1) Turn Worry Into Problem-Solving
“Worry is the process of imagining painful, even catastrophic outcomes, with no effective planning for prevention,” says Matthew McKay, one of the authors of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook. Focus on potential solutions to short-circuit worrying. “Cognitively, it’s the difference between thinking about success versus focusing on failure.” In the book, McKay and his co-authors suggest this exercise.
- Clearly define the problem. For instance, “I feel overburdened at work because I have too many project deadlines all in the same month.”
- Brainstorm to find solutions.
- Evaluate each idea, putting an X next to those that aren’t possible, a question mark next to the ones that are difficult to do, and a Y next to the steps you could take right now.
- Set specific dates by which you’ll complete your Y ideas.
- Revisit your question marks once you’ve successfully completed the Y’s. Are some of the question marks now possible?
- Finally, go back to the X’s—are they really impossible?