‘Cool’ down worry this way to avoid anxiety

Worry is a normal part of life…

And it really can’t be avoided when you are a caring and hopeful person.

Episodic anxiety is also normal, like when you feel butterflies before public speaking or are awaiting results of an exam.

But when worry and episodic anxiety remain in play, becoming chronic parts of your life, this changes everything…

Not only does a generalized anxiety disorder cause one to suffer needlessly each day, it decreases the overall quality of your life and can affect your ability to handle things day to day.

Recent research has found an easy way to reduce anxiety and improve tasks by “cooling” the mental processes in the brain. Let’s first look at what an anxiety disorder is and then at the latest research and some natural solutions.

From worry to anxiety to panic

Worrying about things is normal and so are periodic anxious states. But when these continue without let-up, you may be suffering from a generalized anxiety disorder.

How can you know? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, you may have the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling the worry
  • Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)

If you suffer from most of these, don’t wait to address them. Because depending on frequency and duration of these symptoms, anxiety can turn to panic attacks, which are a next-level issue that can really negatively impact your life.

How to offloads worry from the brain

One of ways to reduce worry and anxiety, and perform better with more efficiency, is to express what we are anxious about in writing. This is according to a recent article titled, “The effect of expressive writing on the error-related negativity among individuals with chronic worry,” published in the journal Psychophysiology.

According to the study findings, “The current study used a tailored intervention — expressive writing — in an attempt to reduce the ERN (error related negativity) among a sample of individuals with chronic worry. Expressive writing may serve to ‘offload’ worries from working memory, therefore relieving the distracting effects of worry on cognition as reflected in a decreased ERN.”

What this means

Basically, what the researchers found was that when we try to carry out a task, and are also worried or anxious about it (or other things), our brain “heats up” from overwork. Its attention is split between holding information and making decisions about the current task and the worry/anxiety surrounding it.

However, when we can sit down for a period prior to a task requiring attention, focus and decision-making skills, and express our worries by writing them down, we essentially “cool off” or relax the overworked brain.

Lead author Hans Schroder told NDTV that these “findings show that if you get these worries out of your head through expressive writing, those cognitive resources are freed up to work towards the task you’re completing and you become more efficient.”

Additional ways to reduce worry and anxiety

There are other ways you can reduce the triggers of excessive worry and anxiety. These include:

  • Getting restful sleep. During sleep the body repairs, collates and files memories, metabolizes stress hormones and produces serotonin.
  • Meditating daily. Meditation slows the mind’s thinking and allows one to feel their breath and body as separate from their thoughts. When the mind is jumping from thought to thought, as it does when worrying or anxious, we feel it in the body as tightness, shivers and chills, cramps, and pain.
  • Exercising several days per week. This is a great way to burn off pent-up energy, reduce stress, and create dopamine to feel better overall.
  • Improving diet. Avoiding sugar, caffeine and alcohol can go a long way to reducing the effects (and similar effects) of worry and anxiety.
  • Practicing gratitude. I use the My Gratitude Journal to log what I am grateful for each day. This helps me stay in an attitude of gratitude, which improves mood and outlook, creating a better view that is not as easily taken down by worry and anxiety.

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Dr. Mark Wiley

By Dr. Mark Wiley

Dr. Mark Wiley is an internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner, author, motivational speaker and teacher. He holds doctorates in both Oriental and alternative medicine, has done research in eight countries and has developed a model of health and wellness grounded in a self-directed, self-cure approach. Dr. Wiley has written 14 books and more than 500 articles. He serves on the Health Advisory Boards of several wellness centers and associations while focusing his attention on helping people achieve healthy and balanced lives through his work with Easy Health Options® and his company, Tambuli Media.