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How to Stop Being a Worry Wart

By Jane Kennard October 07, 2023 Mindset

If you’re a worry wart, you are definitely not alone. I was a worrier for a long time. I thought worry was just a part of life. There was really no way to get around. It just happens. You live with it until the worrisome situation blows over and you can breathe again.

Have you ever lost a night’s sleep because you couldn’t get rid of chaotic, anxious thoughts? Count me in! Those of us navigating our way through the 60+ years can undoubtedly find ourselves excessively pondering health concerns, relocation decisions, retirement issues, or problems with adult children.

Worry Keeps Us Captive

Feeling isolated, lonely, frustrated, and stressed comes easily. Along with that, appetite can diminish, and healthy eating flies out the window. Overwhelm keeps us from going for a walk, connecting with a friend, or engaging in social activities we enjoyed at one time. There is so much to worry about! If we don’t worry about it, who will?

What worry warts really want is to subdue the never-ending flood of “what if” questions and imaginations. Those are a constant for them. What if this happens? What will I do if that happens? Functioning calmly would be a dream come true. Managing stress with a few relaxing strategies would be life-giving.

No doubt about it, getting rid of overwhelm would “make their day”… and week … and month … and year. It would make life a whole lot better! Getting a good night’s sleep and waking up without a bucket load of fear sounds like such a relief.

This Was Me

About 11 years ago, this was my life. I was smack dab in the middle of an emotional nightmare. I wasn’t sleeping. Disturbing relational and legal problems surfacing in my family had me tied in knots. I was obsessed with scary, unsettling thoughts. Visits to my doctor increased. Xanax became a calming friend. To say the least, I was a major mess.

Months later, as this crisis shifted into low gear, I declared, “I’m not living like this anymore!” The help I found prompted a 180-degree shift in my way of managing stress and worry. I learned how to become free from the tyranny of anxiety.

You might say I’ve become immune to excessive worry and fear. I am thriving and constantly learning more about living an anxiety free life. The time and effort were certainly worth it for me. After overcoming anxiety, I became a certified anxiety coach so I could help other women do the same thing.

So, is there hope for worry warts? Yes!

The FIRST STEP to Squashing the Worry-Wart Tendency

Exploring the root cause of stress and anxiety is the starting place; it’s always the first step. It takes courage and commitment. Uncomfortable thoughts and feelings may show up. However, journeying through them instead of avoiding them is the path to releasing unease. It’s about delving into questions like these:

  • What scary stories am I telling myself?
  • What am I imagining as the worst scenario?
  • Down deep, what’s triggering me?
  • What’s my inner critic telling me?
  • What’s really driving my overwhelming anxiety?

The SECOND STEP in Dealing with Obsessive Worry

Moving forward, after sorting out what really prompts worry, means making a life-changing shift. It’s about letting go of old thoughts and accepting new thoughts. This is always the SECOND STEP.

Recognizing and releasing anxious thought patterns and replacing them with new, positive thoughts makes a world of difference. Using tools to establish new thought blueprints opens the mind’s windows for a radical shift in feelings and behavior. Practicing calming strategies turns down anxiety. It’s a powerful, fundamental key to lessening overwhelm.

The THIRD STEP Towards an Anxiety Free Life

A plan to stay anxiety free is the next step. Developing a personal plan to create daily practices of anxiety free living makes it a reality. Regular times to calm down, relax and recharge provide pauses to refresh and remember helpful strategies. This helps deal with anxiety in the moment when old triggers show up.

There are new habits to lean on and combat worry-wart patterns of thinking. Developing self-awareness helps prevent repeating old thought patterns and staying stuck. This kind of mindfulness is life-giving.

A Client’s Worry

Perhaps you identify with my 75-year-old client who found it hard to function because worry was keeping her emotionally paralyzed. In that state of distress, she was unable to think clearly and so she floundered, wondering what to do next. She was numb with anxiety. A good night’s sleep evaded her. She was beside herself.

Over a series of conversations, we uncovered the sources of her stress and anxiety. My client went from being riddled with anxiety to a much more peaceful life. After a serious health setback, she talked about living her best life.

Needless to say, this was a 180-degree turnaround from our first meeting. Learning to manage anxious thoughts has been a huge emotional life saver. She is equipped to manage her thoughts and emotions. She’s living an intentionally calmer, stress free, happier life.

I’ve observed “beyond anxiety” stories repeated in the lives of women at various ages and stages of life. It IS possible to calm chaotic thoughts, manage worry and become anxiety free. I’d be happy to support you in exploring what breaking free from a worry-wart life could look like for you. Find out more about this opportunity here.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What is your relationship with anxiety? Do you worry more or less at this stage in your life? Have you found the culprit of your anxiety? For how long has it kept you captive?

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Toni Stritzke

I found it helpful when talking to my daughter (a secondary school teacher who works with teenagers in crisis) about my sleepless nights.
She said, “those are intrusive thoughts.”
Now in the wee small hours, when I’m thinking about the world’s troubles, I can say to myself, “those are intrusive thoughts.”
I was also born a catholic, so while I find meditation easy during the daylight hours, at night time, I turn to old catholic mantras. It’s enough of a well-meaning distraction for me to fall asleep.
I think we each have to strive to find ways to self-talk during anxiety attacks and those ways are as individual as the person.


