How to Stop Worrying

The emotion of fear has a positive intent, to protect us. I think the first sign of worry is a signal to act. I believe it is rather like a hazard warning. If you see some water spilt on a hospital ward or factory floor you would mop it up. It was very useful for our ancestors, to protect them from bad weather or other tribes, but maybe today sometimes it kicks in inappropriately.

A delegate once told me:

“I’m worried about my leadership assignment.”

“Have you started it yet?” I asked.

“No,” he replied.


Often, when we take action the worry stops. There is a great line on a plaque in a churchyard in Cornwall: Worry is like paying interest on problems that have not occurred yet!

So, rather than worry, I would like you to ask yourself a better question. Once you start asking yourself better questions, your state changes and you are likely to have more forward momentum.


Here are some positive questions:

What result do I want?

How can I improve the situation?

Who can help me?

What haven’t I done yet?


I find that asking myself better questions makes me more resourceful and is quicker and often more effective than positive self-talk. Of course, you can combine them. Paul McKenna states that, “questions determine the focus of our perception,” and Sydney Banks suggests that our thoughts are like the rudder of a ship that steers us safely to open water or, alternatively, can lead us onto the dangerous rocks near the shore.

TIP—From now on, ask yourself better questions and reflect on your thoughts, remember, your feelings are a feedback loop to your thoughts and “it is just a thought”. You will become more positive in your outlook and take charge of situations.