Two Science-Backed Ways to Ease a Worried Mind

Our brains are wired to worry. Here’s what the research says about how to mindfully calm your worried mind.

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“Am I good enough?” “Am I parenting right?” “Why am I still single?” “Do people like me?” “Am I doing enough at work?”

This is what it sounds like when our worrying mind takes over. For many of us, these thoughts can fill up the unconscious background of daily life. They’re a lot like a soundtrack, an unnoticed but powerful emotional backdrop proclaiming what could go wrong, how things might not work out, and of all the horrible things that could happen.

From an evolutionary perspective, this ordinary worrying habit of the mind makes complete sense. If the goal is to avoid getting eaten by a predator (which it was thousands of years ago), then living in a state of continuous vigilance and low-grade anxiety is an adaptive trait, essential for survival. 

Of course, we no longer live in prehistoric times. The bulk of our worries have nothing to do with an unexpected saber tooth tiger attack. Instead, we have the uniquely modern luxury of worrying about things like the balance in our bank accounts, the fact that we weren’t included in a dinner party invite, or the fear that other people might not see us as constantly charming, impressive,…