In today’s post we look at how you can observe your worrying, catch it early, and keep track of your worry behaviour patterns.
Observe Your Worrying and Catch It Early
The majority of us, when we worry, are not even aware that this has started – that is the nature of habits. That is why learning to become aware of your worrying is essential to any method of worry reduction.
- Observing your worrying
- Become aware of it
- Observe it with the goal in mind of catching the worry as soon as it begins
When applying any of the worry reduction methods we will be discussing in this series, the earlier the method is applied i.e. the earlier you can catch the worrying, the more effective the method will be. The reason for this is because the longer an episode of worrying lasts, the more the habit is strengthened and the more you are strengthening the bond between the specific worrisome thoughts in particular. In other words, you are reinforcing the habit.
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 obsessive. It is a good sign when you start to consciously catch yourself worrying early. You are moving towards being able to do something about it.
The earlier the worrying is caught, the less the habit is strengthened.
Count Your Worrying
In learning to observe your worrying, it is useful to keep track of how often it occurs during the day – you could make a note on your cell phone. At the end of each day tally up the total, do this for a few days.
The point of this exercise is to help remind you to observe and catch your worrying. It also provides information on how much time you spend worrying. As you begin practising worry reduction methods and continue to track the frequency of worrying, you’ll be able to see what impact your method/s are having.
In Part 3 of How to Reduce Worrying we look at methods you can use to reduce your worrying.
In the meantime start practising catching and counting your worries!
California State University. (n.d.). How to Reduce Worrying. Retrieved from: http://www.csun.edu/sites/default/files/how-to-reduce-worrying.pdf [Accessed on: 13 October 2014].