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Focusing on "what ifs," what might happen, and feeling a need to control, are classic symptoms of worry. We "futurize" by fixating on times yet to come or "pasturize" by dragging in into the present, examples of what has happened in the past. Or we leap to doom and gloom outcomes. 

What happens? We tighten up and obsess about things out of our control or yet to come. Our minds and bodies spin. Consequently we lose sleep. We don't trust that we can handle what is presented.

By entertaining worst-case scenarios, we're sacrificing our health and well-being. We fuel feelings of nervousness, and are preoccupied and scattered. We become distracted from fully experiencing the present moment and don't feel calm and relaxed. Worry interferes with our ability to relish the moment and truly enjoy our lives.

Underneath worry is the emotion of fear, specifically unexpressed fear. And if we think about the physiology of fear, it is agitated. We experience this agitation not only physically, but also mentally as our minds are intimately connected to our bodies. Being worried all the time takes its toll.

How to Stop Worrying about Stuff and “Be Here Now.”

There are several things you can do to curtail worry.

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1. Shiver away your fear.

Since the root of our worries is the emotion of fear, if we express the emotion physically and naturally, both our bodies and minds will calm down. Instead of feeling tense and tightening up your muscles, release the fear using your body.

When you notice you're worrying, let your body do what's natural: wiggle, jiggle, shudder, tremble, and quiver - like a dog at the vet or someone in a state of shock. It may sound strange at first, but if you physically express the emotional energy with vigor - up the spine, out the arms, hands, legs, and in the neck and jaw - it will move out of your body and you'll quickly feel more calm, centered, and focused.

While shivering, be sure you don't fuel your worry thoughts. Just remind yourself: "It's okay to feel scared. It's okay. I just need to shiver." Shiver for as long as you can, repeatedly, especially whenever you notice you are worrying. !t is amazing how quickly it brings you back to the present.  

2. Stop letting your mind run wild.

The constant thoughts and chatter running through your head exacerbate your feelings of anxiety and pressure. Interrupt those thoughts and replace them with a reassuring and calming statement. Just select two or three simple statements that contradict your destructive thinking and repeat them over and over, whenever you start to worry, while you are shivering, or anytime: 

Everything will be all right.

I'll handle the future in the future.

Be here now.

One thing at a time.

I'll do what I can, and the rest is out of my hands.

Worrying doesn't help. It doesn't make me happy.

3. Stay in the now.

Alternatively, when you notice you're worrying, grab a few minutes to do something that gives you a break and brings you into the now. Connect with your physical surroundings and pay attention to your senses.

For instance, sit with what you're experiencing in your body and befriend the internal sensations. Take a couple of full deep breathes. Take a few minutes to walk. Take a brief snooze. Play a game of solitaire. Throw water on your face. Do some jumping jacks.

4. Just tackle those issues.

Make a list of what needs attention, prioritize items, breaking big jobs into small pieces, then do what's next, focusing on one thing at a time. See point #3 in my previous article: "How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed and Start Feeling Calm" about how to do this.

Worry Can be Kicked to the Curb

If you must worry, designate ten minutes a day to indulge it, and then for the rest of day diligently interrupt thoughts that take you out of the present, and shiver.

As you surrender to attending to what is in your control right now, you will start to feel calmer, more content and worry less. You'll be able to enjoy the present moment and feel more peace.

Your mind will take a needed rest and you will no longer have the feeling of agitation throughout the day. You'll live in the now of simplicity, order, and flow, realizing that this moment is a "perfect moment." You'll start to feel more trust and have faith you will handle whatever comes your way. 

©2023 by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
All Rights Reserved.

Book by this Author:

Attitude Reconstruction

Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.

book cover: Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life  by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.With practical tools and real-life examples, this book can help you stop settling for sadness, anger, and fear, and infuse your life with joy, love, and peace. Jude Bijou's comprehensive blueprint will teach you to: ? cope with family members' unsolicited advice, cure indecision with your intuition, deal with fear by expressing it physically, create closeness by truly talking and listening, improve your social life, increase staff morale in just five minutes a day, handle sarcasm by visualizing it flying by, carve out more time for yourself by clarifying your priorities, ask for a raise and get it, stop fighting via two easy steps, cure kids' tantrums constructively. You can integrate Attitude Reconstruction into your daily routine, regardless of your spiritual path, cultural background, age, or education.

For more info and/or to order this book, click here. Also available as a Kindle edition.

About the Author

photo of: Jude Bijou is a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT)

Jude Bijou is a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT), an educator in Santa Barbara, California and the author of Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life.

In 1982, Jude launched a private psychotherapy practice and started working with individuals, couples, and groups. She also began teaching communication courses through Santa Barbara City College Adult Education.

Visit her website at