The influence of anxiety and worry on your brain can be summarized as follows: they are toxic. And this, although the reaction itself is a natural one.
When we experience a threat, we react with fear and caution. However, many of our concerns and worries that we have daily are wholly unfounded and sometimes completely exaggerated. Also, constant fears and worries cause the constant fatigue. They cost a lot of energy, you become discouraged and sometimes lose motivation through them.
From a psychological point of view, we know very well that too many negative thoughts and permanent fears cause more harm than the actual cause of the worries.
Excessive concern significantly affects the function of your brain. You really should take this fact very seriously. If you find yourself in a state where your stress level is constantly increasing, then you will eventually be burdened by even the smallest incident. This, in turn, causes everything to get out of hand sooner or later. You will make ill-considered decisions and this will increase your emotional conflict even more.
The more you focus on sleeping badly at the moment, the more your sleep problems will eventually become. The same is true of the pursuit of perfectionism. The more you think about how to present yourself perfectly and efficiently at work, the more mistakes you make. If you are constantly wondering if your partner loves you enough, then he will feel very uncomfortable and under pressure.
This means that the more you put yourself under pressure from excessive fears and worries, the more damage you do to your brain. You waste valuable resources. As a result, your memory will subside and you will feel even more exhausted. The list of stress-related symptoms from persistent negative thoughts is long.
How Exactly Do Fears And Worries Affect Your Brain?
The effects that have too many fears and anxieties on your brain are far stronger than you think. Neuroscientists, such as Dr. Joseph LeDoux from the University of New York, confirms that the consequences can be very serious. The most common reason for this is that many people do not know how to deal with their problems in a healthy way. We often tend to panic too quickly and dramatize situations.
He also mentions that we only have some responsibility for these reactions. Because our brain is programmed to be worried at first and then to start thinking. In other words, our emotional system, and especially the cerebral amygdala, is responsible for us realizing a threat. This will then trigger an emotion in us that should protect us from it.
Due to this emotion, neurotransmitters such as dopamine are permanently released. And it is exactly these that cause anxiety and nervousness. Only then does the limbic system stimulate the cerebral cortex, thereby triggering a thought process. This should now take control of the situation. Also, it should be regulated by the logical confrontation with the supposed danger caused by the anxiety reflex and the stress.
Dr. LeDoux emphasizes that our emotions are stronger than our ability to think logically. Therefore, the influence of our fears and concerns about our thinking is so strong. This has the following effects.
Extreme Fears And Worries Cause Mental Pain
What exactly is ” mental pain “? Is he different from physical pain? Yes, he does, though both kinds of pain similarly limit you. By psychological pain, we understand, for example, stress, exhaustion, negativity, and discouragement.
When your brain is permanently burdened with anxiety and worry, the amygdala takes control of your brain. This will identify the dangers that do not exist. Everything that you perceive in this state feels threatening and makes you panic. This overstimulation reduces the activity of your cerebral cortex. This, in turn, means that you perceive everything as chaotic and unbalanced.
Also, the amygdala activates other brain areas, including the anterior cingulate cortex. This additionally increases your discomfort.
“When I look back at all the worries, I think of the story of an old man who said on his deathbed that he had many problems in his life, most of them never occurred. “Winston Churchill
If You Worry Too Much, It Can Affect Your Cognitive Abilities
If you have been permanently worried for many weeks or months, then you will notice that this condition also affects your cognitive abilities. After some time you will notice the following:
- memory lapses.
- concentration problems.
- Difficulties in decision-making.
- Problems understanding messages, texts, etc.
Also, read 3 Initial & 4 Serious Stages of Burnout
How Can You Be Less Worried?
Basically, it is not bad if you are worried. However, you must learn how to do this in a healthy way for you. Otherwise, there is a risk that you could develop a generalized anxiety disorder.
Psychologist Albert Ellis gives some important recommendations on how you can learn to care healthily:
- Start by analyzing your irrational thoughts. Surprisingly, about 80% of all our worries are exaggerated and logically unjustifiable.
- Furthermore, you must talk about your feelings. If you name them, you will recognize them and you will understand them better. You may be so worried about your job because it’s not fun and you’re unhappy.
- Besides, you should not make decisions based solely on your mood. Before you make an important decision and implement it, you should calmly weigh all the pros and cons against each other. Feelings are certainly important as well. However, if you look at some relevant facts and weigh them against each other, you will make the best decisions.
Now that you know the negative effects of excessive worries and fears on your brain, you’ll be able to respond even better in the future. In any case, avoid getting into this anxiety spiral and instead practice healthy and sensible approaches. If you realize that you can not do it alone, then you should get professional support.
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