How to stop worrying and why

Steven Aitchison
Written by Steven Aitchison

Why you should stop worrying

Everybody has worried about something in their lives, but do you realise the cost of worrying on your energy and your health?


What does it mean to worry?

“Worrying is when somebody frets about something that may or may not happen in the future”

You’ll notice that the above statement has two key phrases in it “….may or may not happen…” and “…in the future.” When we worry we are actually projecting ourselves and the things we worry about into the future. When we project ourselves into the future we are laying a seed for something to happen. Let me explain this a little better by way of an example:

When you got out of bed this morning you automatically project yourself into the future by asking yourself what you are going to do next. You don’t consciously ask yourself it’s a habit, so you won’t notice yourself asking you’ll automatically project your thoughts into the future. When you get up your first thoughts might be:

“I’ll make a cup of coffee”

“I’ll brush my teeth.”

“I’ll take the dog for a walk.”

“I’ll get the kids lunches ready for school.”

“I’ll get the kids up for school.”

There are a hundred little ‘future projections’ going on in your head from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. Here’s the thing, most of these ‘future projections’ will happen as you have given your mind an action to take and your mind will work out ways to best fulfil your wish. Your mind is there to be commanded and most of the time it will fulfil every command you give it. With bigger wishes it will take longer but it is always working for you to find ways to fulfil your wishes.

Now, here’s the real sting in the tail. Your mind does not know the difference between a positive wish and a negative wish. To your mind, a wish is a wish whether it be a good or a bad one.

Right now my mind is working on lots of different wishes that I have commanded it to work on simply by voicing the wish internally, imagining the wish, voicing the wish externally, and thinking about it often. I firmly believe that as soon as I think about something, the thought has the power to make something else happen until a desired goal is reached.  Of course it doesn’t just happen by me thinking about it, i have to take positive action on all these wishes.  It’s a cycle: the more positive wishes I make for myself and others around me, the more positive action I take to make those wishes come true.

This is the same for a worry. I used to constantly worry about my children and the fact that something might happen to them if I wasn’t around to protect them. I do the same with my wife. I have to consciously stop myself from thinking about all the things that could happen to her if I am not there to protect her (Of course my wife is extremely independent and can look after herself). When my wife goes out in the morning I used to think ‘oh it’s a bit dark outside what if someone were to attack her and nobody would see it happening’ or ‘it’s a bit icy outside she might fall and hurt herself’. These thoughts are actually harmful to me and possibly even harmful to my family as my thoughts might cause another action to happen to make that ‘wish’ come true.

The anatomy of a worry wish

Here is what happens to our bodies and minds when we worry about something:

  • Initially, we will internally vocalise the ‘worry wish’ for example, if you ask your son, who is 14 years old and responsible, to go to the shops for a loaf of bread you might worry ‘What if he get’s run over when I ask him to cross that busy road to get to the shops for a loaf of bread.’ You then have a few choices; you go to the shop yourself, you postpone going to the shop, you tell him to be careful when crossing the road, you carry on worrying about it.  you know that you need to teach him to be independent, but there’s always that niggling feeling in the back of your mind.
  • When you carry on worrying about it you form a mental picture in your head. This is called visualisation, which is a very powerful way of achieving your goals in life. When you visualise something in your head your mind thinks it is actually happening and takes the appropriate action and responses. So in your mind you see your son getting knocked down by a car, your body starts producing and pumping adrenaline round your body in preparation for a shock, your blood pressure goes up slightly, your heartbeat rate increases dramatically, blood is taken away from your vital organs in order to give more blood to your muscles in preparation for you to start running and give you more muscle strength. Then when your son walks in, your body starts relaxing after 15 minutes to a few hours. That is only after 1 worry thought.
  • You then might give the thought even more power by telling your friends at work what you worried about this morning. In other words you are externally vocalising your worry wish. What happens then? Your friends will start telling you about the time when one of their friends son was knocked down and what happened to them after that. This gives even more power to the worry wish as your head is full of worry and everything that could happen. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, your mind is working hard to fulfil your wishes, it’s saying ‘Jesus! They must really want this bad, that’s them telling me privately, then they have given me an image to work on and they have now voiced it out to their friends, I better work hard on making this happen.’  Of course your worry wishes can’t make something happen to someone else, but your body and mind is getting ready for something happening.
  • You then decide that you will not ask your son to cross the road in the future to go to the shops you will always go yourself. Problem solved!

