DECIDE to DECIDE to reduce your worry and anxiety

I don’t know about you but I remember being told as a child: “Do your best”, “Try your best” and questioned: “Is that the best you can do?”  I worried a lot that I wasn’t trying hard enough or I should have done better. Whether that led me to being a “perfectionist” (which some will dispute) I’ll never know.  After reading about the neuroscience research what I do know is,  from now on, I’m DECIDING to strive for GOOD ENOUGH.

Alex Korb, UCLA neuroscientist, maintains:  One thing to try is making a decision about what’s got you worked up. It doesn’t even have to be the perfect decision; just a good one will do.

“. . . Trying for the best, instead of good enough, brings too much emotional ventromedial prefrontal activity into the decision-making process.”

“In contrast, recognizing that good enough is good enough activates more dorsolateral prefrontal areas, which helps you feel more in control …” Korb: “Actively choosing caused changes in attention circuits and in how the participants felt about the action, and it increased rewarding dopamine activity.”

Decisions, Decisions by Peggy

Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals:

  • Decisions, intentions & goals – all three are part of the same neural circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety.
  • Helps overcome striatum activity, which usually pulls you toward negative impulses and routines.
  • Changes your perception of the world — finding solutions to your problems and calming the limbic system.”

“A key thing here is that you’re making a conscious decision, or choice, and not just being dragged to a resolution. Your brain gets no reward for that.”

“If you’re still reluctant to make a choice between one option or another, the science suggests don’t worry, you’re likely to gain a positive bias toward the decision you make anyway.” 

“We don’t just choose the things we like;

we also like the things we choose.”

Alex Korb

Alex Korb, UCLA neuroscientist author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time








4 comments on “DECIDE to DECIDE to reduce your worry and anxiety

  1. I find these issues of great interest and have as an amateur studied what you write about.
    How true you are and neuroscience is gaining ground fast in understanding underlying causes of our health problems.
    You are right, we make a choice and stick with it.
    thank you


    • Miriam,
      We are all “amateurs” when it comes to neuroscience – even the scientists such it is such a new area of study! Both Peggy & I have long been fascinated by the incredible research and discoveries happening since the brain can now be studied without an autopsy. Thank you so much for following and taking your time to comment as it is our hope to reach as many people as possible with the information we personally find useful.

      Thank YOU for making the choice to follow CATNIPblog.


  2. Thanks for this reminder. The mantra, “Do your best,” was something I heard growing up. Even though I’m laid back with my own kids, I don’t always assess with them how to meet the basic requirements for simple projects in order to complete them. Reining in this compulsion to complete everything by an elusive perfect standard is empowering. With that said, my goal today is to tackle simple chores without being perfect, check them off the list, and move on to what I really care about. Hastily yours, Denise


    • Hastily yours Denise,
      “Reining in this compulsion to complete everything by an elusive perfect standard is empowering” – YOU SAID IT PERFECTLY!
      My new motto STRIVE FOR MEDIOCRITY.
      xxx j


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