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How Can You Stop Yourself from Worrying about a Situation You Have No Control Over?

Suppose there is something that you are worrying about but you have no control over the situation and continuously worrying about it is just making you more worried. How can you detach yourself from those unproductive worries and rumination? Here are some ideas:

1. Ask yourself: What am I doing that is making me dwell unproductively on the thing that I have no control over?' then consciously stop yourself from doing that when you catch yourself doing it, or else plan how you can organise your day so as not to be tempted to do it in the first place.

2. Try to focus on something else to take your mind off the situation that you have no control over. Good things to try to focus on can be:

3. When you find yourself focusing on the situation that you have no control over, smile at yourself, recognising your human failing without getting angry with yourself, then try steps 1 & 2 again!

4. Keep a healthy life balance if you can:

5. Try to balance out any frustrated negative thoughts you have about the situation, by using any one of the balancing thoughts techniques below to create a statement that you can say to yourself when you are preoccupied with thoughts about the situation:

(a) Imagine what you might say to a friend in that situation who told you they were experiencing that thought.

(b) Try to assess objectively what evidence there is to support any negative conclusion in the thought and what evidence there is to suggest that the negative conclusion may be exaggerated or mistaken (Note: the idea here is to be realistic both ways)

(c) Face the Fear: Ask yourself: 'How serious is it even if the negative thoughts is true?' and 'Even if it is true, what could I do?'

(d) Is there another way that you can look at the situation which is more constructive and sheds a different light on it? (e.g. could you see the situation as a learning experience?)

6. keep a daily diary in which you record:

(a) What you do during the day - to help make you aware of actions you are doing which have nothing to do with the thoughts about the difficult situation

(b) Any negative thoughts that you have about the situation, what you try to deal with them, and the outcome - so that you can see if certain things you try help you and other things don't help you

(c) Your general satisfaction level with how the day went out of 10 (so that over time you can compare how you felt on different days and gain a realistic view of it, rather than being swayed by how you feel on any one day).

(d) A constructive comment on the day (or an element of it). Hopefully you will find something to be grateful for or to value in the day or what you haev achieved so that you can write in your diary 'I am glad I did X' or 'I enjoyed Y' or 'I am proud that...', but even if you cannot be that positive you can say something like: 'This was a difficult day but at least...'

7. Consider learning and trying out breathing or meditation techiques to help you learn to observe your thoughts, feelilngs and sensations in a detached way and let go of them.

The above points are consistent with my AWAKE from Anxiety acronym:

 

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