People worry about many different things, sometimes these worries are warranted while other times they are not. The thing is worry can interfere directly with your life and make you forget things, loose things, not allow you to enjoy your daily life. A strategy to deal with small worries (those worries that you wonder why you are thinking about them in the first place) is to postpone your worry to a particular time of the day. By learning to postpone your worry, it will be easier to manage it and also allow you to have a sense of control.
These are the steps you should take to schedule your worry session:
- Create a worry session
- Chose a particular time, date and place that you will dedicate to worrying. Make sure this allotted time also has a beginning and an end, just as you would allot time to going to the gym or going to the doctor.
- Make sure the place you pick is where you can be alone with your thoughts. The time should be one that does not interfere with your usual schedule and is not right before going to bed. After all you do not want to extend this worry session.
- Postponing your worry
- As soon as you notice yourself worrying, postpone this, you can write the worry on a small piece of paper or your phone, so you do not forget what exactly you were worrying about.
- Remind yourself that you will dedicate the time that you planned to this worry and thinking about it then. If you notice that you cannot not stop worrying then do something positive, active or something that you really enjoy. Maybe eating something you like or chatting with a friend for a few minutes. If you really are having a hard time, look up Mindfulness Techniques (come and check this out in the next blog).
- Having your worry session
- Once the time comes to finally have your worry session, go to the place you planned and settle down. Use this time to really think and reflect on all the things that you had written down during the day that worry and bother you.
- If you notice that some things you had written down are really not important anymore, then don’t focus on those. Focus only on the things that you really have negative feelings about. Only spend the amount of time that you allotted yourself to think about these things. When it gets time to end the session, bring your thoughts back to the present, take a few very deep breaths and start noticing how your body feels. Start thinking about at least three things you have accomplished during the day. If you noticed you are still focused on the worrying issues, write them down.
Remember it takes 21 days to create a habit so give yourself patience. These are new skills and they take practice and diligence. Notice if postponing your worries surprises you in any way. Often times people will notice that actually making plans to worry, makes the issues they are worrying about less troublesome. The same thing can be done with sadness.
This exercise is not meant to diminish the reason of your worries, just to help you through your day. There are many worries that cannot be pushed away, when you are experiencing these, it is often best to talk to a professional in the field of mental health. Together you can help explore these feelings, to ultimately make you feel better and have the tools to help you in the future, should worries take over again.