It’s important to acknowledge that all stress, worry, depression happens to everyone to a greater or lesser degree. Whether it is at work, at home, in a relationship, due to the loss of a family member or beloved pet, an incident, oppression.
This procedure was taught to me by a counselor and I teach it to others. I believe it’s actionable and works:
Imagine a stress scale of 1 to 10: 1 = low stress and 10 = highest stress, i.e. When I was told my daughter had a terminal illness I thought this was extremely high on the scale. I decided 10 would have been if she had been abducted.
Think of how your stress relates on your own scale, what would be a high or low for you? If numbers don’t seem to work for you try thinking of water.. is this a drip? a stream? a river? a waterfall? A dam opening?
Don’t minimize your stress.. don’t tell yourself it isn’t even on the scale when you are clearly worrying or thinking about the problem or incident. Give it a number from 1 to 10.
Ask yourself “how much time can I reasonably expect I will think about this problem today and for how many days?” Again, don’t minimize, be honest. Some problems dwell on your mind for a few minutes throughout the day, some are debilitating and are thought about all day and for months. Add the minutes up and give yourself a number – say 20 minutes; an hour; three hours, a full day. If you find it is a large number, please seek professional assistance in coping.
When you have the number, promise yourself you will not think of it for longer in that day before either finding a solution or changing your thoughts – more about how you can do this next week.
If you are forming a scenario of what “could happen” this is not productive thinking. It’s more worrying.
You will undoubtedly catch yourself thinking about the problem when you have already had your self-imposed time limit.. awareness results of how much time you spend worrying. You will want to stop yourself and become more productive, you will seek answers and solutions.
Don’t give up, keep trying this until it becomes a habit and you will become a judge of how much you worry about situations you need to fix or need help with.