The Reason Why You Worry Too Much and How to Avoid It
Oftentimes, we find ourselves being totally robbed of relaxing experiences because our mind suddenly brings up our worries and woes. It feels like the brain has this automatic start-up for making us remember stressful problems.
Why Do You Worry? Default Mode Network
The culprit for this mechanism may be the Default Mode Network or DMN.
It has been theorized to be a network of brain regions which is activated when we aren’t focusing on anything. The deactivation happens when we are concentrating.
Scientists who assessed subjects using an MRI discovered that there’s a significantly increased brain activity while resting between tasks that require focus. Researchers believe that the DMN classifies your thoughts about the past, the present, and the future and tells you how to store memories and that the DMN is also responsible for our ‘sense of self.’
The above mentioned are the positive things to note about DMN. The negative side is, when activated, DMN may steal relaxation through mind-wandering, preventing you from fully savoring what is happening at present.
A good example is being on vacation where you’re supposed to enjoy tranquility, but suddenly, your mind ‘wanders’ to the stuff inside your head based on the “data” that you’ve placed in your DMN memory.
If it’s worrisome or negative, then being inside your head can be unpleasant for you – your mind can be replaying negative events repetitively in a state called “hyperconnectivity” when DMN is overactivated. When our mind wanders, it can lead to worries, and an unhealthy obsession with things that might go wrong – it becomes the ‘default’ mode.
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Studies have shown that individuals who are diagnosed with anxiety and clinical depression have DMN overactivation.
Below are a few ways to avoid DMN overactivation:
- Taking control of your mind.
To prevent the worrisome thoughts caused by DMN, bring your mind back to the moment as it starts to wander. Focus your attention on what is in front of you at present – the sights, sounds and smells.
- Changing the course of thinking.
Instead of going the usual route of worrying and thinking negatively, direct your mind to think of challenges as opportunities.
Intentionally mind-wander into positive thoughts. It is what psychologists call “adaptive thinking”. These are “signature strengths” as described by psychologist Martin Seligman.
If you are going to daydream, then daydream about your success and happiness. Our minds may have wandered into worry more often than we’d like, but it’s not impossible to work on quieting your mind to a more peaceful state. It’s a challenge, but it may help improve mental health in the long run.
Source: Psychology Today