We humans are worry-warts. And it’s a good thing. Our brain has regions, structures, and neural wiring to warn us of danger—and instant reactions to it.
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Yet, not everyone’s reaction to danger is the same. Each person’s history of response to scary events—real, imagined, heightened or even minimized—is a unique combination of genetics and personal experiences that result in a person’s distinct neural wiring.
You grasp this explanation intuitively when, for example, you observe people’s varying reactions to a bad review from their boss, a scary medical finding, or damage to their car.
If you are lucky, you deal with fear, anxiety, stress, and worry effectively. But many people don’t.
Yet, we still sense intuitively that we are going about things wrong. The stress, however, clouds our ability to think clearly enough to do the things that we intuitively know to be right!
You might be wondering, what is the difference between these three concepts. Well, don’t worry about it!—but basic differences are:
- Fear is your brain’s hard-wired response to real threats such as a wild animal, abusive parent or intruder. This hard-wiring includes your brain’s well-known “fight or flight or freeze” reactions.
- Anxiety is your unique reaction to your way of interpreting whatever non-life threatening events you experienced– and therefore encoded in your brain.
Your reaction might include panicking—or minimizing and denying the threat, if for example, recognizing it might prompt you to face leaving a lying, cheating, abusing spouse!
- Worrying is your ineffective way of not denying the problem—but being afraid and confused about what to do!
Your lack of decisiveness creates the worry that keeps the solution open-ended out of fear of making the wrong decision!And all of these emotional states create stress!
10 Tips for Taking Charge of YOU!
1. Know your stress signs
Some people get depressed, others eat or sleep or snap at their partners too much!
Ask yourself questions such as: Is this the anniversary of my car accident or loss of my parent?
Pay attention to how much you procrastinate.
2. Start the day with optimism and/or laughter
Read the funnies! Don’t read your emails first thing in the morning.
Don’t watch the news or read bad headlines. Play some music, put on a comedy on television.
If you don’t live in a location with beauty, keep handy pictures of sunsets or swans or whatever makes you feel good!
And, as difficult as it might be to get started, exercise! Go for a walk, but get moving. It will increase your sense of well-being.
3. Hug and kiss a family member
Loving contact makes you feel connected and calm.
4. Get a buddy
Call someone or arrange ahead of time to help you or meet you at the gym.
And be sure to pick friends who cheer for you!
5. Set specific times – and length of time – to worry
Worriers can’t stop worrying. But you can take charge of it by scheduling it.
6. Set small time limits on how long you will work on an unpleasant task such as paying the bills
Most of us can do a little time on something! After a while, the task
7. Read biographies of people who triumphed over obstacles
Inspiration is, well, inspiring!
8. Relabel your emotion
Tell yourself that anxiety and fear reactions are good forms of excitement.
9. Give yourself permission to “not be perfect.”
Perfection is impossible. Get in the mindset of “Trial and Learn.”
Avoid thinking of only two choices “trial and error.”
10. Base your success on what you do—and not on what you feel
Mid-morning and mid-afternoon check to see what you have done.