Moving through worry

How to Begin

Start with a pen and a block of paper. Free-write for at least five minutes. Avoid focusing on thinking and just write whatever comes to you. Once you have emptied your mind, follow the steps below.

Divide a page into three sections titled List A, List B, and List C.

List A— The Big Picture

Place on this list all the worries, anxieties, and concerns which you can’t immediately do anything about, such as the weather, politics, international events, or the behaviour of a friend or relative.

List B—Today’s Picture

Place on this list all of your worries, anxieties, and concerns which you can do something about today. Don’t feel limited by how silly or small they may be—every idea counts.

List C—The Future Picture

Place on this list all of your needs, hopes, and desires which are yet to be fulfilled.

Step 1. Read through List A, staying present to the idea that you can’t do anything about these concerns and that worrying about them takes a lot of energy. Tell yourself it is time to let them go. What is it you can do to let them go?

Step 2. With List B, choose one action—no matter how small—to begin with. Resolve the item to the best of your ability, then move on to the next issue. Several items may be able to be resolved immediately, while others may reduce in pressure once movement has begun.

Step 3. Take one of your List C items and perform an act (whether large or small) that moves you in the direction of this goal.

Perform this process each day until you have very few items left on List A or List B. Once these concerns have been checked off, you will find you will have more energy for List C.

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