You are sitting in a diner with your friends and they are talking and having fun but you cannot stop worrying about something that is going to happen next week. Does this sound familiar? Some people have an increased ability to worry. Their brains constantly run on panic mode. Crushing anxiety that they experience from all the worrying is the reason that they never bring themselves to relax and unwind. There are people who can be all zen amid extreme chaos. But there are also many people who cannot bring themselves to calm down. They just don’t have the ‘Big Lebowski’ genes in them to relax. But it sure makes you wonder about why some people are more prone to worrying than others.
Wired To Be Anxious?
Some people are born zen, whereas there are others who are always functioning on panic mode. Scientists have been looking into people and their brains to figure out the answer to this puzzle. There are parts of the brain that are responsible for our emotions, memories as well as our ability to think about our future. All of these parts are connected together as default mode network (DMN). So, it turns out our brains are quite literally wired to think about ourselves when they don’t have anything else to do. But this differs from individuals to individuals. For some people, their default mode network leads them to creative thinking and day dreaming when it has nothing else to do, whereas for others it can lead to thinking about all the things that can lead to worry and anxiety. We are genetically predisposed either to lean towards being hopeful and positive, or towards worrying and obsessing over the unknown.
People who constantly worry are more sensitive to their perceived problems. The amygdala inside of the brain is the center that is responsible for our fears and perception of danger. Some people have this part of their brains more active than others. Hence, their thoughts generally tend to spiral out of their control and take them down the path of worry and panic.
The problem with such people is that they confuse their perception of reality with actual reality. But their perceptions are mere reflections of their fears which is why it always lead to them having anxiety and panic attacks.
3 Ways To Curb The Habit Of Worrying
People who worry a lot often feel a disconnect from their physical surroundings. They tend to lose themselves to the wilderness of their thoughts. It is important that when your mind starts to slip away into a panic mode, you bring it back into your body. The easiest way to do that is to focus on all your five senses. It is not a difficult task to master.
You can start by closing your eyes and taking deep breaths. Pay attention to all your five senses; smell, sound, touch, sight and taste. Bring your senses back and focus on the physical aspects on your body. This way you will be able to get out of your thoughts. It will help you to relax.
2. Practice Gratitude
It might sound like a cliche but it is an effective way of combating anxiety. It is difficult to appreciate anything when you are feeling worried. But when you start practicing gratitude, your brain recognizes it as a positive emotion and releases dopamine which has a relaxing effect on your body. Try focusing on the things that you are grateful for, instead of all the things that can potentially go wrong.
3. Distract Your Mind
We can train our minds, just like we can train our bodies. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to achieve a fit body. Training one’s mind is also similar to that. If you are prone to worry, then practice distraction. Distract your brain from worrying and think about something more positive. Steer your brain towards a more positive thinking terrain and continue to do so until it becomes a default process for your brain.
Life gives us a very limited amount of time. So, don’t waste it away to worries and anxiety. Be more open to positive changes.