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Noah Clyman's 7 Day Worry Challenge! (part 2)

Worry Challenge; Day 2: Schedule your worries

After you begin to worry, you quickly discover that the worry can be very forceful and insistent. One way of combating this is, oddly enough, to do your worrying at designated times. Build worrying into your day. Call this your “worry time.” Whenever you sense that your worries are creeping into your mind, remind yourself that it is not yet your time to worry and that the worrying will have to wait. Jot down this worry in a worry diary, a notebook or a day planner that you use for other appointments. Assign a time for you to worry. Treat your worries like an appointment and schedule it for 15 minutes. It could be first thing after your morning coffee, or just after lunch, or on your trip home from work. (Just avoid bedtime). Combine this step with step 1 and write about your worries, intensely and non-stop, for 15 minutes.

The value of this approach is that it provides you with a sense of having addressed the worry. You will be able to worry about whatever is bothering you – but only at a specified time. This approach allows you to feel more comfortable not worrying (or at least worrying less) the rest of your day.

To practice this scheduled and concentrated form of worry control, start with a smaller worry and work up to your more distressing concerns.

Today’s assignment: Set aside a 15-minute block of time to worry. When this time arrives, take out your notebook and write intensely and non-stop about your worries for the entire 15 minutes.

Worry Challenge; Day 3: Cut out your catastrophizing

Worriers are consummate catastrophizers. They are constantly vigilant, on the lookout for horrendous problems and imminent disasters. This vigilance in and of itself can be stressful, not to mention emotionally and physically draining.

And even if a feared event did happen, would it always result in the catastrophic results like the following?

- If I lose my job, I’ll wind up in a box on the street!
- If I fail the test, my life will be totally ruined!
- If I have sex, I could contract HIV and that means I will be alone forever!
- If I don’t meet my deadline, I’ll be fired!
- If I’m late, they’ll never talk to me again!

Probably not. Whenever you emotionally exaggerate the importance of a situation (by saying, for example, “This is the worst thing that could ever happen!”), you can be sure that your stress level will rise accordingly. You can quickly turn something small that warrants some concern into a major catastrophe that elicits major stress.

Today’s assignment: Catch yourself catastrophizing. When you catch yourself imagining the worst, put it in perspective.