If you’re like me, no matter how much you plan your day, those anxious moments creep up and derail your productivity. While it might seem far-fetched, scheduling could help relieve your anxiety.
The idea of scheduling time to worry comes from sleep therapist and psychologist Nick Wingall. His method, called “deliberate worry,” focuses on both listing your anxieties, planning next steps for tackling them, and then scheduling them as you would your usual tasks.
Wingall combined two different types of scientifically backed anti-anxiety and sleep improvement methods known as scheduled worry and constructive worry. Scheduled worry sees people penciling time into their calendars to essentially brain dump all of their anxieties and concerns. The second method sees someone writing the next steps toward a solution to their concerns.
Wingall’s method is a combination of both of these paired with active planning. It’s designed to reduce nighttime anxiety and worry (but would work during the day as well). To try it, there are five steps:
- Schedule: Pick a time of day to engage in worrying. It can be just five minutes, but it needs to be consistent.
- Brain Dump: Quickly list everything worrying you from big things to small. Don’t do it in your mind. It has to be on paper or recorded on your phone. A pocket notebook is great for this kind of quick on-demand writing.
- Choose Action Items: When done, go back through your concerns and highlight the ones you can take action toward. These should be items you can control, whether urgent or not.
- Make Next Steps: Once your actionable items have been pulled out, write down a single, simple step you can take toward solving each one.
- Plan: Now that you have the next steps, stick them into your calendar. These small items should be worked into your usual tasks like any other to-do list item.
Ultimately, continued use of the method should train your brain to limit worry to the “worry time” you have established as well as give your mind a sense of control over those anxieties.
The next time you’re having anxious thoughts—be they throughout the day or at night—Wingall’s deliberate worry method might be for you. If, however, planning just isn’t your thing, these anxiety-calming methods are worth checking out.
[Via Fast Company]