Here in the UK we have a system called IAPT – Improved Access to Psychological Therapies. The waiting list is quite long, but, I decided to go along to see what it is all about and if the therapy could be helpful.
So, I made the appointment and, initially my therapist gave me some self reflecting tasks to do; write down important life events in a timeline, keep a worry diary and that kind of thing so we could discuss the content together. I found it useful to be objective about my own life and I have written many a diary for my moods and life events in my time so this task was nothing new to me. We then discussed a technique called Worry Time. I was to use this technique to help me reflect upon my worries and deal with them in a more healthy, efficient and productive manner. I’d read about this technique in books before, but, how many of us read something in a book and then actually act upon it? I try to do all the exercises in self help books but I admit that this one I had truly avoided. This time I was determined to partake in the suggested task. So, this is what to do:
1 – Briefly note down any worry as it comes into your mind. Write it in a notebook whether this be with a paper and pen or on your phone or other electronic device.
2 – Distract yourself immediately from the worry. You can do this by any means available, just busy your head with alternative information; go outside, be active, do some housework, draw, play music, have fun with the dog, anything to take your mind away from the worry.
3 – At the end of the day, now you have your worries noted down, look at these notes. Do this at a given, specific time as this is your worry time. Set yourself this worry time every day for a week or more if you want to. Read through your worries, reflect upon them and only worry about them in this specific given time. Set it for say, fifteen minutes, set a timer and really reassess your day’s worries. When the timer goes off then stop your worrying by using a distraction method again.
Personally, I found this technique very useful. I found that at the end of the day when I read back my worries to myself, some of them had lessened and become less significant and I reviewed them quite differently to when I had initially written them down. My worries became less troublesome over the course of the week and less stressful. I found myself being more logical and seeking practical solutions to my worries, instead of just responding to them with an unhelpful emotional panic. I found that by giving myself more positive headspace instead of randomly obsessing about my worries throughout the day, that I could be more rational about them and take control of them instead of them controlling me. So, I would suggest everyone gives worry time a try, and, stick with it even if it seems tedious to begin with, and, see if you gain a positive outcome too.
I will share more techniques as I venture across new ones and try them out first. Good luck!
Information about IAPT can be found here:
https://www.england.nhs.uk/mental-health/adults/iapt/ [Accessed 17/09/2019]