Worrying is a natural part of being human. Our brains are roughly divided into two sections – the prefrontal cortex is the newer part of the brain that deals with idea generation, rational thinking and decision making. The older part of the brain contains the brain stem, cerebellum and base of the brain, all of which deal with our basic survival needs. This more primitive brain has had thousands of years of practice in detecting threats in our environment, considering risks, being cautious and ‘worrying’ about the bad so that we can make decisions that keep ourselves alive.
In this day and age, many of the physical survival threats are gone, but our natural tendency to look for the bad and remember ‘when it went wrong’ so that we can stay safe remains. This is called a negativity bias and it plays a huge role in why we worry so much.
Although worrying in small doses serves a useful purpose, it is very easy to over worry, which has a range of negative effects on the mind and body.
All of these issues have a significant impact on physical and mental health. This means that learning to deal with worries effectively is an important skill for health and wellbeing.
Now, this is the subheading you were searching for on Google, right? Strictly speaking we will never stop worrying and nor should we. There are some parts of our lives where a small dose of worry helps us to assess the risks involved, make cautious decisions and take positive action (worrying about the climate may encourage you to recycle, worrying about an exam grade may encourage more focused study). The real trick is to discern what is worth worrying about.
These reflective prompts can help you to explore your worries and hopefully turn down any over worrying into a more healthy and productive level – if worry is still needed at all.
*Here are some examples of negative thinking about worries that have been changed into more positive thoughts:
Next time you find yourself worrying, try out this bank of prompts. You will find that for each worry a different prompt will be more helpful. For some worries it’s about changing your mindset to feel more at ease and for others simply taking action reduces your worry because you feel like you are making progress.
If you are finding it hard to address your worries alone then you may benefit from working with a coach who can take you through the process and support you in identifying where your specific challenges lie.
Click here to book in a free coaching consultation and get support with your worries.