Don’t worry so much. That’s the message from Dr. Tamar Chansky, a psychologist who wrote the book Freeing Yourself From Anxiety. She says feeling stress is a fact of life but for some people, it’s a way of life.

Too many of us waste time stressing about little things that don’t matter much, or that can’t be changed, like when we stress about what someone thinks of us. Dr. Chansky says the problem with all those minor stresses is that they add up and over time, they can overwhelm us, making it harder for us to cope with real stresses in life – like a medical emergency, or not being able to pay the rent.

So, how do we “free” ourselves from our anxiety?

  • First, stay in the PRESENT. Dr. Chansky says it doesn’t help to constantly worry about the future. Because when we focus too much energy on “worst-case scenarios,” or what might happen, we don’t make good decisions that can help us right now. So, focus on the here and now. It’s like the saying goes: Don’t worry about running the whole marathon – just focus on running the next mile.

  • Another way to “free” yourself from stress: Ask for help.  Dr. Chansky says most of us turn to our friends and family for advice on our outfit, for example. But then, when a crisis comes along, we hesitate to ask for help even though that’s when we need it most! She says the more people you talk to about your problems, the more likely someone will come up with a solution you may not have thought of.

  • Finally, when all else fails, learn to let go. In other words, solve stressful situations by walking away from them, temporarily, and doing something physical – like running on a treadmill. Our expert says that’ll give you time to clear your head, and shift your focus. That way, you’ll feel less overwhelmed, and be better able to figure out the next step.