Jan 20, 2020 07:23 AM EST
Don’t you think worrying has become a part of our personality? Science says it is valid. A professor of Medicine and Population Health Sciences reports that our brains are “hard-wired” to worry. Still, we can adopt practices to fix it. Also, our brain chooses survival over happiness, and hence we keep on worrying about it.
James Caromdy, the professor at the University of Massachusetts, told The Conservation, our brains continuously imagine futures that meet our needs and things that could stand in the way of them.
Why do we worry?
1. Our minds sabotage the happier moments
The scientific reason is the “default” mode network in our brain. In neuroscience, this is a part of the brain with high activities. It is considered to be a part that gets activated when we are not focusing.
It also gets activated and used when we look into our memories, think about others, remember and think about the past or future. Generally, it is working while our mind is wandering, or we are at passive rest. The state brings thoughts that might make us worry about situations, people, and the future.
2. Evolution prioritizes survival over happiness
This default system for planning is part of our evolutionary history. Worrying is apparent in the effortless persistence and universality with which it occurs.
Dogging concern with past and future becomes evident in those moments when you do manage to notice these thoughts with some detachment. Thinking about what could go wrong also becomes apparent.
3. Traumatic childhood events that were never properly processed.
Philosopher Alain de Botton told Mindful.org that worrying is likely because of the childhood events that weren’t processed well.
De Botton explains this is likely because someone you cared for did abandon or even abused you when you were once young and vulnerable,
“A benefit of understanding how much our worries owe to childhood is a new sense that it isn’t so much the future we should be distressed about but the past,” de Botton said.
What can be the solution?
1. Live mindfully
The author says that all it takes is mindfulness to make us happy. The basic principle of mindfulness is used in different techniques to be happy. Mindfulness is observing the activities of the mind. Even if we observe it wandering, it is progress, mentions the author.
Mindfulness reorients our attention to the senses, which help us in getting into the “present moment.”
Studies have confirmed that practicing mindfulness for a few weeks has shown an increase in attention regulation, working memory, and awareness of mind wandering. The imaging studies conducted suggest that it reduces default mode activity and enriches neural connections that help in attentional and emotional self-regulation.
2. The moment of flow:
This can be understood better by reading books on this experience. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book “Flow, The Psychology of Optimal Experience,” mentions that “most enjoyable activities are not natural. They demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person’s skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.”
James Carmody also says the moment of flow occurs when we are immersed in work. This helps in dissipating stress-related hormones and allowing “feel-good ones like serotonin and dopamine to be restored in the brain.”
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