Using Worry Time to Beat Panic

Lower You Panic and Anxiety

worried woman with head in her hands
Scheduling worry time can prevent panic disorder sufferers from worrying throughout the day.. Tom Merton/OJO Images/Getty Images

Do you find yourself constantly worrying? Perhaps you spend a lot of time worrying about the future, wondering if everything is going to work out. Or maybe you worry a great deal about your past mistakes, upset with how these missteps are still impacting you today. Even worse, you may be like a lot of anxiety disorder sufferers and frequently worry about your past, future, and just about everything in between.

People with panic disorder are more prone to worrying. Continual worrying can impact many areas of your life, including your relationships, job performance, and overall functioning in day-to-day life. Worrying is often counterproductive in that it does not help in solving your problems and can actually heighten your feelings of fear, dissatisfaction and apprehension.

We may think it is best to try and push our worries out of our minds. It’s true that some distraction techniques can be helpful in keeping your worries away. However, as the old adage states, “whatever you resist persists.” As much as you may try to push your worries aside, they remain. Your worrisome thoughts can even be contributing to your overall sense of anxiety and general panic-related symptoms.

Rather than avoiding worry altogether, try instead to schedule some daily worry time. You read that right: set aside time to do nothing but worry.

That may sound absurd, but many anxiety disorder sufferers have found that this technique has helped in decreasing panic and anxiety.

The following offers a step-by-step guide to help you get started in scheduling some worry time.

Set Aside Time. Plan on spending at least 1 to 2 worry times per day. These worry sessions should be kept to a minimum of at least 5 to 10 minutes each.

Creating the Best Setting. Find a quiet place where you are not likely to be distracted by others. Make sure that you are not within hearing of distracting sound, such as a blaring T.V. or nearby cell phone. The less distracted, the more you will be able to focus on this exercise.

Now Go Ahead and Worry. Spend your scheduled time just worrying about what ever you can think. It’s a simple as that. Don’t try to over think it, just focus your mind on any worries you have. If you feel that you are running out of things to worry about, you can always return to those items that you already worried about.

Relax When You are Done Worrying. Now that your scheduled worry time has come to a close, you can reward yourself with some form of relaxation. There are numerous relaxation techniques available, such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), or visualization. These exercises have a calming effect and can help you let go of any stress or tension caused by your worrying.


  • It is important that you try to only worry during your designated “worry time.” If you notice that you are having any worrisome thoughts throughout your day, try to remind yourself that you are going to save these worries only for the time you set aside. You can briefly jot these worries down so that they will be available to look at during your scheduled worry time.
  • It can be helpful to have one worry time at the start of your day and then another separate worry schedule for the end of your day. That way you can get any worries out of the way before you get going with your day. This also allows you to let all of your worries out of your system before going to bed at the end of your day.
  • You may be surprised by how slow time goes by when you are focusing in on your worries. It can be helpful to use a timer or alarm so that you a certain to worry for at least 5 to 10 minutes. This will also prevent you from going over your allotted time.
  • Some people find that they are unable to focus solely on their worries without becoming distracted with unrelated thoughts. If you notice this happening to yourself, gently bring your attention back to your worries once you are aware that your thoughts have gone off track.
  • Some people keep a worry journal. Instead of just thinking about your worries, you can use journal writing as a way to work through your worries.
  • If you don’t have the time to complete an entire relaxation exercises following your worry time then try to just spend a minute or two simply unwinding. You can take several deep breaths, do a few yoga stretches, or even listen to some relaxing music to allow you to unwind from your worry time. 

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