How To Stop Worrying

By Leo Gura - January 28, 2014 | 28 Comments

The tricky ways that worry has you locked into a negative self-fulfilling prophecy, and how to break free.

Video Transcript

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Hey, this is Leo for and in this video we’re going to talk about how to stop worrying. This is a big one, this is a deep topic, that I can barely cover in this little quick self-help segment but let’s crack into it. I’m going to give you some practical tips and also help you understand what is at the cause of your worrying.

Why are you worrying so much?

First thing to understand: we all worry. This is just how the human mind works. We’re natural worriers. We’re worrying all the time. Why? Because your lower self and your reptilian brain is always on the lookout for problems. It’s always looking for something that is on the horizon that you’ve got to watch out for. There’s always a fear lurking somewhere. There’s always a worst-case scenario. It’s really good at catastrophizing situations. So that is why you’re worrying.

You probably think that this is a good thing. If you are like me, and you have a problem with worrying, I had a problem with worrying. I still do, but at least now I have an understanding, after doing years of personal development work, that worry is a big mind game. It’s a trap, it’s like a sand pit.

Worrying Is Useless

If you do not understand this idea that worry is useless, then you are really sucked into the worry. Here’s the problem: your mind is always going to worry about something. It’s always going to have fears and those fears are always going to be projected. So what you’ve got to do is tame that. That is called “taming your gremlin”.

You have a gremlin in your mind, this little devil’s advocate that is criticizing all the time. It’s judging all the time. It’s always casting blame at you. So this gremlin is in your mind, running around in there, and it’s causing havoc and chaos. When you’re worrying this much, you’re not able to get good results in your life. Not to mention feel good. You definitely don’t feel good. You’re always frantic and anxious. You’re probably not getting the results you want in your life from fitness to business to relationships because this worry is creating self-sabotage for you, quite simply.

You keep telling yourself that something is going to happen. You focus on it so much, that you actually end up attracting it to you. Maybe you’re so worried the relationship you’re in is going to break up and that you’re going to end up alone, that you become so needy in that relationship you actually end up alienating the person who really loved you. Then you actually do end up alone and create a self-fulfilling prophesy effect. Then you say, “Well, look, I should’ve been worrying about that because that actually happened. It was a real problem!” When in fact, that was created by your negative thinking.

How about business? Let’s say you’re starting a business. You’re worried that the economy is bad and starting a new business nowadays is not really possible. It’s too hard, it’s going to require a lot of work. It’s probably going to fail. If you have that kind of thought and you go in and start that business, what do you think is going to happen? Your mind is going to focus on all the challenges that are before you. It’s going to start pointing fingers. It’s going to say, “Look that technique for starting a business didn’t work because, like I said, the economy is bad and nobody wants to buy anything. This process here doesn’t work either because…” And you just keep going, “No, no. I told you so. I know it’s going to fail, I just know it’s going to fail.” What do you think happens to your motivation? What do you think happens to your resourcefulness and your perseverance in making that business work?

Creating a business is something that requires a lot of resourcefulness, a lot of creativity, and a lot of perseverance. If you’re lacking those, you can get a pretty good idea what’s going to happen. But your mind, in its infinite trickiness, will say, “But that’s how it is. That’s how reality is. That’s how the market is, it just is that way. Businesses are hard to start. And I knew that was going to happen so this worry was completely justified. And the fact that it failed now, is not because of the worry, it’s because it’s the reality of the situation.”

So those are two examples of how you could be creating self-sabotage with your worry. What do we do about this? Is it always the case that worry does have a purpose or doesn’t have a purpose? I don’t know how it really is. But I think for practical purposes, to run your life as effectively as possible, from everything that I researched and everything that I’ve experimented with myself, here’s what you want to believe.

You want to hold the belief that worry is entirely useless. There is no point, nothing empowering about the process of worrying, ever.Ever! You never want to worry. Now of course it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to worry anymore. It’s deeply engrained in you. You cannot beat that out of yourself even if you tried. What you can do, is reduce that and you can reduce the number of episodes of worry that you have.

Eliminating Worry

Just from the simple fact that you start, from now on, to believe that worry is useless, is going to eliminate some episodes of worry or reduce the severity of them. So let’s say you’re going to work next week and you’ve got a big presentation in front of your boss. You need to really impress the boss, the boss is there, and you’ve got to make a really good presentation. Otherwise….., your mind fills in the blanks. Maybe you’ll get fired.

