You’re getting enough sleep and you’re eating properly, so why are you so tired all the time? It may not have anything to do with your sleeping habits or your diet. In fact, it may have something to do with your thinking patterns.
New research (via MSNBC.com) reveals that women who regularly experience anxious thoughts may not be doing themselves any favours when it comes to their energy levels. Instead, by worrying all the time about anything and everything, and even while performing the most mundane daily tasks, they’re keeping their brain in a state of overdrive, which is not only exhausting but may lead to the development of an anxiety disorder.
For the study, psychology researchers at Michigan State University monitored the brain activity of both men and women (the participants were all college-aged students). Both sexes were asked to perform a simple task while their brain activity was being monitored. They were also asked to fill out a questionnaire about how much they worried, generally.
The experiment revealed that women who reported anxiety generally had more electrical activity in their brains while performing the simple task. And as the task became more difficult, the worried women’s ability to complete the task suffered, which leads the researchers to speculate that worry affects performance.
Lead author Jason Moser said, “Anxious girls’ brains have to work harder to perform tasks because they have distracting thoughts and worries. As a result their brains are being kind of burned out by thinking so much, which might set them up for difficulties in school.”
More curious: men who reported anxious thoughts didn’t have the same kind of spike in brain activity as the women who did, which implies that the sexes experience worry differently, which may explain why women are more susceptible to developing anxiety disorders.
There are ways to deal with a worried mind, however. Yoga, meditation, conscious breathing and even cognitive behavioural therapy — a form of therapy that redirects negative thinking patterns — are all effective methods for dealing with anxious thoughts.
Have you ever struggled with anxiety?