of how you can make your current swimming more fun. Can you go to another swimming hall? Do some games or races in the water with your friends? Or try a different style of swimming (sprints, long distance swimming or open water swimming)? Think about why you started it in the first place and how you can get that fire back.
      I hope that helps & good luck! :)

  • Joyce says:

    I’m a big worrier. I keep worrying about things- getting sick, getting in a car accident, getting robbed, etc. How can I get these silly ideas out of my head?

    • Hi Joyce it sounds like tip number 6, having designated worry time and a worry notebook would help you the most! Though I’d still recommend you try the other things on the list as well as they all feed in to your ability to worry less! If you’re looking for more detailed one-to-one help on this, I’d also suggest one-to-one coaching. Good luck! :)

  • Carole says:

    What can I do about worrying about a friend that I have known for 30 years. Her and her husband used to live opposite us, we used to have dinner over there house and then over ours. Then they went through a bad match in there marriage, we was always there for her, her husband moved out for a while. Then after a few months they sorted there marriage out, and thankfully they went back together. Then they moved, only 20 minute walk away. still carried on with our friendship going on holidays, which was great. Then my mum died, my friend was ther for me, but I had my dad to look after, then he died after 3 years of my mum. That is when I needed her, but she was not always there for me, she said I needed help, I did seek help, but that did not work. I have got an understanding husband. It has not got any better, but a little, in the meantime my friend has had grandchildren which is great, but we dont seem to have much contact now, but she seems to see her other friends, but me and my husband seem to not exsist. I have mentioned this to her, and she says, she thinks I am being silly. Whatt can I do to stop worrying about her. I do have other friends, but we just used to be so close.

    • Hi Carole – thank you for sharing your story.
      When friends and loved ones go through different changes in their lives they sometimes also change their behaviours and attitudes. That’s something you can not control as it is their life and their situation so you can never fully understand why they’re behaving like this.
      The best thing to do is, as you did, to talk to them about it and try to resolve the situation if you feel like there is something different you want from them. It sounds like you have done this so now it is up to your friend to step up and show up to support you – and for you to realise you can not control whether she does this or not.
      Just remember that just because you think she’s not there for you, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you. It might be she has different things going on in her life (like her grandchildren) which she wants to focus on right now.
      Sending you lots of love & light!

  • Donna says:

    Hi I love this I worry a lot about things try meditation but can’t focus
    I like #1help me understand

    • Glad you enjoyed the tips! Meditation is one that takes a while to master so trust the process and keep at it. Try different types of meditation (guided meditation, laughing meditation, candlelit meditation etc) and find one that works for you. Start with even two minutes every morning and then slowly expand it into 5 minutes, then 10 minutes and to however long you want to make it. Turn it into a habit by starting small and doing it at the same time of the day everyday.

      When it comes to tip #1 – learning to thrive in uncertainty takes a level of acceptance. You acknowledge and accept that you can not control everything in life – but you also realise what you can control is how you react to what happens. Learn to manage your own thoughts and reactions to what happens and uncertainty won’t scare you as much anymore.

      Hope that helps – sending you lots of love! :)

  • yunus says:

    Hi Susanna!
    am worrying about my beard appearance . Previously I used to have a clean beard but now whenever I shave it appears roughly and I can not control this situation.However this is lowering my confidence especially when I have to meet people and sometimes during public speaking .
    What can I do to get rid of this ?? it is real a headache to me and it is frustrating …

    • Hi Yunus. People are a lot less focused on our appearances than we think. They are a lot more interested in how we present ourselves through how we speak, our body language and what we actually say. If there is an element of your appearance you’re not happy with and you’re not sure you can control it, then learn to love it as something that makes you unique and live with it with confidence.
      Also, it might be worth getting advice from a barber to get a better idea of how to manage your beard if this is an option. If I ever have any hair/skin issues I go to the experts to see if there is something I can do to make them more manageable!
      Hope this helps & good luck!

