Exercise: How do you learn to cope with your worrying?


It is very common to worry about dangers and risks. This ensures that you look for solutions and try to reduce risks. For example, worrying helps you prepare for exams. There is nothing wrong with that!


Worrying means being extremely concerned about something

Some people worry more quickly. When you feel tense without any apparent danger or risk and worry endlessly about what could possibly go wrong, worrying loses its function. It then becomes dysfunctional worrying. For example, if you worry about the current flu epidemic, whether you can handle the tasks you still have to do for work tomorrow and whether the gifts for a friend are nice enough. There is always something to worry about every day!

Worrying can make it difficult to concentrate or can negatively affect your sleep. As a result, you will not function as well in the long run. This can lead to even more concerns, causing you to become entangled in a vicious circle.


Exercise against worrying

To restore the function of worrying and reduce its negative impact, you can practice with the worrying thoughts you have. The goal is to worry effectively and make it solution-oriented, instead of worrying dysfunctionally.

Try to reserve one fixed hour every day to work out your worries. Do not do this before bedtime, because there is a chance that you will feel restless when getting into bed. If you notice worrying thoughts popping up outside of this fixed hour, write them down so you can work them out completely later on. During the fixed hour, you can further elaborate on your worries with the following four steps. Of course, you don’t have to go through them all in one hour, you can also spread them out over several moments.

  1. Write down and select the topics

Write down all the topics you worry about and prioritize each topic. For example, the severity of the subject on a scale of 1-10. Then you choose one topic that is of great importance and one which offers you the possibility to actively work on a solution. You will elaborate on this below.

  1. Make it specific: outline the problem and the possible consequences

Now you are going to make the topic more specific. What exactly is the problem and what are the possible consequences? Describe the disaster scenarios and write down how likely you think it is that they could actually play out. You can ask yourself the questions ‘What is the worst thing that can happen?’ and ‘How likely is it that this will indeed happen?’.

  1. Come up with solutions and intervention options

Now is the time to set up an action plan. You will formulate goals to which you can also link actions. Describe how and when you will tackle the problem. If the problem cannot be solved immediately, put it on the agenda to solve it in the future. Is it a problem that can never be solved? Then ask yourself how useful it is to worry about it. You can always ask yourself “Will worrying about it change anything?”

  1. Planning and implementing the interventions.

Now that you have carefully thought out all solutions and actions, it is time to implement them. Plan them in your agenda and stick to your schedule. If you have performed the actions, you can also evaluate and adjust them during the next ‘worry hour’.


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