Yes, worry does hijack your brain. And in times like these, we are all at risk for obsessing to the point of paralysis. Worry takes over like a monkey in your brain. It keeps you occupied with thoughts that cause stress, anxiety, and often, even physical pain like headaches and stomachaches. But how can you stop worrying when there’s so much to worry about?
When you worry you create a habit
First of all. Did you know that sadness and worry can become habits that hijack your brain. You get something out of it that your brain likes. Like being scared, you do get an adrenaline rush from worry, but it’s not a useful emotion. Worry takes energy, and you only have so much energy to expend. If you spend your energy on being miserable, you don’t have any left for doing productive things and feeling positive. Your brain has only so much bandwith. How are you going to use it? If you worry about the election, or Covid, or not having enough money to pay the rent, you don’t have the energy for other things, like solutions. You’re not living in the present. Here are some tips from experts on how to stop worrying.
How To Stop Worry Right Now
1. Don’t catastrophize about things that haven’t happened yet
Understand where your anxiety is coming from. One expert tells her clients to think that anxiety is a survival response that is happening within them, because they are worried about something. And that is perfectly normal. But you don’t want to be consumed by it. Wait for the result and don’t negatively forecast the future. This applies to things like the election and waiting for results. Or fearing a Covid test. Wait for results because worrying doesn’t help. Distract yourself with the next tips.
2. Find ways to reduce your adrenaline levels
When you move your body physically, you are burning off the adrenaline and reducing cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone released as a stress response when we are in “fight or flight” mode. It sends messages to the rest of the body to take action. Adrenaline is a hormone released under extreme emotions and causes the person to have energy—to literally fight or take flight.
Stay busy to avoid that feeling you’re about to bust, or need to jump off a bridge. The easiest thing you can do is go for a walk for fifteen minutes without your phone. There is a saying: “If your environment is clear, your mind is clear.” So, decluttering is one perfect thing to do to stay busy and clear your mind. We also like journaling, coloring, and self help books
3. Stop worry by avoiding the news and opinionated conversations
Stay informed, but try to limit your news intake, including social media. You can stop the worry when you don’t get obsessed with things that you fear might happen. Keep away from your phone. Watch enough to stay informed but don’t keep the news on TV all day in the background. Here you might avoid conversation about the election, especially with overly opinionated people. Communicate with people, but try to talk about other things.
4. Practice gratitude and remember to breathe
Take the gratitude challenge to force your mind into a positive mode. Anxiety has a physical effect on your body, another way to send a message to your body to ease your mind. Breathing is the best and easiest way to. The easiest technique you can try is four/seven breathing. You breathe in for a count of four and breathe out for a count of seven. This slower breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which puts your body into a “rest and digest” state, which is the opposite of the “fight or flight” response. When you’re anxious, your breaths are likely short and sharp. What you’re doing is consciously using your breath to send a message through the Vagus nerve to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
6. Try to practice acceptance
This is so important for people coping with addiction, or are new to recovery. Worry is part of the family disease of addiction, and detaching is the only way of calming down. You have to stop the worry in order to survive. The biggest form of anxiety is about not being able to accept something you can’t control. Whether it’s addiction, or the election or the fact that we should wear face masks even if we don’t want to. There are ways to make wearing a mask easier by adding a chain to your daily accessories.