  • A pointless worrying human (called Daisy) says:

    Hey Susanna, your article is great and i think I’m going to definitely try the meditation one (again!!), I’ll re-download an app and try to concentrate more this time. But at the moment… god i’m so worried about options and careers and what i want to do with my life after school. I know this article isn’t about depression but it sort of links in, my problem is that i get so depressed about human existence. Not like this question: what is the meaning? Or: why do we exist? It’s just the fact that WE are just small pointless aliens floating around on a little rock, and yet I’m typing letters (small black symbols) from a keyboard (developed in an order to suit more frequently used letters of our alphabet of sounds that comes out of our mouths) on a smart phone, (clever computer generated by thousands of people to aid us speaking to eachother). WHY? Why do we have music and art and why do they teach us different languages in primary schoool. WHY WHY WHY? The only reason I want to exist is to enjoy myself – meet a guy, have kids, raise them, die. THAT’S ALL I WANT TO DO. So why must I be put through all this stress of going to school, choosing pointless options, being made to do countless things i don’t want to, wasting hours of my life learning how to do stuff i’ll never even think about as an adult, WHY Susanna? I’m fourteen, why do i need to care, why can’t i just have a sweet baby and not have to get money and stupid stuff like that. I just want to have fun. The end.

    • I applaud you for your honesty Daisy!
      The reason a basic education is necessary is so that you are more comfortable and secure in your future. You never know what comes your way and if you change your mind about what you want. That’s why the education system is designed to give you a basic understanding of general language (maths, arts, languages, social sciences, the works!).
      Learn to enjoy the education system by asking yourself what is your favourite parts of it – and then focusing on those when you’re feeling frustrated.
      Even if the future brings you marriage and children and that becomes your ‘work’, you’ll then be better able to help your children with a wide range of skills that you learned from the education system. Good luck! :)

  • Abraham says:

    Hey Susanna,
    Your article is great and I really appreciate all the help and advise you give to everyone struggling with worry. I have read countless of articles on how to control my worries and see the positive side to things, but I feel like I can’t overcome it. I know I try my hardest everyday because I love the feeling of being alive and being a healthy individual, but my mental health is really really bad. Some of your exercises I have done and while I feel like I overcome it for a day or two my worries seem to creep back up to me and I feel like I get wrapped up in this dark hole of worries that I can’t get my brain to snap out of it. I have been feeling like this for about 3-4 months and it has been hell for me (and that’s an understatement)and it all has to do about worrying about my future. I’m currently 23 and I’ve been struggling about what I want to do with my life switching majors about 3 times since I’m never sure of what I want to do. My sister is an owner of an insurance agency and it’s going extremely well for her (she actually just opened up another agency not too long ago) so I’ve talked to her about my uncertainty in school and she told me “why don’t you start working for my agency and see how it goes from there, take just one semester off from school and see if you like it” My sister even told me that would have high hopes for me and I could probably be running my own agency one day. I actually love the idea and the few times I’ve shadowed her employees and her at her job I actually like it. Ive also liked the idea to work in the bussines field. But the whole problem with this is when my brain starts to kick in and I start doubting myself. I start doubting If this is actually a good idea if i would actually make a good insurance agent and so on. And it’s constant extreme worries that I can’t seem to get out of my head. And just like someone else posted on the comments once I stop worrying about one thing I start worrying about something else (i.e. I worry if the job would to to stressful for me since my.mind is super delicate right now with all this anxiety, would I actually be terrible at this and this may not be for me, what if my sister agency for some reason closes down and I have no clue what to do after) and honestly a bunch of other things that to me are ridiculous but my mind thinks otherwise. I’ve tried so hard to overcome this but seems so hard and it’s destroying my life. I overthinking these things repetitively. I feel like I’m a very happy individual ( at least was) but now I’m just a big ball of negativity and once I feel like I overcome it it just comes back to haunt me. Please any feedback would be awesome and keep up the great work with your blogs!

    • Hi Abraham! Thanks for your kind comments and for sharing your story.
      I’m sorry to hear your worries are still there – but rest assure we all have some level of worry. It’s about simply learning to manage them so they don’t stop us from going after our dreams!
      If you’ve tried the exercises above and are looking for more one-to-one help on this topic, I’d recommend in getting a coach to get your confidence up and your self doubt down. This is something I offer & could help you with so please have a look at my coaching here & book if you feel like it’s the right thing for you: https://happyologist.co.uk/happyologist_coaching/

  • diba says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for your advise. I am 39 women, mother of two boys and work as engineer. I lost my mum when I was 8 years old. Since then, I always have fear of losing my dears.I have a brother 4 year younger than me and I always worry about him. If he has a problem I feel really terrible and can’t enjoy of any this until he moves to good condition. We are living in two different countries and that causes a continuous worries for me.It looks always in any condition ,one of my strong feeling is worry and strong concern about him.I know I can’t change that much his life but I can’t stop worrying about him. This king of worries and anxiety effect on my temper , sleeping and anything in my personal life. I am almost same feeling about my father.I never tell about my problems to them and try to make them happy .But, they transfer easily their negative energy or even if they don’t transfer I could feel it.

