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“I’m worried the team won’t like my suggestions.” “I’m worried I didn’t give my boss enough time between flights.” “I’m worried they’ll eliminate my position.”

Everybody worries sometimes, but too much worrying becomes a mental bad habit that costs time, money and personal sanity. What to do instead? Make worry WORK for you.

Well-timed action. Action cures fear and lowers stress. Afraid you’ll fail a certification exam? Worry less, study more. Afraid you’ll be late? Leave 15-20 minutes early. Afraid to present to your administrative team or supervisor? Create reminder note cards and practice daily in front of a mirror. Afraid you’ll lose your job? Update your résumé, take a class, and start getting back in touch with your network.

Organize a worry-time. During lunch you think about how half the day is gone and you haven’t completed a project due later in the week. Catch yourself and say, “What can I do right now that will move me closer to getting it done?” If you can’t take action due to other deadlines, tell yourself, “I’ll worry about this at 9 o’clock tonight.” And put your focus back on your current projects. Chances are you’ll forget to worry when evening arrives.

Research your concerns. Worried about not getting a raise during your performance review? Go online and gather comparable salary data, look back over the past year to see where you increased revenue, decreased costs or improved customer service for the company, and create an Excel spreadsheet to visually show your contribution. Read articles on how to ask for a raise and how to respond if the answer is no.

Keep worry in perspective. Worry is simply your imagination out of control. It’s choosing to focus on a negative outcome to a future event. Look back at your life. You have handled every single thing that has happened to you up to this point. Own the fact that you will be able to overcome whatever comes your way.

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