Wouldn’t it be great if you could turn a bad habit such as worrying into a catalyst that keeps you energized and productive? Actually, it’s possible with a little help from the way we think.

Worry normally paralyzes you into a state of guilt, regret or getting stuck in the past or things that may happen in the future. You may worry about everything – from your current financial state to the weather or anything that affects your lifestyle.

Worry normally comes in two types – productive and unproductive. The unproductive worry consists of problems you have no control over.

For example, you may be worried about a nuclear war. There’s nothing you can do about it, so it’s a waste of time and very unproductive to worry about it.

Productive worry involves a situation you can control, such as meeting an important deadline. You may be anxious about getting the work done on time, but sitting on the couch worrying about it doesn’t help.

You can turn that worry into productive time by planning what you can do to meet the deadline and then taking action.

You may need to empty your mind of all negative thoughts before you can become productive. One way to clear your mind is to write down your worries and analyze them. Your anxiety will likely recede when you can focus only on the task at hand and leave the clutter in your mind behind.

As you begin to control your worry patterns and work through them, you’ll build resilience so that you can fact future circumstances with confidence. You’ll begin to see that when you avoid situations you’re worried about (such as that impending deadline), the situation only becomes worse.

Sometimes, anxiety can become an energy boost. There is a definite adrenaline rush you experience when you’re anxious and when you focus that energy on being productive, your performance is enhanced.

If you become panicked about a situation, it may be best to get your mind off of it for awhile. Read a book, take a walk or something to help clear your mind. Giving yourself a break from whatever is stressing you out is also a productive step you can take and the task will become much easier when you return to it.

Transforming worrying into productivity takes practice, but when you master the technique, you’ll be amazed at how you can mentally pull yourself out of a stressful situation and get back to solving the worrisome situation in a rational and productive way.