Anxiety, Depression, And Cows

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), over 18% of adults are diagnosed with anxiety. That means that at any given time in the U.S. alone, 40 million individuals are walking around in near panic, worried, tense, phobic and obsessed. These people are 6 times more likely to seek medical attention and even be hospitalized for medical and psychiatric reasons. Anxiety is the most common diagnosis, second only to major depression. And, since anxiety often leads to depression, one feeds the other. This week we will be discussing what you can do to prevent and treat anxiety. Today we tackle the root of all anxiety and depressions.

Stop chewing on worry

Research in the last decade has focused on one unhealthy behavior as the root cause of all anxiety and depressions- ruminations. Ruminating is simply worrying about bad things. A more complicated explanation is the perseverative thoughts of doom which create panic and anxiety. When we ruminate we are obsessing about things for which we have no control or even things that are not clearly defined. Regardless of the theory of rumination that you adhere to, this behavior is highly disruptive to one’s mood and is completely dysfunctional. No one has gotten better from anxiety by obsessing about it. No one has ever worried themselves to being healthy. No one has perseverated their way out of a problem.

Rumination gets its name from animals that require plant nutrition that is fermented. That’s right! Rumination comes from ruminants who chew their cud for hours. That act of chewing is required for their sustenance but, in humans, that act of chewing and brooding on the same thought or possibility is the root sickness.

We are not cows! Rumination will not solve any problems and is actually a bad habit that we acquire as children. This behavior runs in families as a dysfunctional way to deal with problems. Rumination is a habit that actually changes our neurological systems and taxes our brains by depleting the neurochemicals that keep our mood stable. In our thoughts, we create realistic scenarios that trick the brain in thinking they are really happening. That sensation of excitement is the constant firing within our brains when we are simply sitting around thinking too much.

This week we will tackle how to deal with this behavior and healthy ways of managing our stress and anxiety.

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