You might think it’s good to worry about the presentation. You think, “It charges me up. I’m worried but that worry creates some sort of action in me. It’s actually going to help me overcome my procrastination to work on that project and get it done. That’s how I’ve done it in the past. In the past when I worried about something it’s gotten me to take action, it’s lit a fire under my ass.”

Okay, I hear what you’re saying. I’ve had that experience myself.

But, if you didn’t worry, if that worry wasn’t there, I would argue that you would do equally as well as if you did worry or better. In many cases you will do better, and better by a lot! What’s happening is that worry is creating self-fulfillment. It’s creating a self-sabotaging effect because it’s draining your energy. It’s literally draining your psychic energy, your mental resources, your willpower. Your focus is being drained on this worry. This worry is not productive in and of itself. It might light a fire under your ass for a time, but it’s not going to actually take the action. It’s not going to create the presentation for yourself. It’s not.

So you’ve got to say, “Okay, wait a minute.” Catch yourself in the middle of the worrying process. You’re probably going to be somewhere in the middle of it, and you’re going to say, “Wait a minute. I thought I believed that worry is no longer empowering. It doesn’t serve any function so I’m going to try to just cut it out. This worrying, even though I think that it’s going to help, it’s actually not helping. It would be better if I just focus my attention on the things that I could control, on the things that I could do. How about I just focus on what I could do for this presentation, rather than worrying on all the worst-case scenarios that will happen if I don’t do what I need to do. Why don’t I just do them? Why don’t I just think about all the cool stuff that’s going to happen if I do it well? How about that for a change?”

For all you pessimists out there, your jaw probably just dropped. I know for me sometimes, that that is the case. I’m so caught up in the worrying, sometimes I’ll just stop myself and I’ll realize what’s happening. I’ll be in that worry spiral and I’ll realize that it’s happening. And I’ll be like, “Whoa, what if I was just thinking about the flip side of all that?”

Positive Motivation

Instead of thinking about how my business is going to fail and nothing’s going to work out, what if I think about the fact that it’s going to succeed and things are going to work out better than I thought they did? It’s like a 180 degree shift, this, “Whoa, when I start thinking about that, that’s really cool. If that’s the case, what if I then do this? Then if I use that strategy maybe this other strategy will work and maybe I can get some more money. Maybe I can do some more advertising. Maybe I can get some more clients. When I get more clients then I can get some more money. I can use that money to create a better product and then it will just build on itself.”

You get excited, you get a vision of how you want to go out there and take action. So this is positive motivation rather than negative motivation that you get with worry. Even though worry can create motivation, it’s not a very good, high-quality motivation. Besides, you’re going to feel awful. Why would you want to motivate yourself with pain? When you can motivate yourself with pleasure and ambition and desire? They’re much more powerful.

So, other ways of stopping worrying. I think that the biggest one is start to have more awareness around the fact that you are worrying. Be honest with yourself. If you’re a constant worrier, all you do is think negative thoughts all the time. You’re always catastrophizing situations, and especially if you worry about stuff that is out of your control and there’s nothing you can do about. Especially if you worry about things and you look back in your past and you see that most of the stuff you worry about doesn’t actually pan out for you. It never becomes an issue in the first place, then you’ve really got to admit that you’ve got a negative thinking problem. You’re a pessimist and a constant worrier. If that’s the case, then that’s where you’re at. That’s a valuable insight to have.


Now what you’ve got to do, is start the gradual process of bringing more awareness to your worry. Start noticing when you’re thinking negatively. Stop periodically throughout your day, and notice how you are feeling. Are you feeling anxious, frustrated? Anything negative? Then notice, what are you thinking? Because your thoughts are creating the feelings.

If you’re always anxious, there’s only one reason why. You’re only anxious because you are visualizing, very vividly, negative things to yourself. That means:

You’re visualizing yourself bombing the presentation.
You’re visualizing yourself bombing the final exam.
You’re visualizing yourself poor and destitute on the street in rags.
You’re visualizing yourself being rejected by your boyfriend or girlfriend.
You’re visualizing your marriage crumbling.
You’re visualizing your kids dying.

