TODAY   |  May 29, 2013

How to break the cycle of worry and anxiety

Worrying is a way of life for many – we stress about jobs, family, finances, and more – but the anxiety can take a toll. Psychologists Dale Atkins and Xavier Amador share how we can break out of the worry rut and learn to relax a little.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> worrying is a way of life . we stress about our families, our finances.

>> and that can take a toll on your health. and it may make you feel less attractive to the opposite sex .

>> tell us about this study out of finland that actually suggests or proves, i guess, that if you worry you're less attractive to the opposite.

>> when we worry and we're very stress it had really shows on our face. the whole body takes a very different way of moving, and people get that when they see us and we emit the stress .r it's very interesting. it's not a surprise, really, but we really do now understand a little bit more about what another element of attraction.

>> the study also found that men are less attracted to women who worry a lot, and one of the reasons has to do with the gender difference. we were talking about this beforehand. we're socialized men, generally in most cultures, to fix things. we don't listen well, not because we're uncaring. it's because we're trying to fix it, and when you're listening to somebody complain about the thing that they worry about, listening to natalie and she's complaining. i can't fix it and i start to feel like you're a burden so that's another way you become unattractive to me.

>> sorry.

>> this is an intervention, natalie.

>> you guys are obviously earlier.

>> joe called earlier.

>> i mean, you don't want to be with a debby downer is what it comes down to, absolutely. it's negative energy and nobody wants to be around somebody who is negative all the time. what does it do the worrying and the stress levels in your bod?

>> it changes your hormones and that affects your cardio vascular health. worry can be a good thing. but when you start to worry you're in the future, in a mental time machine and the what ifs and you have to dial it back to the present and that's one of the solutions that dale and i talk about all the time and teach our patients how to dial it back to the present so you're life worried.

>> life is unpredictable, and you say one of the things you should observe and not try to control.

>> exactly. if you observe and understand that you will be having a feeling and don't get married to that feeling. don't get caught up in a story about that feeling because you can bring yourself to a very, very difficult place, and as javier said, we also live in the future but sometimes we live in the past and worry about what happened. if we can stay present, and you observe yourself and you feel that feeling and down the get caught up in it and make a whole story about it, then you can say there's something i can do this b this because you're calmer and that puts you into a problem-solving mode rather than a panic and fear mode.

>> another tip you can use, javier, is discipline your brain, don't think about the catastrophic what ifs.

>> if you're stuck in the what ifs, right, again you're in the future. there's two tricks that we teach people all the time. one is stay in the present. oftentimes we say listen to your breathing. if we all stopped and listen to our breathing it would be dead airspace and the control room would be froeeaked out right now. maybe no. feel the pressure under your buttocks for a minute.

>> oh, really.

>> are you worried what right?

>> what do you mean about the pressure under our buttocks.

>> you're a burden, you've got a problem with a dead butt.

>> what i'm really talking about and dale and i talk about with patients is mindfulness, being mindful of things you connection appearance now, and being clear about what you can control and what you can't control. let go of those things you can't control and -- and do affirmations.

>> everyone can do this breathing. everyone can just take a moment and calm themselves and get out of their head for the moment and just watch their breath, and when you do that, you're able to really see what is solvable, what isn't solvable, where am i going to put my attention and you mentioned about being debby downer .

>> yeah.

>> well, when we are debby downer or done downer, people don't want to be with us, but also we are with people often who encourage that kind of worrying and you don't want to surround yourself with those kinds of people because it's not going to help you solve your problem and get out of that space.

>> need to ditch the two of us.

>> we've been tagged, what's al?

>> you don't have enough time for that.

>> thank you both.