17 Tips For Living Worry-Free

Medically reviewed by Dr. April Brewer, DBH, LPC
Updated May 1, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
A woman with long dark hair and a yellow collared shirt over a white tee pinches the bridge of her nose with her eyes closed and an upset expression.
Getty/VadymPastukh
Learn to let go of that which you cannot control

Many people often wonder what it would be like to live a worry-free life. Millions of people around the world cope with daily stress. According to the American Psychological Association, more than 25% of adults in the United States report living with so much stress that they feel they can’t function normally. 

While a certain amount of worry is to be expected, pathological worry can be problematic. Studies have shown that pathological worry is one of the primary causes of generalized anxiety disorder. To effectively address symptoms of anxiety, consider using the following 17 strategies for living a more worry-free life:

1. Accept that worry doesn’t serve you

Some people have the mistaken idea that worry is a good thing. They feel that worry makes them more productive and prepared and shows that they care about situations and people.

However, obsessive worry can be unhealthy for you and those around you. When you worry unnecessarily, it can keep you and those around you from living life to the fullest. Also, physical health conditions can result from excessive worry. Worry can cause weight gain and high blood pressure, among other conditions.

2. Recognize the source of your worry

One of the next steps in building a worry-free life is to recognize where your worry comes from. For many people, constantly worrying about certain situations or people stems from past trauma. When you recognize that trauma is the source of your worry, you can do your best to cope with the past and let go of what is out of your control. When you are no longer living in the past, you may find that your worry has much less of a negative impact on your present.

If you are experiencing trauma, support is available. Please see our Get Help Now page for more resources.

3. Be mindful of your thoughts

One of the most important things you can do to reduce your stress is to be mindful of your thoughts. Pathological worry has been thought to be related to imaginal cognitive activity, or essentially your imagination running away with you.

However, recent studies have shown that generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is based more on thoughts than imagination. Thinking about something obsessively can lead to worrying about it to the point of clinical anxiety. Being mindful of your thoughts and consciously trying to put aside unreasonable thoughts can go a long way toward reducing worry in your life.

4. Recognize what you cannot control

To live mostly worry-free, it may help to recognize that you cannot control everything and to let go of what you cannot control. This does not mean that you let go of everything and just wait to see what happens. Addressing aspects of your life that you can control may give you a sense of safeness and planning that can also reduce worry. However, if something is truly out of your control, you may experience less stress by letting it go.

5. Strive to live in the present

When you are constantly worrying about what might happen, you are not learning to live in the present since you are living in a fearful future. This can prevent you from enjoying life. Instead of thinking often about the future, you might try changing your mindset to focus on the present.

When you live in the present, you can take action to do what you can to prevent future problems, but you won't be thinking obsessively about what might happen in the future. You can accept that the future will bring what it will, and you focus your efforts on doing the right thing in the present.

A man with short dark hair, goatee, and a gray suit and purple tie smiles as he stands outside with his phone in his hands.
Getty/AnnaStills

6. Have faith that things will work out

When you have faith that things will work out how they are supposed to, it may help you let go of your fear. Some people find great comfort in having faith in a higher power, such as nature or the universe. This allows them to feel as though that higher power will take care of them and make sure that everything works out the way it should. If you can have this type of faith, it may decrease your worry.

7. Be prepared

One of the best ways to work toward a worry-free life is to be prepared. When you have something coming up in the future that has you worried, you can devise a plan to prepare for that situation or event. Once all preparations have been made, try letting it go and waiting to see how the situation plays out.

It is possible to be overly prepared for something. While it is wise to prepare for storms, tornados, or other natural disasters common to your geographical area, it is possible to go overboard. For example, hoarding stockpiles of food and supplies may be unnecessary. That said, a healthy amount of preparation may reduce your anxiety. 

8. Make checklists

Like being prepared, checklists can help you eliminate your worry by taking action. When you make a checklist throughout your preparations, it can help you make sure that you do not forget any important details.

Making a checklist can also give you a visual of what you have done to prepare. When everything on the checklist is complete, you can look at the checked-off list and know that there is nothing more to worry about.

9. Don't dwell on completed tasks

Once all of your tasks on your checklists are complete and preparations have been made, you can try to let it go and focus your efforts elsewhere. When you spend a lot of time dwelling on things you have already done, you cannot focus on what needs to be accomplished next. Unhealthy worry often comes from dwelling on things that are already done or that you cannot control.

