How To Stop Worrying About Things You Can’t Control

Worrying is normal. It is one of those essential emotions that prepares us to overcome possible uncertainties in life.

However, there are times when worrying spirals out of control and becomes more like a habit than a passing feeling.

You often notice yourself tangled in concocted nightmares that compels you to anticipate the worst in all situations, and a feeling of impending doom constantly lingers like an axe over your head.

Malefic Consequences of Worrying

how to stop worrying about things you can't control

The consequences of such frantic worrying are seldom satisfactory and often take a severe toll on an individual’s mental and physical health.

Some of the most detrimental physical impact of excessive worrying include: 

  • Frequent panic attacks
  • Nagging head and shoulder aches
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Breathing / respiratory problems
  • Digestive and excretory problems
  • Weakened immune system 
  • Premature aging

However, the behavioural and psychological outcomes can be more damaging, such as:

  • Developing severe anxiety disorder.
  • Paranoia.
  • Deteriorating relationships, both personal and social.
  • Developing substance addiction.
  • Clinical depression.

Obsessive-compulsive worrying gets detected only when the symptoms are at their peak.

In fact, most victims also tend to nurture the belief that there is no solution to this negative behavioural trait.

The good news is, the remedy to excessive worrying is rather simple.

Read on to find out how to stop worrying about things you can’t control.

How to Stop Worrying About Things You Can’t Control

Pen it Down

how to stop worrying about things you can't control

Pick up a piece of paper and pen down your worries. Think deep and divide your list into worries that have proper reasons behind them and those that don’t.

The worries with valid reasons can be addressed with comprehensive Planning rather than brooding over it and constructing imaginary outcomes.

On the other hand, thoughts that don’t seem to have any valid reason or tally with facts can be given a fond burial in the recesses of your mind. 

Let Go of the Illusion of Control

how to stop worrying about things you can't control

There is a very thin line of demarcation between ‘Managing‘ your life and ‘Controlling‘ it.

‘Managing’ basically refers to certain concrete actions that channel you towards achievable outcomes.

‘Control’, on the other hand, is the act to manipulate outcomes of certain actions which may or may not be designed for expected consequences.

Therefore, when you manage your life, you are basically dealing with worries that you can control, which can be addressed properly with the right planning.

But when you try to control your life or those of others, you live in perpetual worry of consequences which you know are often out of your hand.

Remember, your life is neither a to-do list nor a balance sheet. Life doesn’t go with your plans all the time. Just do what you need to do and let the rest fall in place.

Stop Assuming What is on Other People’s Mind

how to stop worrying about things you can't control

Assumptions are the root cause of excessive and obsessive worrying. It could be a silly conversation or an interview that you think could have been better or that unsuitable outfit you wore at the party. There is no end to what can give you sleepless nights.

Remember, unless you are a mind reader, you can never know what’s actually going on in other people’s heads. Maybe, they are not thinking about you at all! For all you know, they have a hundred other priorities, and you don’t feature in the list.

The remedy is to let it go and be in peace with what you think about yourself. Other’s perception of ‘You’ or ‘the events that unfolded in your life’ is only an opinion that can be gleefully dismissed.

Keep Negative People at Arm’s Length

how to stop worrying about things you can't control

Certain people are in the habit of pointing out possible mishaps in everything you are currently doing or are planning to do.

For example, you are great at art and have signed up for Art Major. However, your concerned aunt gives you 101 reasons why this is a waste of time and how you will end up shopping at the dollar store for the rest of your life if you pursue your dreams.

Slowly you find yourself torn between your dreams and the circle of doom as explained by your aunt and develop serious anxiety.

The fear of ‘what will eventually happen‘ following your decisions destroys your peace and mental health.

Remember, if you are confident and positive about a decision you have made in your life, go ahead with it fearlessly.

History has ample evidence that even the best and the most calculated decisions have met unexpected tragedies.

Therefore, seeking a 100% guarantee of positive outcomes is a waste of time and opportunities.

Develop Creative and Constructive Hobbies

how to stop worrying about things you can't control

Our wise ancestors have very aptly said that an empty mind is a devil’s workshop. Therefore, always keep your mind occupied with constructive hobbies.

When your energies are channeled towards creativity, you inevitably stop brooding over past failures and the fear of future things that are never in your control.

Meditate often. Including meditation in your everyday routine can help you associate with facts rather than imagination.

When your mind is calm and your thoughts are settled, you can gain 100% clarity on the baselessness of unnecessary worrying.

Take a Break from Social Media

how to stop worrying about things you can't control

Social media is one of the main culprits behind obsessive worrying about things that you can’t control.

Social media has become a platform for superficial comparisons, which does nothing more than sowing seeds of self-doubt in people who feel that their existence can be validated only by the number of likes, comments, and shares they receive on their posts.

Remember, trying to outdo Exhibit-As in social media and failing in the process will only add baseless worries that you don’t need in your life anyway.

Repeat this to yourself, “You Are Not A Rat and You Will Not Enter any Rat-race.” 

Disclose Your Worries to Someone You Trust

how to stop worrying about things you can't control

When you are overwhelmed by worries that are entirely out of your control, and you know you are on the verge of a melt-down, go right ahead and speak with someone you trust.

That person will listen to you and help you to calm down. You will be surprised at how light and relieved you feel at the end of the conversation. 

The Bottom Line

Life is unpredictable, and it is practically impossible to bubble wrap yourself or your loved ones from possible uncertainties.

Carefully constructed plans and wisely delivered decisions may fail while solutions to critical issues in life may surprisingly appear from nowhere like the Big Bang.

Worrying incessantly about the past or the future or people’s perceptions is just a waste of time.

Try to do the right thing at the right time and be a spectator to what time unfolds in due course. 

Also read: How To Know What Makes You Happy

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