If you want to live with less worry and anxiety, say goodbye to these 8 behaviors

Living with constant worry and anxiety — it’s like carrying a heavy backpack that you just can’t seem to put down.

You might not even realize the weight of it until you start to feel the strain on your shoulders, the ache in your back.

At first glance, they may seem harmless, but they can greatly contribute to your overall levels of worry and anxiety.

But the good news?

Once you identify these behaviors, you can start to say goodbye to them. And in doing so, you pave the way for a life with less worry and anxiety.

In this article, I’m going to share with you 8 behaviors that, if waved goodbye, can lead to a more peaceful and less anxious existence.

1) You’re constantly thinking about the future

Let’s admit it: worry and anxiety have a sneaky way of creeping into our minds, especially when it comes to the future.

The thing is, worrying incessantly about what’s yet to come is like trying to predict the weather a month from now. It’s not only impossible, but it also drains your energy and increases your anxiety levels.

Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t plan for the future or set goals. What I’m saying is that there’s a difference between planning and worrying.

Planning involves setting a course for where you want to go and taking steps to get there. Worrying, on the other hand, is like being stuck in a hamster wheel of “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios.

But how can you get over this harmful cycle?

Here’s the thing:

When you find yourself spiraling into worry about the future, it can be helpful to remind yourself of this: the future isn’t something to be feared. It’s simply a series of nows that we’ll meet when we get there.

Letting go of this behavior can make a significant difference in your overall worry and anxiety levels. And remember, it’s okay not to have all the answers. Life is a journey of discovery.

2) You’re a perfectionist

Perfectionism. Now there’s a tricky beast.

On the surface, striving for perfection might seem like a good thing. After all, doesn’t it mean you’re trying to be the best you can be?

Well, not exactly.

You see, real perfectionism isn’t just doing your best. In reality, it means believing that anything less than perfect is unacceptable.

Not surprisingly, that’s the thing that can easily spiral into anxiety.

That’s why I’m sure about one thing:

Perfection is an illusion. It’s a standard that no one can truly achieve because it’s always just out of reach.

The more you chase it, the more it eludes you.

What’s more, perfectionism can actually hinder your progress rather than help it. It leaves you in a constant state of dissatisfaction with your efforts and feeds into your worry and anxiety.

3) You’re neglecting self-care

We’ve all been there. You know, when you’re so focused on achieving that above-mentioned perfection in every task, you forget about taking care of yourself.

Look, I don’t mean scenarios where you just forget to eat lunch because you’re too busy working or skipping your workout because you have a deadline to meet.

What I mean is consistently deprioritizing yourself and your needs. And sometimes even putting others’ needs and wants before your own.

Sounds familiar?

Well, this behavior can leave you feeling drained, both physically and emotionally, amplifying feelings of worry and anxiety.

Believe it or not, self-care is not selfish, nor is it a sign of weakness.

As a matter of fact, it’s essential for maintaining good mental health. Whether that means taking a break when you’re tired, saying no when you’re overwhelmed, or making time for activities that you enjoy.

Remember: You can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking care of yourself is the first step towards reducing worry and anxiety.

4) You’re avoiding your feelings

Ever find yourself brushing unpleasant feelings under the rug, hoping they’ll just disappear?

Unfortunately, avoidance is not the solution.

Sure, it can 100% provide temporary relief, but you know what?

Those emotions don’t just vanish. They’re still there, lurking in the shadows, ready to resurface when you least expect it.

That’s why I want you to realize this:

Studies show that avoidance is a common behavior among those who struggle with worry and anxiety. It’s as if, by not acknowledging the emotion, we can somehow escape it.

But this tactic often backfires.

The solution?

Instead of running away from your feelings, try to sit with them. Explore them without judgment. Understand what they’re trying to tell you.

It’s okay to feel upset, scared, or anxious. These emotions are part of the human experience.

5) You’re stuck in toxic relationships

signs you need to remove a toxic person from your life 1 If you want to live with less worry and anxiety, say goodbye to these 8 behaviors

Toxic relationships are like quicksand — the more you struggle to make things work, the deeper you sink. And the deeper you sink, the more worry and anxiety you experience.

Let me share some of the common signs of a toxic relationship:

  • Constant criticism and belittlement
  • Lack of respect for boundaries
  • Manipulation and control
  • Feeling drained after interactions
  • Frequent conflict and drama

Perhaps not surprisingly, being in a toxic relationship can significantly increase your levels of worry and anxiety.

That’s why it’s important to recognize these signs and take steps to protect your mental health.

Trust me, you deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. And sometimes, saying goodbye to toxic relationships is the best thing you can do for yourself.

6) You’re always trying to please others

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve fallen into the people-pleasing trap more times than I care to count. Always saying yes, even when I wanted to say no. Always putting others’ happiness before my own.

Sound like you?

Here’s what I learned:

Constantly trying to please others is exhausting. It’s like being on a never-ending treadmill, constantly running but never really getting anywhere.

We need to remember that it’s impossible to make everyone happy all the time.

And let’s be honest, it’s not our job to do so.

It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to prioritize your needs. It’s okay to make decisions that are best for you, even if others might not like them.

To reduce worry and anxiety, you need to start learning how to set boundaries and prioritize yourself. Believe me, it’s a lesson worth learning.

7) You’re holding onto past mistakes

Imagine carrying a heavy bag filled with rocks. Each rock represents a mistake you’ve made in the past. You keep carrying this bag wherever you go, adding more rocks each time you mess up.

How heavy do you think that bag would be?

We all make mistakes. They’re a part of life and they’re how we learn.

But holding onto past mistakes and constantly beating yourself up over them?

That’s not healthy.

So, just ask yourself this: A

re you still holding onto a mistake you made five years ago? One year ago? Even just a week ago?

If the answer is yes, it might be time to let go. Holding onto past mistakes only fuels worry and anxiety.

Why?

Simply because it keeps you stuck in the past, unable to move forward.

Yes, you are not defined by your mistakes. They’re not baggage to carry around but lessons to learn from. Letting go of past mistakes can significantly reduce worry and anxiety, and allow you to embrace the present.

8) You’re neglecting the present moment

And finally, one of the most significant behaviors that contributes to worry and anxiety: neglecting the present moment.

It’s easy to get caught up in what was and what could be, forgetting to appreciate what is.

We spend so much time worrying about the past and future that we miss out on the beauty of the present, don’t we?

But living in the present moment, or mindfulness, is a powerful tool for reducing worry and anxiety. This means that you can be fully engaged in what you’re doing, without distraction or judgment.

How impressive is that?

The truth is that when you’re mindful, you’re not replaying past mistakes or worrying about future problems. You’re simply enjoying the here and now.

If you’re looking for the most impactful steps you can take toward a life with less worry and anxiety, just say goodbye to these behaviors and embrace mindfulness.

It’s perhaps one of the most impactful steps you can take toward a life with less worry and anxiety.

What’s next on your journey?

With these 8 behaviors in mind, it’s time to reflect on your own life.

While recognizing these behaviors in yourself is the first step, the next one is to make changes. And this indeed requires conscious effort and patience.

To help you on this journey, here are some small steps you could start with:

  • Practice mindfulness through daily meditation.
  • Start a gratitude journal to appreciate the present moment.
  • Practice self-compassion when you make mistakes.
  • Seek support from a mental health professional if needed.

But again, don’t expect change to happen overnight. Try to accept that it’s a process that requires time, patience, and kindness towards yourself. 

As you say goodbye to these behaviors, reflect upon the question:

What kind of life do you want to lead, and what small steps can you take today to get there?

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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