Mental health: learn to control your anxiety using the 10/10/10 rule

Published 10 Oct 2023 • By Candice Salomé

Learning to cope with your fears is also a way of improving your mental health. But there is no universal rule for taking a step back from a difficult situation that is tormenting us.

However, an American writer Suzy Welch suggests a simple and effective approach to overcoming our sometimes irrational fears. It's called the 10/10/10 rule.

So what exactly is the 10/10/10 rule? What can it give us? And how can we apply it on a daily basis?

We explain it all in our article!

Mental health: learn to control your anxiety using the 10/10/10 rule

What is the 10/10/10 rule? 

In our day-to-day lives, we can all experience stress or even major anxiety when faced with certain situations, such as a problem at work, an uncomfortable thought, an argument, a difficult choice, etc.

Even if we tend to say to ourselves that we should remain calm and wait for the situation to settle down, it can be difficult to stop our mind replaying the moment when we got hurt. Negative thoughts appear, and a vicious circle, which is so difficult to break, begins. When something unexpected happens that we can't really deal with, our brain tends to play the worst scenario first. And these negative thoughts are detrimental to our well-being!

This is where the method of an American writer Suzy Welch can actually be effective. It is called the 10/10/10 rule.

The 10/10/10 rule helps us look at certain decisions or actions from another perspective. The idea is to ask yourself the following questions when faced with a problem:

  • What will be the consequences of my choice in the next 10 minutes?
  • In the next 10 months?
  • And finally in 10 years' time?

This way you are actually asking yourself whether it's a trifle or a real problem, and whether it will have the same impact on you in a few months or even a few years' time. It's important to consider the future before making a choice.

This method helps gain perspective and look at things from a different angle, but it also enables us to make better choices for our future.

How can the 10/10/10 rule help you? 

The popular expression "time heals all wounds" is closely linked to this concept. In fact, nothing lasts forever. We have all overcome trials that seemed insurmountable at the time.

Putting things into perspective means learning to concentrate on the present moment and chasing away any negative or unconstructive thoughts. We should learn not to give things more importance than they deserve.

The 10/10/10 rule helps us manage our negative thoughts that tend to take precedence over reality, thus damaging our well-being and energy. What's more, the 10/10/10 rule helps us think more realistically and objectively, where the worst option doesn't have to be the only one we can consider.

Thanks to the 10/10/10 rule, we can manage our emotions better and give them their rightful place. Negative thoughts won't take up too much space, at the risk of crowding out all the others. And positive emotions won't mask the problem you need to solve to move forward serenely and feel in agreement with your choices.

How can you start applying the 10/10/10 rule in your daily life? 

It is quite simple to apply the 10/10/10 rule in real life. When you encounter a problem, a disappointment or a choice you have to make, ask yourself a question related to the situation. For example, "Am I going to accept this promotion? or "Could I have said the wrong thing?

Then sum up all the information available to you and write it down somewhere. Do this by considering the question and the consequences of each of your options 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years from now.

Then comes the analysis stage. At this stage, take all the information you've just compiled and compare it with your most important values, beliefs, needs, goals and dreams. You will then be in the right position to make an informed choice, or to solve a problem as objectively as possible.

Don't forget! 

The 10/10/10 rule is very simple to use and helps us avoid many of the worries we face on a daily basis. When faced with a particularly distressing situation, we simply ask ourselves what impact it will have on us in 10 minutes, 10 months and finally in 10 years' time.

However, while this personal development tool is very useful for looking after your mental health, it may not be enough on its own.

For a better effect, use the 10/10/10 rule by combining it with other relaxation methods such as yoga, breathing exercises, mediation, sport or any other practice that makes you feel good!

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Take care!


1 comment

lesmal • Ambassador
on 22/10/2023

Luckily I do not have a mental health problem, and do not suffer from depression. Hypertension occasionally brings on my seizures but I cannot classify this as panic attacks or due to poor mental health.

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