(Studies that show the negative effects of worrying and overthinking):
A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that worrying was associated with increased levels of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. Chronically high cortisol levels have been linked to a range of negative health outcomes, including depression, anxiety, and heart disease. (Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/002239999390023V)
A study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience found that overthinking was associated with increased activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain involved in executive function and self-control. This increased activity was accompanied by decreased activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain involved in emotional regulation and decision-making. (Source: https://academic.oup.com/scan/article/10/8/1060/1747562)
A study published in the Journal of Behaviour Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that people who engaged in more rumination (a form of overthinking) had higher levels of anxiety and depression. The study also found that rumination predicted the onset and severity of future episodes of depression. (Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0005791610000491)
These studies suggest that worrying and overthinking can have negative effects on both our mental and physical health. However, there is also evidence to suggest that we can break free from these habits and develop more positive thought patterns.
For example, a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that practising gratitude was associated with greater happiness and well-being. The study also found that gratitude was associated with decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety. (Source: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760.2012.744349)
Another study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that people who engaged in more positive self-talk had lower levels of anxiety and depression. (Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0191886913001251)
These studies suggest that developing positive habits, such as practising gratitude and positive self-talk, can help us break free from the negative thought patterns associated with worrying and overthinking.
Overall, the research supports the idea that worrying and overthinking can have negative effects on our mental and physical health, but there are also strategies we can use to overcome these habits and live a more fulfilling life.