Worrying about everything? Try these 4 ideas

Stress and worry is a natural response to uncertainty - plenty of people worry about the future every now and then. But when do natural worries become overwhelming? The Happiness Institute’s Dr Tim Sharp and nib explain what to do so you can prevent your worries turning into a health problem.

By Citro nib and Dr Tim Sharp

Lying in bed at night worrying about the future is a common experience for all age groups.

“Worrying about the future is normal and, to some extent, healthy and helpful,” says Dr Tim Sharp (aka Dr Happy), Chief Happiness Officer at The Happiness Institute. 

“Thinking about the future allows us to plan and to prepare for what’s to come.” 

It’s only when the worrying moves from “realistic and constructive” to “abnormal or unhealthy” that you may need to act, notes Tim.

“If your worry is exaggerated, or what we call ‘catastrophising’ – or is completely out of perspective and impacting on your ability to function – then that can be problematic.” 

Fortunately, there are ways you can work on your worrying and gain a more realistic perspective.

Worry antidote 1: Be present and acknowledge the worry

If you’ve ever been told “don’t worry” or to “just push” your worries away, you’ll know that it doesn’t really work. 

“In fact, the research suggests this can actually make things worse due to what we call a ‘rebound effect’”, Tim says. “The more a person tries to resist having worrying thoughts, the more these thoughts persist.” 

A more effective approach, Tim advises, is to accept anxiety and worrying thoughts – or “let them be” – and then work towards solutions to your worries. 

For example, if you’re worrying about financial stress and possible interest-rate hikes, or where your relationship with your partner is headed, acknowledge these worries and accept that they are real and common problems.

The next step is to do what you can to fix the situation. What changes can you make? Is there someone you can go to for help or advice? 

Worry antidote 2: Practise relaxation techniques to settle yourself

If you’re finding yourself stressed with worry, relaxation techniques can help calm your mind and body. Some of the most common relaxation techniques include meditation, yoga and deep breathing.

“Different things will work for different people, so my recommendation is usually to try out a few options and find what works for you,” Tim says. 

He notes that exercise can be very beneficial. And it doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise – even small amounts or going for a walk can help reduce stress hormones, improve sleep and boost your mood. 

Worry antidote 3: Focus on living in the moment with mindfulness 

What’s worse than worrying about the future? When you start worrying about the fact that you’re worrying!

Fortunately, mindfulness or being present in the moment, can help break this cycle. Practising mindful meditations, even for a few minutes, can keep you grounded in times of uncertainty by helping you to focus on the “now” rather than what might or could happen. 

Mindfulness can give us some distance between our thoughts and feelings and our reactions to those thoughts and feelings

Tim explains, “In doing so, we can learn to observe our feelings of worry or distress without judgement.”

Worry antidote 4: Reflect, learn and schedule the right time to worry

It might sound strange, but rather than letting your worry linger throughout the entire day, it can be helpful to postpone your worrying to a specific time of the day.

Scheduling a set time – sometimes referred to as “worry time” – for, say, 20 minutes every day can help limit the amount of time you spend worrying.

Use this time to reflect on your worry, write it down and start thinking about what you can do to address and improve the situation. Once you’ve reached the end of your set time, the idea is to hold off on any other worrying until your next allocated slot. If a worry pops into your head before then, write it down for your next scheduled worry time. 

However, rather than “worry time”, Tim encourages people to think about this practise as “solution time”.

“Worry really serves no purpose,” he says. “But accepting and reflecting on problems or challenges and trying to generate or come up with solutions … now that can be very useful.”

nib offers more resources to support mental wellbeing and resolve stress.

Back to feed

Citro member offer

Citro members can enjoy up to $300 cashback for singles and up to $600 cashback for couples purchasing an eligible combined Hospital + Extras cover by 31 July, 20241. nib will also waive the 2 and 6 month waiting periods, which means you can claim straight away on Extras such as dental and optical.

The offer is only available to those who pay through their Citro Card. Want your own card? Get the Citro App.

1 The Offer is only available to new members who are Australian citizens, permanent residents of Australia, or those who are entitled to full reciprocal rights under Medicare, registered for Medicare and listed on an active Medicare card, and who join an eligible combined Hospital and Extras policy by 11:59pm 31 July 2024. Ineligible products include Basic Kickstarter, Basic Accident Hospital and Value Extras. Not available to existing health insurance policyholders with nib, AAMI, Apia, Suncorp, nib, ING, GU Health, Priceline, Qantas, Real Health Insurance or Seniors Health Insurance, or to previous policyholders who have held health insurance with any of these brands and cancelled their policy 6 months before or during the Offer Period.  

The Offer consists of:

  1. Up to $600 cashback on your Citro card: The Offer consists of 6 monthly cashback payments to be applied to the Eligible Members Citro card for a 6 month period, beginning in month 3 of membership to an amount equating to a maximum total of AUD $300 (inclusive of GST) for single policies and an amount equating to a maximum  total of AUD $600 (inclusive of GST) for single-parent family, couple and family policies.  
  2. Waived waits:  2 & 6 month waiting periods will be waived for Eligible Members on all Extras services that normally require a 2 or 6 month waiting period under the Eligible Product. The Waiver will be fulfilled at the time the Eligible Member takes out the Eligible Product.  Longer waiting periods may apply for some services

The Eligible Member must maintain the qualifying policy up to the date of the Offer being applied to the policy, as outlined in the terms and conditions. The Offer will be forfeited if the Eligible Member is not an active policyholder on this date. Not available with any other offer unless otherwise stated. See full terms and conditions.  

For full terms and conditions regarding Citro’s cashback, please visit Citro cashback terms and conditions.

Not yet a cardholder?

Start earning cashback today
with a Citro Card

It's easy:

1. Download the Citro App on the App Store or Google Play
2. Apply for your Citro Card
3. Link to your bank account and activate your Citro Card
4. Earn cashback to spend on whatever you want, whenever you want.

For a limited time only, enjoy the premium Citro membership for free!

Get more out of life.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Learn how we collect and use your information by visiting our Privacy policy