Agitation & Perturbation
Worry Time could be the most important time of the week for you if you’re a typically anxious person. The idea is that instead of worrying all the time, you set aside a time to worry. This has a hugely positive impact on your life, and if you’re not doing it, you probably should start.
When you set a time to worry, you worry less.
Because you limit the amount of worry time in your life, you tend to have less of your time taken up by it, which reduces stress substantially. Worrying at most 20% of the time is healthy. It allows for you to address actual issues, forget about non-issues that can be perceived as issues on the spot, and to give you peace of mind the other 80% of the time.
Here’s how it works: your goal is to set to 30 minutes of Worry Time per week. You can start with 30 minutes per day if you have to, with the idea that you’ll slowly transition over to the final goal. You separate your time in two parts: Worry Write, and Worry Do.
In Worry Write, you write down everything that worries you, and you give it priorities. I like to color-code (yellow for semi-important and red for very important). Everything you can think of that worries you, you write it down. You look at every point and think “how likely is this to go wrong” “what’s the worst that can happen” and “what can I do to make it better”. Make a plan.
Important point here: if you think about something you worry about, tell yourself you’ll write it down during Worry Time. This is to trick your brain into feeling like it’s listened to and valued. If you forget your worry when you get to worry time, you’ll know it’s a sign that you were worrying about something not important at all, and that things got better by themselves- you’re learning to dedramatize. If, however, you can’t get that worry out of your mind after a reasonable amount of time and that it’s affecting your functionality, and you realize that you’ll remove the worry just by writing it down, just go ahead and write it down. You’re allowed to cheat if it’s to help improve your well-being.
In Worry Do, this is when you look at your list, revise if all the worries are still valid, and get into action. Whatever plan you had made, you just do it, from the most important to the least important. Put yourself on a timer if it helps, but no matter what you do, stop as soon as your Worry Time is over. Whatever isn’t done, you can put on your Worry Write list and do next time you have time. This seems counter-intuitive, as if leaving a worry on the table and not addressed is a bad thing, but it’s important to note that not only will you have done the most important things first so the others will seem more attainable, but also you’ll realize that even if you don’t address certain things, life goes on. The world will not stop turning just because you can’t do everything on your list of things to do.
I used to think I carried the weight of the world on my shoulder. When I started looking at is as a tree full of fruit - where fruits are worries- growing next to me rather than on my back, I saw that I could pick each fruit at my leisure and leave them on the tree with no further consequences. Sometimes, you don’t pick the fruit before it falls out of the tree, but you can certainly learn to make something sweet from them!