A few weeks ago, a woman in one of my therapy groups talked about a “Worry Box.”
Let’s see if Google has a definition for “Worry Box.” (I doubt it. I think I’m going to have to work a little harder writing this blog, this morning.)
Boy, even that little bit of fortune-telling I did there, in the parentheses …. was wrong. What was I thinking?
When I googled “Worry Box,” this app came up:
which is, apparently, on a list of “The 10 Best iPhone and Android Apps for Reducing Anxiety,” published on 9/9/12 by HealthLine.
But I still need to define the concept of “Worry Box”.
Wait! Here’s an excerpt from “Two Techniques for Reducing Stress,” from Harvard Health Publications/Harvard Medical School, published on 4/9/11:
Make a worry box
Find any box, decorate it however you like, and keep it in a handy place. (I found that this was a great activity to do with my young children, since they loved helping to decorate the box.) Jot down each worry as it crops up on a piece of paper and drop it into the box.
Once your worry is deposited in the box, try to turn your attention to other matters. The worry box essentially allows you to mentally let go of your worries.
Later on, you can throw out the notes without looking at them again. I decided to look through mine at the end of the month, and while a few of those worries were still bearing down on me, most were unfounded. It was a good lesson that worrying is often fruitless, as a favorite quote of mine from Leo Buscaglia underscores:
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”
I am very happy about finding that, this morning, for at least two reasons: (1) I don’t have to write a definition of “Worry Box” and (2) the second technique cited in that on-line article is another one I love to use with people, called “Scheduling Worry.” (I really recommend checking that out, here.)
I wanted to write about Worry Boxes, this morning, because I’m having some worries about my trip to England and Scotland with my son, which is ….. about one week away.
My worry is right on schedule, based on my Past History of Worrying.
I tend to worry in cycles. These cycles go something like this:
- Something New (or otherwise scary/exciting) is approaching and is, suddenly, sooner than I expect.
- I worry that I am not prepared enough.
- I visualize and otherwise think about things that can go wrong.
- I forget about all the times I have mastered similar things in the past.
- I recognize and name my anxiety.
- I (and sometimes other people) do some work to help me let go of anxiety and worry.
- I feel secure enough and start looking forward to What Was Causing The Anxiety Before.
- Time goes by.
- Go back to Step #1, above.
Yep! It’s a cycle, all right.
So I figured I would do something new, today, as part of Step #6, above.
(I did Step #5, earlier today, by (1) sending a confession about my anxiety to Alexa, whom I met in the hospital when we were both kids, who now lives in London, and who has generously offered to take me and my son around town and then (2) starting this blog post.)
So for Step 6, today, I have designated a Worry Box:
Front row: Worry Box, previously known as Precious Gift from Precious Friend.
One more photo of the newly-dubbed Worry Box, before I leave for work this morning:
The left portion of that photo shows all that was in the newly-dubbed Worry Box, when I opened it up this morning, for the first time, in a long time. On the right: another cat that helps out with computers.
Gotta run! Thanks to Alexa, Harvard Medical School, Leo Buscaglia, anti-anxiety apps everywhere, and — of course — to you for reading today. (And feel free to put your worries in a box, or otherwise away.)