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3 Ways to Prevent Toxic Worry

In small doses, stress can be experienced in positive ways. Stress can help people continue to feel interested, motivated and challenged. But when the stresses of life converge and mutate into toxic worry, people can find themselves discouraged...

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“The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.” –Robert Frost

In small doses, stress can be experienced in positive ways. Stress can help people continue to feel interested, motivated and challenged. But when the stresses of life converge and mutate into toxic worry, people can find themselves discouraged and overwhelmed. Chronic worrying can even pose health risks.

In the Harvard Business Review “Management Tip of the Day” from earlier this week, managers are encouraged to confront worries before they reach toxic levels by following the 3 tips below:

1. Don't worry alone. Talk to someone you trust — a friend, partner, or colleague — about your concerns. Sometimes just talking can be a relief, and your listener may provide some reassuring guidance.

2. Get the facts. Often a small problem can get blown out of proportion. Before you let worry consume you, get the facts. Find out what, and how big, the real problem is.

3. Let it go. When you can't do anything about the problem, give it up and forget about it. This may be easier said than done, but it is worth the conscious effort.

HELPGUIDE.org supports the idea that conscious effort can make a difference. Chronic worrying is a learning habit that can be broken if you learn how to train your brain to stay calm and collected and by looking at life from a more positive perspective. Their 5 tips address the psychology of worrying:

1. Accept uncertainty.

2. Create a worry period.

3. Challenge negative thoughts.

4. Learn how to relax.

5. Take care of yourself.

To learn some specific strategies and exercises for taming a constantly worrying mind, you can read the article How to Stop Worrying: Self-Help Strategies for Anxiety Relief.