How to reduce worry

Do you find the seeds of doubt and worry taking root in your mind? You can't move those thoughts away no matter how hard you try. You know it is going to be another long night of sleepless replays. How would you begin to feel if you had more control over your mind and did not constantly feel on edge all the time?

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What is taking place when you worry?

The body carries a vast amount of information on what you think, feel, and believe, which impacts the daily genetic expression in your body. Only by learning how to regulate our internal processing can we bring about peace. Without the knowledge of regulation, you constantly risk triggering stress genes. Over time, many of these genes can cause chemical processes that devastate the body.

Your brain is just one part of your body that can, in a hyper-alert state, cause you to suffer panic attacks. It sometimes only takes a minor setback to find yourself back with anxiety, finding yourself spiralling out of control. Have you ever seen yourself worrying over a perceived threat before it occurs, and the fear causes you to react in a manner that upsets you for days?

Negative thoughts can turn on your stress genes due to internal fear that becomes far stronger than is required, often built on irrational beliefs. When stressed, the endocrine glands modify our internal environment by utilising the mobilisation of energy sources to equip us for action. Stress hormones include cortisol, adrenaline, norephrine, catecholamines, and vasopressins; this is why, when stressed, you may feel so tired. Your body is burning so much energy in survival mode.

Think of the last time you felt fear. Did the event happen as predicted? How did you feel after the event passed? How would you react to the same situation using reflection if it happened again? Do you know the steps you can take to control your fear?

A process begins in the brain and can set off the entire nervous system. Once the process is understood, you can eliminate or make less what occurs in the body.


Developing an empowered mindset

New ways of responding to situations are essential to bringing about a sense of calmness. New ways of responding to situations will develop if you believe in the change process of creating a more practical mindset.

The first part of this journey is to retrain the way you respond in what is known as your central nervous system. Instead of being in a constant state of hyperarousal, you can learn to become more relaxed. The change is a regulation change and reduces the tendency to worry, keeping you more comfortable in times of surprise that interrupt your daily routine.

Neuroplasticity can change our thinking; in as little as three weeks, you can begin to feel changes in your thinking patterns and how you think. Behaviour attitudes and your worldview are connected to your mental state. Knowing where to focus your attention will determine how your day works out. Learning to change the focus of your attention can make massive changes in your life.

Self-regulating the flow of your life can produce happier states of mind where you feel more control over the outcomes of stressful events. So, if your attention is focused on everything that could go wrong, life will feel unstable. But, if you can change the focus of your attention, you can change your brain and your internal life experience.

A great tool to help with this can be gratitude. Instead of focusing on your worries, acknowledge what makes you happy. "We tell ourselves stories to live," but the story itself can help or hinder how you live. Change the story, and you can change your perspective, and then all things are possible. If you take away one thing, remember that the more you are stuck in the past with your personal story, the more complex and less flexibility you will feel in writing the next chapter of your life. Professional help can assist you in moving forward.

Furthermore, your mental state is reflected in your physical condition. When you consciously relate calming thoughts to your mind, you begin to feel improvement in both body and mind. This brings about a balanced nervous system. Once you create a relaxed environment to support your development, you will diminish feelings of anxiety.

A foretaste of better times

Try this as a takeaway taste of what can be achieved with practice. Do you know that writing down negative feelings reminds you of doom and gloom? Now, find the courage to throw those feelings away.

Get a clean sheet of paper; it is time to reclaim yourself. Are you ready for a surprise? It can make all the difference in the words you tell yourself. You can calm yourself simply by writing kind words to your future self.

Draw a dividing line down the middle of your fresh sheet of paper to the left; write your default state of mind and your feelings on an average day.

  • How happy are you on a scale of one to 10 - one being despondent and 10 blissful?
  • Does the way you feel mentally and physically change the way you participate in your life, work, and relationships?
  • How do you feel about how you think? Is this the way you want to live?

Now, turn your attention to the right-hand side of your sheet. Begin to picture how you would like to feel in the next year. What do you want to see appear in your life? Perhaps you want to feel more comfortable? More peaceful? Or build better relationships. Ask yourself:

  • What would happen over the next year to have more of what you want?
  • How would a calmer mind change how you enjoy and participate in your life, work, and relationships?
  • When you reality-check the worries that keep you up at night, can you see yourself being happy, even if these issues don't resolve how you want them to or at all?
  • If not, keep trying until you can imagine a future where everything has worked out. 

Now that you have a picture of what you want, you have a forward-moving list of goals. You are no longer stuck. Self-awareness is the beginning of creating your real life. You have to do the work, but help is available. Keep working on your goal planner and see what you can achieve. The slightest change will be a source of real encouragement to you. 

I am qualified to help you make the journey out of stress and anxiety. Remember to save this page. Visit my profile for full details on how I can begin helping you.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London E1 & E14
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Written by David Pender, MBACP, Integrative Psychotherapy | Specialising in Anxiety
London E1 & E14

David Pender M.B.A.C.P Are you still dealing with the effects of early life traumas? Do you still struggle with trust issues, fear of new relationships or life challenges? Perhaps self-doubt is making it difficult for you to form strong connections with others. Would you like to improve your internal dialogue and increase your sense of well-being?

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