That decision that was just made might not be a good one as your son will then never become truly independent which might lead to problems in the future.

This could go on and on. Basically, the more you worry about something the more power you give the worry.

People who worry a lot are undoubtedly a lot less healthy than people who don’t worry as much.

How to stop worrying

There’s no point in writing about this if I wasn’t going to try and help you to become less of a worrier.

Here are a few action plans you can take to worry less:

1. Learn to accept uncertainty

People who worry a lot don’t like uncertainty in their lives and because they cannot control the dangers in life for themselves and their loved ones they worry even more. You have to accept uncertainty in your life. Accept the fact that you love someone enough, including yourself, to worry about them, but you cannot control what may or may not happen.

People who worry say it prepares them for something that might happen. This is not the case, when you constantly worry you are taking away all that is good from life and you are choosing to focus on the bad things that might happen. When you catch yourself worrying make a point of thinking about something good which is going on in your life just now. I am not saying never worry, I’ll talk about this later, but be balanced and think about the good things in life.

2. Designate a time to worry

This might sound ridiculous. When I used to worry about my family I weaned myself of the worry wishes by catching myself worrying and then postponing it until a certain time of the day, usually 1pm when it was my lunch break. By the time lunch break came around the worry wish had disappeared. Not all worry wishes are like this but you will find most worry wishes will completely go out of your head if you postpone them until later in the day.

3. Designate a time for gratitude

This is extremely powerful and can help drastically change your worrying nature. I constantly, internally, thank my external force for everything I have in life. This is not religious, I believe in a force outside ourselves and whatever that force is I thank it for my life, for being alive, for my family, for my friends, for everything. This takes time away from the worry wishes and actually drowns them out to a degree if practiced every single day. I usually do my thanking in the morning but catch myself being grateful all the time.

4. Learn to relax

Worrying causes stress and anxiety which can lead to health problems. It is important to learn how to relax. You can do this by doing something you enjoy or learning how to meditate, or buy a guided meditation, whatever it is make sure it relaxes you and calms you for a period of time. Reading is also very good for relaxing and building up the brain muscles at the same time.

5. Stand up to your worry wishes

Just because you start worrying about something doesn’t mean to say you have to continue listening to the worry. Start to stand up to your worries and ask yourself for evidence of the worry, the probability of the worry happening, look at a more positive spin on the worry, and another great way is to pretend you are talking to a good friend and they were telling you the worries that are going through you head, what would you say to them?

I hope this helped some people who are worriers, I know what it’s like and it can be a real drain on your energy.

Here are some more resources you might find useful:

Self help strategies for anxiety relief –

How to stop worrying –

Undo the worrying habit –

7 Ways to stop worrying when under pressure –

Mild anxiety –

Some Amazing Comments


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  • Glad to find this article, been doing deep analysis and seriously worrying for the past three days on a work related issue, I could not eat well or sleep but drinking alcohol and having headaches and running stomach, it seems my heart is cooling right now after reading this article.
    Many thanks !

  • […] Now that you have all your worries listed. Go through them and start acting on them in turn. If you find worries you cannot act upon it means there is nothing you can do to change the outcome of that worry, so forget it, why waste mind energy on something you cannot control at all? Read This Post for More Info […]

  • Good day! I simply would like to offer you a big thumbs up for the excellent information you have got here on this post.
    I am returning to your website for more soon.

  • Steven,

    I totally agree with the not worrying and visualizing what you want. All of the points are very helpful and positive. This has given me a whole new perspective. Really great read. Thank you.

  • Steven

    I chanced upon this blog and this post was the first one I read. Thanks for sharing your insights.

