Letting Go of Stress: Putting Your Worries in their Place


To mark National Stress Awareness Day on 2 November we asked author of The Worry Cure, Dr. Robert Leahy, to share his top tips on letting go of stress.

The Worry Cure is part of Reading Well Books on Prescription, which supports you to understand and manage common mental health conditions using self-help reading in libraries.

How to think of stress

Think of stress this way: you are able to lift 100 pounds but someone gives you 150 pounds to lift. Your stress is the difficulty you have in trying to do more than you can handle. You have a hard time meeting these expectations that other people have of you. But this is really your choice. You don’t have to lift the heavier weight.

How stress relates to worry

Worry is one way that you make yourself more stressed. Ask yourself: “Am I worried about things on a regular basis?” “Do I have a hard time getting my worried thoughts out of my mind?” Every time you worry, you take on an imaginary problem that you think you need to solve. But it’s hard to solve problems that don’t yet exist.

How you can combat your worry

So, what can you do?

Try to get it clear in your mind what you are predicting. What is it that you are worrying will happen? Ask yourself if the worry is going to lead to a productive action. Can you do anything that will solve the problem? If not, then label the repetitive negative thinking as “unproductive”. It’s a waste of time.

Think of your worries as those unwanted telemarketing calls that you hang up on. If there’s another call, just let it go.

Having a daily plan

By having a daily plan to address your worries you can eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress. You don’t have to solve problems that don’t exist and it’s not all up to you to make things right. Put those heavy weights down and just walk on into your life.

Get involved

You can find more support to understand and manage stress and worry in The Worry Cure. It is available to borrow for free from your local library service.

See the full Reading Well Books on Prescription for adult common mental health conditions list.

Share a review of The Worry Cure on the Reading Well website.

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