People would tell me not to worry, they would tell me how futile it was and provide me with endless inspirational quotes, such as “worrying is praying for something I didn’t want”, etc. but nonetheless the worry persisted.
Eventually I decided to embrace the problem once and for all; this is one of the main reasons I got involved in Psychotherapy.
After much research I discovered the work of Dale Carnegie and in particular his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”. Carnegie was a pioneer in the self-improvement field, publishing several books on the topic including the highly popular “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.
This book is broken into 8 sections ranging from understanding what worry is, an introduction to analyzing your worries, improving your mental attitude to dealing with the fears of criticism of others.
Each subsection, 28 in total, contains practical tips and anecdotal stories to help deal with the worry habit.
Among my favorite chapters is Chapter 1 which opens with a great tip I regularly use with clients who suffer from extreme anxiety. By living life in 24 hour units, you can mentally focus on short periods and not let your mind get carried away with fears of tomorrow. Blocking each hour off helps us to stay calm, become goal oriented and achieve more over one day.
Chapter 6 details the importance of busying the mind with a comprehensive list of tasks, which in turn helps to reduce the window of time to worry and mull over other problems. The tasks must be stimulating and educational to create the desired distraction.
Chapter 8 discusses the law of averages and how it can be applied to any problem by rationally assessing the likelihood of the worry actually occurring.
Lastly Chapter 11 talks about how to go of past mistakes or losses and quickly move forward with the next challenge.
What I love about this book is despite it being written over 60 years ago it is just as relevant and practical now as it was then. The honesty of the author in sharing his own personal experiences is particularly refreshing as it highlights how similar we all are in our need to overcome worry.
With over 6 million copies world wide, I have recommended this hugely popular book to many people and the response has always been positive.
If you are a worrier or you know someone who worries, this book could really make a difference.
I hope this helps, please feel free to comment and share.