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Worry, stress & anxiety

Generally speaking, we are all over worrying, over stressed and highly anxious these days. I’m sure all of us have experienced at least one or all 3 of these things. Even just in the last few days or week. You would be in the minority if you hadn’t.

I recently read a New York Times article that clarified the difference between worry, stress and anxiety. Why would this distinction between them be helpful?

Having this knowledge can helps us in the moment and over time, as we cultivate that awareness muscle. All this means is that you are observing and paying attention to your thoughts and feelings as they happen. As if you have professor Xavier's telepathic skills listening to the thoughts of someone else, but you are being consciously aware of your own thoughts instead. Gradually actioning this knowledge can help us to rewire our brains and move through these moments faster and smoother.

So what is worry?

Worry is the constant thinking and ruminating on negative thoughts or situations. However, this article states that worry can actually be helpful, it can help us problem solve. Wait, worry can be a good thing!

“Worry is helpful only if it leads to change, not if it turns into obsessive thoughts.”

However, if left unchecked and you constantly ruminate, obviously any benefits will be lost. Too much worry or this oscillating of negative thoughts can be problematic. It has been said that worrying is like wishing for what you don’t want to happen! How is this? the thoughts you think create neural pathways that you are constantly treading through the mind. These pathways become stronger and easier to access (think) over time.

I'm not saying ignore thoughts and pretend like they don't exist. I think it’s important to acknowledge the worry without glossing over it. It’s essential to properly process things as they come up, then they have less chance of becoming energetic blocks later.

Then we have stress.

This is the physiological (chemical) and very natural response that the body has to moments of physical or perceived danger (stressor). Throughout our evolution from primate to the current domesticated homo sapiens version of ourselves, this chemical response to a stress has kept us safe. It has given us the ability to run away, hide and survive.

The heart and blood pumps faster, sending more oxygen to the limbs so we can run faster and longer. The breath speeds up and becomes shallow. Digestion, immune response and reproductive systems pause, because that isn’t priority when you are in survival mode. Sadly this is how most of us live, in survival mode.

Today this stress response still helps us to survive, and in the short term it can help us to focus. “Stress is a biological response that is a normal part of our lives.” However, the caution here is the frequency and duration of the physiological stress in the body. We are highly adaptive creatures, BUT, we are not designed to be a constant physiological state of stress.

Ongoing & sustained stress hormones running through the body causes inflammation. This can turn into DISEASE; dis-ease in the body.

Stress hormones essentially switch off said functions and systems of the body. This can look and present itself differently to each of us. In my case it was developing into Hashimoto's Disease, an autoimmune disease.

The biggest threat to most of us, particularly in the privileged western world is the perception of stress. Yes, you can actually create a physiological state of stress in your body from your thoughts alone! Our modern domesticated equivalent of a hungry beast is an email, deadline, other people or any number of life stress (take your pick).

Our mind & body do not know the difference between real physical threats and psychological perceptions of danger!

This is why paying attention and building awareness around your thoughts is a crucial element of overall health and wellness.

The 3rd wheel of the trio, Anxiety.

It is the love child of worry and stress. It is the most common mental health condition in Australia. "On average, one in four people – one in three women and one in five men – will experience anxiety at some stage in their life. In a 12-month period, over two million Australians experience anxiety."

Anxiety can occur when you are dealing with both stress and worry and these stressors don't go away.

“Anxiety happens in your mind and your body, so trying to think your way out of it won’t help.”

The body is still in a fight or flight response, sometimes without there needing to be a stressor (experience or threat). After sustained periods of experiencing anxiety, it can also occur when you feel relatively fine. Your body starts to build that action into the body's memory. This is why anxiety and panic attacks can seem to come out of nowhere. As Joe Dispenza says, “The body is the servant of the mind, until the body becomes the master".

Just to refresh:

“Worry happens in your mind, stress happens in your body, and anxiety happens in your mind and your body.”

Tips that work well to help alleviate worry, stress and anxiety. A lot of this comes back to cultivating awareness so you can build in the pause. The magical pause which give you space to act instead of react.

  • 1st is to notice that you are on one of these states.

  • Deep belly breathing to help communicate to your body that you are safe and calm. Use the Mantra while consciously breathing; breathe in “I am safe”, breath out “I am calm”.

  • Come back to your senses. 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste. This helps to get you out of that thinking cycle.

  • Sleep. There is not illness or condition in the world that doesn’t benefit from sleep. Make sure to get adequate sleeps for you.

  • Hydration another thing the whole body relies on especially the brain.

  • Focus on quality nutrition. Eat plenty of plants – move away from packaged and factory made foods. Fake food like stuff disrupts our whole body, especially our gut. Our gut hugely influences our mood, it is our second brain. Therefore, it impacts the way we think.

  • Move regularly and exercise, this give us excellent release and relief mentally, emotionally and physically. Whatever that exercise is for you, just make sure it done;t put any further stress on the body (e.g: doing HIIT more than 4 days a week).

  • Come back to your senses. 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste. This helps to get you out of that thinking cycle.

  • For the worry warts out there. Give yourself a “worry budget“. Seriously, set the timer. A lotting yourself a specific amount of time (e.g; 15 minutes) and then consciously redirecting your thoughts. This can help you to process and maybe even problem solve the issue, push yourself to come up with a next step or to take action.

  • Journal or write it down Research has shown that just eight to 10 minutes of writing can help calm obsessive thoughts. Pay attention to the thoughts on repeat. Give yourself space to energetically get them out of your mind and body and onto paper.Consider your Caffeine consumption, quantity, quality and timing. It is about tuning in and being honest with yourself. Caffeine can heighten the cortisol in the body, so if you are prone to worry, stress and especially anxiety I would seriously consider breaking up with caffeine. Try it for a month and notice the difference.

  • Spend time in nature. She is a cure all.

  • Meditate or do things/activities meditatively. this give the brain and body a chance to either have space for calm and stillness or just a break from the barrage of thoughts if you are in a state of flow.

  • Limit blue light from screens, it can stress out and over stimulate out brain. Try to get as much natural light during the day as possible and sothen and reduce the light in the evening and night.

  • Reflect on your social media use. is it helpful and positive or is it making you take part in the comparison feel poorly about yourself. You don't need that in your life!

  • Most of all be radically kind to yourself if you do over-indulge. Give yourself permission to be human.

It is important that you find what works for you, things that you will actually utilise. This becomes your toolkit to come back to time and time again.

If worry, stress or anxiety is something that has been a persistent theme for you, please reach out. I can help! Or there are many others that can help. You are not in this alone. In fact thinking that way makes these things feel worse for you.

Seeking objective support can be one of the fastest ways to make desired changes that support your health and wellbeing. This is why I do the work that I’m doing today. Perhaps you would like to make a booking for a free discovery chat to see if we are the best fit for each other.

If working with me intrigues you, check out my services I would love to connect with you to find out if I can help.

I hope this article helped and you utilse the tips. let me know how you get on with it.

Keep fighting the good fight!

Big love & peace out xxx

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