Do you find yourself spending a vast amount of your time worrying? Do you spend too much time worrying? Do you worry about a huge variety of things, from ‘what will happen if?’ scenarios, to very real situations, to your health, to your family’s safety, to money, to work, to your appearance? Do you worry that you’re worrying too much? Do you want to stop worrying?
Here’s how to stop worrying excessively .
Worry is a very normal thing. Worry is a natural skill (and yes it’s a skill which we learn and develop), which protects us from harm. If we didn’t worry about our health we wouldn’t go to the doctor and we might get ill. If we didn’t worry about our exams, then we wouldn’t prepare for them and we might fail. It’s useful in helping survive and thrive and because of this we will never be able to get rid of it entirely.
But! We can learn to control it in 4 steps.
Identify what it is that you’re worrying about, and be as specific as possible. Write. It. Down.
Schedule some ‘worry time’ for later in the day and leave your worry until then. Worry time can be any time when you’ve got up to 30 minutes to devote to worrying. (Right before bed isn’t the best time because it might stop you thinking). It might help to distract yourself, or keep busy, or do something relaxing, but keep reminding yourself, “I’ll worry at worry time”
At worry time, get your pieces of paper out on which you’ve written your worries, and for each one, answer this question, is this a problem which is happening right now and which I need to do something about right now? In other words is it a hypothetical worry or is it a real worry? Hypothetical worries are things like, “what if I lose my job? ” or “do they like me?”. Real worries are things like “my car is broken down, what can I do?” or “I can’t pay this bill in time”.
If it’s a real worry, then problem solve it (I’ll add in some how to tips on how to do this at a later date).
If it’s not a real worry, then have a think about it if you like, but let it go, remembering that it’s natural to worry, but that if it isn’t something you can actually do something about, or if it’s something which might never happen, then it is futile to spend too much time thinking about it.
After 30 mins of worry time, stop, and do something else.
Repeat this every day, and often people find that they simply worry less and less because their brain realises that some worrying is pointless.