Worry can impact your ability to concentrate on daily work and exams. Not all worry is bad, but it should be controlled so that you may work more efficiently. Below are ten suggestions about how to worry effectively.
- Talk to yourself in a realistic, positive manner. When faced with a test, instead of saying, “I know I’m going to flunk this. I don’t know why I even try,” use logical and truthful statements such as, “This particular question is difficult for me so I’ll skip it for now and return after I’ve answered the easier ones.” With time and persistence, you can develop new self-talk habits.
- Categorize your worries into three types:
(a) Worries that you can change
(b) Worries that you cannot change
(c) Worries that you can influence, but not completely change
(a) You can change habitual cramming for tests.
(b) You cannot make yourself taller.
(c) You can do something about having a bad back.
- Do something about what you can change. Gather information concerning whatever worries you, so you can make realistic choices about your plan of action.
- Consciously forget what you cannot change. Say to yourself, “Well, there is nothing I can do about that, so I’ll work on something I can actually change.”
- Do what you can in areas where you have some control. Accept that you cannot change everything about the problem, but try to do what you can. For example, instead of just worrying about your bad back, you can exercise in a prescribed manner to alleviate some of the pain. Come to terms with a lack of control over certain situations.
- Examine your worries to see if some recur frequently. If they do, examine them to discover your underlying concerns. Find the basis for your worry.
- Practice positive visualization, pretending you are not worried. Change your visualizations from what you fear to what you would like to happen. Many times your feelings will follow your thoughts.
- Plan a daily 30-minute worry time. Try to set your worry time for the full 30 minutes at the same time and place every day. Often you will find solutions, your fears will subside or you may realize the relative insignificance of your worry.
- As soon as you realize you are worrying, write it down. Save the thoughts for your worry time. Try to relax through exercise or deep-muscle relaxation.
- Write your worries in a journal. Look for patterns and solutions.
Certain amounts of worry are natural and at times desirable. However, if excess worry is a problem for you, then channel it in a positive direction to increase your effectiveness as you meet life’s challenges.
The Center for Academic Success can provide information on deep-muscle relaxation and time management aids.
Adapted from “What, You Worry?” by Norma Peterson, Woman’s Day 24 Mar. 1987