Talking Therapies Blog


STOP Worrying About the Future: Change Your Fear and Problem Saturated Mindset

Worrying about what you cannot control leads to anxiety, fear paralysis and perfectionism.

One thing for sure is that you have little control over unexpected events. What you do have control over is how you will respond to the challenges that life can throw at you.

Being in a heightened state of anxiety or fear puts you at a disadvantage to respond to the unexpected or future events. Your body remains constantly in a high stress state impacting both your physical and mental health.

Here is a simple explanation of the brain science of stress and fear. When you are stressed or experiencing fear and anxiety the signals from your body posture, blood pressure, and parasympathetic nervous system keeps your brain in the fight, flight, freeze cycle in the Limbic System – the so called emotional brain. When the amygdala (processes emotions) in your Limbic System is firing you are in survival mode. You cannot access the stored memory or your creativity in the hippocampus the other part of the Limbic System. Consequently it becomes impossible to make decisions or find solutions to your problems or issues.

The rational or thinking mind of the brain’s prefrontal cortex cannot be accessed when the emotional-mind loop is over stimulated. You become reactive to situations rather than responsive and solution focused. It would be reasonable then to assume that worrying about the future creates a fear mindset perhaps even a ‘self-fulfilling prophesy’ of the very future you fear.

Mindfulness/meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing will help you regulate your body responses to fear and anxiety thoughts. When you regulate the body responses to stress the brain shifts from the emotional/reward response loop allowing you to engage the thinking or rational brain as well. The wise–mind is the overlap of both your emotional and rational mind. Your decision-making, solutions are a balanced responses of your emotions and your rational experiences.

Neuroscience also shows us that what we focus on becomes our reality. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the mind to change the brain to change the mind. This is often referred to as ‘rewiring your brain’.

If your ‘I am ….’ thoughts are about worry, anxiety and fear that is exactly what you will experience. Fear and worry thoughts keep your body in a hyper aroused and stressed state because the body and the brain are connected through a biofeedback loop.

Changing your thoughts, feelings and ‘I am …’ statements creates a new firing between the brain cells called neurones. Each time you choose an uplifting thought a new neural firing in the neural synapses (gaps between neurones) occurs. Focusing on uplifting thoughts creates a neural bundle or as I call it a ‘new neural pathway’. Conscious and continuous focus on uplifting thoughts develops the new neural pathway until it becomes a well-lit, beautifully paved ‘neural highway’. Choosing uplifting thoughts leads to feelings of expanded happiness, joy and peace. The old neural pathway based on fear and anxiety thoughts becomes less used and will fall into 'disrepair'.

If you do head off down the old neural highway you will begin to feel uncomfortable and you can use skills and strategies to redirect your thoughts and feelings to more uplifting ones.

You can choose to focus your attention on the states of BEing you desire - happiness, joy and inner peace.

The end result of STOPing thoughts of worry and fear will be a life of gratefulness and happiness regardless of what is happening around you. You will develop an unswerving self-belief and trust in yourself that you can manage future events that fit with your dreams, aspirations and life-goals.

Use the ‘Stop’ technique to reduce and relieve anxiety and stop worrying about the future.

S – Stop
T – take a breath
O – observe the facts and do not judge them as good or bad - it just is.
P – practice what works – use your skills and tools to reduce your stress and distress.

Living one moment, one hour and one day at a time can really make a difference in how you feel about things as they happen.
Worrying about tomorrow’s problems never solves them.
Focus on today and what you can do right now.
Trust that you will be able to find a solution or manage life’s challenges.
Use the brain’s ability to change your worrying and problem saturated mindset.
Don’t miss out on your amazing life - Live your dreams, aspirations and goals.

Be Happy and Peaceful

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