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 with my fiance Andy, our cat Spanky, and our guinea pig Monty. I'm also the founder of Plenty Woman, an inspirational, informative website that helps women manage anxiety.

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