Escape from the Worry Trap
Worry as Vigilance continued...
Talk to Someone
"Get it out. Talk to a friend, talk to a colleague, talk to your dog,"
advises Dr. Hallowell. "This is the number one tool of worry control
because it's so simple and so effective."
To avoid overloading others with your angst, ask a pal for 10 minutes of
vent time, then offer your ear to her.
Devote a set amount of time — say, 10 to 20 minutes a day — to your potential
Let your imagination run as wild as it can during this period. Afterward, if
an upsetting thought arises, file it away for the next day's session.
Too difficult? Start by working to postpone worries for a few minutes at a
Imagine the Chances
Pondering how you'd feel and what you'd do if the worst did happen may help you
see that the chances it will happen are slight and that you can handle
Judy Bosniadis, a real estate agent in Chapel Hill, NC, uses this strategy
to relieve her recurring anxiety that she'll be late for morning meetings in
"The big worry is that the alarm clock won't go off, I'll be late for
the meeting and everyone will be upset," she says. "I can really toss
and turn over this. So what I do is take each fear and work through it until
I've diluted it."
For example, Bosniadis tells herself that not only will the alarm most
likely go off on schedule, but a late arrival at the meeting would cause little
stir, and it's highly unlikely that she'd be disciplined for tardiness
"By the time I've gone through all the possibilities, I'm okay," she
Soothe Your Soul
Focusing on the here and now can go a long way toward soothing the soul.
To get started, give yourself five minutes to absorb the details of your
surroundings: the dishes on the table, the flow of light through the
"If I just sit here and look intently at the rose on my table for a
couple of minutes, it really helps pull me into a different state," notes
Mary Ellen Copeland, M.S., M.A., author of The Worry Control