Banishing Negative Thoughts: The Power of a Personal Worry Box

What is the "worry box" method that chases away negative thoughts

Nadya Hamdan
Banishing Negative Thoughts: The Power of a Personal Worry Box

This image was created with the assistance of DALL·E

Negative thoughts are at the root of much of the negative emotions and feelings that overwhelm each of us. Psychologists and experts recommend various practical exercises aimed at managing negative thoughts and anxiety. Some of these are aimed at "banishing" them, while others rely on the opposite - in-depth analysis to find out what our worry and anxiety tendencies are due to.

Today, we're focusing on an interesting and easy-to-implement method - the so-called "The Box Method" or "Worry Box Technique." This strategy largely combines both approaches to negative thoughts. On the one hand, it manages to stop them or postpone them in time. On the other hand, it enables us to get to the root of the problems that cause our anxiety.

Who is the worry box for?  

The method can be applied by people who want to get to know their thinking habits better and change them. It is also widespread among modern parents committed to the mission of educating their children in positive thinking.

How to make a worry box

Making a box for bad thoughts or worries is extremely easy. You don't even have to make it. We can use a variety of boxes:

  • shoe box
  • tissue box
  • gift box
  • make our own box out of cardboard or whatever else we have on hand 
  • a box of chocolates
  • spice box
  • jewellery box

✅We can decorate it, label it "worry box", "bad thoughts box", "anxiety box", etc. Or we can write nothing, just know what its purpose is.

✅The box should be relatively small and compact so that it is always close at hand.

What is the Worry Box Method

The method is extremely easy to do. All we need is a piece of paper and a pen. We can apply the method at any time of the day or night when we feel various intrusive or disturbing thoughts, worries, phrases, memories, negative scenarios, angry monologues, or anything else that is bothering us begin to flood in. We take a piece of paper and write the bad thought, worry or concern on it. If the negative thoughts are more than one, we write them on separate slips of paper. Then we fold them up and drop them in the "bad thoughts box". We take a few deep breaths and leave the problem in the box. That way the negative thought is already in the box and we can stop worrying about the subject.  

What to do with the thoughts in the box

There are several strategies on what to do with the negative thoughts in the box:

✅Review them at a specific time

This is called "The Worry Clock," a widely recommended strategy in the battle against anxiety. Every time we have a bad thought, we can add it to the box and take 10 or 15 minutes that are pre-planned. For example, today I have free time between 3:00 and 4:00 pm, so I schedule a half hour at 3:30 pm to think about and analyze my anxieties from the box. I can even put it on my calendar or organizer if I have one.

The Worry Clock" method can also be done independently without a Worry Box.

✅Throw them away without opening them

This is an option if we don't want to remember the worries of the day or if we think they are unimportant and there is no use for them.

✅Review them after a while and take stock

This practice is very helpful when we are striving for introspection. Some people who have practiced it say that upon opening the box, they found that most of the worries in it were negligible and no longer present in their lives. And this has helped them realize that they are worrying about little things and so gradually stop.

✅To review them at the end of the day and destroy them

We can also set aside time once a day, weekly or even monthly in which to review the troubling thoughts, analyze them if we need to, and finally discard or shred and destroy them. In this way, we symbolically part with the bad thoughts on a topic that like to return regularly.

Worry box for children

As I mentioned, the method is also applied among many parents. They regularly talk to their children about their bad thoughts, fears or worries. Then together they list them on a sheet and drop them in the box. This helps the child to visualize throwing out their worries and bad thoughts and to dissociate from them.

*The article is informative and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. 

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