Worry is a brain problem. When you feel threatened, your amygdala, part of the brain that responds to fear, activates and sends messages to your cortex to evaluate whether you are in real danger. If you keep reviewing everything you are concerned about, the cortex is overwhelmed and leads to worry and looping anxiety. The more you worry about something as a solution to gain control, the more anxious you become. The takeaway is that a worried mind never comes up with great solutions.
Take time to write down your concerns and then prioritize them. As you look at them outside yourself, you will notice some sense of relief. Be sure and only look at them once. Add to that deep belly breathing. Take a deep breath and walk around the block while noticing the scenery and animals.
If you have stomach problems from anxiety, it is helpful to make an anti-anxiety elixir of 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, and a half teaspoon of honey, taken 3 times per day. This traditional Indian remedy is thought to balance the body by increasing energy in the digestive system, thereby reducing excess energy in the mind. Additionally, studies show that lemon juice lowers blood pressure by strengthening capillaries. Ginger calms the stomach, while honey controls the blood sugar instability that accompanies worrying. We also recommend Rescue Remedy for calming the system that you can get at Whole Foods.
The inner voice inside of you hypnotizes your mind into limitations. This is the voice of judgment and pronouncements. Don’t believe it.
Researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered that your beliefs about worry can make it worse. If your idea is that “worry makes me safe” or “thinking about doing poorly in a performance will make me fail,” or “I can’t control the worry,” the worry thoughts become worse. But what happens when the phone rings? You can’t have a conversation on the phone and engage in worry. It is a good experiment to try to worry more and see what happens. You can interrupt the tendency in a variety of ways.
Train your attention by focusing on a spot and give all of your attention to that spot. Now focus on sounds outside and give all of your attention to those sounds. If your mind wanders, bring it back. Focus on the space in front of you and give all of your attention to it. Focus on the space in back of you and give all of your attention to it. Practice this several minutes each day.
Remember that worry becomes a habit over time. And you can break any habit by interrupting the old way of thinking; shift your mental state by focusing outside yourself on music, scenery, or someone you love. Animals are great for shifting states.
Carol and Bill are keynote speakers for the upcoming international online Ericksonian Conference. Their talk is Hypnotic Brain Change for Depression. Watch for the announcement.
Carol and Bill will be teaching their popular 5 day retreat at Esalen July 26-31 Life at the Edge of Possibility Esalen: Life at the Edge of Possibility. Consider attending for rest, renewal, and regeneration.
Carol and Bill