Posts tagged ‘anxiety’

Making Time in Life to Worry

A recent study found that actually making time to worry is a good idea.  Wow.

People in the study, who spent fifteen to thirty minutes per day fretting deliberately, were less stressed than those who did not.

Focused fretting is very different from generalized, all-day and all-night anxiety.  When you worry at your scheduled worry time, you free up your mind from the worry throughout the rest of your day.  And that deliberate fretting time can reap solutions and ideas.

It’s similar to meditation, an ancient practice closely related to prayer, in which practioners train their minds to induce a mode of consciousness to gain various benefits or states of consciousness.

In past research studies, many methods of meditation have been linked to positive changes in metabolism, blood pressure, brain activity, and other physical processes. Meditation has also been used in clinical settings as a way to reduce stress and pain.

But meditation is a broadly defined word.  It can mean thinking and pondering;  it can mean quieting the mind and aiming not to think; it can mean practicing certain breathing techniques –while thinking or aiming not to think; it can involve chanting; it can involve poses, such as yoga poses or prayerful poses; it can involve using objects, such as reading scriptures, or counting beads.  Meditation, then, is almost impossible to define.  Worry is not.

Worry is a mental attempt made to avoid a potential, anticipated threat.  Worry at the wrong time can distract the worrier from focusing on solutions to the problem he/she faces. For example, when a student becomes worried during a test, he/she  may believe that he/she is going to fail, or that he/she can’t remember the studied material, or that parents or teachers will become disappointed if the student fails the test. This worrisome thinking interferes with the student’s ability to focus on the test.  The student uses brain power and emotional power to worry, rather than to focus on the material at hand.

The new study suggests that the student should get “all worried out” before the test.  He or she should set aside fifteen minutes to deliberately worry and fret about all the potential consequences of failing the test, well before the test.  Perhaps this focused, dedicated worry time should take place well before the test preparation time, as well, so as not to interfere with studying.  Then, during the test, the worry will most likely lessen or vanish completely.

The insomniac who wakes in the night with worries overwhelming his/her mind might do well to set aside a designated worry time every day right after lunch.  Then, in the night, he or she would not be as likely to need to worry.  There is a time for everything –even worry– and everything should happen in its time.  (Not at 3:00 a.m.!)