We all have them. And they are healthy, as we have to take care of ourselves and set standards as to how we want to be treated. What we will accept.
However, do you sometimes feel that your expectations may actually be causing your anxiety?
Think about it, if things do not go as we expect, this can cause anxiety. However, imagining in advance that things may not go as planned, also causes anxiety. So expectations, either way, cause anxiety.
According to psychology today, expectations are actually physical pathways in our brain. We are wired to learn from the past and remember it, so that we do not make the same mistakes again. In the most basic sense, we learn when we are young that fire burns.
Psychology today says “Expectations tell us how to make sense of the world more than you realize. Your senses are always taking in more information than you can process. To make sense of the overload, the brain generates an expectation about the next chunk of information it is about to receive, and then it scans for a sensory input that matches. An expectation is not a conscious thought; it’s a trickle of electricity into a pathway built by past associations.”
So expectations are not us being unreasonable. It is a physical thing in our brain.
When we continually react the same as we always have, we are continuing down this pathway. However, if we have a large presentation at work and the last time something went wrong, instead of worrying that the same thing will happen again, we can take the neutral path and say, last time I figured it out and this time, IF something goes wrong, I can handle it.
After puberty though, the brain is pretty much programmed. Changes to the way we respond to things take great repetition. That is why anxiety is really REALLY hard to beat.
But it is possible!
Psychology today states that we can create new neural pathways in 45 days. If you repeat a new behaviour for 45 days, it will become your new normal.
The article recommends Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels It shows you how to do it in 45 days!
If you manage, let me know, I am still working on it too! I am off to buy the book!
We are all in this together!