Worry and anxiety are caused by your emotions. Worry is a normal response to uncertainty and we all experience uncertainty from time to time; however excessive worrying will drain your emotional energy, interfere with your day-to-day functioning and cause very high anxiety levels. The good news is that excessive or chronic worrying is just a mental habit and you can train yourself to break the cycle of worry and anxiety.

You cannot eliminate worry because you cannot eliminate uncertainty in your life. In fact the more you try to not worry about something the more your mind is likely to focus on whatever is troubling you. However, you can increase your emotional intelligence which is the ability to identify, assess, and manage your emotions and emotional responses.

"That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change,

but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent." -- Chinese Proverb

Identify the Signs of Worry
The first thing you must do to control disproportionate worrying is to recognize the signs of it. We all handle stress and anxiety differently therefore you need to identify the emotional, mental, and physical signs that you exhibit such as:

* Do you have a nervous habit, such as nail biting, that is exaggerated during times of anxiety?
* Are you more restless?
* Are you experiencing increased frequency of headaches, tension, or body aches?
* Do you have difficulty sleeping or falling asleep?
* Is there a change in your appetite?
* Are you spending an unreasonable amount of time over-analyzing something?
* Do you have difficulty focusing?
* Are you more on edge or have less patience?
* Do you have fluttering (butterflies) or pain (ulcers) in your stomach?
* Are you using alcohol, drugs, or food as a distraction or a crutch?

These are just some of the signs that you might experience as a result of excessive worrying but it is important that you be able to quickly acknowledge the signs of worry that you show evidence of.

Assess Your Worry

Once you have recognized that you are worrying to the point of manifesting physical symptoms or mental stress the next course of action is to assess your worrying.

There are endless causes for worry; a presentation you have to make, a medical test that you need, meeting new people, and making big decisions are all examples of the type of things that can cause us to worry excessively. But assessing your worry is something you need to do the work on by yourself or with someone who can offer you support such as a loved one, a therapist, or a counselor. Below are a few questions you can ask yourself to start the assessment process.

* Are you a People Pleaser?

Many of us, especially women, worry about pleasing other people. Like young children, we have a great desire to make others happy. People pleasers need love, acceptance, praise, and appreciation from others in order to feel good about them selves. Emotional intelligence tells us that we should love, accept, and appreciate ourselves but self doubt and insecurity often over power logic. If you can recognize and accept that you are a people pleaser, it is easier to refocus your energy away from worrying.

* Is the object of your worry something that you can Control?

Worrying about things that you have no control over will take a heavy toll on your emotional well being and leave you feeling like a nervous wreck. You can ultimately only control your own actions and reactions. You cannot control the future or other people’s actions and reactions in that future.

* Is your worry based on Reality?

Some people tend to over generalize a negative experience expecting that if it happened once it will keep on happening. An example would be that if you were in an accident before you’re convinced it will happen again, or, if you fail a test that you’ll never be good at that subject.

Other unrealistic worries are caused by expecting worse-case-scenarios to happen such as “they are calling for a lot of rain – my basement might flood”, or, “my doctor wants to discuss my test results – I probably have cancer”.

And yet other worries might be based on subconscious beliefs such as “my mother died at age 39 – I’ll die young too”, or, “I’m not smart – I’ll never succeed”, or, “my father cheated on my mother – all men, including my husband, cheat”.

Manage Your Worry

Attempts to ignore or deny your feelings of fear, anxiety, and worry won’t make them cease to exist but there are several strategies you can use that will help you manage your worries so that they do not take prominence in your day-to-day functioning. No single tactic will have a great effect on your mental state however combining several of the approaches below will reduce your anxiety levels.

* Reach out for Support

Trying to manage your worries by yourself can sometimes add to feelings of being powerless or alone but discussing your worries with a loved one or a friend can make them seem less threatening. Short term counseling or a local or online support group may also be of benefit if you don’t have a good support system at home.

* Practice Relaxation and Breathing Exercises

It is impossible to feel stressed and feel relaxed at the same time so practice simple deep breathing, relaxation exercises, or mediation. There are many relaxation techniques that when practiced regularly can reduce stress and worry so experiment and find something that works for you.

* Set aside Time to Worry

Since we can’t reliably predict the future there will always be uncertainty in our lives. This uncertainty is what breeds worry therefore we will always have worry but it does not need to dominate our every waking hour. Instead of trying to eliminate your worry try to develop the habit of postponing worrying. Set a period of time that you will devote to your worries that doesn’t interfere with your responsibilities but also is not too late in the day that your worrisome thoughts are going to make you anxious at bedtime. Postponing worrying can be very effective because it helps you break the habit of focusing on worries in the present moment.

* Examine and Challenge your Worry

By examining and challenging the emotion that is causing you to worry you will develop a more balanced perspective of the problem. Ask yourself what evidence there is that this worry is true. What are the odds of it really happening? Does worrying about it help me in any way? How is worrying about it hurting me? Is there a more positive or realistic way to think? What would I tell a loved one or friend who had this worry?

* Knowledge is Power

Being informed about the thing that is worrying you will help to put your mind at ease. In this age of readily available information there is no reason to muddle through your problems without understanding them.

* Raise your Emotional Intelligence

There are many books, articles and websites devoted to self improvement and raising your emotional awareness and intelligence. By learning to understand and manage your emotions you will increase your ability to cope during challenging or difficult times, control strong impulses, rebound quickly from disappointment or loss, and recognize when it is time to ask for and get support.

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow,
It only saps today of its joy - Leo Buscaglia"

Author's Bio: 

Author / Speaker Nancy Latimer shares information and advice about coping during times of hardship. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much life experience you have, if you are facing a hardship in your life then there is a message or a lesson in that hardship. Knowing that we are not alone in our hardship is comforting and reassuring. Understanding that there is a message for us in hardship is enlightening!