According to the HeartMD Institute, “Stress is a weapon of mass destruction. You have to prevent it from destroying you.” With 18% of adults in America experiencing excessive worry, the potential for destruction is real. If you want to live a long healthy life, managing stress is a must. But worrying about worrying can cause a vicious cycle that wreaks havoc on your body. In this case, changing your belief about worry may prove helpful. And if you can worry yourself sick, then you might be able to think yourself well. Isn’t this what is happening in the Placebo effect? Improving from a placebo is better than degrading due to a nocibo (translates to “I shall harm.”) which can cause you to think yourself sick or worse.
The mind and body are intricately connected. When you get embarrassed, the blood vessels of your head and neck dilate to produce a blush, which is associated with being embarrassed. When you get nervous, sweat glands get stimulated and you perspire, and then you may become even more agitated. But what you may not know is there is a connection between intelligence and worry. Those with a higher IQ, tend to also log more time ruminating according to Sanjay Matthew at Baylor College. So, the process of worrying is not bad. In fact, it may help you formulate solutions to problems or be creative. Yet, chronic worrying can lead to behavior change and unhealthy habits such as smoking or reckless driving or depression. Recent studies on the Lateral Septum (LS), a part of our brain, have provided information on how anxiety is triggered and how long it lasts even after neurons have calmed down according to researchers at the California Institute of Technology.
So, if you are a worrier, what can you do? Turn these worries into useful actions. One way is to logically evaluate the actual concern you have. For example, “I will not be able to drive for 3 hours straight.” Why? Suppose your answer is, “I will be too tired.” Then, evaluate what can you do to combat fatigue. Sleep longer? Take frequent driving breaks? Have someone in the car who can also drive? Once you break down the fear, you can either plan for it, dispel it as untrue, or resolve the emotions surrounding it. Believe it or not, the food you eat can also rev you up or calm you down according to the Calm Clinic. Instead of coffee, processed foods, or sugar, try calming foods like avocado, walnuts, almonds, asparagus, oysters, berries, Maca root, oranges, and seaweed. Learning to chill does not mean you will never worry, but it does mean you develop an awareness of when you are overthinking and take steps to be calm.