how to stop worrying about things that haven't happened

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why you can't deny your worries

The problem with almost all schools that teach people how to deal with worrying is that they depend on a totally wrong principle which is assuming that the person can just deny their worries.

In my previous article Why worrying is not pointless i said that your brain sends you worry signals, even the irrational ones, because it's very concerned about something.

You can't just try to deny your worries or convince your brain that they don't exist then expect it to calm down simply because for your brain those worries are too real.

You can't use meditation, mindfulness, yoga, proper breathing or even exercising to end worrying. To truly end worrying you need to handle the worries by communicating with your brain in a way that it understands and accepts. See Why those methods will never help you stop worrying

how to stop worrying about things that haven't happened

  • 1) Acknowledge the threat: Even if the threat has a very low possibility of happening it's still considered a possible threat. When you try to deny the threat your mind will simply respond back with more worries simply because it knows that the possibility is real even if it was very low. See also Why you are worrying for no reason.
  • 2) Ask yourself this important question: Now that you acknowledged the existence of the threat ask yourself this very important question. Am i exaggerating the possibility that the threat will happen? Yes your worries are real but probably you are exaggerating the possibility too much where as it something that is very less likely to happen. Ask yourself that question for every worrying thought and you will realize that the possibility is too low and that you are over stressing yourself where as you are more safe than you think
  • 3) In case the possibility is very high: In case the possibility that the threat happens is too high then your worrying response is so natural. In such a case you need to act on preparing yourself mentally for the worst case so that nothing can actually harm you if the worst possibility happened. Prepare yourself for the worst case and once you accept it your worries will get reduced to a great extent. See The ultimate solution to end worrying

Never ignore your worries

Even if your worries were not that rational still your brain brought them to you because it wants you to do something about them. This thing could be preparing yourself for the worst outcome, creating a backup plan, taking actions to prevent the bad possibility or planning for the future.

In all cases taking actions can help you reduce your worries and feel better. Ignoring your worries however will provoke your brain even more, force you to worry more often and prevent you from ever having peace of mind.

Excessive worrying is certainly a disorder but you still can't deal with that disorder by ignoring the signals. You have to convince your brain with your action plan in order for it to withdraw the signal else the signal will always be there.

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Want to know more?

What is the purpose of worrying

How to stop worrying immediately

Worrying results from doubts about your problem solving skills

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