NYC Cognitive Therapy View Entire Blog

Noah Clyman's 7 Day Worry Challenge! (part 3)

Worry Challenge; Day 4: Ask yourself some good questions

People who worry too much tend to be somewhat limited in generating options, alternatives, and solutions to potentially stressful problems. This is mainly because their anxiety limits their ability to think outside the box and come up with more creative ideas. They continue to worry in non-productive ways.

Today’s assignment: Look at your daily writing and ask yourself some good Socratic questions about the worries you wrote down. Challenge your thoughts. See if you can poke holes in them. Brainstorm some ideas and solutions that may resolve your worries or at least make your worries less troublesome.

Some questions to ask yourself include the following:

- What am I afraid of?
- Is there another way, a more sensible way, of looking at this?
- Am I looking at worst-case scenarios?
- How would someone else (a good friend or role model, for example) look at this problem?
- How would someone who is more of an optimist look at this?
- What are some alternatives and solutions that I may have missed?

Use your Socratic questions to examine, challenge, and reframe your thoughts. Don’t let yourself get away with any faulty thinking!

Worry Challenge; Day 5: Use your coping self-talk

You probably have a pretty good idea of the importance I place on talking to yourself in a sensible, reasonable manner. This coping self-talk can help you change the way you feel.

Here are some examples of coping self-statements that you can use whenever you find yourself over-worrying. Today, come up with 3 or 4 of your own!

- I can cope with this.
- Don’t make this a bigger deal than it really is.
- Realistically, what is the worst that can happen? If it did, how could I cope?
- What good things might happen?
- Is this worrying helping me in any way?
- I will be able to figure out ways of coping with this.

Today’s assignment: Create and rehearse coping self-talk. Write these statements on 3x5 index cards and review them in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Cultivate your inner-coach.