Scheduling your worry time

It sounds so… counterproductive. 

Schedule your worry time? How on earth would this help with excessive anxiety?

It does sound counterproductive, but this is actually a common counseling intervention for folks who are struggling with obsessive thoughts, anxiety, and worry. 

Here’s how it works:

  • Prep work: Schedule a specific time to worry on a regular basis. Set a time limit for that worry time (keep it realistic/short).
  • Throughout the day (i.e. not in your worry time): Make a list as needed of the things that are worrying you. BUT, avoid looking at or thinking about that list until it’s worry time.
  • Ding! The alarm goes off. It’s worry time. So allow yourself to worry! Pull out the list. Consider the worst possible outcome (is it even realistic?) Feel the emotional weight of the issue, and of the worry itself. Worry away… until that time-limit is up.
  • Ding! The alarm goes off. Worry time is over. Before you put the list away, PRAY over the list. God is in control of the situations that worry you, and He is the One who can give peace beyond human understanding. Pray as much (actually, more!) than you worry.

Then what? Start over. Update the list as needed, but only give youerself permission to think about the list during your worry time. Close with prayer, and continue again. 

Counterintuitive? Yes. Counterproductive? Maybe not. It’s not a magic wand, but for many people, scheduling a “worry time” on a regular basis is a helpful way of managing the worry.

Have you tried scheduling a worry time? Give it a try today!

Written by Jessica Hayes
iHope Executive Director