By Karen Rose

Worries. They’re those thoughts that tap you on the shoulder in the middle of the night and make it impossible to get back to sleep.

Trust me, I would know.

If there was a club for worriers, I’d be President… And then I’d fret about it.

But even if you’re not a natural born worry wart, worries can still be overwhelming. Generally things aren’t nearly as bad they seem, but that doesn’t stop us losing sleep over them.

The trick is to take charge of your worries. Here’s how:

Identify what it is that’s worrying you. Sometimes you can be so overwhelmed by feeling worried that it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what the issue is. For example, you may be worried about a task at work but if you narrow it down you may really be concerned about what will happen if you mess it up. Once you’ve identified precisely what’s bothering you, then you can say to yourself: “okay, what can I do about it?”

Strategize. Once you’ve figured out what’s bothering you, work out what you can do to resolve the issue. The answer, of course, may be nothing. But working out a plan of action, even if that is simply “doing your best”, will help put your mind at ease.

Remember what’s important. If you’re mid-worry, sit back and reflect on the things that are important in your life. You can even write a list. Mine would read something like this: my husband, family, friends, love, happiness. Putting things in perspective will help you take charge of your worry (it may not be such a big deal after all).

Share. That “problem shared is a problem halved” saying is actually true. When you’re worried, it’s easy to go “into yourself”. But instead of bottling things up, share. Call a friend – let someone know what’s on your mind. Simply talking about your problems with someone supportive will make you feel worlds better.

Distract yourself. When you’re worried (particularly if you’re very worried), it’s easy to become fixated on that one issue. This isn’t a healthy mindset, so it’s important to give yourself an outlet. Get outside, grab a coffee with friends, do yoga, read a book – do something positive to get your mind off things.

Of course, there’s a difference between worrying and anxiety. If you believe you may be suffering from anxiety, head over to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America for facts about anxiety and information about treatment.

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