2 Simple Ways to Stop Worrying

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2015 22 Jun

Most of us realize that worry can be hard to get rid of. How often have you heard the advice to “stop worrying?” If it were that easy to simply stop, most of us would instantly comply.

Sometimes people advise us to pray instead of worry, as though prayer is an automatic antidote. But I am living proof that prayers can simply be worries in disguise.

Corrie ten Boom was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. If anyone had a right to worry, she did. But here’s her take on worry: “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength—carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

Worry is simply a maladaptive planning tool. It’s also a distorted use of our imagination. Instead of equipping us to face the future, it drains us of the strength we need to deal with the present.

But how can we stop?

Here are 2 practical suggestions that have helped me.

1.  Distract Yourself

Parents know that unhappy toddlers can often be calmed with simple distractions—an interesting toy, an invitation to look at the puppy dog that’s walking by. Try distracting yourself from your worries by thanking God for specific ways in which he’s blessed you. Decide that you will begin and end each day and each time of prayer by thanking God for at least three good things. Doing so will redirect your focus on God and help you to remember how faithful he’s been in the past.

2.  Never Worry Alone

John Ortberg points out that one of the most powerful ways to stop worrying is to disclose our worries to a friend. “The simple act of reassurance from another human being,” he says, can be “a tool of the Spirit to cast out fear.”

Everyone worries. But worry doesn’t need to consume us. I’ve shared a couple of simple strategies that help me to stop worrying. But I know there are many others.

Let me know if you’ve found other practical strategies that have decreased the power of worry in your own life. I’d love to share these with readers.