How To Reduce Worrying
Fortunately, there are strategies that you can learn and practice that can be useful for reducing worry. But because worrying is a habit that has been well practiced, you should realize that it will take frequent practice of other courses of action, ones that are incompatible with worry, to reduce the habit of worrying.
The more the methods are practiced, the stronger the new habit becomes and the weaker the old habit of worry becomes. This will take some effort in the beginning.
Additionally, it is important to realize that what works for one person may not work for another. Because each person is unique, the way in which he or she worries, and the best ways for that person to learn to reduce his or her worrying, may vary.
The most effective way to reduce worry is to choose a method and practice it. If after a few weeks of conscientious practice you do not notice a decline in your worrying, it is sensible to shift to a different method and to practice that for a while.
The important point is to give a method a good try before abandoning it, and to realize that while some methods work well for some types of worrying, others may be better for other types of worrying. You can try combining methods until you find which combination works best for you.
Observe Your Worrying And Catch It Early
Most of us, when we worry, are not even aware that it has started. That is the nature of habits. That’s why learning to become aware of your worrying is fundamental to any method of worry reduction. Begin by observing your worrying: Become more aware of it; observe it with the goal in mind of catching the worry as soon as it begins.
In applying any of these worry-reduction methods, the earlier it is applied, in other words the earlier you can catch the worry, the more effective in the long run the method will be. This is because the longer an episode of worrying lasts, the more the habit is strengthened and the more you are strengthening the bonds between the specific worrisome thoughts in particular. In other words, you are reinforcing the habit. So, the earlier the worrying is caught, the less that habit is strengthened.
By becoming increasingly conscious of the habit of worrying, it is possible to a greater and greater degree to switch it off before it becomes obsessional. It is a good sign when you are consciously catching the worrying early. You are approaching the position of being able to do something about it more effectively.