by Sunny Simon

Ever find yourself caught up in a web of worry? If you answered yes, you’re normal. We all exhibit Nervous Nellie traits at times. On the plus side, experts point out there is such a thing as healthy worry. Negative thoughts about future events can cause us to address problems and create action plans to resolve what troubles us.

A major difference exists between problem solving and worry. Ruminating in self- talk about what could happen or what might go wrong is far from constructive. The same holds true for dwelling on past hurts. Participating in this type of excessive behavior will eventually impact your health. In his book, “Worry,” Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. warns that “excessive worry can make you physically sick; it can kill you.” Equating it to blood pressure Dr. Hallowell says you need a certain level to live, but too high a level is debilitating.

Although no central off-switch exits to break the cycle of obsessive negative thoughts, there are techniques to help from over-thinking. Keep the worry gremlins from camping out in your brain by utilizing available techniques. My sometimes go-to is one I learned in a Dale Carnegie course years ago. Ask yourself what is the worst-case scenario and follow up with how you would handle it.

Most of the time the worst case never materializes, but if it does we are resilient. On a day-to-day basis I coach folks whose biggest worry was realized. They lost their job in a downsizing. Bottom line, they find employment and reflect back on incessant worry as colossal waste of precious time. Design a plan to cope with your largest concern and then move on.

You can put an end to wasting time by pulling out your cell phone. I call it the time-it-out technique. Grant yourself ten minutes to reflect on your problem. Ruminate away, when the buzzer sounds you’re done. Switch gears and get busy cleaning out your garage or head off to the gym.

If you are a visual person, try the bouncer method invented by a friend of mine. She sees her nagging problem as getting to the front of the line behind the velvet ropes and being confronted by a big, burly bouncer. He says, “Ms. Worry your name is not on the list and you are prohibited from entering.”

Next time a quandary causes anxiety, reflect on a famous Bombeck quote: “Worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” Kick your rocker to the curb and take action.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog,