For most people, worrying is a form of problem-solving where you look at challenges in the future and work them out before they happen, which can be constructive . . . But some people worry too much. Chronic worriers fret all the time, about everything. Pathological worriers are chronic worriers whose apprehension affects their functioning.
— Elizabeth Bernstein (from “You’re A Worrier? Don’t Worry”, p. A13, Wall Street Journal)
First, ask yourself: Are you a “chronic worrier”? Here’s a list of things you can do to end “chronic worrying” and be happy
- Start with a reality check. Is the emotion you’re feeling equivalent in intensity to the situation you are worrying about? Usually the answer is no.
- Tell yourself a better story rather than focusing on the worst-case scenario. Not only will this help you feel less negative, you will free your mind up to find solutions to your problem.
- Make a plan. Write down in detail how you will deal with the situation. It will seem more controllable.
- Set a timer. Give yourself 15 minutes to worry as much as you want. Then stop.
- Yell “Shred!” (in your head). Picture your worries going through a paper shredder. Visualize them being destroyed.
- Distract yourself with music, exercise, a good book or movie. It is hard to focus on the negative when you’re enjoying yourself.