Avoiding hazards of excessive thinking

By Gabriel Blessing on 26/11/2014

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From time to time, everyone worries. But for some people, worrying has become a way of life. Perhaps by worrying they subconsciously think they would prevent bad things from happening to them. But it does not work that way.

The fact is that worrying can affect the body negatively. When worrying becomes excessive, it can lead to feelings of high anxiety and even causes one to become physically ill.

Let’s take a look at some facts about “worrying” which can best be explained with Dr. Chad LeJeune’s illustration. Imagine you’re hiking along a cliff, he says, and your brain tells you “I might fall”, and you picture yourself falling. This thought could help you realise that you need to be extra careful about where you’re walking. It is a helpful thought!

However, “when your anxiety is high, you’ll experience that image not as ‘I might fall,’ [but as] ‘I will fall,’” and with heightened anxiety, we are less able to discriminate between the thought that might happen and the reality. This is called “cognitive fusion”. When a thought becomes fused with what it refers to, the individual concerned will begin to experience such thoughts as reality, almost inevitably.

When we are stressed and our life is out of balance, it can manifest in our physical bodies in such ways as hormone imbalance. Hormone is a regulatory substance produced in an organism and transported in tissue fluids such as blood or sap to stimulate specific cells or tissues into specific actions. So, when we worry more than necessary, and “I might fall” becomes “I will fall”, wrong signals are given to body and hormonal imbalance occurs.

Also chronic worry and emotional stress can trigger a host of health problems. The problem occurs when fight or flight is triggered daily by excessive worrying and anxiety.

The fight or flight response causes the body’s sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones can boost blood sugar levels and triglycerides (blood fats), which can be used by the body for fuel. When the excessive fuel in the blood isn’t used for physical activities, the chronic anxiety and outpouring of stress hormones can have serious physical consequences, including: Suppression of the immune system; Digestive disorders; Muscle tension; Short-term memory loss; premature coronary artery disease; or even Heart attack


How can I handle anxiety/worry?

1.     Identify your worries as thoughts: This is because they follow the same thinking pattern. The things we worry about usually revolve round family, career, relationship, etc. When you envisage your worry as thoughts, you gradually develop methods to overcome such challenge.


2.     Let go of control: Trying to overpower your worry according to Dr. LeJeune would only ignite anxiety and worrying thoughts. Your response should be to interrupt the urge to stronghold your anxiety. It’s to allow acceptance and mindfulness to enter in The Worry Trap. Here, you have a choice to either use the traditional “stress management technique” which is breathing deeply and relaxing your hands and all your muscles.


3.     Change your lifestyle: This entails dissociating yourself from your normal routine. Such changes include; eating a balanced diet, setting aside few minutes in a day where you focus on your fears and problems and vow to let go at the expiration of allotted time, meditating daily, creating a relaxation time, exercising daily.


4.     Engage yourself in what you enjoy doing: It could be singing, reading watching movies, etc.


5.     Talk to your physician: They know much about the physical and psychological aspects of the subject.


Posted on November, 26 2014

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