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VideoSettling Worries

Settling Worries

By focusing on worries during one specific time of day, you can let those racing thoughts pass before bedtime.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace. Unrivaled expertise to make life feel a little easier, using guided meditations, mindfulness tips, focus tools, sleep support, and dedicated programs.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

Do you find yourself consumed by worry? Well, you're not alone. The struggle is real. We can even sometimes find ways to worry about even the smallest of things, like what shoes to wear. "If I wear sandals, my feet will get cold "but my sneakers won't look right." And then you find yourself overthinking to the point where now you're late. While this example may seem silly, it's not farfetched from how many of us experience the worry spiral. Navigating uncertainty is hard and creates the worries that make it challenging to live in the present moment. Remember, it's natural to worry sometimes. Worrying can actually help us navigate some of the real dangers of life, like double checking the oven to make sure it's turned off. The good news is, while there isn't a way to stop worrying altogether, you can train your mind to get better at working with it. You can do this by setting up what we like to call a worry-time window. Here's how it works. Start by setting a specific time and place to worry. It may feel awkward to do this at first, but give it a try. Maybe it's in your car before you walk into your house after work, or perhaps at the kitchen table. Just avoid choosing a place you don't want to worry, like your bed. Next, set a timer. You might start with 10 minutes but it's fine to do more or less depending on how you feel. Try not to focus on traumatic or painful experiences during this time but instead, focus on everyday worries about the future. Once the timer is set, you can write down everything that comes to mind about a specific worry or you can go through multiple worries and put them into categories. You might even come up with potential solutions. Let's say you're worried about work. You might write down the word work and add bullet points of everything you're worried about. Maybe it's a coworker whose work you always seem to do, a micromanaging boss, too many unread emails, or a never-ending to-do list. Once your timer is up, do a relaxing activity to wind down. You could try a breathing exercise or reading a chapter in a comforting book, something that will take your full attention. This technique is about really working through your worries and sitting with them to get more comfortable with worry. Outside of this time, your worries will still creep up. Try noticing them without judgment. Acknowledge, "Yep, I know, I wrote that down." And gently remind yourself and your mind that there is now a dedicated time and place to tend to your worries. If the worry is persistent, jot it down again to assure yourself you won't forget it during the next scheduled worry time. Let's try the worry time technique together now. Grab a pen and paper, and if it's close to bedtime or you just woke up, you can come...

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TypeVideo
Duration4 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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