Q&A with Author Martin Rossman, M.D. Is worry always bad for you?
No, that’s the point of The Worry Solution
. “Good” worry can help you solve problems and avoid danger. It’s just when you let it become a bad habit that it becomes a problem. Do women worry more than men? If so, why?
All studies show that women worry more than men. Why? Probably because they have more to worry about—including men! Biologically speaking, with women generally being smaller, slower, and physically weaker than men, it makes sense for them to be more vigilant and careful, especially to signs of violence and aggression. Brain studies show that the areas in the brain that process fear and vigilance are considerably larger in women, and I have to assume that was in the survival interest for them and their young. Now, with so much frightening information coming to us through the media, everyone, women especially, need to upgrade their mental software so as to be able to focus on using worry well. How can we develop a good worry habit if we are living with very real worries—like facing eviction or not having health care, or having family in a war-torn country?
Unfortunately, The Worry Solution
cannot remove real tragedy and hardship from life. But it can eliminate a great deal of tragedy and hardship that never actually happens. The essence of The Worry Solution
is separating things into those you can do something about from those you can’t, and learning how to deal better with both. It doesn’t mean life is easy, but it can help us avoid making life harder than it needs to be. Can you explain why guided imagery is so effective in reducing worry and anxiety?
Imagery-based thinking shifts our attention out of the ruts of worry we may have inadvertently created and immediately shows us that we can have choices about what we experience. It is also the most direct and potent way to connect with our ability to relax, access our own wisdom, and solve problems creatively. Imagery can transform worry from a bad habit to a powerful tool for living. Using the techniques outlined in this book, how soon would someone see a difference in their worrying habits?
If people haven’t ever experienced a way to consciously relax their bodies and minds, they often feel better immediately after doing that! Just knowing that whether you are consumed by worry or have other options is very freeing and changes the way people think. To change a habit, though, takes practice and repetition. Someone with a bad worry habit might need three to six weeks to develop a better way to use their ability to worry. How do people know when they need medication for their worry and when they can use guided imagery alone?
There are traumatic times when fear goes beyond worry and it can take over our minds—creating panic and high levels of anxiety. When the brain is aroused that way, it may take medications to get the anxiety level down to where people can regain control of their faculties.
But when the worry is chronic and habitual, it is wise to learn the skills taught in The Worry Solution
and see what they can do for you. Many people find that gets them back in control of themselves and they don’t need medications.
About the Author
MARTIN ROSSMAN, M.D., is a clinical instructor at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical School, the founder of www.thehealingmind.org, and the author of Fighting Cancer from Within and Guided Imagery for Self-Healing. He was most recently seen on the Public Television program The Healing Mind, which is based on his book, The Worry Solution.
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