Are you suffering from: Washing machine syndrome

Do you spend hours worrying, only to fall asleep, wake up and start worrying again? Do you then start adding new things to the list of worries: chores that you haven't done yet, or global concerns? Washing Machine Syndrome describes the process of churning thoughts over and over in our heads. In the case of laundry, things come out clean; with worry, it's the opposite. The more we worry, the more we continue to worry. Experts now take this science seriously. Where once we were told to distract ourselves, the treatment now is to worry more. First, accept that your deepest worry is very serious indeed and might just happen. Write the worst-case scenarios down on paper. If you can do anything about it (eg, call the doctor because you know you are about to have a heart attack), do it. Otherwise, write the worry down and agree to worry about it in the morning. Worries have a way of making us feel in control, so indulging rather than denying them is the answer.

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor,
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

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