Even if you’re a glass half-full kind of girl, you probably worry about your kids. And although that worry will probably continue after your child turns 18, there are ways to manage the fears and anxieties that tend to consume us on a daily basis. Here are nine:
Put things in perspective
“Worry is always rooted in fear, 100 percent of the time,” according to Kristine Carlson, author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms. “Worry is pretty much a waste of your energy. The things that we’re most worried about probably will not happen.”
So instead of focusing on the ‘what ifs’, Carlson suggests realizing that many problems are temporary and that your child’s life is really a journey, rather than a series of small events.
Think the worst…just for a second
By asking yourself how realistic the worst case scenario is, you’ll most likely realize that you’re thinking in an exaggerated way, according to Karol Ward, a licensed clinical social worker and author of Worried Sick: Break Free from Chronic Worry to Achieve Mental and Physical Health.
“You worry a lot when you feel like life is out of control,” Carlson said, adding that you can solve your worry by having a plan or strategy for addressing the problem. So if you identify what the problem really is, why you’re worried about it and ways you can change it, your worry will most likely subside.
Let it simmer
If a problem needs your immediate attention, by all means tackle it but sometimes putting your worries on the backburner to simmer is the best way to handle it, according to Carlson who says the solution will ultimately come to you.
“They’re not going to go away if they’re real problems,” Carlson said. “But oftentimes if we’re really focused on all the small things that are worrying us, then we can’t deal with what’s at hand.”
Breathe, meditate, or relax
When you’re stressed, you’re less likely to come up with the best solution. Plus, you won’t be able to stop worrying if you’re physically and mentally in a state of stress. But by taking five minutes to breathe deeply, meditate or practice progressive muscle relaxation techniques, you’ll be able to relax and get the clarity you need to move forward.
Give up control
Sometimes there isn’t a clear-cut solution or you simply need to allow your child to figure it out for himself.
“Letting go is such a huge undertaking for most people, and especially for women because it means we have to release control,” Carlson said. “You can’t always rescue them. You have to see your job more as a guide than anything else.”
“There is a tendency to try to interpret everything through the filter of the mom,” Ward said. So when dealing with a worry, it’s important to take a step back and decide if you’re projecting your feelings on your child or if this is actually something to worry about.
News of abductions, shootings, and sexual abuse scandals are enough to put any parent on edge. Plus, if you’re constantly reading and researching, you’re trying to stay on top of your anxiety, which isn’t realistic, according to Ward.
“If you over-saturate yourself, and are constantly trying to anticipate every disaster coming down the pike, then you’re going to be in a constant state of anxiety all the time,” Ward said. So limit the amount of media you consume on a daily basis and you’ll be less stressed out.
Exercise not only releases tension and those feel good endorphins, it also disrupts the repetitive thoughts that can consume your mind. “If you’re walking and putting your focus on something else, you can’t always hold on to those worries and thoughts going over and over in your head,” Ward said.
Sometimes talking to other, more experienced moms who are level-headed can help you work through some of your angst. “Borrow a little bit of their calmness until you can develop it within yourself,” Ward said.
Julie Revelant is a health journalist and a consultant who provides content marketing and copywriting services for the healthcare industry. She's also a mom of two. Learn more about Julie at revelantwriting.com.