You’re visualizing these very catastrophic things. That is, of course, creating frustration and negative feelings inside you. How could it not? You’ve got to start to shift out of that. Basically, do the flip of it, the opposite.

Seven Days of Positive Worry

What’s the opposite of worry? It’s what I call, positive worry. Other books talk about it too.. Why don’t you adopt a habit for the next seven days of positive worrying. That means you do the same thing as you would if you were worrying about the situation, but everything you worry about is the positive of it.

So that means you’re going to think about that presentation, and you’re going to think about it a lot. But, you’re going to think about all the amazing stuff. You’re going to think about how you’ll do better than expected. You will think how maybe you can get a raise.

You’re going to consider hypotheticals. That’s kind of what worrying is, a consideration of hypotheticals. But improper worrying is negative hypotheticals. Here you’re going to consider positive hypotheticals. Like, “What if I really ace that presentation and then I get a raise from that? What if the people on my team get really inspired by that presentation? What if I actually learn something about myself in the process? What if, what if, what if…all this positive stuff?”

Once you start doing that, do that for a week, and see how you feel. I think you’ll start to notice just how much worrying you do. Now you’ll start the inner shift you need to get a handle on it. It’s going to take you awhile to get a solid handle on it, but you’ve got to start somewhere. That’s a good place to start. Even if you’ve got a decent handle on your worrying, you can still start with this exercise. It’s still a really powerful exercise to do.

Alright, this is Leo, I’m going to be signing off. Go ahead and leave your comments. Please share this and “like” this, that’s why we release these videos for free. Then check out for more advanced personal development tips like this, where we talk about how to get yourself into a positive state of mind. Get yourself out of a negative, unresourceful state of mind and other advanced techniques. There’s a lot of different techniques in my repertoire for how to deal with worry. I can only share one or two of them here. So check out and sign up for my free newsletter there.

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Divya says:

Thanks for all videos. You are just rocking. Keep it up.

Best Regards to you and your family.


Leo Gura says:

You bet

retta says:

excellent. exactly what i needed to hear right now. especially liked that you acknowledged that we all worry and you can harness to propel yourself !

Alex says:

Hey Leo, I’ve been watching your videos for a couple weeks and I’m starting to do self help/development also. my situation is that i have a couple main goals i want to accomplish but its somewhat difficult because I’m a introvert and usually I’m doing my own thing but lately its been feeling like i want to connect with more people and start doing my goals but my mind/ego keeps telling me that i shouldn’t connect with people or go after my goals because either the people will leave you and ill be by myself again or going after my goals is too hard just stay comfortable at the house on your own and i don’t want this lifestyle all the time, i want a balance, so basically what I’m saying that if i stick with these personal developments and do the practices daily, can i finally be happy with everything meaning no matter what happens externally or internally can i still have peace of mind? sorry for the long comment but I’ve been struggling with anxiety/small depressions for a while and i just want to find a permanent solution i usually find something that works but its only temporary or i don’t follow through and my ego keep telling that this isn’t go either, I’m willing to do anything to finally be at that state of mind. so please help if you can thanks.

Leo Gura says:

You can improve your life a lot and fix almost any issues you have now. But that still won’t make you truly, constantly happy. Happiness is not something you can attain in the way you’re presently trying to do.

Greetings from Buffalo, NY

I would first like to thank you for making this amazing information available free of charge. I’ve read many self help books so a lot of your videos reiterates information I’ve came across already from trusted sources. A lot of it is also new information that has taught me so much about my psychology and the psychology of others. Personal development is extremely important to me and for that reason, I’m truly grateful for all of your work.



Alex says:

thanks leo for the reply, but i hope I’m not sounding arrogant but thats what i want to achieve, is inner peace and happiness. also I’m aware that my mind is attached to some things or people externally, so how can i get constant happiness without my mind telling that i need these “attachments” to make me happy. I’ve been doing meditation, affirmations, and some others things daily from your videos for a couple weeks now and i feel good but would these daily practices reprogram or “convince” my mind to have inner peace and happiness constantly even if the external circumstances aren’t that great? or is there something I’m missing?

