25 Jul 21 / Blog

Do you worry about everything?

Your mind has the capability to convince you you can do something and continually support you to succeed or keep you stuck worrying about everything! For most people it’s the latter and their mind will always go to a negative bias and they worry about everything, ruminating on what hasn’t happened yet and fear worst case scenario

The origins of the negative mind

This is thought to come from our evolution as humans, at the beginning of the human world our brains limbic system was structured in a way that supported us to avoid danger so when we sensed a threat our body would release adrenaline elevating our heart rate and before the conscious brain was even aware you had a problem it was giving you energy and adrenaline to be able to run or fight in any given situation. Scroll on 6 million years and our threats are minimal in comparison, we don’t need to be on high alert for predators and fearing for our life

The anxious cycle

So when our mind perceives a threat, the physical adrenaline and increased heart rate kicks in we tend to focus on how we feel which then causes us to panic more quickening our breath and keeping us stuck in an anxious cycle. If this is a common scenario often referred to as a panic attack people tend to label themselves as anxious presuming that that is just how their body works and it’s specific to them and there’s nothing they can do about it

Internal programming

Unless you had parents or caregivers growing up that were super positive and had done the personal work to see the world differently then you end up stuck in this cycle without questioning it. Going back to what I said in the first paragraph that our mind is wired to look for threats most of us have to consciously do the work to rewire our internal thinking. There are steps you can take now to start to rewire your anxious brain

  1. Tune in Start by becoming conscious of your thoughts and the internal dialogue that goes on in your head remembering that just because your limbic system perceives a threat it doesn’t mean this is as bog as what your body is responding. For example if you have to do a presentation at work you might perceive this as a threat and worry that you will look silly or that you will not deliver well
  2. Control your response When the classic signs of anxiety switch in that this is just so natural human response and you need to now take action to calm those automated responses. Start by taking six slow breaths a minute, inhale and count to 4 and count to 6 on each exhale. This gives you a moment to focus but also to take back control from the fight or flight response
  3. Question the worry I always advise my clients to start by making a thoughts diary. It doesn’t have to be something that takes up a lot of time but will give you fantastic results in the long term. As an anxious or stressful thought pops in your head I want you to write this as a bullet point in the notes on your phone, choose a time of day or the week where you will unpick these thoughts. Look for patterns of worry and see if there is a theme? What can you problem solve ( see step 5) What ended up not being a worry and sorted it self out?
  4. What is the story? Inside of your thoughts system there is a story that you will tell yourself on repeat even if you are not conscious of it. For example you may have told yourself “you’re not smart enough”. So when a situation presents itself that requires you to either step outside of your comfort zone or something you haven’t done before your story kicks in like an internal bully telling you, you wont be able to do it or that you will fail. Once you know the story you can start to provide evidence to yourself that this is no longer true. For example when I was at school I didn’t believe I was smart enough and all the evidence pointed towards that through my grades or red comments on my homework and this became my story so therefore I only ever looked for evidence to keep supporting that so if I didn’t get a job interview or a presentation didn’t go well etc it would confirm this story. Over time from a rational viewpoint i can see there is way more evidence stacking up that proves I am smart enough so by focussing in and questioning the evidence you can start and quiet that inner critic
  5. Change the outcome Our anxious thoughts tend to focus on worrying about something that hasn’t happened because we fear worst case scenario and we don’t take time to look at the outcome we would like to have. Now that you are aware of the perceived threat and you are conscious of the story you are telling yourself flip it round and ask yourself what would the ideal outcome be? I say this a lot to my private clients “focus on the outcome you want not the outcome you fear” this allows you to focus on a positive outcome and intern take positive action rather than staying stuck in the fear and taking action from a place of low mood/low energy

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