10. Don't worry about what others think

One of the things that many people worry about is what others think. You may worry about what others are thinking about you, your family, or what you are doing. What other people think is largely out of your control.

When you recognize that you are better off being who you truly are around everyone, you might conclude that it doesn't matter what other people think. When you stop concerning yourself with the thoughts of others, you may find it easier to live a mostly worry-free life.

11. Avoid overanalyzing situations

Obsessive thoughts are often a main source of pathological worry. When you overanalyze situations, it can influence your thoughts and create a vicious cycle of obsession and worry. 

It can be helpful to look at a situation from multiple perspectives to prepare for the future as best as you can. However, if you spend so much time analyzing situations that you never take action, you are likely going too far. Instead, you might aim to think about a situation for what it is, take action, and then move forward.

12. Be patient

Sometimes everyone experiences low levels of patience. When you don't exercise much patience, it can cause you to worry more than you would normally. You may discover that the less patience you have, the more you worry about what may happen in the future.

It often takes some practice to develop patience, but if you can increase your level of patience when waiting for situations to resolve themselves, it can help you limit how much you worry.

13. Look for good things to be happy about

Whenever you catch yourself worrying, you might try turning to the things and people that bring you joy and fulfillment. When you are looking for things to be happy about, it puts your mindset firmly in the present. It allows you to recognize that many things in life are good.

Looking for things to be happy about can also help put your fears at ease. Worrying about the possibility of losing things in the future can prevent you from enjoying what you have now. This can be especially true of relationships. If you are constantly worried about what you will do if a relationship ends, you may not appreciate the relationship that you have now.

Getty/HalfpointImages
Learn to let go of that which you cannot control

14. Practice gratitude

Research shows that gratitude can make a difference in well-being throughout life. It focuses your mind and emotions on those things for which you can be thankful. When you recognize how many gifts and connections you have in your life, it can help you to set your worry aside for another day.

One way to put this into practice is to keep a record of what you value in your life. You can do this in a gratitude journal or create a social media post. Every day, at the beginning or end of the day, you can name at least one thing from the day for which you are grateful.

15. Simplify your life

Simplifying your life can give you fewer things to worry about. When your life is as simple as you can make it, you have less to worry about regarding what you have to lose. This strategy also allows you to focus more on the present and what you have.

To simplify your life, you can start by decluttering your space. Clutter can be physical or intangible, such as emotional clutter. For example, you can cut off unhealthy relationships, reduce your belongings, and live as minimally as possible. When you do this, you may experience less stress because you won't have as many things in your life to worry about.

16. Meditate and devote time to self-care

When you find yourself worrying, you might consider practicing some basic meditation. Meditation can help you refocus your mind and stop worrying. You can meditate for just a few minutes whenever you start catching yourself worrying about something.

Self-care can also make a difference when it comes to worry. To begin, you can make sure you are eating well, sleeping well, and taking time out to care for yourself. This can help you care more not only for yourself but also for those around you.

17. Build a supportive relationship with a therapist

If you try these methods and continue to experience anxiety and excessive worrying, you might consider seeking the help of a therapist. 

A therapist may be able to help you identify the causes of your worry and teach you evidence-based methods to cope with daily stressors. If you are feeling anxious about visiting a therapist’s office, you might try online therapy, which research has shown to be effective for anxiety and depression.

BetterHelp’s online licensed therapists and counselors can help you learn how to reduce your tendency to worry. They can teach you techniques to replace old, worn-out thinking patterns of worry with new ones that focus on the positive and the present. You can meet with your online therapist anywhere at a time convenient for you. Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar concerns.

Counselor reviews

“Juli-Ann was an amazing counselor for me! She helped me in dealing with my insomnia, fear of failure, worrying, and also how to assert myself as well. She always responded in a timely manner and really knew what my needs were. She made me feel like and taught me how to live again. I'll always be incredibly greatful for talking to her!”’ 

“Pam is amazing. She’s been my favorite counselor of the counselors I’ve had! She spends time going through the things that are of most worry or importance to me and helps challenge me in ways that make me a better person and partner.” 

Takeaway

If you’re experiencing excessive worry or anxiety, you don’t have to face it alone. You can be matched with a therapist from BetterHelp’s network of more than 25,000 therapists, and you can always change therapists if needed. Qualified, caring professionals are ready to support you in your efforts to live a worry-free life. Take the first step and reach out to BetterHelp today.
Take control of worry and anxiety with support
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet started