Feeling Stuck in the Worry Loop? 4 Really Simple Practices to Break Free

By Dominica

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Last Updated: May 13, 2022

You know all about the worry loop.

You want to experience life with plenty of peace and joy, right? We all do.

But many people (and I mean large masses of society) experience more anxiety and worry than feelings of peace or joy. It’s actually at epidemic proportions, really – which COVID has certainly made its share of contributions.

According to a recent World Health Organization report, the first year of the COVID pandemic increased the prevalence of anxiety and depression by a whopping 25% worldwide. WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus states that, "This is just the tip of the iceberg." 

Obviously, the social isolation has played a huge role, but also the unavoidable limitations on:

  • people's ability to work
  • to find support and comfort from loved ones and 
  • being able to engage in their chosen communities

Among these very potent stressors, WHO also states these as other reasons we are more worried than ever: 

  • loneliness
  • fear of infection
  • suffering and death for oneself and for loved ones
  • grief after bereavement
  • financial worries 

And of course, for our hardworking healthcare workers, exhaustion has been a huge trigger for suicidal thinking.

So, what can we do about all this worry?

Overcome Fear: 5 Powerful Techniques to Convince Your Brain You're Safe

 

 

What Does It Mean To Worry?

"My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened." - Michel de Montaigne

To worry means to fret, to get worked up. To ruminate typically on negative things that could happen, but haven’t happened yet.

Worry and fear are strong emotions that can have a negative effect on the mind and body. Chronic worry can really do some damage over time. It can lead to a nervous breakdown, depression, an anxiety disorder, and/or physical health problems.

Sure, some level of worry is a good thing. If you’re worried that you’ll have to live on the street if you can’t pay your rent, this can motivate you to get out there and work.

If you’re worried about having lung problems, this can motivate you to quit smoking.

But chronic fear or worry – especially about things you have no control over – just won’t serve you well.

Anxiety stems directly from fear. If you feel anxious about something, you’re worried. We worry about many things that never even happen.

How to Overcome Fear: The Practice of Facing What You Are Afraid Of 

 

 

How Fear and Worry Affect Your Mind And Body

Let’s discuss how fear and worry can affect your mind and body. Of course, the severity can depend on various factors, but generally symptoms of chronic fear are the same.

Physically, you may experience:

  • A faster heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Increased breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia

Mentally, you may experience:

  • Lack of ability to concentrate
  • Confusion
  • Negative emotions

I’ve been stuck in a worry loop. When I knew I had to give a presentation in front of a group of people, I worried about it for an entire week. Sure, I used anxiety reduction techniques, and they did help some. I laid down and meditated, envisioning the presentation going well. I did affirmations.

But at times, the worry loop got the best of me.

Have you ever heard about someone being a “worry wart”? They worry about so much!  Every time you talk to them, they’re telling you all about their concerns and worries. (Which is why you might not always pick up the phone when they call).

The reality is that they’ve programmed their minds to stay in the worry loop.  Until they do some reprogramming, it’s likely they’ll stay stuck.

 

 

How To Get Free From Being Stuck in a Worry Loop

Living with chronic worry can make life feel much harder. It can also cause physical ailments due to the boost of stress hormones that are constantly being released in your body.

What do people worry about?

You name it: Their kids, parents, jobs, money, illness, dating, spouse, being rejected, making rent, getting COVID, dying, public speaking, and so much more.

How can you break free from worrying so much?

 

4 Practices to Help You Stop Worrying

1. Recognition

Recognize if you are living in chronic fear and worry. 

  • Are your thoughts more future-oriented, worrying about what might happen?
  • Have people flat-out told you that you worry too much?

If you recognize that you’re stuck in worry mode, you can then do something to change it.

 

2. Break The Cycle

If you recognize that you worry a lot, it’s likely worrying has become a habit and a cycle. You’re stuck it that worry loop.

The good news is that you can break that cycle.

Instead of letting your mind wander off with thoughts of worry, learn the art of living in the present.

Some call this mindfulness.

Learn to “get out of your head” and into your body – into the present moment, where worry thoughts aren’t allowed.

Right now, make the intent to bust out of the worry loop mode. Realize and affirm that you CAN break the cycle with some effort and helpful tools.

 

3. Practice Meditation

Meditation is a wonderful tool to help you gain some control over your thought life and enjoy the present. It’ll also help you worry less.

Even if you start with just a few minutes a day, meditation is a practice that can help you feel more calm, centered, and peaceful. But remember, it’s called a practice for a reason. To really get the benefits out of it, you must practice it regularly.

Get started on your first meditation now! How to Master Meditation: The Art of Mindfulness

 

4. Face Your Fears

It’s normal to have some fears and encounter situations that bring on some anxiety. Face them. Don’t run from them, or entertain the thoughts all day long.

If you can’t do this on your own, seek help from a mental health professional or holistic practitioner like a spiritual coach. Some find attending support groups helps them worry less too. For example, parents who are concerned about their child that’s struggling with addiction may attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon for support.

While it may be common to have some concerns, you don’t’ have to allow worry to keep you from living a good life.

 

What Comes After the Worry Loop? The Feeling Of Peace

We all want to experience more peace in life. It’s a wonderful goal. While we may encounter situations where we worry, we don’t have to let that worry ruin our lives. We don’t have to stay stuck in a loop.

You don’t have to live with worry as your master.

Hopefully, you’ve gotten some great tips from this article and will go on to experience less worry and more peace and joy.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

 

Editor's note: This article was originally published October 28, 2020, and has been updated to provide additional information on the topic.

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7 comments on “Feeling Stuck in the Worry Loop? 4 Really Simple Practices to Break Free”

  1. Thank you. It has was a real habit with me. I stopped forth with. One thing that has kept me tick is exercise and never ever to compare my self to others. Well, this comparison was my main center of worry. Am now a very positive man, with a great family and fulfilling career. Am now a living testimony to my friends.

    1. Thanks Moses. Focusing on yourself and letting go of comparing yourself to others can be difficult, but such a powerful perspective change in life. Congrats to you for setting such a positive example for others.

  2. Thank you. Worrying was a real terrible habit sometime back. I stopped forth with. One thing that has kept me tick is exercise and never ever to compare my self to others. Well, this comparison was my main center of worry. Am now a very positive man, with a great family and fulfilling career. Am now a living testimony to my friends.

  3. What an insightful article, I appreciate how you put it all together and promoted coaching. Fear has been a dark closet literally as a child which i never learned to escape. But as someone put it i had the power to open the door.
    Face the fear experience the body and then overcome that it is not real. Open that door and see what is.

    1. It sounds like you have done a lot of powerful work on yourself Leila. You are a brave person to face your darkness and fear, opening the door as you say. Not everyone can do that. You don't have to do it alone. Thank you for sharing and take care of yourself.

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