Focusing on "what ifs," what might happen, and feeling a need to control, are classic symptoms of worry. We "futurize" or fixate on times yet to come or "pasturize" by dragging in examples of what happened in the past into the present. Or we leap to doom and gloom outcomes.
By entertaining worst-case scenarios, we're sacrificing our health and well-being. We fuel feelings of nervousness, and are preoccupied and scattered. Worry interferes with our ability to relish the moment and truly enjoy our lives.
What happens? We tighten up and obsess about things out of our control or yet to come. Our minds and bodies spin. We become distracted from fully experiencing the present moment and don't feel calm and relaxed. We don't trust that we can handle what is presented. We lose sleep. We obsess about things yet to come.
Underneath worry is the emotion of fear, specifically unexpressed fear. And if we think about the physiology of fear, it is agitated. We experience this agitation not only physically, but also mentally as our minds are intimately connected to our bodies. Being worried all the time takes its toll.
How to Stop Worrying About Stuff and "Be here now."
There are several things you can do to curtail worry.
1. Shiver away your fear.
Since the root of our worries is the emotion of fear, if we express the emotion physically and naturally, both our bodies and minds will calm down. Instead of feeling tense and tightening up your muscles, release the fear using your body. So when you notice you're worrying, let your body do what's natural: wiggle, jiggle, shudder, tremble, and quiver - like a dog at the vet or someone in a state of shock. It may sound strange at first, but if you physically express the emotional energy with vigor - up the spine, out the arms, hands, legs, and in the neck and jaw - it will move out of your body and you'll quickly feel more calm, centered, and focused.
While shivering, be sure you don't fuel your worry thoughts. Just remind yourself: "It's okay to feel scared. It's okay. I just need to shiver." Shiver for as long as you can, repeatedly, especially whenever you notice you are worrying. !t is amazing how quickly it brings you back to the present.
2. Stop letting your mind run wild.
The constant thoughts and chatter running through your head exacerbate your feelings of anxiety and pressure. Interrupt those thoughts and replace them with a reassuring and calming statement. Just select two or three simple statements that contradict your destructive thinking and repeat them over and over, whenever you start to worry, while you are shivering, or anytime:
Everything will be all right.
I'll handle the future in the future.
Be here now.
One thing at a time.
I'll do what I can, and the rest is out of my hands.
Worrying doesn't help. It doesn't make me happy.
3. Stay in the now.
Alternatively, when you notice you're worrying, grab a few minutes to do something that gives you a break and brings you into the now. Connect with your physical surroundings and pay attention to your senses. For instance, sit with what you're experiencing in your body and befriend the internal sensations. Take a couple of full deep breathes. Take a few minutes to walk. Take a brief snooze. Play a game of solitaire. Throw water on your face. Do some jumping jacks.
4. Just tackle those issues.
Make a list of what needs attention, prioritize items, breaking big jobs into small pieces, then do what's next, focusing on one thing at a time. See point #3 in "Overwhelm" below about how to do this.
Worry Can be Kicked to the Curb
If you must worry, designate ten minutes a day to indulge it, for the rest of day diligently interrupt thoughts that take you out of the present, and shiver.
As you surrender to attending to what is in your control right now, you will start to feel calmer, more content and worry less. You'll be able to enjoy the present moment and feel more peace. Your mind will take a needed rest and you will no longer have the feeling of agitation throughout the day. You'll live in the now of simplicity, order, and flow, realizing that this moment is a "perfect moment." You'll start to feel more trust and have faith you will handle whatever comes your way.