Set Aside Time To Worry To Reduce Stress And Anxiety

Set Aside Time To Worry To Reduce Stress And Anxiety

It may seem silly, but if you pencil in time to worry, you may be able to cope with problems better. It’s easier to postpone worrying than it is to stop worrying altogether, the theory goes.

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.

Scheduling ‘worry time’ may help you fret less [MSNBC]


  • Worked for me, I used to suffer from panic attacks. I was told proper exercise can lesson the severity of attacks, so I started long distance running. I found that to distract myself from the monotony running, I’d go through all the things that were worrying me. After while I got into the habit of putting off my anxiety till i was running. Stopped getting panic attacks and found my 30 , win win!

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