I love your comments about turning to the old catholic mantras. We all need to figure out
how to calm our intrusive thoughts.

Beth E Severson

I’ve noticed a lot of wellness coach people here trolling for clients. Really sick of ‘how much wine are YOU drinking???” tsk tsk LOL


This article was not of any help to me. I usually love most of Sixty and Me articles however this was not one of them. Sorry – but not.


I agree. There wasn’t enough information to help. For example, how does one develop new blueprints for thought? I think this is an ad for the writer’s product.


I worry more now because I lost my husband a year ago this month – I have nobody to reassure me that things will be okay.


it takes anyone time after a big event – a year is not too long for grief recovery…have you maybe looked for a widow support group? it may sound hokey, but people going through like circumstances often figure things out in ways i wouldn’t have thought up by myself. be good to yourself <3

Jane Kennard

Bailey: Beth has a good idea in suggesting a grief recovery group. Staying in isolation while carrying this grief is tough for sure. I love the input to “be good to yourself.” It would be an honor and privilege to journey with you if you like.

Jane Kennard, Ph.D., CPC


I joined a Griefshare group, but not specifically for spousal loss. It was a variety and to be honest, I found it depressing. Too much on the religious side for me right now. I may look into one on one counselling.


I, too, found a grief a support group to be depressing. I not only had to deal with my loss, but I took on the sadness of others in the group. One on one counseling was the way to go for me.


You are right, Bailey. Aside from having to take on responsibilities that you may never have done before, that comfort and reassurance is gone and it’s natural to think , “what will I do – if this happens”. The simple things that our husbands used to take care of, we have to make sure get done. For me, right now, that means getting the winter’s wood in and preparing for the cold months that will soon be upon us. Does it worry me? Somewhat, but it also robs me of joy. Worry may be the word used here, but concern may be more appropriate.


Hi Cathy, fortunately I know how to do a lot of things, but no children, family in another country … long story, yes, I worry about aging alone. My husband was a bit younger than me and I thought he would take care of me …..


That was just a big leader for an a ad. How disapppointing, Sixty and Me!


I agree. I caught the drift of what was happening after there was no elaboration about Step 2. This is an unusual move for Sixty and Me.

Melissa Sinfield

Very disappointing for me too, Overall the strategies were very skimpy especially in relation to the 80 year old client who could suddenly change their lifetime of habits after just one visit. At the end of the day, simply an advert for a company. Not the usual high quality, helpful advice I usually see on this site. What a shame.


Indeed! One of the things I worry the most about is spending money friviously ….

Jane Kennard

Deborah: Ah! Money is certainly a trigger point for many women. My family of origin was very conservative about spending so I absorb much of that caution around money. I find it hard to spend money on myself. It’s a big trigger for my husband so we have interesting conversations about giving and spending money. Take care. Jane Kennard


‘Recognizing and releasing anxious thought patterns and replacing them with new, positive thoughts makes a world of difference. Using tools to establish new thought blueprints opens the mind’s windows for a radical shift in feelings and behavior. Practicing calming strategies turns down anxiety. It’s a powerful, fundamental key to lessening overwhelm,’ is what i thought of as their second step. i missed the ad part entirely (no, don’t enlighten me – lol)


Nothing helpful was provided in step one. Just questions to ask oneself without providing any guidance or helpful insight to determine what is really behind the worrysome thoughts or what may be a trigger.
The “ad” comes under the author information provided after the so called article with links to her website to sign on for a “free” consultation. That’s marketing.


What great advice! Making new thought blueprints makes such sense. Worry is such
a waste of life.

Jane Kennard

No sure what happened but steps 2 and 3 were explained. The 3 steps are really what it takes to calm and manage stressful thoughts. All the best…Jane Kennard

Corrine Tourand

An interesting Article. I never used to worry and often said to others if it hasn’t happened and it may never happen why waste your energy on it. I now worry. I would like to know what causes it?. Is it different living or an imbalance in our system?


i was prone to worry when my kids were little. i think it’s natural to concern ourselves with both the priorities and minutiae of life. what causes it to be out of control would seem to be unique to each of us. if you’re having a problem with worrying more, maybe a one on one with someone (personal or professional) to talk out and identify your cause(s). best luck; worrying was hard.

Jane Kennard

Hi Corrine:

Thanks so much for your comment. What you said about spending energy on worry when it hasn’t happened is so true. Somehow the “what ifs” take hold and other distorted thoughts get our minds in the tither. In answer to your question, I’d say it’s about living differently in our minds which I suppose would be a type of imbalance. Let me know what you’re thinking about the role our minds play. I’d be happy to support you in figuring this out.  Check out

Peace, Jane Kennard

The Author

Jane Kennard PhD, CPC is a Canadian born anxiety coach whose desire is to help women become anxiety free. Her purpose is to support women struggling with anxiety, overwhelm and worry learn how to live anxiety free. Find out more about her “Blueprint for Anxiety Immunity” Program and sign up for a free consultation at

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