Psychological Self-Help

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There are several very good self-help books for worry--even
Carnegie's book, "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living," with its
common sense approach from the 1930's is still given high marks by
readers. There is a 1999 audio edition available. I would recommend
to the serious worrier three other books, Babior & Goldman (1996),
Schiraldi (1996), and Copeland (1998). Copeland's book is a
workbook; she has had years of experience with bipolar disorders.
McKay, Fanning & Landis (1998) have produced a "Daily Relaxer Audio
Cassette" for worriers. 
Foa and Wilson (1991) have written an excellent, very thorough
self-help book in this area. I've summarized it under "obsessions and
compulsions" below. Also, see the next chapter for a discussion of
perfectionistic worrying. Reading Goulding and Goulding (1989) and
Craske, Barlow, and O'Leary (1992) should also be helpful. Mardus
(1995) suggests ways of making worry work for you instead of
wearing you down. 
One of the more popular books about worry, at the moment, is by
Hallowell (1998), a MD who has specialized for years in the ADHD
area. Naturally, he brings a medicalized approach to worry and
suggests several medications. He does also recognize that worriers
have many ideas that lead to dread and insecurity, such as "I'm going
to fail," "they may not like me," "I just know I'm going to make a
mistake" and so on. For the cognitive aspects of worry, he
recommends "techniques for retraining your brain," such as having
positive thoughts, correcting wrong ideas, praying, using worry energy
constructively, building friendships, following a daily schedule,
listening to music, and others. It is easy reading; some reviewers even
describe his suggestions as pop-psychology. 
How can a worrier stop worrying excessively? Borkovec's approach
is to try to get worrying under situational control, i.e. set aside a time
(perhaps 1/2 hour each day) and a place to worry, and only worry
there. To do this you also have to detect the onset of worrying and tell
yourself to put it off until the appointed time and place. Thought
stopping (chapter 11) or focusing your attention immediately back on
the task at hand might help avoid the continuous worrying. Use the
"worry period" to develop at least a crude plan (not the perfect plan)
for current concerns. Writing your worries in a journal can help. A
chronic worry becomes an obsession, so see the section below on
obsessions and compulsions. 
A reduction of the worrier's stress level might reduce the pressure
to think, so any of the anxiety reduction techniques (relaxation,
desensitization, inoculation) mentioned above might help. Clearly,
decision-making and self-help planning would help the indecisive
worrier cope and move on. Worries are often useless; this awful event
that might happen, often doesn't happen. Thus, the worrier needs to
use the cognitive methods cited above to straighten out his/her
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