    • Hi Diba – thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes saying it out loud already helps ease some of the tension and anxiety. In the end, your worry and anxiety comes from a place of love so it is a beautiful thing – but when it becomes so powerful and it starts to disrupt your sleep, personal life (as you say) it’s not healthy. It looks like some of your anxiety may come from your past so I would highly recommend you to work with someone (a psychologist or therapist perhaps) to make peace with the past. This will help you to reduce your anxiety so that you can focus on enjoying the present and moving forward. Good luck in your journey – I am sending you light, love & joy!

  • Jane says:

    I worry every time I have to go to the doctor especially mammogram cbecause l had a benign thing taken out twice.and gyno l worry about that too because once l had to be boosted but everything was fine but I still worry

    • I totally understand Jane! These are very common worries amongst women and it’s important to be able to discuss them openly.
      Really rely on your family, friends & support network on this as they will be able to give you the emotional support you’re craving.
      And as hard as it is, try to remember that worrying doesn’t actually change the situation or the outcome. Try to detach your identity from the worry by saying “I feel worry” rather than “I am worried”. Changing the “am” to “feel” separates you from the emotion and helps you to realise this is something you are in control of and can manage.
      Good luck with it & sending you lots of love & light! :)

  • Amy says:

    I’m a teenager, with anxiety sadly. I have made stupid mistakes in the past that I can’t believe I was ever so stupid to make, but I guess that’s how you learn. One thing that is constantly killing me is how I can’t seem to forgive myself and to forget about them, as I’m growing and changing and I’m no longer who I used to be, who ironically, isn’t who I was. I keep thinking about how much of an idiot I was, or how this could ruin my future. The “what ifs” of life are the ones that are going to ruin my future but I can’t seem to make my brain think the way it needs to. I just feel like all of the stupid things ive done growing up will haunt me for the rest of my life, or follow me. I know I’m definitely not the same person as when I made those mistakes, and I haven’t since. I just want to forget about it all as its not doing me any good. :(

    • You’re not along in experiencing anxiety Amy.
      When you’re a teenager you’re still finding out who you are, what you want to do and how to manage your emotions. In fact, this is a journey we start in our teenage years and continue throughout out lives.
      It’s important to reiterate what you already said here: you learn through your mistakes, you are always growing and you need to focus on the present & future to move on from the past. The more you hang on to the past, the more it will slow you down. It’s not necessarily about forgetting them but making peace with them. Realise that as humans we are forever learning and evolving through our mistakes, and we would never move forward or progress if we didn’t make any. So see them as a blessings in disguise and realise that you are a bigger, better person because of them.

  • Cherie says:

    I have been consumed with worrying about cancer for 30 years. This worry has completing taken over my life. And now, my husband had a suspicious mole removed, and I am terrified of the results. The doctor said it will take two weeks for us to know anything. I really don’t know if I will make it. I have had cancer, and I desperately don’t want my dear husband to go through what I did. Please help me.

  • Julie says:

    At the end of every day I find myself replaying all the conversations or situations I’ve had whilst I was at work or with friends/family. I repeat each conversation in my head and worry if what I said or did was right or wrong. Mostly I think of better ways and mentally beat myself up. This is a vicious circle as I then struggle to make decisions during the day and question my judgement. Do you have any tips?

