Brain Science and Worry —
The brain is the most complex and complicated organ in your body – with over 160 billion living organisms (neurons and glial cells). Your complex brain is motivated by pleasure. If a project, a job, a relationship or any other activity that promises a future reward, your brain is to stimulate to capture this pleasure as long as it appears to be achievable.
Here’s the catch, if it experiences pain – physical, mental or emotional, the deepest part of our brain (i.e. nucleus accumbens) activity lessens. Even is the pain being from a past memory, worry and frustrations can set in and stall us from performing or completing the desired project.
We all worry to some degree. Worrying can also be a condition that is culturally acceptable and habitual. For some of us, we’ve been a condition to worrying. We may be concerned for other’s well-being over ours and unnecessarily “think” too often about other’s lives, then try to offer input and advice – in effect, try to control something that we cannot change. Thus, we fret and worry.
Worrying can stop you in your tracks. Worrying is a form of mental stress, and 90% of your uncertainties and doubts are based on fantasies and memories from the past. If you get in a cycle of rumination, the brain will respond to those worries – as if they are actual threats in the world. Worrying is unpleasant and it will, over time, push you into depression which means your motivation centers have shut down.
Turn off the Worry Switch!
Take action! When my clients are stuck in worry, I recommend they make of list of 3 things they can do today that moves them one step closer to their goal. The list can be comprised of simple tasks that are fairly easy to accomplish. Actions such as going to the gym, taking a 20-minutes mindful meditative walk, or writing down a lit all of their successes and they appreciate what they have accomplished help you to get unstuck and the brain to shift. Doing something – anything – that will bring you’re a sense of pleasure and that focusing on the potential of success turns back on the motivation centers in your brain.
But if you’ve been stuck for a long time, you’ll have to “oil” that motivation machine by asking for support from friends, colleagues, coaches, and mentors. You have to learn how to become a knowing that there is always something you can do today, right now, to bring a little more pleasure into your life!