Worry: Friend or Foe?

Worry is a superhero, capable of leaping out of the present in a single bound. Its hidden power is the ability to travel through time in a split second. But at the end of the day, turns out worry is just a pint of ice-cream in disguise – providing a quick fix to a long-term problem.
Thankfully, we all have another unsung hero waiting to step into action. It’s our magnificent prefrontal cortex (PFC). This mighty sheath of grey matter is called to duty when we stay in the present and name our experience – the two foes of worry and anxiety.
 
When there is a real (versus perceived) threat, invoking the help of the PFC allows us to deal with life better. And if it’s just a case of misplaced anxiety, naming and staying present thwarts its power.
 
When hijacked by worry, I often have clients ask themselves “Is anything bad happening right now?” This simple question has become a powerful allie in the fight for equanimity.
 
Once the nervous system has calmed down, you’re in position to explore what’s underneath, take action, or simply notice it and move on. This is when a good friend, “good-enough” therapist, or just a few minutes of journaling can really shine.

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