Isaac says:

This video was amazing and I actually started smiling toward the end of it. I’ve been called a pessimist my entire life, and have lost many really great people because I created so much worry in my mind and couldn’t stop it. I destroyed relationships that could have really been something and it still crushes me a decade later to think about them. I just recently kind of lost a person I cared for a lot because of my negative thinking and because I ended it for them more or less. When I went back and talked to a person I had something similar with 5 years prior she told me this: “Honestly, how you self destruct yourself. Your so afraid of getting hurt that you push people away and make it hard for them to get close to you and you end up getting hurt anyway. You try and look for things wrong and read between the lines instead of enjoying what’s right in front of you in that moment. That’s what got between us.” Basically nothing had changed in all that time.

Thank you for all the videos. This one in particular. I think the things you’ve said here will help a lot.


Samir Karki says:

Yo Leo , why don’t you make a video on the feeling of jealousy. It is an important topic , isn’t it?

Leo Gura says:

I will

Sandra Mounts says:

I just recently found you on you tube and started watching your videos. I love them you are awesome . Keep up the good work I have a lot to watch and for free thats even better. Great Job

shebochi says:

hi leo

I found you on the u tube as you were commenting on the movie and the book Secret. I said to myself, hey this guy is right, I cannot expect things to come into being without any self effort. It’s against the notion of motion. It is illogical. Though I believe in miracles. I believe in miracles in the sense that there are many miracles but we just pass by without noticing. Now that I have watched a couple of videos, with this particular one on worries brought me to the AHA moment. AWARENESS, is the key word. The more you become aware the more you notice the miracles – chances and possibilities all out there already. It is my choice to give a trial and use my potential and actualize myself or not. Whether I choose it or not, it is already there. and my positive thinking and concious effort brings the miracle to happen. It is not something unknown, magical, weird or intangible abstract. It is full awareness and the actualized human potential. Now that I understand. Thank you honestly…

I strictly advise gusys here to watch your video on meditation. I appreciate you and your work on meditation it is a great job. It is the best ever description and motivation for meditation I have ever met.

As for procastination, I’ve started to play the sodoma play very often, to confess. Even before writiing this comment.

It said so: Your message has been flagged for spam, incorrect answer to secret question But I know why the lemons are green. Though I see others yellow on the tree as well. They are still on the way to ripe.

A guy asks you what the noble feelings and things are. What you’ve been doing is noble. Touching positively and contributing positively to the lives of others for free. Thank you. This is the miracle. You have been one of the miracles of my life… And for this reason, you will be receiving more comments and questions from me Thanks a lot, and congratulations!

Paul A says:

Dear Leo,

Greetings from Great Britain.

Your videos have changed my life. I’ve gone from being neurotic and anxious to feeling myself again.

Awaiting the TED talk!



Dalo says:

Good video thanks

Shirley says:

I love the bit where you say why not turn worry around and focus on the good and amazing things that could happen instead of the negative stuff!

ann says:

Hey leo,

I’ve been doing your mantras everyday, and i can literally feel the change it has brought me. I feel like a lot of weight has been lifted out from my head, and I’m beginning to gain more focus in my work, life and relationships.

Thank you

Btw, I admire your passion to help people reach their full potentials and find find better meaning in life. I feel like you are genuinely passionate to help. I wish I could say the same for myself. How do you become a person like that? Analyzing myself, I feel bad that sometimes that I find it hard to help other people genuinely(I think this is because of my overly selfish and competitive nature). How did you become a genuinely helpful person?

ni says:

Hey Leo,

Thank you so much for the videos. These are so helpfull. The 180 degree switch is helping me so much! Thanks for that. There is 1 question that is still playing with my mind. It is: what if i get a panic attack right now? It never happened to me (thx for that), I keep trying to turn around and saying to myself what if it doenst happen? But i have the feeling there is more that i can think or say to myself that will take the tought away. Do you have an answer to that or an exercise for that?

(Excuse me for my language, im from Holland and tried my best to write in my best English).

Thank you.

Jim says:

Need yr coaching. Spoke last yr and was put on a waiting list.

Kathy Germany says:

I agree with Shirley! I’m so absurdly stuck with negative thoughts… I want this inner shift by trying to positive worry.

For me it’s day 3 of waking up, meditate 5 minutes, affirm my independence from other opinions for another 5 minutes and stop having a little spliff before sleeping. I never thought I would be such a baby stepper…

I tried to visualize myself sitting and writing my final degree and never thought that I will have so many problems with it because until now all my study work was ok, I passed everything by first try.

