I Spend Too Much Time Worrying About the Way I Look: Worry Journal Exercise

I Spend Too Much Time Worrying About the Way I Look: Worry Journal Exercise

Where does the time go? The things I really care about (but am not accomplishing) want to know. In light of the essay, Beautiful On Purpose, worrying about the way I look is one likely suspect – spending too much time not only trying to make myself presentable to the world, but worrying about how good or bad a job I’m doing of it, before, during, and after.

Situation / Trigger

Getting ready to go out

Negative Thought

I waste too much time worrying about the way I look.

Anxiety Level


Evidence For

Before I look in the mirror, I already know I’m going to find something wrong with me. Then, I do.

Before getting into the shower, I study my waistline for signs I’ve gained/lost weight.

I hate the way my hair looks pretty much all of the time.

When I’m getting ready for a special occasion, I imagine what the most critical eye of the people I’m going to see there will think about my outfit. Then, if I don’t get complimented on said outfit, I consider evicting it from my wardrobe, even if I love it.

I’m phobic about having my picture taken because I’m self-conscious about posing for it (i.e., embarrassed for people to think I’m trying to look good). I also hate that when I’m looking at the picture, I zero in on myself first instead of everyone else.

Evidence Against

I leave the house without makeup 90 percent of the time, without thinking twice about it.

When I do wear makeup, I only spend 5 or 10 minutes on it.

I buy most of my clothes at secondhand stores, loving the hunt for frugal, one-of-a-kind treasures more than the need to be on trend.

I’m not worried about the way I look when I’m working, writing, walking, reading, cooking, cleaning, sleeping, gardening, meditating, or watching TV, which together represent the vast majority of my day.

What’s More Likely True

I don’t waste a lot of time worrying about the way I look. I waste a lot of energy on it. It feels like more time than it is because the feelings of insecurity and guilt are so intense and consuming.

Alternative Thought / Positive Affirmation

I spend most of my time on things that feel good.

Anxiety Level


What’s Worrying You?

Keep your own worry journal and work it through. I picked up this tool in cognitive behavioral therapy. Inevitably, my anxiety level at the end of the exercise is less than it was when I started. I hope it works that way for you, too.

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I’m a writer living in Los Angeles and founder of Plenty Woman, a website for women ready to believe we are everything anxiety says we’re not: Beautiful. Lovable. Powerful. Important. Smart.

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