Mar 18, 2009
For many people, worrying has become a way of life -- worrisome thoughts intrude throughout the day, distracting them from their present moment (which usually isn't too bad). This can be a difficult habit (and it is a habit) to change. But it is possible.
When most people question their assumptions and beliefs about worry as I describe above, they realize that it isn't serving them, yet they still feel compelled to worry.
First, what generally doesn't work is trying to stop "cold turkey." Feeling stuck in worry and stopping just by telling yourself to do so isn't likely to work. But here's an approach that does work for most people.
The better strategy is to accept your tendency to worry, but agree with yourself to confine it to a set period of time once or twice a day. Set some time aside, say fifteen or twenty minutes, where you allow yourself to worry to your heart's content.
Then when you catch yourself with worrisome thoughts at other times of day, remind yourself that you're going to do your worrying later.
Most people find that this allows them stop worrying in the immediate moment because they know they can do it a little later. This frees mental and emotional energy to focus on what's working and solutions for what isn't.
The next step is to gradually reduce the daily time allotted to worrying.
Freeing yourself from worry spares you emotional turmoil and allows you to focus your energy in more productive ways. You might also want to use some of the time you free up to develop the knack of living in gratitude, but that's a topic for another day