    What you said is applicable to the Asian parenting too. Most Asian parents because of the traditional Chinese culture, started with negativity and installing negativity on their kids. It’s timely reminder for everyone to realise that he/she has the power of choices and has the resources to turn negative energy into positive energy.

    There is a lot of work to do and keep going.

  • […] Now that you have all your worries listed. Go through them and start acting on them in turn. If you find worries you cannot act upon it means there is nothing you can do to change the outcome of that worry, so forget it, why waste mind energy on something you cannot control at all? Read This Post for More Info […]

  • Wow! This is exactly what I needed to read. I can use all the reminders I can get about how important it is to take one day at a time——-and not try to live distracted by what “might’ happen in the future.

    I also heard a show that offered another list from different perspective. It was a radio show called “How to win the War against Worry.” Here’s a link to it:

    This one gives 4 more strategies to use to overcome worry. I’ve used some of them to stop anxiety from taking hold and becoming a vicious cycle of worry. Good, practical advice given there too.

  • Hello, I enjoy your weblog. Is there something I can do to obtain updates like a subscription or something? I’m sorry I am not familiar with RSS?

  • I’ve been spending a lot of my time worrying and it has really affected my mood and work productivity.But the tips u gave really helped! Thanks soooo much. :)))))))

  • i worry all the time about my 2 yr old, i cannot enjoy life with this beautiful child bc im always worried shes gonna fall, and hit her head; or she is gonna get sick… im so tired. i cry all the time bc this worry has completely taken over my existence. i try to meditate, take long baths to try to relax, but all the time im thinking about the baby. this sucks so bad! im trying to live in the NOW and appreciate the present moment, but im having a hard time. :[………….. my husband doesnt help whatsoever with the baby. but thats another topic.

  • Hey Steven,

    Excellent article. I do agree if people embrace uncertainty more that would definitely learn how to worry less.

    Worrying about the problems you can’t control is waste of time anyway.


  • Hey Steven,

    Good post. I love your tip ‘Learn to relax’. That is one of the biggest problems that many people have. Inability to relax, on the end it cost them a lot and they pay the price in mental health.

    Relaxing is also a skill that can be learned.


  • This is interesting…
    Overcoming Common Drug Rehab Problems
    “Probably one of the most common fears that individuals have before they enter treatment is What will everyone think when they find out I’m an addict?” There is a lot of social pressure to appear like you have everything together, even when you do not. Always remember, though, that by the time you realize you need drug rehab, most of the people close to you will already know there is a problem.…”
    Go to to Overcoming Common Rehab Problems to read more…

  • Appreciate the sharing of your knowledge.
    I have found writing down the things that bother you or worry you a helpful way of putting them into perspective.

  • […] Now that you have all your worries listed. Go through them and start acting on them in turn. If you find worries you cannot act upon it means there is nothing you can do to change the outcome of that worry, so forget it, why waste mind energy on something you cannot control at all? Read This Post for More Info […]

  • […] Now that you have all your worries listed. Go through them and start acting on them in turn. If you find worries you cannot act upon it means there is nothing you can do to change the outcome of that worry, so forget it, why waste mind energy on something you cannot control at all? Read This Post for More Info […]

  • I understand that worrying too much is bad I never really worried until I had children. I knew whatever happened to me that I could deal with it and handle it. I think I am a very strong person. But I worry so much about my kids’ futures I think because I worry about the decisions I am making that will affect them. I feel so responsible for everything I do with them. Then I worry when they get older-what if they can’t handle something or they are not successful at something like school, job, marriage, etc.
    I want so much for my kids but I’m so worried that they won’t get good grades, won’t go to college, won’t get a good job, won’t make a good living, won’t have a good relationship/marriage, won’t be happy in life, etc. I am a Christian and I a have faith, but I still worry! I also worry that they won’t have strong faith or a good relationship with God.
    How can I stop worrying about my kids’ future? I now have one in 8th and 9th grades and a senior in high school. Also, of you’re not worried about something, how do you make good decisions regarding that issue? You cant just forget aobut things!

