Anxiety is a normal part of life; all of us worry from time to time. It can even be helpful, motivating us to solve a problem or successfully rise to a new challenge. However, uncontrolled worry — the kind that keeps us up at night — can leave us nervous, edgy, preoccupied or sleep-deprived. And that takes a toll on both our emotional and physical well-being.
To that end, Wilton Congregational Church at 70 Ridgefield Road will present Talk Back to Worry with Dr. Susan Bauerfeld, a licensed clinical psychologist, on Thursday, May 7, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public.
“Everybody worries. We live in a society that has escalated the number of things we worry about, which is quite stressful and adversely impacts not only our bodies, but our connections with other people,” Bauerfeld says. The key to managing worry is to understand how the brain experiences and responds to it. “The good news is that managing anxiety is very straightforward and relatively easy to do. You talk back to worry, and don’t let it run the train.”
Bauerfeld will discuss the neurophysiology of what goes on in the brain in the presence of a threat that causes us to worry. “Our more primitive fight, flight or freeze threat responder doesn’t distinguish between a saber tooth tiger attack and average modern-day stressors,” she says. When our brains overreact to an event, they shut down access to the thinking brain that helps us learn, problem-solve, and connect to others.
Genevieve Eason, who helped organize the event, is a self-proclaimed worrier. “When I have something on my mind, I wake up during the night and am distracted during the day. I’m prone to ruminating on my problems. Learning skills to tamp down my stress has been invaluable. Now that I understand how fear and anxiety affect my thoughts, and have some tools to manage them, I cope better with life’s ups and downs.”