Photo remixed from an original by ASurroca.
MSNBC reports that in a study using stimulus control therapy, patients with anxiety, stress and depressive symptoms learned to associate a specific time and place with worrying. When they caught themselves worrying, they were taught to postpone worrying and focus instead on the task at hand. When the scheduled “worry time” came around, they used that time to try to solve the problems they worried about.
This sort of compartmentalising of their worries helped reduce anxiety and stress. Although it was a small sample (62 participants with some dropping out), the technique sounds promising (better to worry for a focused 30 minutes a day than over an exhausting 18 hours, I think).
We’ve recently seen stimulus control therapy applied to training ourselves to fall asleep faster, and the MSNBC article points out how these techniques are used for curbing overeating as well. These sorts of mind hacks might pave the way to better health.