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I recently noticed that a “Worry” exercise is no longer in the updated version of the VHLA Patient Handbook, so here’s another one

Schedule Worry Time*
A big problem with excessive worry is that it interferes while you’re trying to do something else – watch a movie, talk with a friend, or concentrate on a book, for example. This leads to negative results: first, it’s harder to enjoy these activities or do them properly; and second, you don’t get to focus properly on the problems…

…The aim of this scheduled Worry Time is to allow you to worry towards solution instead of worrying in circles. When worry is done this way, it’s more likely to help you resolve your problems. In order to get the full benefit from worry, set yourself up in a comfortable spot maybe at a desk in a quiet area, and make sure you have paper and pen or a computer – whatever helps you think about problems and solutions…

“Worry time” is just one step of a larger process of “Managing Worry” (p. 16):
1.Identify Worry Thoughts
2. Challenge Worry Thoughts
3. Practice calming and realistic thinking
4. Schedule Worry Time
5. Use these methods to protect your sleep


If a Worry Thought pops into your head while you’re trying to do something else like watch a movie, don’t just try immediately to stop thinking it. That usually doesn’t work… Imagine instead that you gently place that Worry Thought in a folder on a shelf, as though telling it: “You’re important, so I have to think about you carefully – I’m going to put you on the shelf and bring you down during my Worry Time – you’ll get all the time you need…”


You can also use these methods to protect your sleep

If you’ve been worrying too much, it might affect your sleep… Here’s what you should try: if you’ve been lying in bed for 20 minutes trying to get to sleep but worries are interfering, get out of bed. Go to your worry place and get the folders where you’ve been keeping track of your problems… It probably won’t take long to work through all of the problem folders – mostly, you’ll be scanning over what you’ve already written during your Worry Time. When you’ve looked over all of the problem folders, put them back on their shelf. Then, when you eventually start to feel sleepy, go back to bed…
There are a total of 7 Positive Coping Skills sections with descriptions and worksheets:Relaxation

  • Managing Worry 
  • Activating Your Life (activity planning)
  • Solving Problems
  • Managing Depressive Thinking
  • Managing Anger
  • Relationship Building (couple/social support)

*adapted and quoted from Positive Coping with Health Conditions (PCHC, 2009) a free self-care workbook authored by scientist-practitioners with expertise in issues relating to coping with health conditions.

🍁 VHL Canada facilitates peer support for people coping with VHL in Canada
CRA BN: 800804676RR0001
Our mailing address is:
VHL Canada
2938 Dundas Street West
PO Box 70510
Toronto, ON
M6P 4E7

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VHL Canada · 2938 Dundas Street West, PO Box 70510 · Toronto, On M6P 4E7 · Canada

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