5 Practical Tips On How To Manage Worry

First of all, I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist so take everything I say here with a grain of salt. 

This article is not to undermine anyone's troubles but is an attempt to encourage and lift someone up during these times of stress and anxiety.

The Corona virus crisis is upon us today and I feel we need a little bit of lifting up as we go through this phase.

It Is Easy To Worry

To begin with, I'd say worrying is a normal feeling. You are not alone when you worry. You are with millions of others when you worry.

It is hard not to worry because you may think worrying helps you avoid bad things and prepare for the worst. Perhaps you believe if you worry about something long enough, then you will eventually be able to figure it out. 

However, worrying actually gives the exact opposite effect. We can prepare for the worst better and find better solutions when we are calm and collected. 

Do Not Worry

If you are a Christian, then it would be good to remember that the Lord Jesus Christ instructs us not to worry. 

Jesus gave us three reasons why we should not worry, and they are as follows:

  1. Because of who we are. Jesus said that we are valuable in the eyes of God. We are more valuable than the birds in the sky (Matt 6:26). 
  2. Because worrying is useless. Jesus said that no one can add a single hour to his life by worrying (Matt. 6:27).
  3. Because of our testimony. Jesus said that we act like we don't know Him when we worry (Matt. 6:32).

Of course, Jesus' words should be enough for us not to be consumed by worries. Yet, in reality, we still find ourselves wading in our worries from time to time.

This is perhaps because we only understand the why's but we can't figure out the how's. 

While we trust God our Heavenly Father that He is always in control and that He has a purpose for everything, it is also helpful to know practical ways on how to beat our worries. 

Here are some practical tips on how to do it.

(Note: These tips do not cover those with Generalized Anxiety Disorders (GAD) as they need medication to control their worries.)

1. Turn worrying into problem solving. Instead of focusing on the bad things you assume will happen, focus on what you can do about it.

Negative feelings turn into positive ones when your mind is filled with possibilities and solutions. 

For example, instead of thinking about the potential (and very real) economic effects of not being able to go to work because of community quarantine, realize that staying at home is an opportunity to spend more time with your family.

2. Welcome uncertainty. Life is not about being sure all the time. It is about coping and adjusting when needed.

Unexpected things always happen, so replace expectations with plans. Get ready for as many different possible situations as you can.

I'm glad that I always had the mindset of a prepper ever since I was little. It helped me and my family a lot every time we encounter emergencies and other unexpected events such as this Corona virus crisis.

3. Learn what relieves your stress. Your body is stressed when you worry. This affects your breathing, muscle tension, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

Knowing what best relieves your stress, and doing more of it, will help you cope up.

Stress relief does not have to be complicated. Taking a short walk, laughing with a loved one, showering, or even mindful breathing can do it.

Have you heard of the "grounding tool"? 

4. Schedule a worry time. This may look silly, but it can really help. I allow myself around 30 minutes a day, every day, after dinner, looking at my list of worries. More on that list in the next point.

I use this worry time to think about action plans on how to deal with a specific worry. You'll be amazed about how easy it is to develop a more balanced perspective when it comes to worrying and problem solving by doing it this way.

5. Write down your worries. Always keep a pen and paper to list down your worries as they pop in your head. 

Yes, I do write down my worries. Listing helps me forget about them for most of the day without feeling irresponsible. In the first place, how can you manage your worries if you don't know what they are?

I found out that transferring my worries onto a piece of paper meant that I should not keep them in my head anymore. They can always be dealt with at the right time.

A Question Of Trust

Spiritually, worry is always a question of trust and faith in our Heavenly Father.

We must not only trust that God is all-powerful, we must also have faith that He is good.

God is always in control, He knows what He is doing, and He always want what is best for His children ultimately.

God loves us with a perfect, unconditional love that He is willing to allow us to experience loss, pain, and inconveniences in order to teach us and build our character. 

We can release all our worries to God anytime. We can also trust Him to enlighten us with the wise steps to take whenever we ask.