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Five tips to prevent worry from taking over your life

WAY OF LIFE: If left to get out of control, stress can make your every day live far more difficult

WORRY is something we all do at sometime or other. It's probably unrealistic to stop worrying completely, but there are ways to prevent worry really taking hold and seriously affecting your life.

I must confess that I've always been a bit of a worrier. Worrying over every little thing brought a great deal of stress and anxiety into my life. Over time this energy sapping habit took a heavy toll on me. For that simple reason, I was desperate to learn some effective ways to stop worrying so much.

Here are five ways to stop worrying taking hold of your life:

1. Be an action taker

Any action that you take that moves you closer towards your goals helps greatly to reduce worry. Dwelling too much on the obstacles that appear before your goals can greatly increase your stress and worry. Yes, of course, planning is important, but over-analysing must be avoided. This can cause doubts, fears and worries to creep in meaning you procrastinate. Just take action. You will be amazed how good this makes you feel.

2. Be a decisive decision maker in all you do

Unresolved issues can be a major cause of worry. Stop this by making quick, decisive decisions. Again, don't procrastinate when making decisions. Doing something is often better than doing nothing. Whether it's that phone call you need to make or that investment you need to do, just by doing it will often resolve the stress immediately. Decisions that are waiting to be made really do cloud your mind with worry and stress. So learn to make decision quickly or at the very least start bringing together all the information required to make them.

3. Create mental categories

Do you a have a million and one things going around in your head? I always used to inundate my mind with all things I needed to do. What I found great in helping me deal with this was to create lists for each issue, task or job that needed addressing or doing. It was a kind of way of postponing my worry. I'd schedule a time and jot it down on a particular list, whether it would be ‘tomorrow's list', ‘Monday's list' or whatever. This helped greatly in alleviating the worry I had at that moment and allowed me to continue to go about my day! By simply saying to yourself for example, ‘I can't do anything about this until Friday', you are basically creating a 'mental category' of ‘nothing to stress, worry and concern yourself with right now'.

4. Deal with your problems head on

When confronted with problems, don't bury your head in the sand. Choose to tackle the problems forthrightly and do what you can to resolve them quickly. Has there been an occasion when you have needed to call someone with some news you just don't want to give them? I coach my local rugby team, and there are times when I have to call players to inform them that they've not been selected for certain games.

Despite this being a job of paramount importance in order to keep players motivated and committed to the team, it's a job I really hate to do. (I've had that call so many times as a player myself and its news you just don't want to hear.) However, once I finally pick up the phone, and just make the call all my stress is gone immediately. In fact my worrying begins to diminish as soon as I start taking action (going back to note number one). We as humans have a tendency to make mountains out of molehills.

We create more worry and stress through anticipating a problem than in the actual problem itself. Just try to deal with the problem head on and as quickly as possible. It will save you from having so much pointless and unnecessary worry in your life.

5. Meditate all of your worst fears away

Meditation is a great at helping you achieve a calm and peaceful mind. It predominantly consists of you focusing on your breathing and letting go of troubling thoughts that are clouding your mind. Practicing meditation exercises daily will enable you to take more control of your thoughts and eliminate your worries quicker and easier. I know only too well, worry can sap you of your emotional energy, and drastically affect the quality of your life.

Like anything in life the more you do something the more it becomes a habit. Don't make worry an unwanted habit that you carry around with you. If you really want to stop worrying all the time then I urge you to start using some of the techniques I've mentioned above. They have been a great help to me. With the ever changing world, more and more people's lives are now burdened with worry.

Worry is a habit. A habit that needs to be kicked before it adversely effects the quality of your life.

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