worry, anxiety

One Powerful Technique to Ease Your Worrying Mind and Anxiety

Are you stuck in your head? Do you feel like you are worrying about anything and everything all day long? Repeating the same scenarios in your head over and over and spiraling down the hole of anxious thoughts is tiring!

Sometimes, worry can be a good thing. When there is a realistic possibility of failure or unpleasant thing occurring, worry can motivate us to work harder, prepare and focus on what we can control. However, when it slips into rumination about the things you have no control over, it doesn’t lead to productive or practical solutions. Instead, it triggers unhelpful thought patterns and excessive worry that repeat over and over. It’s completely useless and simply frustrating. But how to stop?

Why Simply Telling Yourself to Stop Worrying is Not Helpful

Your excessive worry isn’t there without a reason. You bother yourself with worst case scenarios and anxious thoughts because they give you a false sense of control. If you worry too hard, bad things might not happen, right? And if they happen, you’d surely be prepared?

Still, you don’t feel any better if the thing you were worried about really occurs, do you? Think about it.

Remember, worrying gives you a FALSE sense of control. We have a tendency to believe that rumination will bring a sense of relief, but it doesn’t because that tailspin has no end or solution, which just intensifies anxiety more.

Simply telling yourself to stop doing something is not enough because, as mentioned above, somewhere deep down you might believe that worry gives you some sense of control and relief. That’s why your subconscious mind doesn’t let go. However, this sense of control is extremely weak, and the damage to your mental health far outweighs that illusion of the “benefit”.

So the first thing you need to do is to consciously decide to give up on trying to control things you can’t control. Second, stop blaming yourself for feeling anxious. It’s enough you feel overwhelmed in the first place; you don’t need additional pressure. Simply telling yourself to stop worrying doesn’t work. So, what does?

Schedule Worry Time

It may sound counterproductive, but forcing yourself to worry during a specific time of the day may actually help you worry less. Studies consistently show that dedicating 15 to 20 minutes during the day to purposely obsess over things that worry you actually decreases the number of worrying thoughts during the day and helps to ease anxiety.

Rules are simple: schedule 15 minutes at a specific time every day to worry about your problems. Pick a time when you know you’ll be able to focus all your attention to worry without interruptions. However, try to make this time at least 2 hours away from your bedtime to avoid possible difficulties falling asleep.

Okay, now that you made your appointment with worry, spend some time with it. Dedicate your full attention to your anxious thoughts during those 15 minutes, without fighting them or trying to make them go away. Don’t try to think positive or to convince yourself these thoughts are unnecessary. Exactly the opposite – strive to come up with as many worries as you can, and try to be as uncomfortable as possible in reviewing them. If you run out of ideas in those 15 minutes, it’s important to not walk away. The goal is to fill the whole 15 minutes with worry, not a minute more or less. If you spent all your anxious ideas in the first 10 minutes, repeat the ones you already thought over.

When your scheduled date with worry passes, get up and go on with your day. You’ll meet your worry at the same time the next day, but not until then. Anxious thoughts will, of course, try to sneak in and occupy space in your head during the day. Just politely tell them that now is not the time, and they will have to wait until the appointment when you’ll listen to all of them. If they are persistent, instead of getting stuck in your head with them, try some of the mindfulness techniques like focusing on the outside sensations or on your breathing.

mindfulness

How And Why Worry Time Works

There is a little mind twist here. You’re probably frustrated with not being able to run away or combat all those worrying and uncomfortable thoughts; it just seems there are too many of them all the time. However, when you turn tables around and purposefully try to find as many of them as possible, you realize three things:

  1. There are not so many of them after all,
  2. Facing your worries and letting unpleasant feelings those obsessing thoughts evoke is not so terrible or unboreable,
  3. In the end, worrying becomes boring.

These three things change the way you approach your worry and gradually ease your anxiety over anxiety. Instead of becoming all tense on the first thought of worry, you become to experience other emotional responses, like boredom for example. That creates space for a making a distance from unhelpful thought patterns and for taking a more realistic perspective.

 

In the end, one important note: be persistent. Give time for change. When you start practicing this technique, it’s possible that your worry will intensify in the first few days, and it will be more difficult to resist rumination between worry times. That is frustrating, but also totally natural. Just keep up the practice. Emotional changes need time. However, if this technique stirs up extremely strong emotions in you after a week, stop practicing it. Additionally, don’t hesitate to ask for additional support. Your therapist will work with you to discover what lies behind your anxious thoughts and feelings, and find techniques and tools that suit you best.

