This is actually an addendum to last week’s post. However, these suggestions apply to mild cases of anxiety that we can classify as “just worrying”. I will be brief and to the point; hope they will be useful.
Did you know that excessive worrying not only affects your mental state, but has a negative impact on your physical health too? While a little worry can even be helpful as it helps you prepare for the upcoming situation, worrying too much affects your health to the extent of making you stressed, tired, extremely prone to depression and even physically ill.
When you worry, the heart rate increases, you sweat more, and breathing becomes much more difficult. You may also become pale, given that the blood withdraws from the skin and moves toward the muscles in order to prepare them for the “fight or flight” situation.
As the body has prepared to respond to the threat, the tension may turn into pain, causing weak legs, trembling, headaches, and back pain. The same tension can even affect the digestive system, causing diarrhea or constipation.
In addition to this, chronic worry may make you susceptible to infections too. Stress and anxiety are known to lower the immune system, making you prone to colds and even more serious illnesses. They also make you even more fatigued and lethargic.
The good news is that the brain is a highly adaptable organ, and making a few behavioral changes can notably reduce worry and help you go back to your regular day-to-day activities and highly functioning self. I will share with you three simple practices that can be incorporated into your life to reduce worry and calm your anxiety.
- Write down your worries
Translating your worries into concrete words helps transform the doubt and pity into a problem with a potential solution. Whether you don’t know what to wear to a party or a friend is pissing you off, write it down. Putting your worries into words prepares you to conceptualize the problem and look for a way to resolve it.
According to a study done by researchers at the University of Chicago, anxious test takers who wrote down their feelings before taking the test actually performed much better than those who didn’t. Researchers believe that the key to writing about you worries is to emphasize the worst possible outcome for the cause of your anxiety.
We have touched upon the benefits of meditation before. Please re-read the “Meditation” post of May 25, 2015.
Whenever you feel anxious or overwhelmed by your tight schedule, find the time to meditate. All you need is an open mind and a quiet space. Sitting for as little as two minutes, closing your eyes, and concentrating on your breath helps improve mental stability and cognitive function.
Try it; you’ll see that you will feel more centered, optimistic, and clear-headed.
- Channel your stress into exercise
As I have tried to explain in the previous post, exercise offers both physical and mental benefits. While it is quite challenging and difficult in the beginning, exercising on a regular basis helps regain the control of your life. This sense of control and self-worth then allows you to reduce overall worry and stress.
Doctors often advise depressed patients to practice aerobic exercises, as this has been shown to lower the levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenalin. At the same time, exercise boosts the production of endorphins, which are the chemicals in the brain that kill pain and lift your spirit.
Those of you who have been following the blog, know that I favor anaerobic exercises over aerobic and still adamantly defend this position. Don’t forget HIIT, as touched upon in the last post.
That’s all for now. See you all next week.