Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Worry wart.

So, it turns out I am a worrier, like, big-time. This is nothing new to me. I tend to work myself up and fret over tiny things—going to the doctor being a prime example—only to experience a huge surge of relief (and drop in adrenaline) when whatever I'm fretting about is over. I hesitate to call this anxiety, but it's definitely anxiety's cousin—and as any of you who experience something similar know, it can be pretty crippling sometimes.

But thanks to my impending 30th birthday, I've kick-started my brain into thinking that it's time to start getting the ducks in my life in a row, and one of those ducks (this metaphor is getting weird) is mental health. Aside from the unavoidable everyday stuff, there are certain, specific things in my life that cause me stress, and so I'm making an active effort to address, deal with and, in some cases, remove them. And I'm trying to figure out ways to deal with my propensity to worry, too.

One of those ways, according to a very wise person, is using a worry journal. At the end of each day, I sit down with my notebook and paper and write down all the things I've worried about or am worried about. The idea is that I get them out, on paper, and then I close the notebook and leave them there. And while I can't say that I'm 100 percent successful at doing that—this is a work in progress—I can absolutely tell you that it's helping, and that I'm much more aware of what kinds of things I'm investing precious emotional energy into. (Often, they don't even deserve the time of day—I'd much rather put that emotional energy into my relationships or other happy, significant things going on in my life.)

Have you ever tried something like this? How do you guys deal with stress? Exercise is my other favorite way—I always feel better after a spin class, some yoga or 45 minutes on the elliptical, but I really want to hear what you all do, too.

Photo by Olivia


  1. I really like this idea of a worry notebook! I also feel better after exercise.
    "Exercise create endorphins.
    Endorphins make people happy.
    Happy people just don't shoot their husbands."
    --Legally Blonde
    Sorry, had to share -- popped into my head :-)
    Exercise in general helps, but specifically for me it works best when it is outside -- something about the fresh air clears my head.

    1. Love that quote! Thanks for the comment, Kenley. :) And yes, exercise outside is the BEST. Thankfully, Sarasota--with its beaches and abundant sunshine--is good for that.

  2. I am such a worrier too. It drives the Mr crazy. Be sure to hop on over to Lynn and Lou for a wonderful Giveaway!


    xx. McKenna Lou

  3. Ooh, I think a worry notebook is a fabulous idea. Why didn't I think of that myself?! I've been making great progress in curbing my worrying simply by remembering that very few things merit genuine worry, and that it always works out fine in the end. Though the idea of seeing those rather frivolous worries in writing sounds appealing and effective. I must try this. : )

    1. I know! When I was told about it I was like, "This is such a great, simple idea--why didn't I do this sooner?" Let me know if you try it!

  4. A worry notebook sounds like a great idea. Maybe you can balance worries with gratitude notes as well to balance the two!

    I agree with yoga. I also use the "count to 10" strategy, even though it's usually for anger management. If something stressful comes up, I take ten deep breaths. Usually making myself focus on breathing so deeply sends all other thoughts out of my head.


    1. Such a good idea, Alicia! I should have mentioned that I was also told by said wise person--after I got into the habit of writing down the worries--that the next step is to think about what can be done to alleviate the worries. Goes hand-in-hand with the gratitude notes!

      And yes--big yay for deep breathing, too.

  5. I'm sorry to hear you're dealing with worry and stress, but it's wonderful that you're working to manage it and putting together a plan!

    This is something I'm planning to write about next week on my blog, too! I've been trying to put together a stress management plan for myself so that I can manage things better. Truth is, when I get stressed, the plan in the past has been crying, Thai food, lots of TV and then feeling crappy cause I spent my night crying, eating Thai, and watching TV.

    Lately I've been trying out a gratitude journal (per Alicia's awesome post on it), yoga, eating well, and most importantly running my butt off. Every night I go for a run after work and it has been absolutely amazing for decreasing my anxiety and stress, helping me sleep better and sorting out my problems. I literally come up with solutions as I run, which is sort of incredible in my opinion.

    Right now, I'm looking to pick up some self help-ish books to read for when things get a little out of hand and I need something concrete to remind me to slow down. I think first up will be the Happiness Project, which I've been meaning to pick up for sometime now. Have you read it?