3 ways to manage your worry

Everyone worries. In fact, worry is so common it's considered normal. You may have work worries, health worries, relationship worries or financial worries. Worry is a mental process which involves prolonged thinking about feared catastrophes (worst-case scenarios) or things that could go wrong in the future (negative predictions about a future event). It is a mental attempt to prepare for, prevent or anticipate potential future problems, risks, or threats.


Worry becomes problematic when it becomes chronic and impacts your day-to-day functioning, enjoyment, and satisfaction. You may worry to eliminate uncertainty or trying to find the perfect solution. You may feel stuck in a never-ending cycle of 'what-if' scenarios where one worry is swiftly followed by another, leading to you feeling more and more anxious.

To make yourself feel less anxious, you may turn to behaviours such as excessive reassurance-seeking, distraction, procrastination, over-checking, over-thinking, over-preparation, avoidance, perfectionism, or alcohol. Whilst this may provide some short-term relief, these behaviours can maintain your worry and even make it worse, and so is not helpful in the long run.

Pervasive worry can lead to difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, irritability, tension, fatigue, anxious feelings, and a constant feeling of being on edge. You may also find yourself worrying about worrying. If left unmanaged, it can impact your performance at work, your relationships and life generally.

The good news is that you can learn how to manage your worry more effectively. Here are three ways to manage your worry.

1. Recognise when you are worrying

Worry is future-focused and so, the more you can focus on your present-moment experience, the better. Practising mindfulness is a great way to return your focus to the present (you cannot worry about the future if your mind is focused on the present moment). By connecting with how you feel in the present, you can increase your awareness of your worry thoughts, associated feelings and bodily sensations helping you to notice your early warning signs of worry so you can then take action to manage it.

Performing a mini body scan exercise is a great way to check in with how you are feeling in the present moment, increasing your awareness of bodily tensions and physiological sensations within the body associated with your worried thoughts. Simply take a moment to close your eyes and scan through your body beginning by focusing your attention on the tips of your toes and moving your attention up through your body to the tip of your head, noticing any areas of tension as you go.

Please get in touch by email if you would like a free audio to guide you through the body scan exercise.

2. Postpone worry until a more suitable time

(When you can focus your full attention on it.)

Worry postponement is a technique which is particularly useful at night if worry prevents you from falling asleep. When you notice yourself starting to worry, say to yourself "I notice I'm having a worry thought about..." and write your worry down, getting it out of your head and onto paper. Then file the paper away as a gesture to yourself that you're postponing worry and will return to it during your scheduled worry time when you can give it your full and proper attention (more on this below).

Then, you can return your attention back to your present-moment experience and to the task at hand. If another worry thought pops up straight away, just continue to do the same thing and continue to repeat this process as necessary.

3. Schedule a time for you to deliberately worry

Schedule a specific time and place for you to worry deliberately and intentionally. This helps you to regain a sense of control over your worry, as you are doing it on your terms. Think of this as your designated 'worry time'.

Take out your list of worries from your worry postponement and give them your full attention. For each worry, ask yourself what the problem is. Next, ask yourself whether it is something that is within your control or outside of your control. If the problem is outside of your control and something you cannot change, then work on accepting it and letting it go (usually the imaginary 'what-if' scenarios).

If the problem is within your control, you can focus on productively problem-solving it and prepare a plan of action you can start taking immediately to begin solving the problem. Notice any common recurring worry themes or topics?

It is important that you do not spend too long on worry time. Allow yourself approximately 15-20 minutes and be strict with this time limit, perhaps setting an alarm to signal the end of worry time. Anything on your list that you have not dealt with can be dealt with at the next scheduled worry time.

I would love to hear how you get on and whether you found these strategies helpful. Get in touch by email if you have any questions or would like help with managing your worry.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Stockport, Cheshire, SK6
Written by Rachel Brislane, CBH Therapist | Anxiety & Stress Management | Dip. CBH, MFHT
Stockport, Cheshire, SK6

Rachel Brislane is a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist specialising in helping others to overcome anxiety & stress using an integrative therapeutic approach blending cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques with hypnosis & mindfulness. She is passionate about helping others to live a less stressed life in alignment with their values.

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