Stop serial stressing and sleep sound with our expert mind tricks

Description: Description: Stop serial stressing


‘Think rationally,' says stress expert Professor Gary Cooper from Lancaster University. 'Not every meeting your boss has behind dosed doors IS about you. If you panic every time, you'll lose confidence, which, ironically, will stop you doing a good job.' Psychologist Helen Kennerley, author of Overcoming Anxiety (Robinson, £10,99), agrees: 'A small amount of worry is good because it encourages you to work hard, but too much clouds your thoughts and ruins your sleep - not exactly a formula for success,' Professor Cooper suggests taking back some control: 'If redundancy starts to look real, be proactive and put some feelers out. Being prepared will make you feel more confident about your future.'


Do you suffer from 'Saturday morning stress'? Where, instead of being excited about the weekend, you realise just how many things you've scheduled in, and feel a rising panic worse than any rushed Monday morning. 'Question why you're bulking up your to-do list,' says Professor Cooper, 'Be brutally honest - are you booking up your free time because you're lonely, or taking on too much at work because it makes you feel important?' Life coach Liz Wifde (wildelifecoaching.com) suggests only committing to three things a day: 'Rather than juggling several things half-heartedly focus on doing three things thoroughly' Professor Cooper adds: 'Choose the most important tasks (doctors' appointments, client meetings, buying your mum's birthday card), then ditch, delegate or forget the rest.'


Does every headline linking coffee and infertility, or wine and breast cancer, make you fret about your health? It's time for a reality check. 'If you're worried about something specific - a dodgy mole, for example - do something about it like book a GP appointment,' says Liz. But if you're worrying about what-ifs, take a step back. Instead of lying awake imagining a grim- faced doctor confirming your worst fears, tell yourself (out bud, if necessary!) to stop. Saying, 'Stop!' aloud jolts your brain out of catastrophising. (And take a break from those health documentaries before bed for a while!)


Sitting at home beating yourself up about your last relationship won't help you meet someone new,' says Liz. 'But for many women, worrying about being single forever feels safer than putting themselves out there by internet dating or agreeing to a blind date and risking disappointment or heartbreak.' Next time a negative thought pops into your head, counter it by committing to one positive step you can take towards a new relationship - for example, saying yes to your friend's birthday drinks invite, where there'll be people you don't know. Liz also suggests knowing 'when to worry', if the night before a friend's wedding you're wide awake at Sam churning over your single status, tell yourself you can worry about it on Wednesday, but not now because it will ruin your day. 'Allow yourself time to worry, but be strict with yourself and put it off for another time,' she says.

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