  • […] Now that you have all your worries listed. Go through them and start acting on them in turn. If you find worries you cannot act upon it means there is nothing you can do to change the outcome of that worry, so forget it, why waste mind energy on something you cannot control at all? Read This Post for More Info […]

  • Hey thanks for that information it worked a ton i always worry about my family as well if they do something i think is not a good idea but your blod helped! thanks!!!

  • Just wanted to say thanks.
    I’ve been worrying about something for a couple of days that had actually made me physically sick. I think this article will help me to stop feeling sick and enjoy my life.
    Thank you so much.

  • Ok here goes..

    me and my girlfriend have been going out for about 2 years. were both 19 and i made a right mess of it neglecting her and doing the wrong things until i told her i wanted to see other people.. a few weeks went by and nothing was said or acted on. Until now. shes started going out seeing other people. i love her and do not want this which is making me feel sick. i then had to hear from one of my friends that there was someone else that she likes that she did not tell me about she has confirmed this and now she says she wants to make a go of it but she still goes to the same pub most night and he is there because he lives upstairs i cant stop worrying about it every time she goes out im taking time off work because m ill. i don’t want to eat. this is really ruining things for me and don’t know what to do i just cant stop worrying

  • OMG!! look @ the flow of comments on worrying article!. It shows that the world is full of worrying people… :(

    pls everyone… this is the time to change.. stop worrying…. go read more artiles like this… Thanks Stevens..

  • Little bit hard how to stop worry but after reading Why it may become easy who getting over worried, as mentioned effects on health and energy as well effects on Personal life and professional life too.

  • I think its good when we think about different plans…! but stress comes when they don’t execute, am right! Just if you plan and execute them properly, I think whole world is yours.

    I have marked many points from your post and some of the selected comments which are positive and good that unable me to go with there thought…! Thanx..

  • It’s strange how obvious things if you look at them closely and try to describe in details become so neat and transform into a science of some sort. Only then one starts paying attention and use it, wondering why he or she didn’t do this before :) Great post!

  • Again as per my post on another thread, great, great advice and great, great contributions from people. I’m so glad I have found this site!

    Comment on Chidovan’s post, personally I would have written it as follows:

    You care about your son? Yes, he is MY son.
    Your worry can help him in any way ? Well, no.
    So why not stop worrying? Because I care about him.
    So you care and you want to help but worry is not helping him. What can you do to really help him?
    From here many answers can come. Perhaps you can contribute your own life experiences, by advising him on safe techniques, ensuring that he considers his own safety. But all the time realising that YOU wourself have been through similar situations, similar circumstances. And YOU survived! You are still here! The human psyche is to survive, not to die, people do amazing things to survive and your son, daughter, husband, wife, friend, whoever, are no different than you. So trust them.

  • For me a great change happen when I was fully honest with myself and wrote down in clear all the roles in my life that I identify with and all the “end values” that represent me as I want to be. I am now in the process of writing down my mission statement.

    There are “end values” and “means values”: money are a “means values”. You don’t want pieces of paper with faces of dead people on them. You want what this papers can provide for you, like stability or freedom. This are ends values.

    A great book that puts together a lot of solid concepts about this is “What Matters Most” by Hyrum W. Smith.

    If you take the time to really asked yourself what do you ultimately want in life and you find the answers then something very special will happen. You will know in every second what matters most to you, what you put first in life. So, when worries come you will naturally tell them: “Sorry, I don’t have the time for you”.

    Over the years some of the answers may change or be reshaped but this is natural.

    After you found your answers make sure you don’t loose them. It is easy to forget what do you want in this busy life. But every person can find 5 minutes a day to look on a piece of paper and refresh in his mind and heart what is most important in his life.

    There are many materials out there that can guide you in your quest.
    One more thing: if you try to apply this as a quick fix it will not work, it will simply not last in time.

    We all have values and roles that shape us, please take the time to find them. Worries will come and go, your values and roles will be with you a “Lifetime”.

