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How to Break the Worry Cycle

Worrying about things is perfectly natural, and every single day we find ourselves worrying about one thing or another. Worry is a response the brain sends out when faced with a threat and if the worry is proportionate to the situation, it’s healthy. When the worries are irrational and based on merely the possibility of something negative happening with no real evidence to support it, it can rob you of peace of mind and happiness in everyday life.

Breaking the worry cycle is imperative especially for chronic worriers. Worrying is exhausting and can even be debilitating. When people fall into a pattern of chronic worrying no area of life goes untouched. It can wreck relationships, career life, and home life. There are simple measures you can take to break the worry cycle, and when practiced in real situations, be very helpful.

Why Do People Worry So Much?

There are two facets to worry – past and future. When worry is centered around something which has already happened, the underlying emotions could be fear, shame, guilt, or regret. When the center of worry is regarding something that may happen in the future, it is usually due to being intolerant of uncertainty.

Worriers believe the source of worry is justified and it is helpful to self and others. If the chronic worrier doesn’t get to worry, it causes feelings of anxiousness.

Protection of others and self-preservation are the mindset in the one worrying, and they believe this is a good trait.

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Breaking the Worry Cycle

It’s not something you can break immediately it will take some practice, but there are a few simple steps virtually anyone can do to help alleviate the devastating effects of useless and counter-productive worrying.

Get Up and Do Something

When worry rears its ugly head and tries to take over, close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax. Whether you are at work or home, you may find it useful to get up and move around, find something to clean, or take a short walk. The point is to stop thinking about what’s worrying you, and instead, calm the mind and be able to move on to the next step.

Process the Worry

Is it rational and a real concern or an irrational, low-probability idea? Is there something that can be done to affect the perceived negative outcome? Can anything be done immediately or does this worry have to work itself out? These questions need to be addressed before making a plan of attack.

This is where you can learn to accept the uncertainty of the future with patience. It will help develop confidence in your ability to cope if needed.

Discuss the Worry

Talking to a trusted friend or family member about the worrisome issue helps you hear the answers to the questions in the previous step. Once the questions are said aloud it’s easier to discern the validity of the worry.

If a non-judgmental ear isn’t an option, try talking to a mirror. It might sound silly, but it’s just like practicing a speech or preparing for a presentation. If you can’t do that, write it down. Do a pro’s and con’s list or even a narrative. Whatever model you use, this step is as much discussion as it is purging the worry from your system to effectively analyze.

Solve It

If the worry is deemed valid and requires action, now is the time to solve it. Make sure the plan is achievable and within the realm of reality. Be confident in the newfound solution and let the worry go. If visualization techniques are helpful, use breathing exercises and visualize the worry leaving the body on a nice long exhalation. Feel the tension dissipate. Allow the worry to leave.


Keeping the mind occupied leaves less time for worry, fear, and anxiety. This step is mainly to occupy the time once spent worrying with more positive, productive activities. Spend time with friends and family, enjoy hobbies, but most of all live life and find joy. Replace negativity with happiness and make good memories.

Worry doesn’t have to be an enormous mountain to climb. By dividing the process of breaking the worry cycle into steps it feels less threatening. Step by step, and with practice, it will soon be apparent how easily worry can be dissected and banished.

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