 

Sources:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/16581710_Stimulus_control_applications_to_the_treatment_of_worry

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22977265

https://www.anxieties.com/102/self-help-practice-4-create-worry-time#.XDnKUVxKjIU

 

thanksgiving-gratitude

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, the time of year to give thanks for the important people and opportunities in our lives.

What do you give thanks for this year? Regardless of what, or who, remember to approach our lives every day of the year with a thankful attitude. It’s important to remember all the good things, people, relationships and experiences we have in our lives. It’s scientifically proven that gratitude has numerous benefits for ourselves, but also for people around us.

Practice Gratitude Every Day

Gratitude enhances your physical and psychological health. You will sleep better, have higher self-esteem and love yourself more, which leads to happier and healthier life. It also improves empathy and reduces aggression, which improves relationships and makes you more likable and approachable.

One of the good ways to remind yourself about the things you’re grateful this Thanksgiving, and keep remembering them during the year, is to write down 3 things you’re thankful for this year. After writing them down, reflect on why they’re important to you, and write them down beside the list. Post this somewhere visible in your living space so it’s a daily reminder.

Visualizations are also a powerful way to help us see the destination we want to arrive at.

And remember, Have Fun!

References:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude

meditation

Meditation

Taking care of our mental health is as important as taking care of our physical health. Hundreds of studies are constantly proving the extreme benefits of daily meditation to our mental and physical health. Just 20 minutes a day of sitting still and watching your thoughts stroll by while focusing on your breathing can make wonders for you! Here are some examples of amazing benefits meditation can bring.

Meditation Boosts Your Health and Positively Changes Your Brain

Numerous scientists have found that mindfulness meditation has a significantly positive effect on our brain and immune system. It can also decrease pain and lower inflammations at the cellular level. Additionally, scientists noticed some physical changes on brains of people who meditate regularly. For example, they found that these patients experience increased cortical thickness and growth of grey matter, which is connected with better focus and memory. Also, these individuals have a larger volume of areas in their brain that are related to emotional regulation and self-control.

Meditation Brings Positive Emotions and Improves Mental Health

We all want to be happy. Luckily, meditation can help us achieve that goal. Studies have shown that it can decrease anxiety and depression, as well as lower everyday stress we’re experiencing. Additionally, it brings positive emotions, like joy and calmness. There are also “loving-kindness” types of meditation, which bring feelings of warm love and fulfillment.

Meditation Betters Your Social Life

Although meditation is (usually) an alone activity, it actually increases your sense of connection to others. This happens because meditating can enhance your emotional intelligence and make you more compassionate. Additionally, it can make you more introspective and more in control of your emotions, which all appears attractive to others, making you a desirable individual for connection (friendship, romantic relationship etc.).

 

Meditating daily is incredibly important for your mental health. So, make a change today! Brain Sync offers customers a free-guided meditation sample. You can start from here: http://www.brainsync.com/free-guided-meditation-online

 

References:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/11679164/immunitystudy.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1529613847&Signature=0iHGpan%2F6ZN8MzJMoOpbVW9ArMI%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DAlterations_in_Brain_and_Immune_Function.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156028/

https://www.psicoterapiabilbao.es/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/three-year_follow-up_and_clinical_implications_of_a_mindfulness_meditation-based_.pdf

http://www.pnas.org/content/104/43/17152.full?utm_source=buffer&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=buffer67dff&utm_medium=google

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/feeling-it/201309/20-scientific-reasons-start-meditating-today

exercise

Sweat

Physical health is as important as mental health. Excercise makes our bodies stronger and healthier, but did you know that it does the same for our minds? It’s true!

Several studies have shown that people who are physically active perform better on cognitive tasks such as reasoning, memory, and vocabulary compared to not especially active individuals. Other studies show that exercise boosts mood and positive emotions after just about five minutes of performing it. What’s particularly amazing is the fact that, on a long-term, working out is a powerful tool for combating depression and anxiety.

But if exercise is so good for us, why is it so damn hard to do it?

Despite numerous benefits of physical activity, many people find incorporating working out into their daily lives incredibly hard. Have you ever caught yourself finding excuses not to hit the gym? Although you know how exercise is important for you, even if you know that you’ll feel great after it, laying on the couch is somehow hard to resist. Perhaps you say you don’t have time. Or you’re too tired. Or any other excuse you creatively came up with.

