Dr. Romance writes: Often, it seems that there are not enough hours in the day to do everything that must be done, and like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland we have to run as fast as we can just to stay in place.  And she was created before computers, cell phones and e-mail!   I often find myself worrying about a future I can’t predict, or things I haven’t done.  Worry saps energy, and accomplishes nothing, so I’ve developed a method of dealing with worry that you might find helpful, especially when you can’t sleep or if you’re anxious.  Whenever you’re  worried,  follow these simple steps:

1. Write it down.   If you’re feeling anxious or worried, or you can’t stop thinking about some event that hasn’t happened yet, take a few moments to write down whatever is worrying you.  If you can’t  write it down, think it through carefully until you can clearly say what you’re worrying about.  Clarifying your worries will stop the free-floating sensation of anxiety with no basis.

2. Evaluate.  Think about the first item on your list.  Ask yourself “Is there anything I can do about it now?” If you’re at home and worrying about the office, or if the problem won’t occur until next week or next year, you may not be able to do anything about it right now.  Or, perhaps you can make yourself a note, make a  call, devise a plan,  or ask for help. 

3. Do Something. If there is something you can do, do it.  Rather than waste time worrying,  decide to get something done.  For example,
∙ If you’re worrying about how your presentation will go at work tomorrow, go over your notes and lay out your clothes for the morning.
∙  If you’re worried about a health problem,  look up the illness or injury on the Internet, or call your doctor and ask some questions. 
∙ If you’re at work worrying and about cooking dinner when you get home, write down a menu or a list of ingredients.
∙  If you’re worried that you may be fired, update your resume and call some agencies.  You don’t have to take another job right away, but if there’s a real problem you’ll be prepared.

Here’s how it looks in action: If you’re worried that the roof may leak the next time it rains, start making a list about what you can do about it. Your inner dialog may sound like this:

“The news said it was going to rain next week.  I’m worried that the roof might leak.”:
“Call a roofing company and have them look at it.”
“I’m worried that a roofing company will charge me more than they should because I don’t  know how much it should cost.”
“Call my brother, (or my neighbor, or my friend) who had his roof done, and ask him what  it costs, and also if he liked the contractor he used.”
When you reach this “okay”, it’s time to make the call, or, if it’s too late at night,  make a note to  call the next day.

4. Distract Yourself. When you’ve done what you can, or made your lists or notes, then distract yourself: Count your blessings, get involved in something else,  read,  or take a walk or a bath. 

Repeat the above steps whenever you’re worried, and you’ll find that your worries decrease.  I wish you days full of blessings.

Adapted from It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction 

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For low-cost counseling, email me at tina@tinatessina.com

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for LoveForever.com, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.