Stressed Out by Your Remodel?
You’ve got 17 decisions to make, and you’re way over budget—no wonder you’re up all night. We found a therapist who can help
Experts in anxiety management view home improvement with understandable alarm: Paralyzing fears (“maybe pink tile isn’t really me”) meet budget woes (“a lousy faucet costs $347!”) with a dose of uncertainty (“can we get this done before doomsday?”). All that worrying “steals joy, affecting sleep and decision-making,” says Dr. Simon Rego, a cognitive behavioral psychologist in New York City, who offers these insights.
“Worry is normal,” he says. “It’s not an on-off switch.” It may be hardwired back to a time when it kept humans out of the path of hungry lions. Unfortunately, fear of uncertainty easily translates into fear of choosing, say, the wrong showerhead. “You get caught up in so much information, you freeze. People think there’s only one right choice, which makes every other choice seem wrong.” Guess what? “This can lead to conflict in interpersonal relationships.”
Worrying also leads to an inflated sense of what’s at stake. “People project disastrous consequences if they make the wrong choice,” Rego says, or if a job falls behind schedule. Sounds like a big deal, but maybe it’s not.
Here’s how to get a grip: Learn to tolerate uncertainty and move ahead. “Pick a faucet and understand that it has inherent pros and cons.” Quit obsessing about setbacks. “Ask yourself if it’s really productive to think in black and white.”
And keep in mind one of the doctor’s other findings: The longer you live, the less you worry. Older adults suffer less from buyer’s remorse and more from regret for having squandered time…worrying.