If you were to ask anyone from my family if I tend to worry, they’d probably laugh in your face. It seems as if worry is embedded in my DNA. However, worry leads to anxiety, which is why I recently embarked on a journey to find out how to stop worrying about the future.
Why the future, you may ask? Well, as it turns out, my constant state of worry always revolves around what the future may hold and the purpose of life. I don’t worry whether I’ve left the stove on — I worry if, in ten years, I’ll wake up one day and find out I’ve wasted all my life!
But, after researching a bit, I’ve found some ideas that could help everyone learn how to stop worrying about the future. Today, I’m shedding some light on them, and hopefully, you’ll find them as useful as I did.
Top 5 Tips & Tricks on How to Stop Worrying About the Future
#1. The future is unpredictable — so why even bother worrying about it?
Now, I’ll start with this tip as it’s one of the most obvious ones — and possibly even the hardest to implement.
For years and years, I struggled with anxiety, and about a year ago, I reached my breaking point. That’s when I decided I should talk to someone — a professional.
I found a therapist, went in, and it was, for lack of a better word, an enlightening experience. Why?
When I said that I couldn’t figure out how to stop worrying about the future, she said — “But, it’s unpredictable. So, why even bother worrying?”
I don’t know about you, but for me, that moment was EPIC. It sounds rather silly, and most of you are probably laughing right now, as it’s so OBVIOUS. But, I had to hear those words come out of someone else’s mouth, and not my own, to fully embrace them.
Ever since then, I’ve been practicing what I’ve been preaching. I try every step of the way not to worry about the future, as even a tiny thing like a new hair color can change it. So…why bother?
#2. Live in the present — opt for mindfulness
Now, anxiety and worry are monsters in my life. They’ve always been the real monsters hiding under my bed. However, instead of staying in my bedroom, they followed me everywhere I went.
So, even though deciding not to worry about the future helped me a lot, I found myself in a bit of a pickle. Without obsessive worry, I didn’t have much else to do.
Sure, I had my job, family, and friends. I had a range of interests that kept me busy. Nevertheless, when I was all alone, I was, unfortunately, a bit bored.
Bottom line, I felt like I was missing something, and that something was worrying. So, apart from embracing different hobbies and keeping my mind off thoughts about the future, I delved into mindfulness.
Mindfulness sounds a bit gimmicky at first, and as if no one would benefit from it. However, as it turns out, it’s a great way to keep your thoughts centered.
Whenever I pay extra attention to how the soap feels on my skin, how soft my new sweater is, and how my dog’s fur tickles when he passes me by — I feel a bit more relaxed. On top of that, I feel truly alive and present.
The point of mindfulness is to live life to the fullest by paying attention to even the simplest of things. It’s being completely aware of your surroundings, your breathing, and yourself.
That’s exactly what makes it so powerful. It can immediately pull me back into the present when my thoughts start to wander. What’s more, it allows me to appreciate my life more, not to mention feel gratitude for everything that I have.
#3. Sometimes, just breathing out all the worries helps!
Yoga is, by all accounts, a rather relaxing type of exercise because it teaches us how to breathe properly. Therefore, to stop worrying, sometimes all you need is to breathe in and out.
Now, I never really paid much attention to breathing, purely because it’s something we all know how to do, right? But, as it turns out, there are right and wrong ways for someone to breathe.
In order to relax and ease your worries, all you’d need to do is take a deep breath, hold it in for a moment, and then breathe out. It also helps if you picture letting all your worries go while breathing out — it’s a bit cathartic.
But why breathing? Well, breathing is a biological function of us humans. It’s what helps us stay alive, after all, and it can also impact our overall well-being.
When we’re stressed or constantly worrying about something, we usually resort to shallow breathing. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you’re probably familiar with that.
I used to suffer from major panic attacks whenever I thought about my future. I was always worried about my job, about my relationship, and whether I should pack up my things and just run away.
Now that I know that not worrying about the future is more about being in tune with oneself, I no longer have those episodes. In essence, I healed myself with these techniques. In the meantime, I also learned how to breathe my worries away.
#4. Don’t run away from “what ifs” — analyze the risks
The next trick I used is a bit controversial, in that it makes you do the very thing you are trying to run away from — consider the “what ifs.”
“What ifs” are, obviously, all the things that would happen if X or Y occurs. It’s the very essence of worry and fear of the unknown. That’s why it has a lot of power over some people — the very idea of starting a thought with “what if” petrifies them.
However, my therapist made me use a rather neat technique to help me learn how to stop worrying about the future. Instead of running away from “what ifs” — she said I should analyze them.
What does that mean? Well, I imagined what would happen if the “what if” came true. But, I didn’t stop there — and that’s the trick!
Instead of answering just that one “what if” question, I kept going. I wanted to know why the worry wasn’t going away. In essence, I wanted to find out why the future seemed so scary.
By asking myself follow-up questions, I rationalized my fear and lowered it. What’s more, by thoroughly analyzing all the possible outcomes, I figured out how I should approach the situation if it ever occurs.
#5. Practice positivity as much as you can
Finally, to learn how to stop worrying about the future, never underestimate plain, old positivity.
Now, I know what you might be thinking — having a positive outlook on life is terribly hard. It’s harder than math, trickier than learning how to drive, and even more difficult than using eyeliner. However, to get some peace of mind, positivity is ESSENTIAL.
You see, our minds love to play tricks on us. Those little voices in our heads will always try to make us stray from our path. But, we cannot let them get away with it.
How to stop negative thoughts and focus on positivity? Just like with happiness, we have to decide whether we’d rather be a happy-go-lucky person or a small ball of despair.
When you really think about it, negativity doesn’t bring anything nice to your life. It eats you up from inside, emphasizes all your bad traits, and to be honest — it makes you a rather bad influence on others.
Of course, fake positivity is something you have to be mindful of. We’ve all encountered those pests — people who have a positive attitude but don’t mind spraying their hidden negativity on everyone else around them. That’s not what you should do!
You have to nurture a positive outlook as it will help you ease your worries and embrace whatever’s coming your way. Positivity makes the future seem less scary. What’s more, it gives you the strength to adjust to all sorts of circumstances and have faith in yourself that you can overcome obstacles, no matter what they are.
I spent the majority of my life being negative and afraid of everything, especially of what might happen in ten years or so. However, as soon as I learned how to stop worrying about the future, my whole life changed for the better.
I know that it’s not easy. In fact, worrying is a safe haven for some, as it lets them overthink until they find some sense in everything that’s happening. But, as you probably already know, it doesn’t bring anything good to the table.
Essentially, worrying about the future is robbing you of your present. So, why not put an end to it before it takes over your life? With these tips, you’re sure to embrace a new outlook and learn that being present is the best way to live your life to the fullest.