The future is so scary to people because it’s so uncertain. There are some things that are givens, but life never turns out exactly as we plan. If you’ve found yourself constantly worried about the future and want to break out of that spiral, we’re here to help. These are 15 things you can do to alleviate your worries about the future.
1. Realize What You’re Worried AboutRead More »
Some of your worries might be more immediate, while others might be more long-term. You might have ones that are worrying you because you’ve had bad experiences with similar matters. Others might worry you due to having never experienced these kinds of situations before.
This is just the first step, but it’s a critical one. You can get your worries under your control because you’re actually thinking about them in a context beyond how they’re concerning you. What you do from here can build off this starting point.
2. Stop Procrastinating
We might not know exactly who you are, but if you’re like most people, there are things you need to do that you aren’t. Maybe it’s filing your taxes, maybe it’s delivering an important phone call, or maybe it’s unloading the dishwasher. Whatever it is, your avoidance of it is not going to make it go away.
To stop procrastinating, you really don’t need to do a lot. Any task you’re putting off just needs you to do something related to it. You don’t need to get it all taken care of, but when you take the first step, you can quickly get yourself in the zone to see it to completion.
Start by setting a timer for five minutes. Then, get started on something you need to do. When the alarm goes off, you can stop working, but you might be so caught up in what you’re doing that you just keep going. An important lesson is learned. Taking control of your life starts with taking responsibility for things that are in your control.
3. Get Out of Your Head
Have you ever heard of anyone worrying themselves into relaxation? Of course not, because stress relies on negative thought loops. If you’re just sitting around and doing things that don’t serve any purpose but mild distraction from your thoughts, you’re not doing enough.
Find something productive to do that will give you a respite from your worries. They won’t necessarily vanish, but it’s much better to have accomplishments to list alongside your worries than just letting them feel like the only thing that defines you. This can also make it very hard for you to find the silver lining in other situations or to help other people when they need it.
Your thoughts are going to continue, but they’ll also have much less power if you stop giving them so much power. They thrive off attention, and you can take that away from them more easily than you might think. By getting out of your head, you’ll make yourself calmer and more productive.
4. Concentrate on the Present
Your present was once your future, and your future will become your present. The only one of these you have any control over is your present, as in what’s happening right now. Take a moment to think about what you can do at any given moment. These can be things that benefit you not only right now but also in the long-term.
The quickest way to focus on the present is by practicing meditation. During a meditation session, you need to concentrate on the immediate moment, including the thoughts that arise. As you sit in quiet contemplation, you’ll be seeing your thoughts in total clarity. It can be very overwhelming, because you won’t have the buffers of distraction to help filter them out.
With enough practice though, you can let thoughts be and not let them be the last word on who you are. When you find yourself slipping into thoughts about the future, ask yourself what these thoughts are providing you with and whether it’s positive. If you realize it’s not, work on redirecting your attention away from them and to the present.
5. Take Care of Your Body
Your body is a priceless item that needs to be shown the largest amount of love possible. When people are worried, the desire to take care of their bodies can fall by the wayside. They can be prone to using coping mechanisms that can cause further damage, such as drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy food.
Keeping your physical health in place can be lots of fun and give you something positive to focus on. You can take up a beneficial fitness program and work on your diet. Thes are very rewarding pursuits, and the positive results can soon be felt. All that matters is that you’re doing things properly and consistently.
Radically introducing a new physical health regimen can be very difficult on your body and be hard to stick to. Take baby steps so that you can get used to the changes you’re experiencing. Since some of your worries might come from realizing you’re not treating your body properly, these actions are ones you want to make and stick with.
6. Take Care of Your Mind
While many of these physical practices can also have mental benefits, it’s important to take up actions that specifically target your mind. Thoughts aren’t something that just comes out of nowhere. They need time to germinate, as well as the right settings. The trouble is, people get caught up in the worst thought cycles possible, not realizing that’s what’s happening.
Mental health troubles can be the cause and result of worrying about the future. Your mind deserves better than to just be put through periods of tension. Things won’t be made any better for you because you put your mind through the wringer. You need to be able to use your thoughts for positive purposes, such as being able to solve problems and process solutions.
Some of the things for your mind, when plagued by worries, are reading, working on an actionable plan for a problem, and getting plenty of rest. These can all be useful ways of helping yourself relax and think clearer, which are two characteristics you absolutely need to have when facing worries.
7. Think Back
Remember when we said your present was once your future? Think about that as you look to your past and what you were so worried about before. You might have to really think hard to come up with things that made you stressed before now.
That’s because worries look a look less intimidating when looked back upon. If you had a lot of anxiety as a kid, you might be laughing in retrospect that you were once so worried about things like forgetting homework. However, you might be carrying those worries today, just in different packages.
So much of what people worry about just isn’t worth the trouble. These are often problems that are created by the media which we then believe. When something is worrying you, ask yourself if it’s something that’s actually worth being stressed out over. Odds are that you’d be better off just forgetting about many of these things that are stressing you out.
8. Reach Out to Others
Having a strong support system is something you can never take for granted. When you’re worried about the future, you need to seek refuge in the help of family and friends. They shouldn’t be expected to solve your problems for you, but they can really help you to get out of a mental fog.
You need to be careful about just dumping worries onto people, as they might not be in a situation where they have the mental capacity to hear such matters. Tell someone that you need to talk about things on your mind and find a time to do so. You may also want to specify whether or not you’re looking for specific help or if you just want someone to be an ear.
Notice how you feel after talking to someone. You’ll hopefully have something of a clearer mind. Talking things out can make you see them from a different perspective. It certainly won’t make you feel any worse.
