How to stop being a worry wart

I am a worry wart.

I worry about everything from "Does my boss like me? Does he think I'm doing a good job?" to "Did I put deodorant on this morning?"

But excessive worrying can have negative effects on the body. WebMD reports that daily worrying triggers the fight or flight response, which causes the body’s sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones such as cortisol. This hormone can cause immediate physical symptoms, such as:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches 
  • Irritability 
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
And, according to WebMD this can led to serious physical consequences in the long run, such as:

  • Digestive disorders
  • Muscle tension
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Premature coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack
So, what can you do to stop worrying so much?

Take a deep  breath.
According to the American Institute of Stress, deep abdominal breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.

Exercise daily.

My biggest problem is, after I have a stressful day at work, the last thing I want to do is exercise. Instead, as soon as I get home, I plop myself on the couch and turn on Netflix. But this does little to reduce the damaging effects of stress.

WebMD reports that regular aerobic and strengthening exercise is a very effective way to train your body to deal with stress under controlled circumstances. The chemicals released during moderate exercise can also enhance the immune system.

Seek social support.

Stress isn't something you should have to deal with on your own. Talk to a therapist, family and/or friends about what is going on. Spending time with people you care about can be a buffer against stress.

Ask yourself "Is there anything I can do about it?"

With legitimate worries, schedule time in your day to brainstorm ways to fix your concerns. But many of your worries are simply out of your control.


The Huffington Post reports that meditating affects the anterior cingulate cortex and ventromedial prefrontal cortex brain regions (which control emotions, thinking and worrying).

Take a break from technology. 

Sometimes I find myself scrolling through Facebook and, all of the sudden, a couple hours have passed. This doesn't help my mental health, that's for sure. In order to help lower your stress levels, set aside time away from technology. Regain control instead of letting yourself be controlled by your phone or computer.

Get 7-9 hours of sleep.

WebMD reports that, when you are tired, you are less patient and more easily agitated, which can increase stress.

Write down your worries. 

By writing down your worries, you'll feel as if you're releasing them from your brain.

Ask yourself "Will this matter a year from now?"

Most of the things that I thought were the end of the world a year, or even a month, ago, I don't even remember now. Whenever you start to worry, remind yourself of this -- "Will this matter a year from now?" Write a note and tape it to your desk at work or your bathroom mirror. It may help you put things into perspective.

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