Oh folks, I am so happy that we are all together in this boat and that you others also know this negative voice whispering in our head…

When I think of all the issues and obstacles others have… it’s so crazy absurd that I struggle with such a ridicoulus problem!!! This nasty mind-trap of negative thinking and valuing yourself negatively… Has my mind been bored that it know is trapping itself all the time?

Leo, I’d still love to have a skypecall as I emailed you and while time passes by I will include this strategy of positive worry so my master thesis will be a blast and I have to worry what I wear at the day of my presentation!

Sonja says:

Thanks. Really, I am glad I found your website and I do appreciate your energy. Thank you!

Ben says:

Hey Leo. Ur videos are awsum please keep it up . I’ve always suffered anxiety and recently had my first panic attack (scary). Thru research I now kno that panic attacks are not dangerous and if I don’t fear the next one it won’t happen yet still,, In my subconscious, I do fear it as I cannot do things I used to Like drive my car to work (it happened in the car). I’m really interested in mindfulness and using it to help me overcome these irrational fears. Do you have any videos about panic attacks/anxiety. U explain things excellently and would more than appreciate your help with this


Hi Leo, thanks for all the videos and suggestions. However, I wanted to chat/email you with few of the things in detail so that you can understand them better and help me out. Let me know how can I communicate with you.

Xylene says:

Hi Leo! I am new here! I am so glad to learn about the things you discussed in here. I am a pessimist and I always self-sabotage everything. I can’t pin point what caused my negative behavior, but it had taken its toll on my career, relationships and health. So I figured I had to find the root-cause of my negativity, but had failed so many times. Hearing your talks makes me realize a lot of things lately, that I am responsible for my behavior and that I should not blame others for it. Thank you! I love this topic because I worry too much and I never realized it, not until I found this video. My reptilian brain is a douche-bag and I have to fight it!

Leo Gura says:

Watch more of the videos and you will see a big shift in your thinking.

Dainel says:

Leo I don’t know if you will read this but I just wanna say massive thanks for all your videos, thanks to you and your videos I now have a positive view of life, I am more dedicated than ever, I am fighting for what I want and I will die trying if that’s the case. I am 18 years old, I want to be a professional soccer player, I want to have my own business (now I’m the Vice President of my fathers company and the company is 50 him and 50 me), so the independence thank god has been taken care of. I started watching your videos about a year ago and before I watched all the videos I’ve watched I can tell you that I had fear, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, and really bad behaviors, most of them because a girl I really loved cheated on me, but thanks to your videos I now have better knowledge on what’s really happiness and how to obtain it, how to forget about things, how to be a better person, a better man, better at sex, better in so many ways that I don’t think it can fit in this text. So thanks to your videos I am now training hard every day, training on my own when I don’t have practice with the team, I am 100% motivated, determined and commited to accomplish my dreams which is to play professional soccer somewhere in the world. I just want to let you know that the impact you made in my life with the videos has been incredible. I believe in you and I know you will accomplish your vision.

brian says:

Hello Leo,
I just want to thank you for all the time and effort you put into your videos. Your videos are my antidepressants lol. All of my worries seem to stem from my career. Recently, i switched careers and went back to school, and managing going to school, while looking for a job that can fit in my schedule it has been a challenge. It is amazing how our brains can tell us the absolute wrong things but we tend to believe them. Your video on worrying really hit home for me. I realize when i worry it never helps anything at all, furthermore, all it does is occupy the creative time i could have spent in solving the issue at hand. Please do not stop making these videos. I know they have an impact in my life, and I am sure they do in many others as well

Thank You

Oizys says:

I’ve been watching these videos for a few years now. They’re very helpful, and becoming progressively deeper. Still I find myself reverting back to the basics. I’m dying. Or at least my thoughts often coerce me into believing so. I’ve been to the ER a couple times. There’s nothing physically wrong with me. So now I just sit and bear it. A sweaty weak feeling; numb appendages, and sharp pains in my chest that come and go.

