How to Stop Obsessively Worrying

Lindsay is on the mark with this advice. It is possible to free yourself! Check out her steps.


by Lindsay Tuttle | Founder of thefoodcure & staff writer for The Snap Mom

I have spent much of my life in a tizzy. Worry, upon worry, upon worry.

I got to the point where about two years ago, I started having panic attacks. I was working overtime at my job (12 hour shifts), leading a bible study, taking 3 grad school classes, had a side job and my dad was on hospice. It’s a wonder my husband didn’t leave me because I was distant, unavailable, and constantly worrying.

I think women in particular are prone to worrying. We seem to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders whether it is something we choose or something we must do. I look back at the worry I chose to have because I was choosing to lead a life that was chaotic and too busy. Was I speeding along toward my personal goals? Yes. Was I making good money? Yes. Was I sacrificing time and energy with those most important to me? Yes.

This is my disclaimer: I am not free from worry. I haven’t “arrived.” But if you ask anybody who has known me for an extended period of time, he/she will tell you I worry a lot less than I used to. What are the keys I’ve used to cut down on worry?

Here are my four keys:

1. Prioritize your health.

Surprised by this one? Your gut health is directly related to your mood and how you feel. Does anyone get ready for a marathon with a bowl of ice cream or busy workday with a Snickers? There are no benefits to these foods, only a nasty stomachache and regret!

Sugar and other junk does this to our gut. It wreaks havoc on our brain and bodies, and our mood. Years ago, when I was stressed out the wazoo, I was living on coffee. In college, splenda, sugar-filled cappuccinos, super sweet smoothies, and frozen yogurt were my best friends. I finished college with honors and my nursing degree, but I also never fully had control over my eating disorder or worry in my life.

There’s a great book from Natasha McBride, the founder of the GAPS diet called ‘Gut & Psychology Syndrome’. McBride discusses in her book the scientific and evidence based literature that directly proves how an unhealthy gut can lead to depression, ADHD, anxiety, and many other mental syndromes. If we don’t take care of our gut, the consequences are dire. Worry is one by product of the turmoil.

The take-home? Treat your gut well, and you will worry less.

2. Remove negative people from your life, and establish boundaries.

That’s right. I said it. Those negative, drama-filled people in your life that do nothing to lift you up but do everything to cause you to worry. Eek! Is this your mother-in-law,sister, or friend? I’m not saying to block them on your phone (though you might need to do this with someone!) or to put walls up around your house. Rather, I’m asking you to look at the people in your life and decide who is positive and who is negative. For those who are negative, whether it be because they bring you down, suck you into drama, take up too much time, or hinder good decision-making, you must set up boundaries to get that positive vibe back in your life and to free yourself from worry.  This might mean not hanging out with the individual as often or actually sitting down with her and having an honest and meaningful conversation. Either way, to work on cutting down worry in your life you need to take a step back, analyze the relationships in your life and decide to be in charge rather than bulldozed.

I have had to do this in my life with friends, and it is usually just for a season. I still love them, and I still appreciate them. However, I know that I must place boundaries on our friendship, so that I can prioritize other areas of my life. Does that sound mean? You can accomplish this maturely and respectfully.

Cut down on your worry by placing boundaries on the relationships that hinder you.

3. Relax and take some deep breaths.

For me, I found this with yoga

I found yoga about a year and a half ago. Having been an athlete my whole life, I had never come to realize that it could include stretching and balance. With yoga, I found so much more strength in my body, and an opportunity to clear my thoughts, remove the worry, and rest the mind.

Maybe yoga isn’t your thing. Maybe going on run helps you worry less. Or going to your favorite park and bringing a book to read. I personally love taking detox baths. Whatever you find relaxing, make sure to include regular doses of it in your life.

Most importantly…breathe!

I have read multiple scientific articles that explain just how good, relaxation breathing is for the body. Don’t even know where to start? Find a quiet time and place and start with just taking a couple deep breaths from your core. Close your eyes, and clear your mind. This might not be easy to do at first (especially if you have a screaming child in the background), but train yourself to relax and take deep breaths. The better you become in this habit, the better you become at finding peace in those chaotic moments.

4. Finally, and most importantly, have faith.

I find that my Christian faith helps me combat worry all the time! Scripture tells me, “Don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough worries of its own.”[Matthew 6:34] What a relief! This verse helps me to focus on taking care of today and taking one day at a time, rather than getting ahead of myself and starting to worry.

Whether you believe in God or not, we can agree that to combat worry, it is important to focus on the present day and making the most of it.

Another piece of scripture says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:6-8]

Peace combats worry. When you make it a point to find and prioritize peace in your life, you will find it easier to put worry at bay. Whether this is through prayer, eating healthier, establishing boundaries in relationships, or finding time to relaxin your day, peace can be found and established in many ways. It might not be easy, but it is certainly worthwhile.

Spend less time worrying and more time living!

About the author

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Lindsay Tuttle is a 28-year-old God-loving mama, wife, nurse, and blogger. Currently in her last 6 months of my graduate studies to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, which she plans to use to practice integrative and functional medicine with a focus on nutritional healing and autoimmune disease. Visit her blog at http://thefoodcure.blogspot.com/ and subscribe to receive weekly healthy recipes, remedies and to just share in this crazy thing called “life.”