Introverts have a lot to worry about. We’re constantly at war with our own mind, as we battle against feelings of guilt, overwhelm, and inadequacy. We desperately want to mute our noisy thoughts and stop worrying. But how?
How can we stop the endless cycle of worrying about everything from a dumb thing we said five years ago, to the consequences of climate change. How can we end the mental anguish of having a million thought knots that we’ll never untangle?
Some people tell us to just stop worrying, as if there were some magical off switch we could access at will. If that were true we wouldn’t be up late doing mental laps around problems we’ll never solve by morning.
Is it a real problem?
A lot of the things we worry about aren’t real problems. They’re what I call “candy bar problems”. Constantly chewing on candy bars erodes our teeth. Chewing on imagined problems does the same thing to our brain. It gradually destroys our mental landscapes. But if we would just leave the problem in its wrapper we’d avoid all the unnecessary worry. Winston Churchill explains:
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
Let’s say you’re worried about being judged by your coworkers for eating lunch alone. This is a candy bar problem because it only harms you if you choose to mentally chew on it.
It may or may not be true that your colleagues are judging you. Even if they are, what are the consequences? They’re not going to revolt against you and throw stale mac and cheese in your face.
If they’re judging you, it will make you feel bad. But wait a second.
It’s really your THOUGHTS about their judgments that influence your emotions. Their judgments on their own can’t harm you. You can choose to keep those worries under wraps and save your mental energy for what really matters.
Here are a few more quick tips to stop worrying:
Shine a light on your worry
Our darkest worries are like vampires. They flee from the light of day. Shine a light on your worries by sharing them with a friend or mental health professional. You don’t need to talk about them ad nauseam, as this could create more worries. Speak your truth and then choose to let go.
Focus on one action step
My students and clients know that I firmly believe that small changes create big results. It’s important for introverts to take a measured, focused approach to change so we don’t get overwhelmed. Zero in on the one small action step you can take today to calm your fears.
Train your brain to stop worrying
Introverts often think of our brain as an autonomous entity that we cannot control—as if there’s a rebellious teenager living in our skull.
But you really can control your thoughts. The problem is that you’ve been like a jellyfish parent to your brain, letting it run wild and do whatever it wants.
The good news is that you can retrain your brain with specific exercises that stop worry in its tracks and create mental peace. I share what works best for introverts in my Master the Introvert Mind Workshop. Mindfulness practices also do wonders.
A quick reminder
As Mental Health Week on Introvert Spring draws to a close, so does the special on my Unshakeable Self-Love for Introverts workshop. Get it today for less and you’ll also get my Master the Introvert Mind Workshop and companion workbook as a bonus.
Over to you
Can you relate to what I shared about worrying? How do you stop worrying as a thoughtful introvert? Please do share your comments below. I’d love to hear from you! 🙂
A recent hike in Vermont. Follow me on Instagram.