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Worrying well: how to bring wisdom to your worries - Ness Labs

https://nesslabs.com/worrying-well

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Worrying well: how to bring wisdom to your worries - Ness Labs

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Learning to worry well

Learning to worry well

Worry is generally seen as a negative thing. But it could also have a positive function.

Worry is an adaptive function to better solve problems and imagine creative solutions. And worrying well is a skill anyone can learn.

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Worry and imagination

Worry is actually a product of imagination. If we didn’t have an imagination, we wouldn’t worry.

Worry and imagination are built on remembering things from the past and projecting ourselves into the future.

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Worry, anxiety, and stress

  • Worry. A repetitive form of thinking about the future or the past.
  • Anxiety. An uncomfortable feeling of fear, apprehension, or dread, often in the gut or chest, accompanied by physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat and sweating.
  • Stress. A physical response (fight or flight) to a threat, real or imagined. It’s characterised by an adrenaline and cortisol surge, and increased blood levels to your muscles.

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Negative and positive worry

  • Good worry: it anticipates and solves problems. It is functional to worry about certain future events instead of burying your head in the sand.
  • Bad worry: it is circular and habitual. It doesn’t lead to any solution, and it makes you feel scared, blocking you from seeing things clearly.

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The Goldilocks Principle

The Goldilocks Principle

Just like the fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, where the preferred porridge has to be neither too hot nor too cold, and the preferred bed has to be neither too soft nor too har...

The Optimal Level of Stress

Whether it is the stress that is taken by schoolchildren or workplace challenges, we have to find an optimal level where there is just the right amount of pressure. There is a balance that has to be achieved for stress levels (which comes from external factors) and anxiety (which is usually through our internal thought mechanisms).

Stress to some extent is beneficial as it releases hormones like cortisol in the brain, increasing your performance in the short term while enhancing brain functions.

Healthy Levels Of Anxiety

  • If we are occasionally stressed out or worry prior to a big presentation, we are well within the healthy levels of anxiety and it can be our motivation as well.
  • If we are unable to sleep at night, have constant health issues or are unable to eat, then we are in the unhealthy stress/anxiety territory and need to take corrective action.

Our values

Our values

Our values are our preferences about what we consider appropriate courses of actions.

They strongly influence our decisions. Therefore we should take the time to consider w...

The transmission of values

Personal values can be ethical, moral, ideological, social, or even aesthetic. Values are mostly transmitted through parenting, but our cultural environment also plays a role.

For instance, American parents tend to value intellectual knowledge; Swedish parents value security and happiness; and Dutch parents value independence and the ability to stick to a schedule.

The four personal value orientations

There are four different personal value orientations based on our "terminal values " - our desirable states of existence, and "instrumental values" - the means by which we achieve our end goals.

  1. Personal-competence. "I value wisdom (terminal), which I believe can be achieved through independent thinking (instrumental)."
  2. Personal-moral: "I valued true friendship (terminal), which I believe can be achieved through honesty (instrumental)."
  3. Social-competence: "I valued equality (terminal), which I think can be achieved through ambitious work (instrumental)."
  4. Social-moral: "I value national security (terminal), which I believe can be achieved through obedience (instrumental)."

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Ordinary and altered states of consciousness

Ordinary and altered states of consciousness

Altered states of consciousness can only be defined if there is an understanding of an ordinary state of consciousness.

While scientists can't agree on a clear definition, alte...

Modulating states of consciousness

  • Excessive dancing, meditation, and mind-altering plants were used in ancient civilizations to modulate the activity of the mind.
  • In 1892, the term "altered states of consciousness" was used to refer to hypnosis.
  • William James introduced the scientific investigation of mystical experiences and drug-induced states into the field of psychology.

The five altered states of consciousness

  • Pharmacological. These altered states include short-term changes caused by psychoactive substances, such as LSD MDMA, cannabis, cocaine, opioids, and alcohol.
  • Psychological. Hypnosis, meditation, and music can lead to altered mental states.
  • Physical and physiological. An altered state of consciousness is achieved through sleep, where dreams dissociate one from reality.
  • Pathological. A traumatic experience causing brain damage can lead to an altered state of consciousness. Other sources include epileptic or psychotic episodes.
  • Spontaneous. Daydreaming and mind wandering can cause altered states.