De-stressing with Bente (#2)


Learning to relax again: how do you manage to do that? Bente (23) is a freelance journalist and works as an online editor at Flow. Having experienced a near-burn-out, she’s finding her way to a life with less stress. And every Friday, she takes us with her on her journey to get there.

You know that rug that I told you about in my first blog post? Well, I like it. The thought of twenty minutes lying down and doing nothing seemed like an eon to me, but it was easier than I thought. I lay there every weekday, and I noticed that it really helped clear the mind.

But too many anxious thoughts still slipped through. My mind isn’t clear enough it seems, so I need to arm myself with heavier defenses in order to suppress my tendency to worry. And my therapist agrees with me.

Have I ever heard of ‘Worry Time’, she asks me.
“Worry what?” I answer.
“You schedule a half-hour of Worry Time into your day, and in that half hour you write all your worries down on a sheet of paper, and when you’re done, you tear it up.”
I look at her in amazement. I need to worry less, so how does setting aside specific time to worry help me?
“And what’s the use of that?” I ask.
“You give yourself time to focus on all your worrying thoughts,” she says. “And the rest of the day you try to worry as little as possible.”

That makes sense. So, later that evening, I set my timer to 30 minutes and I hunch over my new worry notebook. The first few minutes are fine. I write down all my thoughts and quickly fill a side. I turn the page and poise my pen above the paper, but there is nothing more. The Great Worry Talent falls short. I look at my phone. Great: I still have eighteen minutes to go. I begin to read the full side of the page to pass the time.

But that doesn’t make me feel any better. Because everything I’m reading is negative. Yeah ok, that’s precisely the intention. But it is not exactly pleasant to see all those anxious thoughts so definitively on paper. It only makes me sadder. And so I turn off the timer halfway through my Worry Half Hour, tear the page out of the notebook and throw it in the trash. Away with it!

I ignore my worry notebook for the rest of the week. I’m not interested in being so actively engaged in gloomy thoughts. Fortunately, something reminds me of what my therapist said: “Everyone gets better in their own way; there is no one way.” The daily worry session will not bring me closer to my goal. The next time I worry, I’ll take a walk around the block. Or I’ll just go lie on my rug again.

  • Bente’s first blog can be found here.

Photography ©Green Chameleon/Unsplash