Iris Mini: Schedule Worry Time

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow; it only saps today of its joy.” - Leo Buscaglia

Worrying is a normal part of having cancer (and being human). Worry can take over more time than you want and distract you from living your present life. It is especially hard when the worry is about aspects of cancer and its treatment that are not yet known. We can worry about the effectiveness of treatment, the impact of cancer on those we love, pain, or just managing needs each day.

One strategy for managing worry is to schedule worry time, which is setting aside a regular time to worry. Instead of worrying all the time or feeling like your worries have control over you, this is a way to take control.

How do you not worry at other times? You notice the worries when they come, and you can let them float by because you know you have a time to think about them later. You are not telling yourself not to worry; you are telling yourself that you will attend to that worry later.

Worry time has three steps:

  • Worry awareness: recognizing worrying thoughts

  • Worry delay: acknowledging those worrying thoughts and setting them aside

  • Worry time: re-engaging with those worrying thoughts at the scheduled time

Try Worry Time

  • Set aside a time each day or each week to worry about all the aspects of cancer. Start with 30 minutes. You can worry alone, write in a journal, or talk to a friend or family member. Stick to the 30 minutes and be consistent. Over time, you may be able to reduce the time of the worrying session.