I did DMT once. It’s the first drug I’ve ever done that was a true spiritual experience. I leaned back and was shot into a colorful geometric dimension. Perhaps a place where all things come from. The first “thought” that came to me, came in the form of an understanding (instead of words) it was: “How could I forget?” In reference to: how could I forget, that this was where I came from? It was home. I sincerely hope I get to go back there. I’m sick of facing death. Some days are better then others.

It all started when I dropped two hits of acid with my boyfriend. We fell into the trip in the woods. I cried because the Earth was so beautiful. I told myself over and over again, I’m going to change the world. What acid in turn decided to show me was, I am the world. From a non ‘tripping’ perspective I learned that, if I’d like to change the world, I’d have to first change myself. It was that night I experienced ego death.

We were sitting on a couch in our living room zoned out. I lurched forward. My boyfriend asked me “what’s wrong” and I told him “I’m on acid” “acid?” he said. Now in my mind I was experiencing the same conversation but in an alternate dimension. We had wood paneled walls in our living room. However, in the “other” place we were in a cabin and had never done drugs before. It felt like a dream I’ve had a hundred times before. The memory of this conversation in a different place was crisp.

I was freaked out. I got up and went into the kitchen. Sat down on the floor. Ray came in and sat down on the other side of me. When I looked at him his features changed. We became the same person. Every micro thought I began to have about “us”, good and bad, morphed his features grotesquely. Then I fell into his eyes. I don’t remember this part so well except that it felt amazing. I guess I was telling him to come with me and talking about dying. We were to become one. I knew it; and I knew it would be the most wonderful feeling in the world.

He shook it off and tore his eyes away. I slipped into another place and Ray was there. The words were, “so you’ve been here before” he lead me into this new way of thinking. Where everything around me was controlled by my subconscious and truly nothing was real. I determined ego to be separation. My ego became totally obliterated. We shared thoughts that night. That is to say we communicated through thoughts that night. Strange things like him taking his glasses off and stating how blurry everything was and then I’d say: try this. My vision would become blurry and his crystal clear.

That experience to me was incredible, but mostly terrifying and terrible. Two months went by where I was seemingly cured of all depression, anxiety, rigorous social beliefs etc. Then, slowly, I went back to normal. Only it seems my ego came back with a vengeance. Nowadays, I feel like death is on my doorstep beckoning to me.

Ray tells me that all I have to do is choose love instead of fear. But I don’t want to die. And my mind so aptly tricks my body into thinking it’s ending for real. I have a hard time believing it isn’t true. I’m going to practice ‘positive worrying’. Perhaps I can imagine a glorious future. Or if that makes me sad; since I’m dying. Maybe I can reassure myself that death, is only returning to where I came from.

I’m twenty four, I never went to college. I watched the holes my brother and friends dug themselves into; Monstrous amounts of debt. I decided not to, not until I know what I want to do. I’m still searching for my life purpose. All I’ve figured out is that I want to travel and change the world.

I spent the summer working in Yellowstone. Now I’m teaching kids to snowboard in Colorado. The most profitable job I’ve had, was being a server. Five years of being a waitress; I detest it.

I can’t afford these “retreats”. So I decided to volunteer at one. I head out to Tara Mandala in May. I really hope I’ll be able to figure out this death/anxiety thing.

I wish you could just wave a wand at me. Have all my troubles vanish. Instant gratification, yes please. I meditate for twenty minutes a day. That seems to be the only self-development thing I can truly integrate into my life.

Therefore, I conclude to ask: have you no insights for me? Practices I can use? Knowledge about anxiety that eludes me? A picture of fuzzy kittens? A reason for my demented mind state? A way to fight or succumb to it?

Any-who, all the best to those that suffer with being underdeveloped. All the best to you as well Leo. I see you as a friend, a mentor, a psyche-ologist, and a beacon of hope.

KathyGermany says:

Oizys, first imagine that I give you a big hug and just hold you for a moment embraced because you went through lots of pain. Have you ever read about High sensitive persons? Calm the world in you and trust. Dont take that DMT experience and the question “how could you forget” as criticism – try to take it more positive as “it is so clear that you are blessed, that is why you are here, if it would make no sense you werent”. Read or listen to the Book of William Paul Young – The Cabin. Try to stop that fight in yourself with yourself and try to accept that you are here on earth now – a little material stadium in the infinity of possibilities. When we hop to the next dimension we might need you in good mood! Hug and greetings from Germany

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