Is it possible to control worrying? For some, the answer may be “Yes,” but for many others, controlling the tendency to worry is a constant challenge. We often worry about our work situations, financial conditions, or family events. We may worry about upcoming situations. So, our minds may wander and distract us from staying focused on the present. Worrying wastes time. If you find that worrying has taken too much control of your attention, then consider these three strategies to reduce your worrying. You will find that worrying less will help you make more positive contributions in you daily life. Life is too short to spend your time worrying.
1. Schedule time you allow for worrying.
This strategy allows you to worry, but within strict time limits. Decide to take time to do nothing but worry — this can be 5-15 minutes a day, but no longer. Set a timer for 15 minutes and write down everything causing you worry. But when the buzzer sounds, stop.
Put your worries away and allow yourself to focus on something else. Tell yourself that you have done all the worrying you are going to do for today. Simply having this time each day can help you contain your worries. Your brain is a wonderful tool, but don’t let it run un-tamed.
2. Make a worry box to hold your concerns
This strategy helps you compartmentalize your concerns and helps you let go of your worries. Find a box with a lid and decorate it however you like. Keep it in a handy place. Write each of your worries on a piece of paper and assign a time to worry about this concern on another day. Then drop each piece of paper into the box.
Once your worry is deposited in the box, focus on other matters, knowing you have scheduled time to address each concern later. Then, when you return to review each concern, you may find many no longer worry you. Throw them away! While a few worries may remain, many have lost their powerful hold on your mind.
When you find your mind starting to focus on a major concern that causes anxiety, divert your attention to other subjects. For example, you’re riding a bus that is running late; you start thinking about being late for an important meeting. You become anxious.
Find another attention focus and divert your attention from the worrying thoughts. Maybe you can focus on a crossword puzzle or read a magazine article. When your mind returns to worrying, change tasks again. By diverting your mind’s attention, you can reduce your stress.
Download 3 Simple Habits to Stop Worrying as a pdf.