    • Hi Julie – it sounds like your mind is taking over so you’ve got to get in control of your thoughts. Practice meditation – it helps you to stay in the moment and makes it less likely for you to think about the woulda coulda shoulda options. Also look into self-compassion meditation to learn to be a bit kinder to yourself.
      I’d also urge you to do my tip number 6 – keeping a worry notebook. For example, you could say everyday at 4 pm you allow yourself 30 minutes to write about the conversations you had and what you learned from them. After or before that 30 minute slot no worries are allowed.
      You can also think about getting more one-on-help on this as this is how you get customised help that is totally tailored to you.
      Good luck! :)

  • Teena says:

    Hi I am going through anxiety at the moment. I had this fear of understanding the accent of people on a new job in a new country when I moved there first. So I will
    Consciously listen and that takes my focus away but I never worried about it much before. It happens few times and then I forget about it and never bothered. But now I am pregnant and at 24 weeks they found some complications and that took me to an anxiety sleepless phase. My baby is fine now but my old worries keep happening. I worry what if I consciously try to
    Listen and don’t understand people and what if I can’t live my day just coz I consciously do things. When you are conscious you focus on the what’s if than on the present of course and the concentration becomes poor. I am making my peace with it by telling myself not to worry about things I can’t control. But I have this feeling I need something to worry everyday although I have never been a worry person before in my life. Not sure if this is OCD although I have no compulsive behaviours. Anyone has any advise would be appreciated.
    Teena

    • Hi Teena – lovely to hear from you & glad to hear both you and your baby are well again.
      It’s normal to suffer from anxiety when we are going through change like moving to a new country because it’s new and daunting.
      Just let the worries come and go, and whenever you feel the overwhelm getting to you, simply breathe. Inhale for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7, and exhale for 8.
      Also, if you feel like you need something to worry about, designate 30 minutes everyday for you to write in your worry journal – and then afterwards, you know you’ve done your worrying for the day. If you have nothing to write in your journal to worry about – then don’t! That’s a great sign!
      Hope that helps! Sending you love, light & happiness <3

  • Nicole says:

    Hello
    Im glad that I have come across this website. I have been dealing with anxiety for 15 years. My anxiety constantly changes over time. I think that Im at a place where I can manage alright and then bam another symptom comes into play to challenge me. Your first point is the one that has hit me the most. I find myself being very anxious about life and change. I like to know what is going to happen so I can prepare myself (not sure if that is common with people with anixiety). I find that I am ‘stuck’ in the same spot. The world tells you do this, do that, eat this, dont eat that, this causes anxiety, this helps it.. I am left spinning around not sure what direction to take. I get scared of living my life to full just incase something might happen.. Scared of chemicals and what they can do to my body.if they will make my anxiety worse or if i will die (something i also feel scared about) its such a difficult place to be in and i say out loud omg how can i think like that its crazy talk and then i feel every worse… not sure how to move and live life.. being scared of life and what it has to bring. Im scared to get married or have kids (based on me not coping with my anxiety before kids are added which causes worry and anxiety in itself and something foreign growing in my body). I have tried meditation but find i have trouble relaxing and i feel tense the whole time. I have been doing yoga for the past 4 months which has been awesome until a couple of week when i had attacks in the session and has me scared to go back. I am going to try your advice of accepting change and embrace it. not sure where to start but i will do what i normally do and keep trying things to find a new way. I have been seeing a physiologist off and on for years which helps but he says now that i do have the skills to cope now and am doing really well on my own. (he said i can go back anytime)
    thank you for the post… after searching on the net this is something that made me feel hopeful about anxiety and things can get better. Thank you very much

    • Hi Nicole! Sorry to hear you’ve had some anxiety challenges BUT I’m very happy to hear you’ve sought out help and tried different things to tackle it. Some of us struggle with anxiety more than others and getting one on one help on it can totally make the difference. Like you say, you are building the skills to cope them and you are doing well now – which sounds fantastic! Well done on making so much progress and make sure to go back for one on one help if you feel yourself slipping again. It’s easier to manage the anxiety as it comes rather than treat it after it’s totally taken over. Good luck & sending you loads of love & light <3 xx

  • Elle says:

    Hi. I keep worrying about things and as soon as I overcome one thing I find something else to worry about. Half the time I feel like I’m anxious about nothing specific but I still worried. I frequently text/ message my friends to ask them for help or for their opinions, but I’m starting to get worried that they will think that I am constantly complaining and won’t want to be my friends anymore. And suggestions?

