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How Setting a Worry Hour Can Actually Help You Worry Less

Plus more tips from the Nov-Dec issue of PETS+.

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MANAGEMENTSet A Worry Hour

With the key holiday period coming up, there’s plenty to worry about. But worry doesn’t get much productive done. And often just makes things worse. What to do? Schedule a “worry hour” — a slot on your calendar where you get to be as worried as you want for a set amount of time. That’s the advice of Dr. Emily Anhalt, a psychologist who works with tech companies in Silicon Valley. “It sounds a little trite, but if you schedule time to worry, that means you’re able to be more present for the rest of your day, rather than feeling constantly overwhelmed by tides of anxiety, which ripple out to impact how you interact with others,” she told First Round Review. “When you find yourself getting worried, perhaps tossing and turning in bed at 2 a.m., gently say to yourself, ‘That’s not my problem right now, that’s 6 p.m. me’s problem. I’ll worry about it then.’”

MAKE GRATITUDEA Clean Habit

One of the lasting legacies of the coronavirus pandemic will be that people wash their hands more than ever. Here, according to gratefulness.com, is how to use that change in routine to also express some gratitude, which has a host of well-recorded mental benefits. Every time you wash your hands — for a full 20 seconds, of course — think of a few things you’re grateful for: family, health, a viable business, work you believe in … And with that, your time should be up, your hands clean and you in a better mental place.

MANAGEMENTSome Friendly Advice

Jobs are meant to be about money, status and purpose. Right? Yes, but don’t overlook friendship, says economist and author Noreena Hertz. In her recently published book, The Lonely Century, she says “the single biggest determinant as to whether someone is productive is whether they have a friend at work.” You can’t force your employees to be friends, but you can make a concerted effort to acknowledge each staff member on a daily basis so they don’t feel left out. Yes, you probably already knew your job was so much more than simply managing a business.

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HOLIDAYSPrepare for Less Sleep

The holidays can mean long days with little sleep. Following is some advice from a former Navy Seal, as told to artofmanliness.com (How to Pull an All-Nighter: Tips from the Special Forces ) on how to get through periods of sleep deprivation. Tip 1 is actually to avoid skipping sleep whenever you can; it’s self-defeating in terms of productivity and emotional control. But if you have no choice, his guidelines include banking sleep ahead of time, doing the most difficult tasks first, and nourishing yourself with protein snacks (not sugary sweets) in the late hours.

PURCHASINGBuy the Best Tools

The annual unveiling of a new iPhone model invariably prompts the thought: Do I need to upgrade my phone? The standard financial advice for items that you use every day, such as phones, office chairs and beds, is to buy the best you can afford. Kevin Kelly, author of the guide “Cool Tools,” says a similar approach should be applied to the tools you use for work, although with a tweak: “Start by buying the absolute cheapest tools you can find. Upgrade the ones you use a lot. If you wind up using some tool for a job, buy the very best you can afford,” he says.

SECURITYReboot Your Phone

Here’s a new weekly habit for you: Turn your phone off and on, at least once. That’s part of the National Security Agency’s recently released “best practices” guide for mobile device security. While it won’t stop a sophisticated hacker, it will make them work harder to maintain access and steal data from your phone. “This is all about imposing cost on these malicious actors,” Neal Ziring, technical director of the NSA’s cybersecurity directorate, told AP. The reason is that the latest invasive software typically targets your phone’s root file system. But the newest phones can detect and block such malware during a reboot. Yet so few people ever turn their phones off.

MANAGEMENTBuild Yourself A Mental First-Aid Kit

Business life means routinely being exposed to little psychic cuts and bruises that take a toll on your attitude. To give yourself a mental boost when things get you down, Allen P. Haines and Bonnie St. John recommend an “emotional first aid kit” that can include old thank-you notes, family photos, and mementos from vacations. In their book, Micro-Resilience: Minor Shifts for Major Boosts in Focus, Drive and Energy, they say the key is to keep the “kit” in a drawer or some other place where you can retrieve it when things aren’t going your way. Place inspirational things like photos on your desk and you stop seeing them after a while.

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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