3 Steps to Turn Chronic Worry into Productive Problem-Solving

by Jessica Lakes

Are you a chronic worrier? Do you find yourself losing sleep at night, stressing about the outcome of uncontrollable events? Perhaps you find yourself flapping about, anxiously fiddling and ruminating over the same issue for hours. As much as people say it, you won’t believe it but worrying is a waste of time. Whether it works out or whether it doesn’t, worrying won’t change that.

However, worrying becomes a habit in life. Like biting your nails or putting your hand down your pants, you find yourself doing it before it consciously registers in your brain. It’s difficult to stop and sometimes it takes over your whole life, stopping you from finding joy and happiness during the day and keeping you awake at night.

Here are a few steps that will help you to stop fretting and start thinking productively and proactively to solve problems.

Just breathe

preview-full-unnamed (2)It sounds so simple, right? By closing your eyes, you limit external stimulus which takes you inward and by breathing deeply, you allow oxygen to flood the brain, inciting cognitive functioning and allowing new connections to form between brain cells, which will help you think more innovatively. Try alternate breathing. Hover your thumb over your left nostril and little finger over the right. Press your thumb into your left nostril, blocking the air. Breathe deeply through the right nostril, block it with your little finger, then breathe out of the right nostril. Breathe in through the right nostril, block, breathe out through the left. Repeat 20 times. This will help to calm you down.

Try to think critically


The reason that worry takes over your life is because it is usually aimless. Maybe it just revolves around ‘money’ or your relationship, with no specific target. Try to list the specific things that make you worry, so you can put them in their proportionate sized boxes in your mind. Think about the who first. Who benefits? Who is it harmful to? Who decides, is affected, has discussed this, should be consulted? Then the what. What are the strengths and weakness? What is another view, an alternative course of action, a counter-argument? What is important and what isn’t? What are the best and worst outcomes? What’s in the way? Then the where. Where are there similar issues, where is this needed? Where can you get help? Where can you improve? When’s it ok? When should you take action, expect a change, ask for help? Why is it a problem? Why are people influenced and why should they know? Why are these the best and worst cases? Why did we allow this to happen? And finally how. How does it ruin things? How does it benefit or harm others? How can we change for the good?


Once you have identified your worries, get your blood pumping. Now you have a whole sheet of paper with a deeper understanding, you want to boost your mood to solve problems critically. By exercising and pushing yourself to the limit, often the physical exertion pushes all other thoughts from your mind. Secondly, its boosts your serotonin levels, improving your mood and making your mind work more quickly. And lastly, exercise brings oxygen to all over the body, allowing organs to function better, which helps the brain to function more effectively, helping you to ease that worry.

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