Video by Karolyne Roberts

Do you find yourself constantly worrying about things in life that are beyond your control? If so, you’re not alone.

Learning how to stop worrying about things you can’t control is critical for your mental health and well-being.

In this blog post, I’ll explore practical strategies backed by science and faith to help you stop excessive worrying and train your mind to focus on the present moment.

You’ll also discover healthy thought patterns and a biblical framework for trusting God with the uncertainties of life.

Why We Worry

Why We Worry

Most people worry as a natural reaction to perceived threats in life. Our brains are wired to problem-solve and envision future scenarios.

This can easily spiral into chronic worry and anxiety when we focus on worst-case scenarios.

From a spiritual perspective, our tendency to react with fear instead of faith goes back to humanity’s fall into sin.

Ever since Adam and Eve distrusted God’s goodness in the Garden of Eden, we’ve battled with worry rooted in a lack of trust. As one pastor put it:

“What you worry about the most often reveals where you trust God the least.”

While normal concern leads to positive action, excessive worry keeps us stuck in fear of imagined futures. Since over 90% of worries never happen, worrying robs us of peace yet rarely changes outcomes.

So why do we keep worrying? Understanding the roots of anxiety can help us target it through practical steps.

Train Your Brain to Stay Present

Train Your Brain to Stay Present

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

Since worrying means obsessing about the uncertain future, a logical antidote is to intentionally focus your mind on the present moment.

This will redirect your mental energy away from imagined negative scenarios back to current realities you can control.

3 Practical ways to stay grounded in the moment include:

  • Pay attention to physical sensations, sounds, or smells happening right now. Describe them in detail to yourself.
  • Try deep breathing while silently counting each inhale and exhale. Let relaxing sensations wash over you.
  • Go for a mindful walk noticing nature around you instead of being trapped in worries.

As you take small mindful steps to acknowledge your present experience, worry will naturally fade into the background.

Research shows that regular mindfulness training literally changes your brain patterns to reduce anxiety over time.

Identify What You Can Control

Identify What You Can Control

Since worrying tends to fixate on worst-case outcomes, it often relates to situations where we feel a loss of control. Ironically, research confirms that a perceived lack of control itself causes significant stress.

On the other hand, studies show that a greater sense of control in any situation can markedly lower anxiety levels.

Even having some control options available (like asking for help or more time) can reduce worrying thoughts.

So, practically speaking, how much control do we actually have? More than we think!

Here are 5 areas of life you can control:

  1. Your reactions: Control how you choose to respond even if you can’t control circumstances.
  2. Preparation: Control efforts you make to equip yourself for challenges ahead.
  3. Willingness: Control your openness to receive guidance and support.
  4. Perspective: Control choice to see difficulties as growth opportunities.
  5. Priorities: Control where you invest limited time and energy daily.

While you can’t control everything, you have power over what matters most – your relationship with God.

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

As you seek His kingdom first, material worries will fade and eternal significance will come into view.

4 Biblical Keys to Overcome Worry

4 Biblical Keys to Overcoming Worry

More than any other source, the Bible provides divine revelation and practical advice for finding freedom from anxiety.

Let’s walk through key biblical principles for worrying less and trusting God more:

1. Recognize the Futility of Worry

Jesus directly tells us:

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”

Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

He asks a rhetorical question with an obvious answer:

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Matthew 6:27 (NIV)

Worry fails to change outcomes yet always steals your peace.

2. Replace Fear with Faith

In the same passage, Jesus points to birds who don’t worry since God feeds them. Yet aren’t we “much more valuable” to God than birds? (Matthew 6:26).

If you trust God’s care for sparrows, you can release your faith to replace fear.

3. Refocus on God’s Kingdom

Jesus concludes this teaching with the antidote to anxiety:

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

As you realign your priorities towards God, material worries will fade and lose grip over you.

4. Receive God’s Peace

Beyond practical efforts to reduce anxiety, Jesus directly offers us His enduring peace that “transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) saying:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27 (NIV)

Through faith, you can receive supernatural peace and comfort in any storm of life.

Healthy Coping Strategies to Stop Worrying

Healthy Coping Strategies

Whether you’re facing brief anxiety or long-term worry cycles, it helps to fill your coping toolkit with research-backed stress management skills.

Here are 5 healthy ways to relieve worrying:

1. Practice relaxation techniques

From deep breathing to progressive muscle relaxation, calming your body through various methods signals safety to your mind.

This will lower stress hormones that perpetuate worrying thoughts.

2. Challenge anxious thinking

Since worrying often exaggerates negative possibilities, write down anxious thoughts and then list factual evidence against them.

This will put fearful imaginings in perspective.

3. Limit worrying time

To break the constant habit of worrying, set aside 30 minutes a day for “worry time” instead of letting it fill your whole day.

4. Distract yourself

Practice positive distractions like exercise, hobbies, or social interaction to redirect your mind away from worrying ruts. Even mundane chores can shift mental gears.

5. Try therapy or support groups

If worrying feels uncontrollable, seek counseling or peer support. Accepting anxiety as a common struggle helps to reduce shame while professional guidance equips you with healthy coping strategies.

As you patiently put such solutions into practice, you can retrain worry-prone minds toward steadier peace.

And over time, choose faith over fear coming back to this truth: God holds the future, so we don’t have to!

Key Takeaways

  • Learn to halt excessive worrying by training your mind to stay grounded in the present moment through mindfulness practices. This will redirect your thoughts from imagined futures back to current realities.
  • Remember you have more control than you think in how you choose to respond, prepare, adjust perspectives, and invest your limited time and energy.
  • Replace worries with a prayer to God in prayer while soaking in Biblical truths of His complete trustworthiness for the uncertainties ahead. Faith is the antidote to fear.
  • Try proven stress relief tactics from deep breathing to writing down anxious thoughts. And don’t hesitate to seek counseling if worrying persists without relief.
  • Over time, replacing panic with peace in the present trains your brain away from obsessing over unpredictable futures to instead trust God who holds time and eternity alike.

FAQs About Overcoming Worry

Here are answers to common questions about reducing worrying thoughts:

Q. Is it possible to completely stop worrying?

A. Since worrying is a natural reaction, the goal isn’t to eliminate it but to keep it from becoming excessive. With mindful effort, you can significantly decrease time spent worrying.

Q. I worry all the time. Could I have an anxiety disorder?

A. If worrying feels constant without relief or control, consider seeking an assessment for general anxiety disorder (GAD) or related conditions. Many effective treatments can help regulate chronic anxiety.

Q. What if what I’m worrying about actually happens?

A. Remember – over 90% of worries never happen, and those that do are typically not as bad as imagined. For difficulties that arise, trust God who has the power to carry you through with His peace and strength.

Q. How long does it take to break the habit of constant worrying?

A. It depends on the individual and severity of anxiety, but research on “cognitive behavioral therapy” for anxiety shows most people experience relief within 12 weeks through targeted mindset changes combined with coping strategies.

Q. What worries me most is the future – things I can’t predict or control. How do I deal with that?

A. The unknown future triggers more worrying than anything else for most people. Practicing mindful presence, distinguishing real threats from imagined ones, and releasing your cares to God gradually build confidence that He holds the future.

Let these healthy perspectives and practical solutions equip you to trade anxiety for lasting peace as you release your worries and rest in God’s hands. His grace is sufficient for every moment.

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