    • Hi Elle, I’d definitely suggest you revisit some of the tips on my list – especially number 3 and six.
      If you learn to focus your mind you learn to manage your thoughts and hence you will be able to manage your worries better. This is where mindfulness practices really help. Pick a mindfulness practice that helps you to get back in control of your thoughts and run with it!
      Secondly, have a designated worry time and worry notebook. Do this daily and you’ll know you’ll have a slot every day to worry about things and hence you’ll be less likely to worry constantly throughout the day. If you want to take it a step further, you can also identify ways to overcome each worry. How? By deciding whether you can control the situation you are worrying about, and if yes, how. If not, then change your mindset about it because it’s the only way you’ll overcome the worry and stop letting it drain your energy.
      Hope that helps & good luck! :)

  • Angela Smith says:

    Number 5 it’s one thing I don’t get time to do but would definately think it would help

    • Absolutely! Try and make the time for it – even if it’s just 10 minutes of yoga to start the day, having a fun dance around around your living room in the evening, or getting off one bus stop or train stop earlier when going to places and having a brisk walk to your destination. Good luck! :)

  • JRT says:

    I keep worrying about something lately. My ex dumped me and I was caught off guard by it. Anyway, I’m sort of accepting it’s over and she’s not talking to me for now. But she started talking to her ex again, they’ve always been good friends and she’s told me that they’re just talking as friends. I hate that when I see her online or active on something I automatically assume they’re talking, or wonder what she is up to.

    I can’t just delete her from these social media websites because the curiosity of if she is active or when she is last active would drive me nuts. She deleted me on some things but not all, which means she has the intent of messaging me eventually, right? She deleted all of my mutual friends as well, but kept me. I don’t want to hope but at the same time I don’t want to worry. Thanks!

    • You have two options here: 1 – Have an honest conversation with her that you are hoping to get back with her. This will open up the communication in a real way and get you clear on whether this might or might not happen; or, 2 – Accept that this relationship wasn’t right and you are ready to move on to newer, more fulfilling relationships in which your partner wants you fully.

      Spending time in the uncertain land you are in now wishing she’ll come back to you gives and overanalysing her social media behaviour will only drive you crazy and give control of your happiness to her. You need to take charge of your own happiness and accept that whatever is meant to happen will happen. Good luck!

  • Abel Vazquez says:

    I think a great one would be number 6. I have experienced the benefit of emptying what is on your head on paper and it really does help. Thank you for sharing!

    • I’m so glad to hear this – and I totally agree with you!
      Your head becomes so much clearer and calmer after that exercise.
      Wishing you a happy rest of the day! :)

  • Kacy says:

    I like no 4, i distract myself by talking to people on matters unrelated to my worries.

    • Glad to hear you’re using it! That’s what it’s all about – testing the different strategies and using the ones that work best for you. Keep it up!

  • John says:

    Hi Susanna

    You have some great tips here and will try most if not all of them. I’m 51 and started a new job recently in management. From my last job the stress levels have gone up a few notches. I constantly worry about not performing well, losing my job, losing my house, and then finally wife and children. I think it’s called catastrophising. I know it’s not logical to think this way but as other people say, it’s sometimes hard to refocus onto the present and not worry about the future. Good luck to everyone.

    • I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a difficult time John. I’m however glad to hear you will try the tips above – I genuinely believe every single one of them helps! Sometimes one more than others so keep playing with them and testing them out. I’m sending you lots of positive vibes and a clear, focused mind! :)

  • Trevor Smith says:

    Hi Susanna,
    Great piece, thank you for posting.
    I constantly worry and ruminate over laughable minute things like a thread hanging off my new shirt, if i have taken more than one paracetamol, and also about money..doing breakdowns / calculations of how much ive spent almost to the penny. I also do a lot of checking, mentally more than physically.
    Ive had cbt and seen a psychologist but the problem persists.
    Any advice?

    • Thank you for your kind words Trevor. I would definitely recommend you continue seeing a psychologist as this kind of change takes time. I would also recommend you ensure you have enough time to relax and unwind. It sounds a little bit like your brain is going on overdrive constanly thinking and checking so teaching it to calm down every now and then would be useful. Meditation and mindfulness practices will help you with this, as well as yoga and any type of daily exercise. I hope that helps! :)
      P.S. If you want to dive deeper into it, you could also consider my coaching services to get one-on-one help on this. You can find out more here: https://happyologist.co.uk/happyologist_coaching/

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