5 steps to control your worry

How to stop worrying yourself to death

Toxic effects of worrying

Most of us worry about something every day. It's natural, even healthy, but if you're turning into a worry wart, things have gotten out of control.

Dr. Edward Hallowell , psychiatrist and author of "Worry", offered some suggestions on how to stop worrying yourself to death.

"You shouldn't not worry," Hallowell emphasized. "If you don't worry at all, we call that denial. Worry serves a productive function."

Of course there are types of worry that are anticipatory and dangerous. Hallowell uses the term toxic worry.

"Toxic worry is when the worry paralyzes you," he explained. "Good worry leads to constructive action. You have a problem, you bounce a cheque, you set up a cash reserve fund. Whatever it is you're worrying about, you're taking constructive action. Toxic worry has the opposite effect: you become paralyzed, you slow down, you pull back, you go out and drink too much, you impulsively quit your job, get divorced."

Toxic worry makes you sick physically, Hallowell said.

So how to combat the potentially toxic effects of worry? Hallowell offered some advice.

The 5 steps

1. Never worry alone
By far the most important step, Hallowell said it's fine to worry, just don't get isolated and become the passive victim. When you're connected and brainstorming with someone else, you tend to come up with solutions.

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