Four steps to stop wor­ry­ing for­ever

Cecil Whig - - & & -

Some­where in my life, I picked up the habit of wor­ry­ing. I don’t be­lieve I was born a wor­rier, so I must have learned to worry from past ex­pe­ri­ences and watch­ing oth­ers worry . If you, like me, have strug­gled with learned worry, we can also un­learn this de­bil­i­tat­ing habit.

No. 1: Des­ig­nate one 15-minute pe­riod of Spe­cial Worry Time each day dur­ing which you will do noth­ing but worry. As wor­ries come up dur­ing the day, jot them down, but do not worry about them. You’ll worry about them only dur­ing those 15 min­utes.

No. 2: Take con­trol of your mind. You have the abil­ity to de­cide which thoughts you will dwell on. When neb­u­lous, neg­a­tive thoughts that you al­ready added to your list of wor­ries creep up again, send them away. Find an ac­tiv­ity to do with your hands to re­di­rect your thoughts.

No. 3: Set an alarm for Spe­cial Worry Time. When the alarm goes off, drop ev­ery­thing you are do­ing. Find a quiet place, where you can con­cen­trate all of your thoughts and men­tal en­ergy on your list of wor­ries. As you fo­cus on each worry and pos­si­ble out­comes of the worry, write them down. Then, worry about those pos­si­ble out­comes as well. Pour your heart into it. Worry non­stop for the full 15 min­utes. Do not let any thoughts of peace, joy or hap­pi­ness come to mind. When the 15 min­utes are up, stop! There’s no more wor­ry­ing al­lowed un­til this time to­mor­row.

(Hon­estly, I doubt there will be an­other Spe­cial Worry ses­sion be­cause you will quickly learn how ex­haust­ing and to­tally un­pro­duc­tive it is to worry.)

No. 4: Find a more pro­duc­tive al­ter­na­tive to wor­ry­ing. Ex­er­cise is a great way to ward off worry. Call or mes­sage a friend or rel­a­tive; if they are deal­ing with big­ger wor­ries or prob­lems than you, you may get some per­spec­tive. If you are re­li­gious, talk to God; tell him what’s wor­ry­ing you, for un­like you, he can do some­thing about it.

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