Take the Day Off From Worry

You have more control over your anxiety than you may know.

Posted Jun 03, 2017

I realize that asking a chronic worrier to stop worrying is counterproductive. I should know. I come from a long line of neurotic worriers who just don’t seem themselves unless they are wringing their hands and minds for one reason or another. This season, it’s about politics.

When you are used to worrying all the time, you can actually feel a little uncomfortable if something (or someone) comes along and distracts you from your habit. If you have had that realization, then you can end the cycle of chronic worry in a few easy steps.

First let’s remember that you can’t eat the whole pizza at once but need to do it a slice at a time. Don’t think that you’re a failure because you can’t seem to go a day without your worries. Once you begin healing this condition, you are taking your power back. This positive outlook will give you the foundation you need to rethink (therapists say “reframe”) your state of mind.

Next, by understanding that change is a process and not an event, you take the pressure off even further. Yes, it will take some time. How much time depends on you, how hard you work at it, and what you can do to ease any tension that surrounds you. Again, we are still thinking here and haven’t taken any action. Until now.

Instead of thinking that you need to stop worrying forever, try taking one day off from your worries. That’s all, just one day off. I promise, your worries will still be there the next day—in case you were worried about that!

The purpose of this exercise is simple. If you can do it for one day, you can do it for longer. And you will want to, because you will have experienced that you have been needlessly suffering. You made a choice not to worry and it worked—and you were worried it wouldn’t! Now you know that you have more control than you thought, which also makes you a stronger person.

It’s like washing your hair. Don’t worry, rinse and repeat. Try it again in a day or two and then for a few days, and see how you do. This isn’t a contest or a race, take as much time as you need, but don’t lose your focus, and keep your eye on the prize.

Life in a worry-free zone is terrific. There will always be things that you need to be concerned about, but they are not the end of the world, unless you ask my family. Sometimes worry becomes a bad habit without your even noticing. If everyone around you is in a frenzy, then I would imagine you would think it is normal behavior. This only makes sense. But there’s no need to dwell in the past or to reevaluate your family members, because you’re stuck with them anyway.

The trick is to deal with your stuff in your way. You can get all the help you want, but don’t take on the troubles of those around you. Clean your own house: let go of the worry, so you have the strength to take on something more exciting. Like politics.