A Worry Period. How Postponing Worry Can Help Reduce Anxiety.
Worry is a normal and natural part of our everyday life. It can help us to foresee and solve problems and motivate us to take positive action. But if we start to notice our mind becoming preoccupied with worry, if we start to notice our thoughts are all about worst case scenarios and concerns about 'what-if?' then worry can become an energy sapping, anxiety inducing problem. However worrying is a habit that can be broken, the following process can help us to stay calm and reduce our anxiety.
Creating a 'Worry Period'
Eliminating worry completely is not really a reasonable or even desirable goal, but if you a chronic worrier it may often feel like your worrying thoughts are uncontrollable and take up far too much of your time. A worry period is designed to help you feel more in control of when and how long you worry for, and put you back in the driving seat.
Creating a worry period consists of 3 stages:
A. Chose a time/place to worry. Ideally, the same time each day (say between 6-6.20pm each day), try not to make it too late as anxiety right before bedtime may not be helpful. During this 'worry period' you can worry about anything you like, but the rest of the day is a worry free zone.
B. Postpone your worries. If an anxious thought or worry occurs to you during the day make a note of it and put it aside until your worry period. Remind yourself that there is no need to worry now as you will have time to worry later. Put it aside and go about your day.
C. Review your worry list. Once your worry period comes around re-read your worry list and reflect on the points you made. Are you still worried about these things? If so, spend some time reviewing them (but no longer than your worry period allows), if you're no longer worried cross it off your list and move on.
Postponing worrying in this way can be really helpful as it breaks the habit of dwelling on worries, without trying to suppress the thought. You simply save it for later. As you practice postponing your anxious thoughts, you may start to realise that you have much more control over your anxiety than you thought!
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