Updated: Jun 4
We all have our concerns about the future, and, in many cases, this type of worry is helpful. Like being worried about that date, it might encourage you to see the best in yourself.
But when that natural worry runs away with you and becomes a crazy type of chronic anxiety, it - literally - changes your body chemistry. You may be focusing on the negative things in your life, and this is usual for people especially with anxiety issues.
When you take the worrying to a pathological extreme, it’s so intrusive and uncontrollable that it can produce a significant amount of distress in the body because extra high levels of cortisol create physical problems like rapid weight gain mainly, a flushed and round face, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, mood swings, etc.
Focusing On The Negative?
One aspect of this extreme worry pattern is that it is so distressing that you can only imagine a negative outcome for your future.
You might become extremely fixated on the imaginary negative outcome and fail to realize that there are positive possibilities as well.
One team of researchers at King's College, London, wanted to know whether pathological worriers could be trained to imagine positive outcomes to their worries rather than fixate on negative possibilities.
To investigate this question, the researchers recruited individuals with anxiety and trained them to respond to worries by imagining positive outcomes to the situations that incited their fears.
Or Focus On The Positive?
Participants were asked to identify a situation they were currently worried about, imagine how that event could have a positive outcome, and record this positive outcome in a journal.
After four weeks, the results revealed that, on average, participants reported a significant decrease in their worry and experience of anxiety- related symptoms throughout the study. They also reported an increase in their feelings of optimism.
Another study reported that positive thoughts boost your immunity, which has an amazing impact on overall health. And if you’ve been anxious for some time, you need to do what you can to boost your immunity because it needs extra support.
It was Buddha who said, “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts." Now science appears to have proved him right after this research showed that negative thoughts could be physiologically harmful.
At the same time, positive thinking calms the heart rate and even boosts the immune system.
Subsequently, the scientists are always on the hunt for easily implemented forms of treatment that can help alleviate such worries.
So, What Can You Do Right Now To Re-Wire Your Brain For Happiness?
It’s so simple you're not going to believe that it works. Especially if your brain is wired to believe the negative thoughts that bombard you daily.
Give This A Try.
Take a few minutes to set up your day. I like to set aside at least 20 minutes to really capture what I’m about to do. Find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed, sit upright, and close your eyes.
Now imagine how you would like your perfect day to be. This can be about anything: money, health, work, relationships or just being happy and anxiety-free. Visualize and how you would like your perfect self to be.
Don’t get trapped in thinking – oh this can’t happen to me. Be free to experience a different type of consciousness, away from victim consciousness. Ask yourself, what’s the perfect thought I’d like to have that will make me happy?
Think about it now and start feeling it now. Imagine all those things that you think would make your day perfect..... have come true. Really come true. Imagine they’ve happened. Feel what success feels like.
Notice the difference in your body chemistry. You are teaching your body how to be what your future is going to feel like before it’s happened. How this ideal day plays out is not up to you; all you need to do is start wiring and firing these new thoughts and then appreciate the difference in your body chemistry.
When you have positive thoughts, doors start opening. There is universal synchronicity that says ‘what you focus on grows.’ By focusing on your perfect outcome, you're naturally inviting a perfect day to be a part of your life.
This isn’t trying to control the outcome of your day, that’s not your job. Your job is to change your body chemistry from a downward cycle into feeling good. you will have positively changed your happiness levels, which will build resilience, trust, and hope.
It’s just a practice. It’s just putting in a new habit. It’s said that a minimum of 21 days and a maximum of 66 days will embed this new practice. Life will change. Nothing changes on the outside, but everything changes on the inside.
 Davey, G. C. (1993). A comparison of three worry questionnaires. Behaviour research and therapy, 31(1), 51-56.  107 Hirsch, C. R., & Mathews, A. (2012). A cognitive model of pathological worry. Behaviour research and therapy, 50(10), 636-646.
 108 Eagleson, C., Hayes, S., Mathews, A., Perman, G., & Hirsch, C. R. (2016). The power of positive thinking: Pathological worry is reduced by thought replacement in Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Behaviour research and therapy, 78, 13-18.  109 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20424083-optimistic-expectancies-and-cell-mediated-immunity-the-role-of-positive-affect/