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Self-help program

6. Worry Time

Constant worrying is often associated with anxiety. If you learn to focus your worries into a defined period of time, they will affect you less the rest of the time.

In the same way it’s possible to rehabilitate many joint problems or, for example, neck and back pain with regular physiotherapy exercises, it’s also possible to decrease worrying through practice.  Achieving change requires regular practice.

When you suffer from anxiety, various worries usually appear several times a day, which can feel very burdensome. One way to reduce worry is to deal with your worries only once a day, at a selected time, instead of worrying about things frequently throughout the day.

In the video (1:23), the leading psychologist Jan-Henry Stenberg explains how it is possible with the Scheduling Worry Time excercise you can find on this page.

Exercise: Scheduling Worry Time


You will learn to focus your worries at a specific time and with a time limit by scheduling a specific Worry Time each day.

The purpose of a scheduled Worry Time is to postpone the worry until a time of your choosing. This allows you to think about problems in a focused way so that they don't dominate your daily life all the time.


Reserve a 15–30-minute period of time each day for the next week and use this as your time to practice Worry Time. Make sure that the practising is not just before going to sleep.

Then, when you notice a worry entering your mind during the day or at night, write it down on paper. Shift the moment of dealing with that worry to the next Worry Time, even if this feels challenging.

During the Worry Time, go through everything you wrote down that bothered you during the past day. You can just think about these things in your mind or use these task questions for help:

  • What will happen if I can’t solve the problem or if things turn out badly?
  • What will happen then?
  • What does it mean for me? What does it say about the situation?


Concern: "I never get any sleep."

What happens if it is not resolved or is resolved badly?: "I can't get my work done, I perform poorly and I get reprimanded."

What happens then?: "I'm no longer considered a good employee."

What does it mean to me and what does it say about the situation?: "I value good sleep and work, and I am conscientious. I'm pretty uncompromising in my thinking."

What concerns do I try to accept?: "I try to accept that I can't fully control when I sleep well and when I don't.

Also consider the following

When you have kept a Worry Journal for at least three days, you can consider the following questions

  • What were the good and bad sides of having a Worry Time?
  • Was shifting your worries to the Worry Time easier or more difficult than you expected?
  • How successful were you in terms of shifting the concerns?