‘Don’t Worry About It’ – How Postponement Helped My Anxiety
‘Just don’t worry about it’
‘There’s no point worrying about that now’
If you are reading this as someone who has some experience with anxiety I would imagine you know these statements well. It is the often the reply you get when you tell someone you are worrying about something, especially when it seems (to them) to be something small or something out of your control. It’s well meaning of course but sometimes it doesn’t help and you feel like saying that if you could stop worrying about it you would!
This was until I was introduced to Postponement by my CBT therapist as a technique to help get my anxiety under control and I learnt that saying ‘don’t worry about that now’ or ‘worry about it later’ to myself was really beneficial.
So, what is Postponement?
Worry isn’t just worry to someone who suffers from anxiety; it is intense, it takes over your mind and can take over your daily life. For example, if I was worried about something that was happening on a Thursday, my worrying period would probably start on the Monday before and it would take over my week. Postponement gives you a chance to stop that from happening but still giving you some element of control.
The easiest way to do it is by setting yourself a time of day for your worrying to be done. It sounds a bit odd doesn’t it? However by doing this you are freeing yourself of that worry because when it rears its ugly head, you think to yourself that you aren’t going to worry about it at that time, you will come back to it in your worry time. You can then go on with your day knowing you have that worry tucked away for later. I know to some this may all sound strange but anxiety can often be ruled by the belief that worrying about something is good, that it makes you more prepared and in control.
When you come to your allocated worry time you can then run through your worries in your head and work out what you are going to do with them. Are they likely to happen? Are you overreacting? Is there something practically you can do to stop the worrying? Quite often you will find that you have forgotten about the smaller worries so instead of focusing on them all day, you pushed them away for later but actually lost them and they’re not a worry anymore or you have remembered them and hopefully dealt with them whilst being able to think a bit more clearly. There are all sorts of tools to help with dealing with them and I will write about those in another post but I wanted to share the basics of Postponement with you as I think it has been my most useful tool to come out of CBT.
The main focus with Postponement is putting you back in control and not allowing yourself to be hung up on your intrusive thoughts or worries through the day but also offering yourself some reassurance that you will sort them out. It was one of the first things that my therapist taught me, it’s a great first step.
If you would like any more information on my experiences with postponement then pop on over to my Instagram and we can have a chat.