Are you a worrier who maybe loses sleep worrying about nothing and everything? Do you feel like you sometimes overthink things? Maybe you catastrophise the smallest thing until it becomes huge.
If you are any of these things, we’re here to tell you that you are not alone. We’ve also got a tool that will help you if you give it a little time and just a couple of weeks of effort. It’s called The Worry Diary and is something our charity co-founder says saved his life.
What is the Worry Diary?
It’s a simple way to get a grip on the constant whirlwind of worry that can cloud your vision and stop you getting on with life when all seems too much to deal with. It helps you put things in perspective. Like any good habit it is worth working at it, as many have said it has changed their lives, too.
How does it help?
By getting you to focus on worries, whether you can do something about them, by putting aside time each day to ponder upon them, break them down and take action or move on.
There are two main types of worries: practical worries and hypothetical worries.
· PRACTICAL WORRIES are worries we can do something about. They are within our “circle of influence” and normally require us to put into place a plan to deal with them. Whilst technically the easiest to deal with, they are the things that fall by the wayside thanks to;
· HYPOTHETICAL WORRIES – the ones we cannot do anything about. They are often ‘what if’ thoughts. If you have anxiety you may have a lot of these – often when you are trying to sleep or focus. Hypothetical Worries can create the real noise in your head and stop you focusing on your normal day to day tasks.
Once you get into the Worry Diary habit, you realise how much of your time is taken up worrying about things that you can do absolutely nothing about. This can be pivotal in getting on top of your worries.
How do I do it?
· NOTE IT DOWN Every time a worry pops up, note it down either in a detailed Worry Diary template (downloadable from our site) or note them down simply in a journal, pad or app.
· WORRY TIME Set aside a period of time each day to focus on your worries, trying to only worry in that time. Allow 20 minutes a day, ideally the same time, framing it as ‘worry time’.
· THINK ABOUT THEM Focus on each worry, paying particular attention to the hypothetical ones; and commit thought as to why it is that you cannot affect the ‘what ifs’ that take up your headspace. Visual learners can cut or tear these worries from the page and write over them why it is that you can’t do much about them. Then screw it up and throw it away.
· PUT PLANS INTO PLACE With the practical worries, the ones you can do something about, decide what actions you need to take, schedule those actions and add them to do list.
· KEEP TRYING Everyone’s different, it could click into place quickly or take a while – there are no time limits – but it will highlight how many of your worries cannot be changed either way.
The Worry Diary is a very simple yet incredibly powerful tool. If you feel your anxiety is stopping you getting on with everyday life, we recommend trying it out fully for a couple of weeks at minimum. We have seen adults, children, and young people all benefit from using it, time and time again.
We go into more depth in our downloadable version of The Worry Diary on our website. You can download it for free. Visit: poetsin.com/resources to get your copy or for any mental health help.
Author: Paul Chambers; PoetsIN