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Overcome Your Worries

Try these simple strategies for managing everyday anxieties.

If you fret a lot, try this: Set aside 30 minutes each day for condensed worrying.

Your anxieties don't have to get the best of you.

William T. Riley, PhD, codirector of Virginia Commonwealth University's Anxiety Disorders Clinic, says if you do that, worry often exhausts itself and you may have less mental baggage to carry around all day. Here are four common ways we worry and how to start relaxing:

Catastrophizers. You always assume the worst possible outcome. I'm going to run out of gas," or "If I'm late for work, I might get fired." To reduce your fears: Correct faulty thinking by assessing real danger. What are the odds of running out of gas? People are often late without disastrous consequences.

Perfectionists. You agonize over making mistakes before and after events. To relax: Try to get more comfortable making mistakes. Burn the toast on its edges or let conversations lag from time to time without always filling in the silence.

Chameleons. You worry what others think, overestimate the potential for rejection, and change behavior to suit others. To reduce your fears: Face failure and don't view it as personal rejection.

Compulsives. You check and recheck. You put your keys in your purse, but keep checking. To stop the cycle: Restrain yourself, and ultimately you'll start trusting your judgment. You may also need to keep in mind the advice above for perfectionists -- that it's O.K. to make mistakes, or forget something once in a while.

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