What causes worry? Even though you may not like this answer, it is quite simple. You worry by choice which is reinforced by the habit of choosing to worry again and again and again. Choosing not to worry is as simple as choosing which restaurant you will go to.
Your Repeated Choice to Worry Because an Automatic Habit
It is not the worry that has any intrinsic power over you but rather your choice to reinforce it. And how do you reinforce it? You choose to reinforce worry with the pernicious habit of mentally rehearsing worse case scenarios in your mind until it becomes a whirlwind of maddening automatic thinking.
Repetition Triggers the Automatic Mind
If you listen to a song or a TV jingo long enough and frequent enough, it will start to play in your mind with no conscious effort. Repetition of any mental habit triggers the automatic mind to take over and produce the mental activity whether you call for it or not. So it is with worry.
Worry is Embracing Too Much Future
Worry is embracing the habit of living in too much future (which, by the way, none of us can truly predict).
The Edict of Abraham Lincoln and Albert Ellis on Worry
Abraham Lincoln was once quoted to say “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be,” and as the late great rationally psychotherapist, Albert Ellis, would affirm “I stubbornly refuse to make myself miserable about anything.”
A 5-Step Formula to Stop Worrying
Let me give you an effective technique to stop worrying forever. The key is to use the power of getting your worry thoughts out of your mind and diffuse their power by writing them down on a piece of paper.
1. Take Out a Notebook and a Piece of Paper – Now write down “What is the worst that can possibly happen?” - (in regards to whatever you are worrying about).
2. Write Down the Worst Case Scenario - Write down of list of everything that you can think of that could negatively happen to you.
3. Write Down All of the Possible Options to Solve the Problem – Here you will brainstorm (on paper) a list of all of the possible solutions to lesson the effect or to totally solve the presupposed problem.
4. Decide Which Solution-Option You Will Choose – Accept what you will do in case the hypothetical worst case scenario should happen.
5. Release the Worry and Stay in the Present Moment - Once you know your options and have decided what you must do, there is nothing else to do but to stay in the present and live the day from daybreak until nightfall. Take no anxiety for tomorrow. No more can be expected of you than to live only one day at a time.
Do these five steps repeatedly until they become an automatic reaction pattern, and worry, for you, will be a thing of the past.
Peace and power,