How to Take Control of Worry and Anxiety

Do you find that you spend far too much time imagining what could go wrong? Are you harassing yourself into thinking about the mistakes that might be made by you or by others, creating a stomach churning anxious experience that keeps you up at night and stops you from doing things you enjoy?

When we worry, we are inventing a danger that isn’t there. Our imagination is creating scenarios of what might happen. We can worry about what people think of us, worry about losing a job, worry about being late, worry about becoming ill, and worry about meeting a deadline. We become experts at worrying about what has happened, what could happen, what might have happened, even what might not happen!

What are the main things you worry about? The most common we find is family and money, but when do you find you worry most?

As you may already suspect, worrying does not help the situation. In fact it can cause the opposite. It distracts us, focuses us on the worst case scenario, and harasses us to be irrational.

There are two types of worry. We worry about feeling completely responsible, and we also worry about relying completely on others. Do you have one of these that you do really well!?

So how can you stop worrying …?

Let’s see what can help …

Step 1: Recognise and step out of your worry. Begin to catch yourself worrying but don’t have a critical inner voice or judge yourself for this, but simply acknowledge it and accept it for the moment. This helps you step outside of it a little and thus breaks the cycle.

Step 2: Be aware of how your body is feeling and change it. Note the posture that you are in. Are your muscles tense in your legs or are you hunched over, or is your jaw clenched or are you looking down at the ground?

Really notice what is happening for you as you worry. Then just begin to loosen and change these. Stretch out, move about, look up or put your shoulders back. Find a posture or pose that is a powerful one for you. In changing yourself physically, you are changing yourself biologically, which means you are changing and breaking your worry state.

Step 3: Alter and replace your worry.

Think about a time in the past when you worried about something. What triggered this? It may be when you felt under pressure to perform, or you felt bored or you were doing something new.

Create an image of this worry that you had… And answer the following questions … Are you looking out from your own eyes or are you seeing yourself?

What was the first thing that happened? Is the image you have moving or still? Colour or black and white? Near to you or far away? All around you or in a frame? Bright or dull? Clear or fuzzy?

Is there an inner voice? What sort of sound is it? Where does it come from? What language does it use?

This is how you DO worry. If you worry a lot, it will be very familiar.

So now let’s change this to make it less powerful. The image that you have just described above … make it still, black and white, far away from you, in a frame, dull and fuzzy. Any inner dialogue make it a cartoon character silly voice and turn the volume down. Then imagine the image as a piece of paper and screwing it up and throwing it away.

Now create an image of yourself when you feel competent and in a planning, ‘sorting out’ mood. When you are logical, rational and getting things done place. See yourself in a movie planning an event, asking questions about what would happen if … and then notice how you are able to estimate the likelihood of this happening and if necessary, having a prepared course of action.

Make the images bold, bright and colourful with an inner dialogue that means business.

Practice this action you over and over again. You might even write it down or draw it or find a picture that represents it. Give a word that represents this … ‘Action’ or ‘Go me,’ or anything that you can think of that will begin to take you into this Planning you, this movie and ultimately this state.

Put it all together.

Whenever you find yourself worrying, change your biology, change the image and the voice that you are holding in your mind and then go into your ‘Action’ or ‘Go me’ state.

Let us know how it goes. Comment below, or head on over to our Facebook page!

For further tips and strategies why not join our short Free Online Course in Hypnosis and NLP, or come along to our Free 1 Day Hypnosis and NLP Masterclass.

Until next time,


Written by 

Sandra Westland is a Founder and Director of Contemporary College of Therapeutic Studies. She runs workshops and lectures across the world in a variety of psychological approaches. She is a bestselling author of 5 books and maintains a private practice in Essex, UK.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.