How to break worry habit effectively (science based)

What is worry?

Worry is a self destructive and unhealthy habit. According to research of The Pennsylvania State University published at Clinical Psychology, worry can be defined as thoughts, images, emotions of a negative nature. It appears in our mind in an uncontrollable manner which is a result of cognitive risk analysis made by our mind to overcome or avoid or solve potential threats.

According to analysis of psychology, worry is part of continuous thinking about negative events in the past or in the future.

Negative effects of worry habit

Worrying too much creates effect on mind and body; in different ways, in different patterns. For example, you will face severe headaches, difficulty to concentrate on anything, disrupted sleep, difficulty to make decisions, and others.

Several cases, worry habit is responsible for high blood pressure, heart attack and other diseases.

A study on 450 people who lived to be one hundred years of age shows that, these people lived long and contented lives for a couple of reasons. For example, they were early to bed and early to rise, they were free from worry, they had faith in God.

How to overcome worrying?

  1. Identify and list your worries: Think about your worries, identify them and list in a paper or notepad or document.
  2. Divide them two categories – Productive & Unproductive: Analyze thoroughly your worries in 2 different categories; those are worries are productive list them aside and those worries are unproductive, list them other side. But what is productive worry? According to Dr. Robert L. Leahy “A productive worry is something that leads to an action plan today”.
  3. Take action for productive worries: At first have a look at productive worries, take action for every productive worries. This process will give you mental peace. For example, you need to visit your parents next weekend. You are worrying about whether airline tickets will be available or not. In this step, you will take action, you will do online reservation. You are worrying whether due to traffic jam you will miss flight. In this step, you will move to airport with buffer time.
  4. Analyze and accept unproductive worries: Unproductive worries something like you can’t do anything regarding those. Analyze worst case scenarios of unproductive worries and accept them. What are the examples of unproductive worries? Such as, it imagines all kind of unlikely outcomes. It assumes/thinks that one bad outcome will generate a series of worse outcome. It rehashes negative experiences of past over and over again. It don’t want to accept negative experiences. For example, you made a crucial mistake in early age. Worries don’t want to accept that negative experience. As a part of this step, you will write down somewhere as you will not this mistake again in future. Then you will accept this mistake is a part of our life.
  5. Convert unproductive worries to productive ones: Probably not all unproductive worries, most of unproductive worries can be converted to productive worries. For example, every time you worry knocks your mind whether you locked your door perfectly or not. You can use smart door lock which can confirm you whether you have locked your door perfectly or not. Another way, you can take a video when you locked the door and checked. Another worry asks you whether you switch off stove or not. In such case take a photo of stove while you switch off your stove.
  6. Repeat the worry and make it boring or funny: According to Dr. Robert L. Leahy, repeating the worry again and again, and making it boring or funny. Then the worry will go away. For example, you are worrying as you will die from Hepatitis B. Then every day morning or evening in front of the mirror you will say “I will die from Hepatitis B”, “I will die from Hepatitis B”. Say it, repeat it, after something it will lose its importance, and will become boring and then it will go away.
  7. Cope up with uncomfortable things: According to Dr. Robert L. Leahy, worry makes you feel that you can’t tolerate uncomfortable things or uncomfortable situation. In order to overcome this kind of worries, you will make yourself coped up with uncomfortable things or situation. For example, you are worry about public speaking or networking. If you move outside of your comfort zone, for example, if you start to participate in public speaking events, networking events, then this kind of worry will start to move away.
  8. Stop the sense of urgency: Worried people often run by sense of urgency, they need that thing right now, they need the answer right now. In such case, think differently, at first look at the properties of that urgency, whether absolutely needed or not. If the answer is not provided by right now what kind of problem you will face or what kind of worst scenario will appear. Are you ready to accept that worst scenario? By thinking differently and accepting the worst scenario, you will rely less on worry.
  9. Talk about your worries with trusted and family person: Talk about your worries with trusted and family person, who understands you. Talking in detail regarding the issue or problem will make you to find out the root causes, in this way worry goes away.  According to Dr. Robert L. Leahy, “If you dig deep enough and go back to the early bases, it goes away because you have gotten to its roots.”


To fight with you worries or break your worry habit what kind of activity works better for you? Feel free to leave a comment.

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