Identify Your Worries and Reduce Your Stress

Becoming aware of your worries and concerns gives you a starting point that can provide you with a focus for your change efforts. The exercises that follow give you lots of real-life material to work with as you master your new worry-management tools.

When you change something, it’s important to have a good idea of what you want to change. You need to know what your worries are — what they look like and what they sound like. Identifying your specific worries may take a bit of practice, but the results are worthwhile.

Maintaining a simple “worry list” will give you a clearer picture of what your worries look like. Try it now. Get a pencil and piece of paper, or your computer, tablet, or cell phone, and jot down your current worries.

Next to each worry, rate your worry level, the degree to which this worry distresses you. A one, two, or three indicates that you’re feeling only a minor degree of stress about this situation. A four, five, six, or seven means you’re feeling a moderate level of distress, and an eight, nine, or ten means you’re experience a great deal of stress because of this worry.

Worry List
My worry My Worry Level
Job security 8
Mother’s health 8
Possible IRS audit 8
Condition of the car 6
Money for kids’ college 8
Squeaky front door 4
Hair loss 10
Fence that needs repair 6
Upcoming meeting at work 8
Gift for Aunt Harriet 5

Identifying your worries is only the beginning. You want to know how to manage and minimize these worries — but before jumping to that, you may want to spend another minute or two checking to see whether your worries warrant the level of worry you give them.

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