QUOTES & WISDOM
TOP OF THE MIND
QUOTES & WISDOMfrom the Top of the Mind
QUOTES & WISDOM
Top of the Mind
Nancy Perovic, RN, BSN
University Of Chicago Hospitals, Chicago, IL
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The Difference Between Worry & Anxiety
The inspiration for this week’s “Quote and Comment” comes from a book by Alex Korb, PhD, entitled, “The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time.” In this book, Dr. Korb does an excellent job of going into the intricate workings of the brain to understand and influence anxiety and depression. In one chapter, he looks at the difference between worry and anxiety which I found intriguing. He describes worry as “thinking about a potential problem” while anxiety is “feeling it.”
Of course, this is true. Worry is a cognitive experience, while anxiety is an emotional one. The challenge is that we don’t experience it that way. In fact, most people would say that they are intertwined, in that our worry can feed our anxiety and our anxiety can feed our worry. In fact, many might think that if one is worried, they should be anxious and if they are anxious, they should be worried!
I would agree with this perspective when we are facing a dangerous situation that requires an unconscious reaction (fight-or-flight) to stay safe. In all other situations, however, (which frankly encompasses most of life), we don’t want to be driven by these reactive energies because it traps us in the reactive brain.
In my “Life from the Top of the Mind” philosophy I describe this phenomena as being driven by the middle and lower brain (limbic system and brainstem) when what we really want is to access the clear, confident, creative part of who we are, which is the neocortex (what I call the Top of the Mind).
In order to gain access to this more effective part of the brain, we need to shift from worry and anxiety to awareness. In other words, is there some issue that we should be concerned about at the moment? If so, is there anything that we can do about it now? If so, we take action based upon those facts. If not, (meaning that we can’t do something about the issue at the moment), then what action can we take that will be congruent with the experience of life that we are wanting to create?
The key here is to take some action based upon what we want and what we can do at the moment versus continuing to be trapped in the cycle of worry and anxiety. If this sounds like something that you and/or your organization would like to be able to accomplish, I suggest that you contact me, because, its not what we feel but what we feed that creates our experience of life. And, until we understand the neuroscience of what part of the brain is being fed, we will will be stuck “watering the weeds,” so to speak, and wondering why the flowers (or the best of who we are) never seem to thrive.
~ All the best, Dr. Bill