Experts say that making exercising a habit is hard for various reasons. One of them is that some people start too hard, with too high expectations regarding their performances, that they soon “burn out” and convince themselves it’s too difficult for them. Another reason is that they expected the change in their looks or performance too soon. Unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment and drop of motivation.

A Few Ways to Help You Excercise Daily

Although it’s difficult to make it a habit in the beginning, remind yourself why daily exercise is so good for your physical and mental health. Otto gives a great metaphor for it: “Failing to exercise when you feel bad is like explicitly not taking an aspirin when your head hurts.”

Try implementing a workout regime into your daily lives; set a SMART goal for a duration (how long) and frequency (how often) you’re going to work out per week.

Be sure to implement a tracking system to help monitor your progress. By tracking, you’re better able to see your progress and use it as positive encouragement! When you see your photos/number of reps/distance/anything else you set as your tracking system, after a couple of months, it’s a fantastic motivation to keep going! You’ll feel awesome!

Lululemon posts a great blog on why it’s important to sweat once a day: http://lululemon.com/community/blog/sweat-once-a-day-recap

 

References:

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/workout.aspx

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx

stress

5 Tips to Radically Reduce Stress

According to research conducted by American Psychological Association about stress at work, two in five employees experience stress during their typical workday. In other words, almost half of the employed population is stressed every day. This number is huge and concerning.

The same study shows that less than six in ten employees report to have resources to manage work stress. But knowing how to face stressful situations without feeling overwhelmed is extremely important, not just for your workplace success, but for your physical and mental health. Untreated chronic stress can cause insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, all the way to serious conditions such as depression, heart disease and obesity.

So, here are 5 helpful and research-backed up techniques that can help you reduce stress and save your health:

1. Give yourself permission to step away from the stressor

That’s right. Sometimes we feel obligated to feel stressed, because somewhere deep down, we believe that we’re controlling the situation to some extent by feeling stressed. There is almost unconscious fear that if we let it go, everything will fall apart. Because of this, we clench to the stressful situation in hope that we’ll somehow fix it if we stress enough about it. But we won’t. And if you give yourself permission to step away from the thing that’s causing you stress, and let yourself do something else, there’s a high chance you’ll get the new perspective and solve the problem more efficiently after some time. Even if you don’t, at least you’ll get rid of some portion of that stress. This doesn’t mean to run away from all stressful situations; it just means that you should let yourself step away from it for a little while, and take care of yourself, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes.

2. Excercise

Yeah, this is a classic one. But it really works! Research shows that daily exercise significantly reduces stress experienced during the day. Working out clears your mind and strengthens not just your body, but your abilities to cope with stressful situations too.

3. Laugh it off

Did you know that neuroscience discovered that, when you fake a smile, it activates the same parts of your brain that light up when you’re smiling for real. In other words, just a simple facial expression of smiling can, after a while, trick your brain into feeling better. The real smile is always the best solution, of course, but research suggest that, to some degree, you can fake it ’til you make it. So, try to forget about your grumpy boss and remember that funny cat from that YouTube video. It’ll elicit smile on your face, and you can start from there.

4. Speak with someone about your concerns

Social support matters. When you talk to someone you trust, it really takes off the burden off of your chest. Talk about your distress, your feelings and your concerns, and be open to advice. Even if you don’t end up with the solution, just speaking it out helps alleviate the pressure.

5. Meditate

Maybe you heard it before, but mindfulness and meditation really increase the quality of your life. Practicing it daily leads to getting to know yourself better, and with that, to start being honest with yourself about your feelings. From there, you can recognize how exactly you’re feeling when you face a stressful situation and learn to release that pressure on a healthy way. Meditation can help you step out of your head and get the new perspective on the problem. Finally, meditation will teach you how to relax and release the tension you might be holding when you feel stressed. Try it out; it’s one of the easiest techniques you can implement to your daily routine today to improve your well-being.

 

References:

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/phwa/workplace-survey.pdf

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx

positive break

Distract Yourself in Healthy Ways

Good Morning Readers! We work hard to gain benefits or avoid losses. But either way, it’s okay to reward yourself with a healthy, positive break.

I was browsing through my favorite websites, to get my day off to a great start. So, I landed on this site and thought I would share it with you: http://vividlife.me/ultimate/5294/distract-yourself-in-healthy-ways/. This article gives some helpful suggestions if you need ideas on how to break away from the “daily grind” and give yourself a positive break. Additionally, it gives some insight into healthy and unhealthy distractions and how and why to avoid the second ones.

Cheers!

P.S. If you need more ideas, click here.