You Have To Stop Worrying, This Is Why
The next time someone tells you to stop worrying so much, you may want to take the advice more seriously. Sure, a bit of worrying every now and then is nothing serious. However, worrying excessively can lead to all sorts of problems, as you will soon discover.
Worrying Has Some Advantages
Worrying refers to a condition wherein you feel overly concerned about a certain situation or problem. In a state of worry, you are typically overwhelmed with the thought of what might happen. That is not always a bad thing. After all, worrying can also imply that you simply care deeply about something.
In some cases, worrying can even work to your advantage. According to the British Psychological Society, there are studies who have shown that worrying can be beneficial. This is because when you worry, you can prepare yourself better for possible bad outcomes in different situations. Worrying can also motivate you to get better at problem-solving.
Worrying can also result in an emotional payoff. As you worry, you may find yourself taking on a more pessimistic outlook in life. This might help mitigate disappointment. You expect the worst, and aren’t disappointed. If the situation turns out to be better than you imagined, however, it results in heightened excitement and more pleasure.
Despite some potential benefits of worrying, however, it is best not to worry excessively. This is because worrying can trigger stress which, in turn, causes anxiety. If you don’t stop worrying, it can make you physically sick.
How Worrying Too Much Can Make You Ill
By nature, humans respond to negativity more readily. This phenomenon is known as negativity bias. The idea is that the human brain tends to display a greater level of sensitivity towards unpleasant situations. In fact, one study found that the brain tends to reach much more strongly to any negative stimuli. The problem with this is that once negativity takes over, it is much more difficult to stop worrying.
When worrying is done excessively, it causes you to feel much more stressed. In some cases, this stress goes on far longer than usual. This is how acute stress becomes chronic stress. Unbeknownst to many, this particular type of stress also has some more troubling implications.
Chronic Stress and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome
According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is the type of stress that can last for days, even years. This is what you experience when you can’t seem to see a solution to a bad situation. Chronic stress is often brought about by certain factors in life that you can’t stop worrying about. These include marriage, children, work, and money. In this case, the stress of constant pressure and demands stay with you for long periods of time. Your mind gets in the habit of worrying thought patterns, and your body is gradually worn down by the stress.
When a person suffers from chronic stress, various systems in the body can become compromised. These include the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, nervous, reproductive, and respiratory systems. At the same time, chronic stress is even felt in the person’s endocrine system, which includes one’s adrenal glands. Once the adrenal glands are affected, you can become susceptible to Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).
AFS can still be managed during its early stages. If you do nothing and allow it to get worse, however, AFS can cause a great deal of suffering. This is because AFS disrupts the way your body normally responds to stress.
Chronic Stress and the NEM System
Your NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response system is how your body primarily responds to any stress episode you are having. It does this by triggering six stress response systems in your body. These include detoxification, cardionomic, metabolic, neuroaffective, and inflammatory systems. At the same time, the NEM also triggers a hormonal response, which affects your endocrine system.
The moment your body is under stress, your endocrine system releases certain hormones that help you to address the situation. These include cortisol and adrenaline which can help spur your body into action. Generally, your body is preparing for a flight-or-fight response. This means that you either address the issue head-on, or you simply run away from danger.
In the case of chronic stress, however, fighting or fleeing is not exactly applicable. Since this type of stress is often connected with everyday stress, the factors making your life stressful are always around. Hence, your body finds itself in fight-or-flight mode almost all the time. Because of this, your NEM Stress Response gets disrupted and eventually fails.
With continuing stress episodes, the cortisol output in your body eventually drops after reaching its maximum output. In the earlier stages of AFS, you may feel that your body is weakening. As your AFS progresses to later stages, however, you may experience more alarming symptoms.
Aside from the fatigue that you have been feeling for days or weeks, you may also start to feel a great deal of anxiety. Even worse, you can experience panic attacks and heart palpitations. You can also suffer from low blood pressure, reactive hypoglycemia, food sensitivities, low libido, and even hypersensitivity to some supplements and medications.
Because of these, you may find yourself unable to continue to work. Even worse, there are cases when AFS sufferers become bedridden and incapacitated. This is why it is extremely important to address chronic stress as quickly as possible. This way, you can stop it from progressing to more advanced adrenal fatigue.
How to Stop Worrying Too Much
As you can see, excessive worrying can have some serious consequences because it can lead to chronic stress and trigger AFS. The best way to prevent this is to take necessary action to stop worrying. Here are some things that you can do:
Schedule a time for worrying
One of the best ways to stop worrying all day long is to designate a certain amount of time as your worrying period. It can be just 30 minutes each day. When time is up, make a conscious effort to let go of whatever is concerning you, and notice something in your present surrounding if you notice more worrying thoughts popping into your head.
Accept that you have worries and move on
According to one 2005 study, people tend to feel more distressed when they try to suppress unwanted thoughts. Hence, the more effective way to get over your worries is to accept that they come naturally with life and move on. In fact, the study found that those who did just that managed to achieve lower levels of anxiety and depression. One way to achieve this is through practicing mindfulness and meditation.
Take the time to do some physical exercises every single day. They are not only good for your body, but they are beneficial for your mind too. In fact, research has found that exercising for at least 30 minutes can help reduce any anxiety symptoms you may have. If you have adrenal fatigue, however, be sure to focus on gentle, calming exercises like yoga, and avoid overdoing it. Past a certain point with AFS, exercise can make things worse or even cause an adrenal crash.
Try some natural stress remedies
There are certain foods and herbs that are said to help alleviate stress. Stress relieving foods that you can include in your daily diet include lemon, celery, and ginger root. Herbs for combating stress include valerian root, green tea, and chamomile.
While many of these possible ways to stop worrying may prove effective, it is important to keep in mind that the outcome may vary for everyone. Hence, especially if you have advanced AFS, it is recommended that you be cautious when trying out new remedies. The safest course is to consult with your physician before trying anything out for the first time.
The simple truth is that worrying excessively is bad for your health. The next time you are faced with an uncertain situation, take a deep breath and stay optimistic. Your body and mind will be in a much better state if you don’t let worrying take over your life.
© Copyright 2018 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
Why is it important to learn to stop worrying excessively?
While worrying from time to time is normal and even beneficial, worrying excessively can cause some serious problems for your health. If you don’t stop worrying too much, it can eventually lead to chronic stress. This, in turn, can progress into a serious case of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).