Excerpted from "A Year of Health Hints"
365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer
We're a nation of worrywarts. The National Institute of Mental
Health reports that anxiety is the most frequently reported
mental health problem. Nearly 13 million Americans spend the
better part of their day feeling anxious. That's a lot of worry.
What is worry, anyway? It is a stream of thoughts focused on
the fear of what might happen.
Here's a five-step plan to minimize needless worry, developed
by psychologist Thomas Borkovec, Ph.D., at Pennsylvania State
University. The idea is to acknowledge that you have something
worth worrying about, but limit the time you spend worrying to a
1. Identify your own symptoms of worry, like
inability to concentrate, sweaty palms, or feeling as though
youve got butterflies in your stomach.
2. Set aside a period of 1/2 hour every day for
the sole purpose of worrying.
3. Write down a list of things that you plan to
worry about during the assigned period.
4. Use your worry time as a problem-solving
session, to work on solutions and remedies.
5. If you find yourself worrying at other times
of the day, distract yourself by actively pursuing a chore or
deliberately thinking about something else, or use thought
stopping (see the previous tip).