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CBT Worry Postponement

CBT Worry Postponement

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CBT Worry Postponement infographic
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Description

Worry postponement is a technique used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It is primarily used to decrease anxiety and allow people to act more effectively and productively.

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Possible Benefits

  • May help reduce anxiety 
  • Can improve mood 
  • May improve focus
  • Can help reduce stress
  • May promote emotional regulation 
  • Can help prevent mental illness
  • May improve productivity
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Required Equipment

None

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How to Do It

Define time of day to worry (e.g., 5 pm, 15 minutes).

When you realize that something is distracting you and you're overthinking it: 

  1. Decide if it's something that can be fixed immediately. 
  2. If it can be solved, do it! 
  3. If it can't be fixed, save it for your worry time. 
  4. When your worry time arrives, actively think about everything that is worrying you. Don't think about anything else.
  5. When the time is up, stop.
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Why it works

  • Although worrying helps you be prepared for the future, when you do it too long it becomes an obstacle. 
  • Worry fills your mind and makes your cognitive processes slower and ineffective. This can make you less productive. 
  • Excessive worry creates a low mood and anxiety. 
  • Worry can become a problem of emotional regulation. If it is very repetitive, it can create a risk of mental illness.
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Time Commitment

At least 15 minutes a day. 

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Suggested Frequency

Daily

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Time of Day

Any

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Possible Side Effects

May be challenging at first.  

At first, you may feel you're being careless.

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Notes

  • This technique is known as an effective emotional regulation technique. 
  • To get better results, you can combine this technique with meditation.
  • You can take note of the things that concern you most during the day. You may find a pattern. 
  • If you experience intense anxiety, consult a mental health professional. 
  • Check out this Harvard Business Review article on anxiety in everyday life in the business world: Leading Through Anxiety.
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Supporting Studies and Articles

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  1. Application of a Worry Reduction Intervention in a Medically Unexplained Symptoms-Analogue Student-Sample. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30740991/
  2. A cognitive model of pathological worry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3444754/
  3. The perseverative cognition hypothesis: A review of worry, prolonged stress-related physiological activation, and health. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022399905002151?via%3Dihub
  4. Postponing Worrisome Thoughts in Children: The Effects of a Postponement Intervention on Perseverative Thoughts, Emotions and Somatic Complaints. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19520470/?dopt=Abstract
  5. Mindfulness-based cognitive behavior therapy in patients with anxiety disorders: A case series. http://www.ijpm.info/article.asp?issn=0253-7176;year=2012;volume=34;issue=3;spage=263;epage=269;aulast=Sharma
  6. Reducing worry and subjective health complaints: A randomized trial of an internet‐delivered worry postponement intervention. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bjhp.12170
  7. LEADING THROUGH ANXIETY. Inspiring others when you’re struggling yourself. https://hbr.org/cover-story/2020/05/leading-through-anxiety
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Category

 Mood  Stress  Productivity  Focus
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