Everyone worries. The trick, experts say, is to gain control of this annoying mental function and do it at your convenience -- not when those gnawing thoughts pop into your head. To control worry, experts advise you to:
* Set aside a specific time each day to worry. The best bet, suggests psychologist Rowland Follensbee, is in the evening after work. As worries crop up during the day, table the thought until your daily fretting time. "It takes discipline," Follensbee says, "but it will be worth it."
* Break the train of worried thoughts during the day by focusing on your surroundings. Describe your office, what's on your desk or the view out the window. Breathe deeply and relax your muscles.
* Make sure your specific worry time lasts 30 to 35 minutes every day. Research suggests that if your worry session lasts less than half an hour, you may end up worrying more during the day. Choose a place where you won't be interrupted.
* Write down any worry that comes into your head during your worry time. Describe the details and the possible outcome of what's bothering you.
* Commit yourself to waging war on worries for at least a month. Research suggests that's the minimum amount of time needed to be effective and that there are many rewards from making this commitment: Study participants not only cut their worrying time in half, but also reported experiencing less anxiety and tension.
Also reduced: fingernail biting.