Did You Know Anxiety And Excitement Have The Exact Same Chemical Release In The Brain And It’s Just How We Frame The Situation That Dictates Which Is Which?
All we have to do is re-frame anxious situations as ones of excitement. Ever wonder how some people can love the thrill of jumping out of planes or public speaking while others cower at those same thoughts or actions. We all feel that same rush, some choose to thrive in it, while others might choose to look inward and express worry about unknown outcomes. It’s simply how we look at the task at hand. Do we want to be excited or do we want to worry?
So much of our worries are completely outside of our control, it’s usually over past or future issues. Issues that have already happened, or might happen down the road. Future what if scenarios that have yet to happen, if ever. We’ll worry about what we said or might say. Worry about what we’ve done or what we might do. We’ll tend to fixate on these outcomes or possible outcomes sending our amygdala in search of if this is a threat or not. If it’s deemed a threat, the brain in turn sends it to the thalamus, the reptilian part of the brain responsible for the fight, flight or freeze response. Once we reach this point, we now must ride out the storm till the threat has passed.
Most things pass through the amygdala as safe and will be sent right through to storage without us being none the wiser. But when we worry, we can activate that reptilian response and we’ll sometimes get ourselves stuck in that feeling of anxiety. Do we fight this, do we run from it or do we freeze? It’s not until we can find new safe harbors for our brain to anchor in, that we can then move on from this stress of worry. Be it a new thought process or relaxation techniques. And that is the cool part, because those safe harbors are completely within our control, either find a happy place to go to in your mind or simply live in the immediate here and now. No past, no future, just strictly in this moment and breathe deeply. When we breathe deep, it activates our parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and digestion or in other words, the feed and breed part of the brain. Activities that require relaxation. So next time you feel worry arising try a simple form of box breathing. Breathe in for a count of 6, hold for 1 second, then breathe out for 8 seconds. Repeat this process until you’ve found calm.
Another thing I’ve found that helps deter thoughts from ever entering the thalamus in the first place is something a family member of mine once thought me. She said all you need is two powerful words when you feel a since of worry coming on. What are those two words you might ask, fuck it. Not, “what’s the worst that can happen,” because when you ask yourself that question, your mind will search for answers. Sending it into a tailspin and trust me it will find those worrisome answers. Just say fuck it don’t even let your thoughts reach your thalamus. Just move right on to a better suited task or thought process because worrying will solve nothing and complicate everything.
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