  • If there’s somethin that can make me a happier person,is to stop worrying.I actually worry about any slightest thing. I’m really glad I found your blog,you’ve touched on some wonderful points. Thanks Paul

  • I worry a lot, I can’t help it. I worry a lot about the people I care for. Not too much about myself. And I worry that there are alot ot do for the day, and I might not be able to accomplish what I need to do. But I’ll try to keep in mind the tips you have here so even though I will not completely get rid of my worries, i will somehow lessen my worrying.

  • The way I see it Worry = Fear. Some people even arrive at the conclusion that “I Worry Because I Care”.
    This is one of the 17 lies that Steve Chandler talks about in his book: “17 Lies That Are Holding You Back and the Truth That Will Set You Free”.

    For me personally the answer to worrying is responsibility. The only part of our being that can be trained to be responsible is the mind. Feelings, body parts, heart are not responsible. If you look from where the word comes from you will find that in fact there are two words: response ability. The ability to choose your response to a stimulus. So when you start to worry don’t react to the fear but choose your actions asking and answering questions.

    Let’s say that your son is going on his first a trip in the mountains. And even before he leaves you start to worry “what if something happens? He may fall, broke something, ruin his life …”

    Example of a dialog in your head between the stimulus and response.

    You care about your son? Yes, he is MY son.
    Your worry can help him in any way ? Well, no.
    So why not stop worrying? Because I care about him.
    So you care and you want to help but worry is not helping him. What can you do to really help him?
    From here many answers can come. If the answer is “nothing” then concentrate on something else. Maybe he likes some special food that you didn’t cook for some time. You can surprise him when he returns. Isn’t this better then to worry?

    Tony Robbins in his book “Get the edge” considers that bad feelings have one role: to send a message, to make us aware of something.
    For example if you feel uncomfortable then change your state, clarify what you want and take action in that direction. If you are fearful then get prepared.
    The idea is not to “dive”/”fall” in the bad feeling. But to realize what the message is, get rid of the bad feeling and do something meaningful.

    One more thing. As Stephen R. Covey puts it: “To know and not to do is really not to know”. You need to put to practice what you learn.
    Tony adds: “The end result of learning should not be knowledge”. Common sense often is not common practice. ” The end result of learning should be new and/or better actions and results.”

    Hope this helps.

  • I am a so much worrying person.I used to worry in simple things.Your posting is very much helpful for me.I should follow some tips to reduce worrying. Thanks for the excellent posting.

  • Sometimes letting my personal time management software/system take care of my tasks also helps in reducing worries. Getting Things Done and 7 Habits are two great systems and either will work just fine

  • All the more reason to have goals that give you a good vision of the future. The bigger your goals, the more they encompass all your worries, and the more you can enjoy living for today because you are at ease about what will happen soon.

  • Great post, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us :-).

    I totally agree on the worrying habit, it IS something we actually project in the outside word, increasing the odds for the real thing to happen.

    Out of your worry reducing advices, I especially dig number 3, Designate a time for gratitude. As you already know, I just started a gratitude experiment on Twitter 2 days ago, the details are here.

    Wishing you a great week!

  • I know a good way for me to relax is to take my lunch off and just push everything out of my head. I also tend to relax when I am driving home. It allows me to take some time to calm down from my work day.

  • Worrying is just not health, but we are human beings and its natural for us all to worry about things. Makes us think about things. Its the outcome that makes us worry the most.

  • Not worrying and visualizing positive aspects of your life can help immediately turn things around. Worrying does not produce anything!

    Nice Post. Thanks.

  • Great article.
    i am glad you touched upon visualization because it is important.
    You are assigned a task and your boss tells you don’t screw it up. What do you think will be on your mind for the remainder of the time?
    You not screwing up the project as opposed to you focusing on completing a successful project.

  • Worrying really is a waste of time (and worse as you mentioned).

    It is wonderful to wake up in the morning and just breathe in a breath of air which you enjoy the quiet.

    It takes practice to develop the patience and confidence to stop worrying but it is sure worth it.

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