Make visual clues
Keep a handwritten stop sign on your desk or bathroom mirror, or write down a mantra that helps keep you on track. Smerling also recommends writing out a pro and con list: What are the benefits? What are the negatives? By outlining the best and worst of a situation, you’re essentially beating your brain at its own game because you’ve already figured out all of the possibilities and they’re staring right back at you. Writing things down or making lists is one of the instant mood boosters you won’t want to live without.
Stop being a perfectionist
Not everything has to be perfect. No, really. Doing your best is one thing, but perseverating over every little detail can push you into a state of paralysis, anxiety and procrastination. This isn’t good for your overall mental health either, and in fact, the World Health Organization links severe anxiety disorders to this desire for perfectionism. Unfortunately, according to a 27-year study published by the American Psychological Association, perfectionism is on the rise, so it may take a concerted effort on your part to break from this trend. It’s more important to find satisfaction in making progress than in making sure everything’s perfect. These are the clear signs that you really are a perfectionist.
Envision a happy ending
Focusing on or meditating about a positive outcome can help to block confusing or negative thoughts. Picturing that end goal can keep you motivated, as well as distract you from the immediate worry. In fact, one study published in Behavior and Research Therapy in 2016 found that people with generalized anxiety disorder who replaced their worried thoughts with images of possible positive outcomes, as well as those who imagined unrelated positive things, experienced a decrease in anxiety and worry. While their thoughts were still negative when they did pop up, they occurred less frequently in the short- and long-term. Envisioning a happy ending is just one of the daily habits of people who never get stressed.