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Worry Tree

The worry tree helps us effectively deal with worrying thoughts.

Worry is a particular problem in Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).  We can spend many hours a day worrying about anything and everything, and that worry is often not helpful, in spite of what we might believe.  See the GAD page.

The worry tree helps us deal with Type 1 worries which are the worrying thoughts that seem to happen all the time. 

Type 1 worries can be separated into two further categories:

  • Hypothetical situations - what if...?
  • Current problems

Hypothetical situations are those "what if...?"  thoughts about some terrible event that might happen.   "My partner is late home from work - what if they've had a serious road accident?"  "The ozone layer has holes - what if the end of the world happens soon?"  "There's a traffic jam - what if I lose my job when I'm late?"

These thoughts are usually followed by imagining what would happen in those worst-case scenarios.

These kind of worries then, cause us a lot of anxiety, when there is perhaps little or nothing we can do about that situation, and we are over-estimating the odds of these things happening.  They are an imagined future scenario that will most probably not happen.

We might think we're helping by worrying and planning what to do in the even of this feared event happening, but it doesn't happen, so all that time and distress has not been helpful.

Current problems are those worries that relate to a real situation, that we CAN do something about.  In which case, we can decide what to do, when and how - which will be much more helpful than just continually worrying about it.


The Worry Tree


Notice the Worry

Ask yourself "What am I worrying about?"  e.g. traffic jam - I might lose my job

Ask:  "Is this a hypothetical situation or a current problem?" and/or "Can I do something about this?"

If the worry is a hypothetical situation

Let the worry go or postpone your worry until later

Change your focus of attention - NOW

If the worry is a current problem

Make an action plan

  • What to do
  • When to do it
  • How to do it
  • Schedule it

Let the worry go in the meantime.

Change your focus of attention - NOW

See also Flexible Thinking:  The Oak and the Palm Tree

The Worry Tree - PDF


(for dealing with worry - based on Flexible Thinking)

Female voice, with music.

 28 mins 502.50  Add to Cart

Self Help Books

Overcoming Worry And Generalised Anxiety Disorder

The Generalised Anxiety Disorder Workbook

How To Stop Worrying And Start Living 



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