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If we’re not careful, we can spend an entire day stuck in an endless loop of dread. Penciling in time for this scary emotion on the calendar can be a surprisingly easy way to keep it from becoming too overwhelming. The Dread Project Challenge is a five-day series that investigates an emotion so many of us are struggling with lately – from our dread of the next Zoom meeting to worries that have life-and-death stakes. Each day of the challenge, we tackle dread in a different way, and offer you a fun exercise for feeling a little better, even when you’re anticipating the worst.
Today, Clinical Psychologist Dr. Ali Mattu is back to talk about how he carves out “worry time,” and why it can be so beneficial.
Today’s Challenge - Estimated Time 10 minutes:
Offered by Dr. Ali Mattu, clinical psychologist, creator of “The Psych Show”
First, find a designated “worry time” on your calendar - not too early in the day, not too late, and not right before an event that you’re dreading - and block off about ten minutes. Maybe you could schedule it during a walk, or a commute, so it has a built-in beginning and end. That makes it easier to transition back out of your worry time when it’s over.
Leading up to that designated time, if you find yourself lost in dread about something, tell yourself to hold it for worry time later, when you can give it your full attention. When that designated time arrives, set an actual timer. Then, simply sit with the running list of things you’re dreading. If you want to, you can write it down or record a voice memo on your phone. Really let yourself explore whatever you’re dreading in all its scary detail.
It might help to ask yourself some pertinent questions. Things like: What are you afraid will happen? If it does happen, what would really change for you? And if you’re not ready for those questions yet, just schedule them for another worry time. When the timer dings, you can leave dread behind, knowing that there will be more time to address it later.
Please share how this Dread Project Challenge went for you by sending us a voice memo at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find instructions in our FAQ about how to record one. Don’t forget to give us your name and where you’re from, and you might hear yourself on an upcoming episode! And be sure to follow More Than A Feeling on Twitter at podfeelings.
Where to find Dr. Ali Mattu online:
If digging into dread is very difficult or intense for you, some additional resources that could help are listed below.
Search for a therapist:
Mental Health Resources:
- Try the Ten Percent Happier app for free for thirty days by visiting tenpercent.com/more and check out the meditation pack made especially for working with dread.
- Dare App - free app to help with anxious moments
If you are currently experiencing a mental health crisis, please click here, text 741741, or call 988.