Are you afraid to touch a door handle because you’re worried it’s infested with germs? If this sounds like you, you need to stop obsessing! Here’s what you should – and shouldn’t – worry about.

  • First: You stock up on anti-bacterial gel because you’re a huge germ-o-phobe. In this case, you SHOULDN’T worry so much because you’re going to get sick anyway. A recent study found that people who used anti-bacterial products got sick with colds and flu just as often as people who didn’t. Why? Microbiologist Joe Rubino says those gels don’t remove dirt as effectively as soap and water. So what’s the trick to staying germ free? Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth – those are the easiest entry points for viruses. 

  • Next: It’s 6 o’clock, and you still have to return 10 phone calls and finish a memo. Again, you SHOULDN’T worry. Dr. Robert Leahy, author of “The Worry Cure” says time pressure is almost always created in our heads. We give ourselves an unreasonably long list of things to do, and then flip out when we can’t finish them. What’s the fix? Break your day into 3 chunks, ‘before work,’ ‘during work,’ and ‘after work.’ Then, list no more than 3 things that need to get done in each chunk, and stick to your list.  

  • And finally: All those news reports about natural disasters have you sweating in your sleep. In this case, you SHOULD worry, but not too much. Although we can’t stop earthquakes and hurricanes, you can prepare yourself by creating an emergency kit. Stock a cabinet with a 3-day supply of non-perishable food and water for each person in your family, as well as a flashlight and battery-powered radio. And designate a family meeting place in case you get separated. You’ll sleep easier knowing you’re prepared if disaster should strike.