Friday, May 22, 2009

How to Stop Worrying and Enjoy Everyday Life

As the pressures of life increase, it is easy to become overwhelmed with worry. Many struggle with anxiety and fear on a regular basis. Thanks to the research of Jeanne Segal, author of Raising Your Emotional Intelligence, there are six tips that can help us stop worrying and start enjoying everyday life.

First, Dr. Segal suggests that we accept the fact that life is uncertain and that there are many things that we can't control. She encourages us not to focus on worst-case scenarios and to instead accept that although we may cannot predict the future, we can enjoy the good things we have in the present.

Next, she advises us to set a time for worry each day. Write down any worries that we have and then review during during that time. (I had a friend with serious health problems who allowed herself a half-hour of worry time each day. She said any more than that make her very sick.) during the worry time--preferably in the afternoon or early evening--we can go over our worries. If we accomplish this is less than 30 minutes, good for us!

Then, Dr. Segal suggests that we challenge our negative thinking.We can ask ourselves if our worrying is helping or hurting us. We can also consider what we would say to a friend who had similiar worries.

Relaxation also helps reduce worrying. Progressive muscle relaxation in which we tense and then relax groups of muscles can reduce tension. Deep breathing and meditation can also be very helpful.

Dr. Segal says that research shows that taking good care of ourselves also helps. Healthy eating, regular exercise, limiting caffeine and sugar, eliminating alcohol and nicotine, getting enough sleep, and reaching out to friends for emotional support reduces anxiety and worry and helps us face stressful situations.

Finally, she suggests that we "stay focused, flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good. The capacity to recognize your emotions and express them appropriately helps you avoid getting stuck in depression, anxiety, or other negative mood states."

In addition to her suggestions, I would add that reading inspirational literature, prayer, and an attitude of gratitude greatly reduces our worries and allows us to enjoy everyday life. If you have any others suggestions, please comment. And today, may we take time to enjoy the journey and enjoy our abundant blessings.

© Carol Brown

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