When was the last time you felt afraid? Last week when you thought you were going to fail your algebra quiz? Yesterday when your mom saw your dirty room that you promised you’d clean? Today when you realized that you forgot to pick your little brother up from band practice after school?

Everybody worries. Worrying is a normal part of life. Sometimes we worry about little things that really don’t matter in the long run, and sometimes we worry about legitimate things that are worth your time to think about. Is it possible to worry too much? It’s definitely possible to worry more than you should, and to worry about things that really aren’t worth worrying about. So how do you know the difference, and how do you stop worrying?

Worrying is a problem when it starts to interfere with your everyday life. Has worry ever stopped you from hanging out with friends or joining a sports team or club at school? Do you worry excessively about what people will think about you or what you will look like if you make a mistake? Does your worry cause you to have an upset stomach or headaches?

News flash……nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Actually it’s usually a relief when you see someone make a mistake because you realize they aren’t perfect either. It’s legitimate to worry about big things like the speech you have to give in front of the class next week, or the big test you have coming up soon. However, when you notice that you are spending more time worrying about things than you are actually enjoying them, it’s time to make some changes.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you think you might worry too much:

What percentage of your day do you spend worrying about things?

  • Are you worrying about things that you have no control over?
  • Do you worry about the same things over and over?
  • How often do you worry about things that probably won’t ever happen?
  • How much time are you spending worrying about the "what if’s" in life?

Tips to help you stop worrying:

  • Give yourself 10 minutes a day to worry about things. After that whenever you notice yourself worrying, tell yourself it will still be there tomorrow.
  • Do a Brain Dump. When your thoughts become overwhelming, write them down. Sometimes it helps to get it out of your head and on paper.
  • Talk to someone you trust about your worries. They can help you work through them. They may help you brainstorm ways to reduce your stress or they might help you gain perspective to see that maybe the things you’re worried about aren’t that big in the grand scheme of life.

Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.

-Erma Bombeck