How worrying affects your brain can be better described in one word: toxic, even if it is a natural emotion when you perceive a threat. However, many of your concerns are unfounded and even obsessive. In addition, they lead to emotional exhaustion and you lose energy, courage and motivation.
What we know well psychologically is that the effects of worrying too much can be even more dangerous than what you’re actually concerned about. It mainly affects your brain. It may seem like a play on words, but it really goes beyond that.
If you stay in that state, where stress intensifies and distorts all worries in the smallest detail, then everything gets out of hand. You will make bad decisions and your emotional conflict will increase.
For example, the more you become obsessed with the poor quality of your sleep, the more insomnia you will experience. The more you worry about proving yourself at work, the more you fail. In addition, if you worry too much about whether your loved one loves you, you will create situations where the other person will feel pressured and uncomfortable.
So, the more pressure you add to your mind in the form of worrying, the worse it will affect your brain. You will exhaust her resources. Then your memory will fail and you will feel more exhausted. The list of effects associated with excessive worry is long, due to the biology of stress. Let’s see how it works.
How Worrying Affects Your Brain
The way worrying affects your brain is much more intense than you might think. Neuroscientists such as Dr. Joseph LeDoux of New York University tell us that its impact is quite serious.
Mainly because people on average don’t know how to worry in a healthy way. We have a curious tendency to panic and blow everything out of proportion.
However, he also points to another factor that may exempt us from at least some of the responsibility. Our brains are programmed to worry first and think later. In other words, our emotional system, and in particular our amygdala, is the first to detect a threat and thus activate an emotion in us.
Neurotransmitters such as dopamine are constantly released, generating anxiety and nervousness. Later, the limbic system stimulates the cerebral cortex to indicate the higher mental structures. What is the goal? To encourage them to take control, and also to use the logical reasoning that regulates that fear, that sense of alarm.
dr. LeDoux reminds us that people have more power than logic when it comes to emotions. Something like this just makes the worry and fear we experience quite powerful for your mind. The way worrying affects your brain is therefore enormous. It has the effects below.
Excessive worrying leads to psychological pain
What do we mean by “psychological pain?” Is it different from physical pain? Yes. In fact, it’s just as restrictive. In fact, psychological pain includes:
In an anxious brain dominated by constant worry, you are controlled by the amygdala. It shows you the dangers where there are none. Everything you perceive is a threat.
You mistrust everything and it scares you. This hyperstimulation affects the cerebral cortex and reduces the activity of this part of the brain. Then you start to experience everything as chaotic and unbalanced.
Similarly, the amygdala activates different areas of brain pain, such as the cingulate gyrus or girdle convolution. This makes the discomfort even greater.
When intense worrying affects the brain, cognitive processes fail
What do we mean by “cognitive processes?” That is, if excessive worry is affecting the brain because we’ve been preoccupied with persistent thoughts for weeks or months, you’ll start to notice the following:
- memory problems
- concentration problems
- difficulty making decisions
- problems understanding messages and texts
How do you stop worrying?
In fact, you should not stop worrying. It’s more about learning to worry properly, so don’t worry. Otherwise, as in a study by Dr. Ernest Paulesu at the University of Cambridge, the risk of developing generalized anxiety disorder.
To learn to worry better, you can think of the advice of psychologist Albert Ellis. Let’s think about the following:
- Analyze your irrational thoughts. Believe it or not, about 80% of your worries are disproportionate and illogical.
- Talk about your emotions. Name them, untie them and bring them to light. It is possible that you worry too much about your work because in reality you are dissatisfied with it and you are not happy with it.
- Don’t make decisions based on your mood. Before making decisions and acting on them, evaluate all your thoughts calmly and reasonably. Yes, emotions are important, but when paired with deliberate and focused reasoning, you have a greater chance of success.
Finally, you can be more proactive by knowing how bad worrying is for your brain. Avoid falling into that painful cycle and use a healthy and reasonable approach. If you can’t do it on your own, get professional help.