It only takes one event to turn out badly to 'prove' that things go wrong, and that you were 'right' to worry.

Certainly, worrying can be helpful when it spurs you to take action and solve a problem. But worrying on its own doesn't improve a situation. Worrying will not help you think clearly or help you deal with a potential problem.

Worry drags you out of the present moment and into an unknown future, allowing unrelenting doubts, fears and negative possibilities to overwhelm your mind and paralyse you.

Mindfulness can put a stop to this spiral of unhelpful thoughts and help you focus on the present moment, rather than pre-living the future.


In Practice

Acknowledge, accept and let go. Instead of trying to fight or suppress troubling thoughts and worries, simply allow them to come and go. Say to yourself, 'Here's the thoughts that I could fail my exam/ I won't get the job/ I won't know anyone at the party'.

Each time a worrying thought enters your mind, acknowledge it and let it pass.

Empty your mind. Externalise your thoughts, fears and worries about events by writing them down or telling someone. It's a helpful way to empty your mind so that you are free to focus on the present.

Look for solutions. Focus on what you can change, rather than aspects of the situation that are beyond your control. Find one small step you can take now, in the present moment. Once you start doing something about the problem, you may feel less worried because you are thinking and acting in the present rather than projecting yourself into the future.

Focus on what's happening right now. Identify activities that you can turn to when you want to switch off from worrying, something that you can dip into for ten minutes or immerse yourself in for an hour, something that keeps you focused and engaged, that bring your complete attention to the present experience.

Mindfulness Pocketbook: Little Exercises for a Calmer Life