Taking a Time-Out from Our Worries
Often when we have worries on our mind, troubles, or fears we review them repeatedly. We go over and over what happened, what could happen, or what should have happened. Like a tornado, these thoughts can gain speed and power, and our anxiety accelerates accordingly.
There is some good in our doing this, as our minds are searching for solutions. So, here is a strategy that can help. Schedule a half hour or an hour (at most) a day and write down what occurred, what you fear will occur, and your "solutions." But make that the time for this "work of worry." After a few days, you will usually see that there is nothing new to write down, but if there is write that down. Make this the "worry time," but let the other 23 hours a day be time you don't do this worry. Fill the other time with your work, family time or time with friends, time to seek entertainment, exercise, healthy eating, and healthy sleep. When thoughts or worries pop into your head, tell yourself that you will attend to that during your scheduled worry time, and if true, remind yourself that you've already written that down, so "nothing new there." A psychologist or other mental health professional can help with this, and if trying this exercise on your own leaves you still too anxious, depressed or feeling overwhelmed, it may be time to seek professional help.
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Dr. Stevan E. Hobfoll
40+ years experience.