Anxiety & Mood | Stress

Anxiety: Worry Hour Part 1

Worry and rumination create stress hormones as well as psychological pain. These two dimensions paired together can often escalate into intense suffering.

Try this: to take control of worrying/rumination it is important to assign a scheduled hour per day, yes, that is right – only one hour!, for non-urgent worrying/rumination, e.g. 10 AM.k It has to be the same time every day (alternatively during the same daily activity like going to work, during breakfast etc.) to ensure discipline.

There are several reasons for this. Less than one hour of rumination and worrying is ‘normal’ – does not meet one of the criteria for obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD. Also, the brain has an overall healthy function and that is to make you survive. Your brain also wants to solve the problems you encounter. One way of doing this is to look out for dangers and surprises. However, if one has experienced scary dangers and surprises, this mechanism can become intensified and automated leading to rumination and obsessive worrying.

During the other hours of the day you shall postpone your worrying/ruminating thoughts. It is important to acknowledge the thought/the brain’s effort as it shows up – you cannot try to control the first thought since it is spontaneous, only the second. Hence, kindly and gently steer the thoughts to the scheduled hour, e.g. by responding to it: “Thank you for reminding me – I will listen at 10 AM… tomorrow at 10 AM …later at 10 Am… …10 AM” If you have problems with worry/rumination it can take you thousands of replies until the brain gives up since it really thinks you are in danger. But it will eventuallt work or there is another complication!

It is important that this hour is not too late in the evening, preferably no later than 6 PM, to ensure it will not disrupt your sleep with the stress hormones that will be produced. This technique is of course impossible during acute crisis. Then instead immediately seek professional help! I will adress this next time as well as what to do during the worrying/rumination hour.

#anxiety #worry #rumination #worryhour

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