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Mindfulness to Ease Worry and Anxiety


Dr. Judson Brewer




Are the stresses of work, parenting, depressing headlines and the daily grind leaving you anxious and worried? Dr. Judson Brewer, of Brown University and Butler Hospital, explains the effects of stress on the brain


Many of us don't actually know how our minds work, and this is especially true with anxiety – it can really feel like a black box. In fact, we might feel anxious and then start worrying as a way to exert control over that anxiety. This can inadvertently lead to a habit loop where anxiety triggers worrying as a behavior, and the feeling of control becomes the reward for our brain. However, our brains eventually realize that worrying isn't inherently rewarding, and this can initiate a cycle where worry amplifies anxiety, and anxiety intensifies worry.

So, what can we do? The good news is that we've conducted extensive research on how our minds function in my lab, yielding some intriguing data that suggests relatively simple solutions. We can essentially intervene in this habit loop by allowing anxiety to spark our curiosity about the actual sensations, emotions, and thoughts in our bodies.

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