There’s a new way of dealing with anxiety. It’s a unique process called “worry time”, which schedules a time for your obsessive concerns.
For those who suffer from anxiety, worrying seems like a normal part of life. On a personal level, I worry way too much during the day, then keep myself up at night doing the same thing. I feel like I’m not in control of this worry.
Many of you may feel the same way, especially when an additional crisis is added to the mix. But here’s some good news: you can schedule worry time and this allows you to address your concerns, and then move on to other things the rest of the time.
What Is Worry Time?
Worry time is a cognitive-behavioral concept which actually helps you control your obsessive thoughts. It’s a paradox. You will purposely decide to worry at a specific time of the day. Why? Well, since you’re stressing all the time and wasting so much of your life with concerns, you can at least practice compartmentalizing that worry. You can do something else for the rest of the time.
For instance, take time to worry, then have productive thoughts the remainder of the day. So, since this is a schedule to worry, there have to be steps to follow in order to do it correctly, right? Let’s take a look.
How to Schedule Time to Worry
Halt your obsessive thoughts for a moment and listen up. Worrying is not so bad when it’s controlled. Although you assume you cannot control it, worry after consistent training can indeed be trained. Here are the steps you use for worry time:
1. Schedule the time
The first thing you must do is decide what times of the day you should worry. Yes, I know that sounds kind of silly, but cognitive-behavior therapy would disagree with you.
So, use a calendar, planner, or notepad and write down the time of day you wish to schedule a time for obsessive thoughts. A session of between 15 and 30 minutes is ideal for worry time. After that, you can go about your positive daily routines. And by the way, it’s advised that you do not schedule this right before bedtime. It’s more than likely to keep you from sleeping well.
2. Write things down
During your scheduled time to worry, make sure you write down your thoughts. You don’t have to find a solution in this 15-30-minute window, but if you do, then that is fine too. The objective is just to get your thoughts onto paper, so you can see exactly what’s troubling you, instead of just obsessing.
There is therapeutic power in taking thought and turning it into written information. You take it from you and put it somewhere else, and at the same time, you see all the truth in the thoughts as well.
3. Keep worries inside worry time
If you start to worry about things outside your designated worry time, then stop immediately. You must remind yourself that worry can only happen during its scheduled time. This will not be easy, and it will take some time to remember. Consistently catching your worries and putting them back into those neat little slots of your day will help you gain control.
Also, when worry time comes, please don’t dwell about all the times you worried outside of worry time. It’s counterproductive and just silly.
4. End of the week reflections
At the end of each week, go back and read the things you wrote during your scheduled worry time. Are there any patterns? What are the things you ponder about the most? Go ahead and ask yourself any questions you want in order to understand more about your concerns. And yes, you should also schedule the “end of the week reflection on your worries” just like you did with the worry time in each day.
Your reflections are healthy, but take care and don’t dwell on repetitive problems and feel defeated. Just keep moving forward with the same schedule as before.
5. Make it long term
After a week or so of this practice, you may want to just continue. In fact, I recommend this. If you practice this routine for the long term, you will strengthen your thoughts, make it easier to control your worries, and also learn more about structure and focus. So, just keep going and see where it leads you.
Worry isn’t all bad
It’s not horrible to be concerned about things in life. Right now, I am concerned about our world and the nation in which I live. Every day, I check the headlines to see if things have improved, but sadly, it seems to get worse day by day. With scheduling worry time, I can allow myself to deconstruct these headlines and keep them from taking over my entire day with stress and anxiety.
You’re not alone. I have anxiety and many others do as well. But the fact is, you don’t need to have anxiety to practice worry time. You can schedule even the smallest amount of time for concerns each day. Whether large or small, your worries can be set aside for examination. I coax you to try this technique.
Let me know how it works for you!
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