We seem to really like worrying! According to an Optimism Audit in the UK, we spend an average of almost 2 hours a day, nearly 13 hours a week and four years and 11 months worrying across our lifetime.
What do we worry about the most you may wonder? Well you might recognise some of these from the list of common worries:
Your credit card debt
Health of a loved one
Are you attractive or not?
Missing your flight
Not getting up on time
How you look
Keeping your family safe
Are you a good parent?
People liking you
Regrets in life
Loneliness in old age
Health of your children
Looking after parents in old age
The state of the economy
Looking for a partner
Suspecting your partner is having an affair
Drinking too much alcohol
Your mortgage repayments
Education of your children
When you are worried, you may feel as if you have a knot in your stomach. This is because the root of the physiological changes which happen in your body when you worry is your stomach. Changes in tissue tenacity, muscle contracture and blood flow through this area can be suddenly disrupted when there is something that triggers us to worry.
For most of us, this is perfectly normal and worrying about things is part of living life. The worries come and then they go again. But for some the changes stay, or return again and again and perhaps there is a vicious circle of worrying affecting digestion and then a bad digestion affecting your control of worrying.
The immediate results of the worry are obviously connected to the stomach - symptoms such as lack of appetite, upset stomach and nausea, but if the worry continues, it can lead to chronic constipation, diarrhea, digestive problems, and headaches especially in the forehead area.
If this strikes a cord with you, what can you do to help?
1. Take back control of your thinking
Slow down your pace of life. Focus on the world around you - notice the trees, the sky, the buildings, the people, the sounds, the colors. Try to be aware of your surroundings.
If worrying thoughts come to you, you must allow them to come and just let them go. Don't fight them. Let them pass by.
When you walk concentrate on your breathing when you breathe in and out.
If you're going to have something to eat, chew slowly and enjoy where you are and what you're doing. Pay attention to the movements of your body. This is a simple form of meditation.
2. Take back control of your digestion
Worry has a close relationship with the state of your stomach, so you need to review your diet and also the way you eat. For most people this means that you have to eat regularly throughout the day, do not eat too late at night, eat and drink slowly, eat smaller portions, and the foods that you eat have to be to strengthen the stomach instead of weakening it. Many people abuse processed fried foods, or with additives and chemicals, or that contain a lot of sugar or sweeteners. It is much better to eat simple freshly cooked foods and cut out the rest.
3. Take back control of your body with Gua sha
a. Start with your neck and shoulders and use a Gua sha tool to scrape down the muscles into your upper back. This will improve blood circulation through the tissue beds in this area and will reduce tension.
b. Then scrape down the mid/lower part of your back on the muscles on either side of your spine.
c. Scrape down the large muscles on the front of your thigh and then the muscles on the outside of your lower leg. Only scrape downwards and watch out for bones and any skin features which you shouldn't scrape over. This area helps regulate your digestion.
Any more ideas please post below. Thanks.