9. Simplify Your Life
It’s hard to blame anyone for getting worried about the future in the current world. We’re so bombarded by information that we willingly put ourselves through stress that we just don’t need. There are certainly serious things in life that deserve our attention, but many concerning matters are meaningless except for just dumping on more stress.
Do an inventory of the things you’re focusing on that just don’t need your attention and which are causing you harm in the process. You might be going through social media constantly and finding your mood negatively affected by all the arguing and overstimulation of such a setting. You may also have trouble saying no, which is causing you to agree to do things that just aren’t in your best interest.
Simplifying can be done through physical means, such as getting rid of clutter, and mental ones, such as letting go of grudges. When you’re putting so much pressure on yourself and giving yourself so many things to be responsible for, you’re making your life far-less comfortable than it could be. Stress is only possible through pressure, and you can reduce it by cutting out things that are just contributing strife.
10. Learn Radical Acceptance
When you’re worried about the future, the thought of the worst things happening are a lot scarier than those actually happening. That doesn’t mean experiencing them is anything particularly pleasant, but it can be relieving, as it means you know now what happens when what you were afraid of comes true.
Over time, you can become a lot more capable in these situations. One of the best things you can learn is radical acceptance. Teach yourself to you view positive and negative outcomes with equal maturity. When things go your way, you’ll obviously be much happier, but radical acceptance lets you understand that things not ending up like you intended isn’t necessarily something to get upset over.
The next time something happens that you didn’t want to happen, stop to really think about how you feel. Certainly, you’ll feel some negative emotions, but think about why, as well as why you wanted a particular outcome. Comprehending these things is very important, because you need to understand what drives your thoughts if you want to better control them. You don’t need to try and reach a point where you’re completely apathetic to what’s happening in your life. But when optimal scenarios don’t occur, you can still feel like you’ve got a good situation overall.
11. Release Your Worries
Your worries have spent so much time trapped inside your head, and they need to be let out. Relieve yourself of this burden by putting them in a context that lets you control them instead of having them control you. Only then can you make this situation into something positive.
One of the best ways to do this is to write them down. In complete sentences, detail what you’re worried about and why. Talk too about what you think could happen if this worry comes true. You may want to write this with a pen in a private journal, as doing so may make you feel more in touch with your feelings at this critical time.
Talking with others is also a good way to release worries. You should be careful to make sure you and whoever you talk to aren’t just turning conversations into back-and-forths that don’t serve any purpose but to gripe. Where a conversation goes is up to you, but you should try your best to not let it get out of hand. Put your focus on helping others to feel better whenever you can, as that’s both very kind and also very helpful for helping you to not feel so caught up in your thoughts.
12. Enjoy Yourself
If you’re worried about the future, you might feel reluctant to do anything that gives you happiness. Anxiety and guilt are intertwined, and you may believe that doing something for yourself when worried is selfish and irresponsible. While it’s definitely not good to do things only as a means of putting things off, doing things you enjoy can be a powerful means of self-care.
Realize when you’ve been pushing yourself to the brink or close to it and step away. Find things you can do that are fun and that you can trust yourself to enjoy responsibly. You might order your favorite comfort food or watch a few episodes of your favorite comedy program.
You need to be sure you’re not using these tactics as unhealthy coping mechanisms. Set limits for yourself, such as only watching two episodes maximum of a television series at a time. Doing these things as a reward after certain accomplishments can help you to avoid feelings of guilt. If you’re feeling guilty any time you try to enjoy yourself, even after having worked yourself to the point of exhaustion, you need to find ways to address the conditions that have led you there.
13. Have Back-Up Plans
Thinking about the future can come with an “all-or-nothing” mindset. People can think that only one possible scenario is acceptable. When something else happens, it can seem like a disaster has occurred, even if things have mostly turned out fine.
Learn to stop relying on singular outcomes and seeing the good that can come from letting other possibilities. You might strongly desire one job, but if you’re so fixated on receiving that job and only that one, you could be preventing yourself from seeing other opportunities. Think about how many great things have happened in your life that you weren’t prepared for.
If life was exactly what we expected it to be, it would be boring, not comforting. Not every possibility will come to your mind, but you just need to be open to different possibilities. Having a back-up plan can also help you to reconfigure when your initial one doesn’t come to fruition.
We know that you’re breathing, but are you breathing properly? Taking short, shallow breaths can be common, especially when under duress. The importance of proper oxygen flow to the brain can never be understated.
Take a moment now and take a full breath. Using your diaphragm, feel your stomach as it expands during inhalation and retracts during exhalation. Do this slowly and for as many times as you need to in order to feel relaxed.
Observing your breath can be part of a daily meditation routine as well. Use this to help you get yourself centered when you’re feeling stress come on. Just this act can make a big difference in terms of helping you feel better.
15. Get Professional Help
Trained professionals like therapists and counselors exist because there are some battles that are too important to be fought on our own. Persistent worries about the future can be incredibly damaging. While it is possible to help ourselves, it isn’t the only solution that exists.
When seeking therapy, you need to have a general idea of what outcomes you’re looking for. Wanting to not be worried about the future is definitely a sound goal, but it might not be the one you need to focus on most. Your therapist can help bring you through a plan that covers different concerns and how they can be managed.
Your therapist is likely to ask questions that go back to your childhood. These are important for unlatching how you developed your thought patterns. Don’t try to see therapy as a quick solution. The solutions lie within you, and your therapist is there to help you find them. You can have a new arsenal of tools that you use to help you through difficult situations and to not fall into negative thought patterns. Worries about the future can come up, but they can also be made to drift away far sooner.
You don’t need to be so worried about things that might or might not happen. You probably know this, but that knowledge can only take you so far. You also need to have practical pieces of advice, such as this guide. Only then will you be able to reduce the power that these thoughts have over you. Worrying about the future doesn’t make the future better. It just makes the present worse.
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