To live a healthy life, you need to take good care of your mental health. This goes without saying. Yet one of the most insidious aspects of poor mental health is often overlooked: worry. Worry is an all-too-common phenomenon and one of the chief signs of General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). If you don’t manage to stop worrying (particularly if it’s excessive) it can have very real short-term and long-term consequences.
As just one example, it has been proven to increase heart rate, thereby resulting in a rapid increase in blood pressure, which can lead to everything from panic attacks to strokes, if not resolved quickly. Other consequences include premature aging, depression, dementia and heart disease.
Yet research has shown that almost 90% of the things people worry about never happen. Hence, it is recommended to concentrate on other important things in your life instead of spending time obsessively thinking about things that probably won’t even happen.
In this article, I’ve collected six of the most dependable techniques for putting a stop to worrying.
1) Change your Sleeping Patterns
Lack of sleep is one of the top-rated causes of worry. According to a study that was conducted by researchers at Binghamton University, people who stay up late at night and overwork tend to dwell over past events and worry about the future. This, in turn, increases their susceptibility to various conditions such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Changing your schedule and sleeping for at least eight hours a day can help you to stop worrying.
2) Deep Breathing
According to an experiment conducted by Andrew Weil and the results published in his book, “Spontaneous Happiness: A new Path to Emotional Well-Being”, taking deep breaths whenever thoughts begin to brood can help disseminate them in seconds. To master this technique, all you need to do is exhale completely through your mouth then inhale through the nose for five seconds. Then, hold your breath for 7 seconds, then exhale through your mouth. Doing so at least two or three times per day is enough to revitalize the mind.
3) Eat Chocolate
Yes, you read that right! Studies show that high blood sugar levels result in depression, panic, and unnecessary stress. Luckily, a 2009 study published in the Journal of Proteome Research found that dark chocolate can help you stop worrying by calming the nerves. The results revealed that participants who ate 1 ½ ounces of dark chocolate once per week showed a reduction in the level of stress hormones in their body that was significantly lower than those who did not eat any chocolate at all.
4) Enroll in a Physical Training Program
There are hundreds of physical training programs that you can join today to not only achieve your fitness goals but also improve your mental health. The physical exertion will help rid you of negative thoughts and stagnant energy. Plus, it is known to induce a number of ‘feel good’ chemicals in your body, such as endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, which have an effect on everything from your perspective to your sleep patterns.
Be sure, however, to choose a program that resonates with your fitness level and will therefore be one that you’re likely to stick with. It’s also a good idea to consult with professional health personnel at the get-go in order to ensure proper form and avoid injuries.
5) Smell a Grapefruit
Just as certain colors have very real effects on our both our mind and emotions, certain aromas have the ability to recondition the brain and reduce stress. This is according to a study that was conducted at James Cancer Hospital. The researchers found that diffusing essential oil in oncology nurse’s stations reduced their level of tension, stress, and worry significantly. All the nurses who took part in this study frequently suffered from burnout, compassion fatigue, and work-related stress.
One of the essential oils that was found to have an immensely positive impact on the nurses was sourced from grapefruit. Its revitalizing and refreshing characteristics have the ability to boost your body’s feelings of happiness and vitality.
6) Jot Down the Causes of your Worries
A study done at the University of Chicago showed that writing down your current emotions on paper can diffuse negative thoughts. In this study, students who suffered from anxiety disorder were requested to write down their fears and feelings before an exam.
After the exam, the results showed that their scores were higher than those who were not involved in the experiment. Based on this study, jotting down the causes of your worries can help shift thinking patterns in the right direction and increase your performance.