Pack up your worries – except for a short period every day

As we continue to live through the Coronavirus pandemic and adapt to the ‘new norm’, it is normal that we will be experiencing challenges with our mental health.

By Lauren Bell, The Yorkshire Therapist
Monday, 13th July 2020, 4:32 pm
Updated Monday, 13th July 2020, 4:33 pm

This might include difficulties with anxiety or excessive worrying. If you are experiencing difficulties with your mental health cognitive behavioural therapy can help.

The following CBT technique is called worry time and is used to help people struggling with excessive worry.

Worry time involves giving yourself a set 20-minute time slot each day where you are allowed to worry - within this time you can worry about anything that you want.

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Outside of this time, however, you practice teaching your brain to postpone your worries.

To do this you will need to have a pen and paper, or the notes section in your phone.

Each time you notice a worry pop up, write down a brief bullet point summarising what that worry was about, i.e. ‘coronavirus’, or ‘work’.

Then tell yourself that you will come back to think about the worry later and bring yourself back to the moment.

Worries will keep popping back up to begin with - this is very normal.

Each time this happens, put a tally mark next to the corresponding bullet point and tell yourself you’ll come back to it later. This will get easier with time and practice.

When it comes to your worry time, get your list out and allow yourself to worry about your worries for 20 minutes only.

If you have things on your list which you are no longer concerning feel free to cross them off.

At the end of your 20 minutes it is important to be strict - put your list away and to go back to postponing again.

Over time and with practice your brain will get used to postponing worries and you will find that you have more head space to think about other things.

If you feel you are struggling with your mental health and feel CBT may be helpful, feel free to ask me any questions directly via fb.com/therapyinyorkshire, on Instagram @theyorkshiretherapist or by visiting theyorkshiretherapist.co.uk – you can also access free therapy through the NHS by contacting your local IAPT service - see nhs.co.uk