How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

by Dale Carnegie

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is a timeless book - although written over 50 years ago, its advice still rings true. Everyone experiences worry, and most people don’t know how to cope with their problems in a healthy, effective, and productive manner. In this book, critically acclaimed author Dale Carnegie extensively covers the different types of worries that people experience and provides plenty of guidance on how to overcome both the feelings of stress, as well as the obstacles in life that cause this stress.

Summary Notes

Fundamental Facts You Should Know About Worry

Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand" - Thomas Carlyle

Worry is simply a state of mind, and it depends entirely on your perspective of the situation at hand. It does nothing to help your problems, and in fact, makes it worse as you spiral downwards. Remember, when you spend time worrying, you aren’t actually doing anything to make your situation better - you’re just wasting time that you could channel into more productive activities.

Logical thinking will get you much further in life than worry will. Part of logical thinking is understanding that there is a problem and accepting that as fact. In fact, no matter how stressful a situation is, simply accepting its existence will help you feel peace. This peace will then allow you to think with a clear head, and bring you closer to effective solutions.

Lastly, the mind and body are very closely connected - when one is out of balance, the other follows suit. While you may think that negative emotions don’t affect your physical body, there are countless research studies proving the opposite. Migraines, vertigo, stomach ulcers, arthritis, heart disease, tooth decay and several other such illnesses have been linked to stress and worry. So, not only is worrying counterproductive to solving your problems and creating a better life for yourself, it only makes things worse!

Actions to take

Basic Techniques in Analysing Worry

We must equip ourselves to deal with different kinds of worries.

When we are worried, our emotions are riding high and it’s often difficult to understand the facts of a situation. Sometimes, we may even choose to believe only the things that agree with our world view. However, this won’t solve any problems and it will not alleviate your worries in the long run. The only way to effectively kill the worry you feel is to face the facts.

Being honest with yourself is a critical part of being able to understand the facts in any given situation. Furthermore, you must allow yourself sufficient time to thoroughly understand each and every problem you face, so you can base your solutions on informed opinions.

Simply thinking isn’t enough though - you will have to act on your decisions if you want your problem to be solved. Get busy, immediately! The faster you start working towards resolving your problem, the faster it will get resolved. Plus, when you keep busy, you have less time to be worried.

Actions to take

How to Break The Worry Habit Before It Breaks You

Without purpose, the days would have ended, as such days always end, in disintegration.

One of the most fundamental laws of psychology is that no matter how brilliant a human mind is, it is utterly impossible to think about more than one thing at a time. This same law applies to emotions - you will find that it is near impossible to feel stressed, anxious and worried if you are focusing on something else that you enjoy.  

Additionally, the things you are worrying about are often trivial things that don’t need to be worried about. For example, let’s say you are having people over for dinner and have set out the napkins that don’t match - the ones you need can’t be found anywhere. Instead of stressing out over this small issue, you can have a fun night with your friends, and it’s highly likely that no one will even notice the mismatched napkins! Plus, it’s better that people think you’re a slightly sloppy housekeeper than a tightly-wound, nervous, bad-tempered one. 

Remember, the human mind is incredible at adaptation. While you may feel like a situation or issue will shadow you forever, the truth is that you are perfectly capable of accepting and adjusting to nearly anything. Circumstances do not make you happy or unhappy, but the way you react to them does. You may not think that you can endure all the troubles and suffering of life, but you are stronger than you think.

It is important to remember that being upset or worried about things that have already happened will not help you in any way. While the proverb “don’t cry over spilt milk” may seem trite, it actually holds a lot of wisdom. Stressing yourself out over the past, i.e. over things that you cannot change, will do nothing except make you more stressed out! It certainly will not change what has already happened.

Actions to take

Seven Ways To Cultivate A Mental Attitude That Will Bring You Peace and Happiness

Let’s fight for our happiness!

The biggest problem anyone will face in life is choosing the right thoughts. Your perspective shapes the tone of experiences and your life. If you have happy thoughts, you will be happy, and if you have miserable thoughts, you will be miserable. Of course, it’s impossible to feel happy about problems. However, instead of being worried, you can be concerned instead and maintain a positive attitude. 

Remember, nothing can bring you peace except yourself. Many of us choose to hate our enemies and those who have wronged us. This doesn’t hurt them - it only hurts us, both mentally and physically. Science backs this up; one of the most common personality characteristics in those with hypertension is resentment. Plus, our enemies would be incredibly happy to hear about how they are still affecting us, how they still hold power over us! 

Many of us also feel wronged or hurt when we aren’t given the gratitude we think we deserve for helping others. However, we need to face the simple facts of life - there are plenty of selfish, ungrateful and egotistical people out there. We shouldn’t offer help, support or kindness because we are expecting something in return, we should offer it because it’s the right thing to do and because we want to be better people. Additionally, doing good deeds will cause you to stop thinking about yourself - this will then push feelings of worry, fear and melancholia out of your mind.

Actions to take

How To Keep From Worrying About Criticism

Unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment.

When others insult or bully you, they are doing so because it gives them a feeling of importance. More often than not, they feel inadequate and they see qualities in you that they desire. They get a feeling of satisfaction when they can denounce someone who is more educated or more successful than them, because they don’t want to face the reality of who they are. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that all criticisms you may experience are inaccurate. Sometimes, there is some truth and value in criticism, especially when it is delivered with sincerity. It’s up to you to welcome these just criticisms and learn how you can do better - after all, no matter who you are, there is always room for improvement.

Actions to take

Six Ways to Prevent Fatigue and Worry and Keep Your Energy and Spirits High

Here’s an astounding fact: mental work alone can’t make you tired.

Fatigue often produces worry, or at the very least, it makes you more susceptible to it. Just like how fatigue increases your chance of falling physically ill, it lowers your body’s resistance to negative emotions such as fear and worry. Remember, all nervous and emotional states fail to exist when you are completely relaxed. This is why sufficient rest - something commonly overlooked by people - is extremely important. 

Unlike the human body, the human brain can work as efficiently at the end of eight or twelve straight hours as it can at the start. However, this is in an ideal setting. In reality, your mental and emotional attitudes will get in the way and cause you to feel tired, exhausted and fatigued. The most common emotions that affect your energy levels are boredom, resentment, feeling unappreciated, futility, anxiety and worry. 

Additionally, a cluttered life leads to a cluttered mind, which causes you to be less efficient and productive, while becoming more stressed and anxious. If you want a clean, peaceful mind, begin by keeping your home and workspace in order.

Actions to take

How To Find The Kind of Work In Which You May Be Happy and Successful

Here’s an astounding fact: mental work alone can’t make you tired.

Choosing a career is an important decision all adults have to make, but it’s certainly a tough one, especially when you have to make the choice at a young age. It’s important to choose a job and career path that you enjoy. Then, working those long hours won’t feel so much like work and you’ll be less likely to burn out. 

Another thing to remember is that financial worries are often a significant source of stress. Most people believe that if they could increase their income by just 10%, they would be a lot happier. While there is no clear solution to solving financial worries, there are steps you can take to lessen them. Money management is an important skill that everyone needs to hone. 

Imagine running a business - if you are the CEO and you take a cavalier approach towards running your business, it will certainly crash and burn fast! View your finances as your personal business, and create a financial plan so as to alleviate some of the worry that you feel.

Actions to take

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