Why we are hard-wired to worry, and what we can do to calm down
Worry is when that vital planning gets the better of us and occupies our attention to no good effect.
Studies carried out in real time confirm an increase in happiness when people can focus attention on what they are doing, rather than when their minds are wandering.
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The reason can be found in the activity of linked brain regions, such as the default mode network, that become active when our attention is not occupied with a task.
Mindfulness training, for example, asks students to direct their attention to the sensations of breathing.
Despite repeated resolve, a person finds that, within seconds, attention has effortlessly defaulted to planning daydreams.
Mindfulness makes us more aware of these preoccupations and reorients attention to the senses.