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What is worry? 

Planning and thinking ahead is something all of us do at some point, and is useful for organising tasks. When worry becomes excessive however it can have a negative impact on our mental health and our lives. When we are worried it is easy to think of the ‘worst case scenario’. Worries can be hypothetical (things we cannot control) or practical (something we can do something about). 

Common symptoms of worry

Moving out of Worry 

As discussed earlier we need some level of worry to help us organise and complete tasks so the purpose of worry management strategies is to get more control over the worries so it does not interfere with your day to day life. Breaking the cycle of worry is important. By keeping a record of your worries and recognising how you behave physically when you worry (you may tense your jaw or bite your nails) and emotionally (you may stop relating to people or feel worthless) you can begin to take control over your worry. Relaxation exercises can help manage the anxiety of worrying. Consider whether your worries are hypothetical (cannot change) or practical. If your worries are mostly hypothetical try using Worry time’, If your worries are mostly practical, problem solve them.  

Please do watch this video which talks through the steps of worry management 

Worry time 

  • Choose your worry time, 30 minute slot before bedtime 
  • Refocus – take time after you have completed worry time to relax. Try mindfulness or meditation, read a book, cook a meal, do a workout. Anything that will help to shift your focus away from worry time to the present moment. 
  • Capture your worries by writing them down. 
  • Challenge your worries by asking such questions as is there any evidence to support this? What would I say to a friend if they were feeling this way? Will this matter in 1 or 2 or 5 years from now? If I had kept on worrying about this all day, would it have changed anything? 

Problem solving

Are there practical steps you can take to reduce the pressure you are under? 

Think about sources of support for situations or tasks you find challenging. 

Getting Support 
Self-help references 

The following references are available from the University Library either in hard copy, CD or ebooks. Most are readily available to buy either in bookshops or over the internet. There are also a limited number of books in the Learning Grid and the Bio-med Grid.

Stress-Free: Peaceful Affirmations to Relieve Anxiety and Help You Relax 

Louise L. Hay 


The 10-Minute Stress Manager 

Emmett E. Miller 


Relaxation: exercises and inspirations of well-being 

Sarah Brewer 


Stress, Anxiety, Depression : A Practical Workbook,] 

Martin Simmons, Peter Daw,. 


Mind guide to managing stress 



Mind guide to relaxation 



Overcoming Traumatic Stress: A Self-help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques 

Herbert, C. & Wetmore, A. 

Robinson Publishing 

Healing Without Freud or Prozac. 

Servan-Schreiber, D. 

Rodale International Ltd. 

How to stop worrying 

Frank Tallis 


Managing Stress (Teach yourself) 

Looker and Gregson 

Hodder Education 

The Good Stress Guide 

Mary Hartley 


The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook 

Davis Robbins Eshelman and McKay 

New Harbinger 

The Worry Cure 



How to stop worrying 


MIND booklet 

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