“Worry is a down payment on a problem you may never have.” Joyce Meyer

Worrying is a chaotic cycle of the unknown, fear, confusion, and doubt.

It’s a feeling in the pit of your stomach that dips when you’re standing still.

It’s that thought in your brain that spins out of control, racing light speed ahead, so fast that you can barely keep up with it. It’s racing and racing while your head is pounding and heart is thumping; your lungs feel as if they might explode.

Who doesn’t worry? Everyone does; we can’t help it.

But, when people say they don’t have time to work out or time to prepare a home cooked meal, they somehow find the time to exercise their fear-based thoughts.

It’s a simple action that is the catalyst for a swoon of wasted time thinking about things that haven’t even happened yet (and probably won’t).

We stress ourselves out over outcomes we can’t control and decisions we’ve already made, second-guessing our behavior and hyper-focusing on miniscule details. It’s the action of sending a text and not getting a response that triggers thoughts of: “Why haven’t they texted me back?”

“Are they mad at me?”

“Should I text them again?”

“Maybe they didn’t get it.”

“What if they’re hurt or got in an accident?”

You get the picture. They’re pointless. All of a sudden, we’re working ourselves up, unable to concentrate on the present moment of reading a book or listening to a friend’s conversation.

We literally have thousands of thoughts per day.

Different studies show different numbers, but it’s a range of 50,000-70,000 thoughts…a day!

On top of that, some studies show that 80% of those thoughts are negative. Now, how have they deduced that? Who knows! The point isn’t whether that number is accurate or not. The point is to get you thinking about your individual thoughts.

Would you say 80% of your thoughts are negative?

How many of our thoughts serve us, and how many of them harm us?

These thoughts that come from a cycle of worry need to be slowed down. One worrying thought can produce ten, twenty, or fifty more.

When you find yourself in spiraling worry, take a deep breath and tell yourself to pause. Then, ask that simple question: is this thought serving me?

Taking the deep breath helps you to step away from the thought. Asking the question triggers you to think about something else. Instead of thinking about the worry, you think about if it’s helping you. When you recognize that it’s not, it’s a lot easier to break the cycle and begin anew. Because what you’re worrying about, stressing about, and preoccupying yourself over may never even come to exist.

Jordan Nicholson graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutritionwhere she studied innovative coaching methods, over 100 dietary theories, and practical lifestyle management techniques. She also is a certified yoga instructor (200 hr RYT).