How To Stop Worrying And Feel Better As An Expat
Written exclusively for Expat Network by Eve Romley, Personal Trainer
That is not all. When you suffer chronic worrying, especially when you worry about things that are beyond human control, many people around you may translate your conduct as irrational, so they start avoiding you. That is why, like all other mental health problems, frequent worrying can seriously hurt your relationships, ruin your career, negatively impact you emotionally and mentally, lower your productivity at work, and hurt your self-esteem, among other negative effects. Don’t allow that to happen. Take it upon yourself to control your worrying and feel better. Here are 7 tips that might help you with that.
- Acknowledge the worry
You don’t have to be a hero on matters regarding mental health. Accept that you are worried and stop pushing back against the reasons for your worries. Note that accepting does not mean you should surrender to fate, or you should give worries too much attention. It means acknowledging that running away from them will only drag you deeper into the mud, so you stop running and instead start working to change your experience.
Note: The success of the following 6 tips will be dependent on this first tip.
- Share your worries with a loved one
Again, don’t be a hero. Ask for help whenever you feel like you’ve become a captive of your own worries. And because we mentioned that chronic worrying can push people away from you, you have to make a conscious and deliberate effort to reach out to a trusted friend or family member and share your troubles with them. In cases of expats, this is hard, given that family and friends may be away. However, you should go out and try to make some friends who can help your deal with the problem. They will not understand your situation unless you explain it to them, but you can bet that they will be a great source of support if you allow them the chance.
On top of providing you with empathy and understanding, loved ones can be great advisors too. These are people who know you well, so they can whip you back to reality if your worries are as a result of being too invested in fantasy. If you are worried about your financial life, they can bail you out either by advising you on matters of finance management or by taking you under their wing until you get back on your feet. Friends and family can also give you a different perspective on love, romantic relationships, career, and family problems. And even when they don’t have anything of value to say to you, knowing that someone has the patience, and is always available, to listen to your worries can be therapeutic in its own way.
- Seek professional help
If your chronic worrying is morphing into anxiety disorder and/or depression, the best solution is to seek help from a life coach, a psychiatrist, or any other professional who has previously helped you through a challenging mental issue. You can also get help from your religious leaders if you are a religious person.
- Join a support group
Group therapy can also help you deal with worries. Join local support groups for anxiety, depression, and other mental health support groups. If you don’t know of such a group in your location, try online support forums but be careful not to be taken advantage of by opportunistic online fraudsters.
- Take the bike path to relaxation
Regular physical activity can help you relieve stress and worries. Biking, for example, can reduce the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in your body. Riding through nature can magnify this benefit. If pedaling a standard bike hurts your knees or if your fitness level doesn’t allow you to bike for long, consider investing in electric bike kits to convert your regular bike into a pedal-assist. Now go out and spend time in nature in order to boost your enjoyment and motivation.
- Limit your worries
Have you ever heard about the stop-loss strategy? This is a strategy that investors in stock trading use to put a ceiling on how much loss they can tolerate. When a losing trade gets to the set ceiling, an investor knows that it is time to park up and exit. You can borrow a leaf from this strategy. Set a ceiling for how much psychological turmoil you can tolerate, after which you call it quits. Just decide to stop wasting your mental energy on issues that you cannot recover from or win against.
Meditation helps you live in the present, so you don’t dwell too much on the past, or waste too much mental energy worrying about the future. It helps you halt the seemingly endless loop of negative thoughts and worries. You can find a professional to guide you through the meditation process, or you can rely on online meditation resources.
Humans cannot run away from worries, doubts, and anxieties, especially with the looming Covid-19 pandemic among us. In fact, mild worry is what pushes us to outdo ourselves and achieve big goals. But you should take steps to worry as minimally as you possibly can in order to keep serious mental problems at bay. You can do it if you put your mind to it.