Anxiety Treatment - How to Control Your Worries

by : Tamas Gloetzer

Do you find yourself worrying all of the time? Do friends and family consider you a worrier? Chronic worry is a form of anxiety, and although everybody worries at one time or another, worry can become problematic when it becomes uncontrollable over an extended period of time. If you find that your worrying is interfering with your life, below are some steps to help you to regain control over your worry.

1. Identify your top worries. Common topics of people's worry are finances, timeliness, and health and well-being.

2. Figure out what you can reasonably do (if anything) to resolve the sources of your worry. For example, if you're worrying that you might have bounced a check, go balance your checkbook. If you're worried that you might not finish that English paper in time, make a timeline for yourself and get started immediately. If you're worried that you'll be late, promise yourself to leave 10 minutes earlier than usual (and follow through!).

3. Admit that worrying doesn't solve problems. Once you've done what you can to resolve your worries, it is highly likely that you will still have remaining worries. Worry is like using a crutch even though you are strong enough to walk without it. At this point, if you've followed instruction #2, there is nothing more that can be done productively. Your job now is to recognize and admit that worrying does NOT solve problems. It does not prevent problems or help you to prepare. That was the purpose of #2! The bottom line is that you need to convince yourself that there is no purpose for worrying. In fact, worrying causes you to feel worse, tiring you out or taking up time that could be spent doing something that is productive.

4. Identify a time and a place where you can engage in scheduled worrying. As most people find it difficult to just stop worrying, it is sometimes comforting to allow yourself some time to worry. The trick is to limit the worry to a specific time frame and specific place. For example, set aside 20 minutes in the morning when you sit on a particular couch to worry. Then, set aside your worries and go about your day. If needed, you could also set aside another 20-minute worry period at the end of the day. As a side note: while it may be tempting, do not choose your bed as a place to worry, as you want to leave your bed as a place for comfort and relaxation.

5. Repeat the above steps every day. Practice will help to make you more efficient in identifying your worries and figuring out how to resolve them. Practice will also make it more likely that you develop skills to control your worry, as you will first learn to move your worry into scheduled periods and then eventually, you may learn how to shorten your worry periods. Ultimately, you should aim to feel satisfied with your resolutions to situations (#2 above) and not feel that you must rely on worrying. Many people often are pleasantly surprised to find that they do not need to worry!

If you are having difficulty following the above steps and continue to feel worried all of the time, you should consider seeking help from a mental health professional or your physician. He/she can help you to take steps to control your worry.