Right now I’m feeling slightly off focus with the whole blogging thing. Considering it was something I started as a hobby and an ‘escape’, I’m worried that I’ve quickly reached a point where I feel compelled to blast out more posts and see if I can gain followers. I can’t actually understand why this is even bothering me as I never set out to create a money-making blog, it was intended as a way of creating head space and getting in a bit of writing practice.
But then a couple of nights ago I had a really stressful dream and woke up in the middle of the night thinking, “Oh hell, I’ve not written a post for a week! I’m failing already!” Then the usual not being able to get back to sleep for ages, then waking up feeling guilty. Failing? Guilty? What is that all about!? It’s like worry is determined to try and take over my brain no matter what steps I take to unwind. The bastard.
I know what’s going on. I watched a video on ‘how to grow your blog’ and a bit of my brain has clearly latched onto the key points from this and now keeps reminding me that I should put more effort into this process. Thanks, helpful brain!
We’re wired to worry. You’ve maybe heard of the term negativity bias, which in lovely psychology terms means: “the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.”
If we were too chilled about potential threats, we’d simply not have survived the challenges of being alive on this planet for millenia. So we can blame evolution. Rick Hanson, Ph.D. says:
To keep our ancestors alive, Mother Nature evolved a brain that routinely tricked them into making three mistakes: overestimating threats, underestimating opportunities, and underestimating resources (for dealing with threats and fulfilling opportunities). This is a great way to pass on gene copies, but a lousy way to promote quality of life.
If negativity bias is news to you, read Dr Rick’s full post here Confronting the Negativity Bias
So, sounds like we are all pretty much stuck with this helpful negative view of the world. We are doomed to misery then, may as well creep off an have a cry under a blanket now. Unless of course, we simply keep reminding ourselves not to worry about the worry. Soothe yourself with phrases like, ‘It’s ok, it’s just that bastard Worry poking around trying to be helpful again.’ Or perhaps a more appropriate mantra, ‘It’s ok, it is only worry, it is not reality’. In other words, actively choose to accept the worrying thought, see it for what it is and then let go of it.
This kind of helpful self chat, along with a bit of replenishing me-time and a sprinkle of mindfulness should be what’s needed to give the anxiety dreams the boot.
Have a Word with Worry
Armed with this knowledge about my brain’s inherent workings, I now intend to Have a Word with Worry and tell it to back the heck off thank you very much, each time it comes knocking on my thoughts. I don’t mean I’m not going to worry about getting run over or if I’m being followed on a dark walk back from the pub – just that not posting on WordPress for a day or two (or 6) is not going to do me any serious harm. I think.