Make a List
Lists are great for the mentally challenged because they help to put things into perspective.
1) When obsessing, you should make a list of reasons why your obsession seems logical to you. Then, narrow that list down by marking through the thoughts that you realize are not a probability - that is the things you are thinking about that are unlikely to happen.
2) Thoughts that are probable will depend upon the situation and the person you are, but probable thoughts for a parent of a teen who is late coming home could include that they misjudged the time it would take to drive home not that they have been in a car wreck and are lying dead somewhere along the road.
3) Once you have the list of probable reasons for the anxiety, you should write out the reasons as to why each thought is probable and this step should help to narrow the list even more because as you explore why each point is probable, you will see that some can be marked off as not probable. The more items you can move off the list, the faster you can get control of the obsession.
4) As you see the list dwindling, your mind begins to accept that the obsession is not realistic and the urgency to act upon the obsession releases its grip on you. Even if only part of the obsession is released, the list is worth the effort because it can help you to get a handle on what is really bothering you. Lists give way to self-discovery which helps to control the obsessions.
For example, if you are afraid that your teenage child has been in a car wreck because he or she is ten minutes late, a quick list can pinpoint where the obsessive thoughts are coming from and can help you to make decisions about how to proceed with logic and understanding rather than a full out rant about how the teen has "damaged" you.
In most cases, the teen has not done anything out of the ordinary but when you are thinking with the obsession in control, you may feel damaged and take that feeling out on the teen. Allowing obsessions to control your actions can be detrimental to any relationship but with a teen it can often cause feelings of hurt and resentment that will never go away.
Writing a list while waiting for the teen to come home will allow for a more productive conversation with him or her about why they should call if they are going to be a few minutes late. Ranting to a teen about how much stress and worry they have caused usually gets no results.