Your manager has announced that everyone will have to take a pay cut . . . or join the unemployment line. Aargh! You're barely keeping up with your bills as is. Or you're self-employed, and your competition is undercutting your prices in a way you can't compete with and still feed your family. Meanwhile, clients are postponing projects, re-scheduling "for later" (you know what THAT means), and prices obstinately refuse to come down, on the contrary everything seems to be going up! Except you.

You can feel your heart beating too fast as you grow more and more anxious. You're worried sick - literally. You can't think straight; all you can do is worry, worry, worry. And if you hear one more person say, "Oh, don't worry it'll get better," you're gonna scream. It isn't their life, what do they know?! You can't help but worry!
You're right. The problem isn't that you're worrying, it's that you're overworking your worry. Worry is supposed to be a warning device. You know, that little voice inside that says: "Hey, pay attention, something here isn't going the way it's supposed to." But worry isn't mean to stay on 24/7. Once you're warned, you're supposed to turn the worry button off. Too often, we don't. Not because we're stupid or slow or anything, but because we don't know what else to do! And worry, as uncomfortable as it is, makes you feel like you're doing something to resolve your situation, even though - you're not.

Actually, worrying past the warning stage does you a lot of harm physically, which then translates into mental and emotional harm. You see worrying is a form of fear. You don't worry about good things happening, you worry about bad things happening, and over time, you don't just worry, you're scared to death bad things are going to happen. Fearful thoughts and feelings make your heart rate chaotic, disordered. That upsets the physical balance within your body, which in turn makes it difficult for you to function efficiently just when you most need to! Plus, thinking fearful thoughts tends to restrict the blood flow to your brain. You literally are not thinking as well when you're fearful and anxious. Science of course is merely confirming what you know perfectly well when you think about it. Worry is not good for you.

But what to do? First, clear your mind. Sit quietly, breathe, focus on your breathing, and release all thought. Then focus on something of value in your life, something you appreciate. It doesn't matter what it is, it could be the smile of a friend, the fact that you have come this far in your life, the simple existence of your children or pet. Stay with that thought long enough for your mind and heart to find their balance once again. Appreciating is the single fastest easiest way to restore calm to your heart rate and blood flow to your brain.*

Then, make a plan. You've gotten through rough times in your life before, you can do it again. Think of as many resources and possible strategies as you can. Brainstorm with a friend or family. Pray for guidance. Meditate. And every time you feel a worry thought come back, refuse it. Say to yourself "Fear won't help me now. Worry be gone!" and take a breath - or as many as you need - to re-center yourself and be emotionally calm. Then go back to creating the plan.

Life is a journey. Journeys have twists and turns, ups and downs, it's the nature of the ride. When you let go of your worry, you'll find a surprising number of good solutions right around the corner.

*Appreciation is not meant to replace any medical treatment or diagnosis. Always check with your doctor if you are concerned about any physical/mental/emotional symptoms.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D. is a respected psychologist, consultant, speaker and author. Her most recent books is "The Power of Appreciation in Business (MindLab Publishing, 2005). For more than a decade, she has helped people live happier, healthier lives--at work, at home and in relationships. Dr. Noelle welcomes your comments via email ( You can visit Dr. Noelle anytime at or