According to recent research by Michigan State University, female brains in a state of anxiety work much harder and are more prone to making mistakes, compared to the (less worried) brains' of boys.

In a discovery that could help in the identification and treatment of anxiety disorders, researchers enlisted the help of 79 female students and 70 males to investigate the correlation between worrying and error-related brain responses in both sexes.

During the study, the volunteers' brain activity was measured by an electrode cap.

Participants were asked to identify the middle letter in a series of five-letter groups on a computer screen. Sometimes the middle letter was the same as the other four ("FFFFF") while sometimes it was different ("EEFEE").

Volunteers were also asked to complete a questionnaire rating how much and often they worry.

Although the worrisome female volunteers performed the same as the males on the tasks, researchers discovered their brains had to work harder at it.

As the test became more difficult, the brain's of the girls who felt the most anxious performed worse suggesting that worry and anxiety got in the way of completing the task.

Girls who identified themselves as 'big worriers' recorded high brain activity when they made mistakes during the task.

Jason Moser, the lead author of the study, said the findings may ultimately help mental health professionals determine which girls may be prone to anxiety problems such as obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety.

"This may help predict the development of anxiety issues later in life for girls," Moser said in a statement. "It's one more piece of the puzzle for us to figure out why women in general have more anxiety disorders."

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Researchers are further investigating whether oestrogen - the female hormone - could be to blame for the increased brain response in women, as it is a key neurotransmitter which controls learning ability and processes mistakes.

"This may end up reflecting hormone differences between men and women," adds Moser.

The study, published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology.

According to Anxiety UK, one in six Brits suffer from some form of anxiety and 13% will develop anxiety at some point in their life.

"Whether you have too many things to do and not enough time to do them, or don’t give yourself the time to eat properly, or you have difficult relationships at home or at work, the source of stress and anxiety is different for each of us," explains author of Soul-Centred: Transform Your Life in Eight Weeks with Meditation.

"Though each one of us has different stressors, the effects of stress are what we might have in common. Stress, sometimes called the silent killer, has been blamed for all kinds of illnesses and disease: high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, and anxiety to name a few. And we want to avoid those."

If you're prone to worry and suffer from over-thinking anxiety, take a look at these top tips on tackling stress by Sarah McLean.

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  • Slow It Down

    "Do whatever you're doing more slowly. Slow down on purpose (not necessarily when you are at work). You can do this almost anytime - while driving, walking, reading, eating, or drinking. You might find at first slowing down drives you a bit crazy, especially if your habit is to rush through your tasks. "But when you find yourself in a hurry, ask yourself, What is all the rush about? You might find you're simply being mindless when you could be mindful. And you can enjoy this life of yours."

  • Start Your Day With An Intention

    "When you get up, or when you arrive at work, set an intention for the day. Decide what you want to experience more of. Stick a post-it to your commuter to remind you what to pay attention to during the day. Maybe you want to see more kindness, efficiency, wisdom, inspiration, creativity, or awareness. "You always will find what you are looking for so pay attention to what that is and anchor your awareness again and again to what really matters to you."

  • Use Your Inner Compass

    "When faced with a choice, pay attention to how you feel, notice the sensations in your body. Express yourself and live with integrity. There's no need to manipulate yourself to please someone else. Ask yourself, "Is it a yes or a no, or a yum or a yuck?" "Move toward the yums and away from the yucks. When making a choice or taking action, relinquish your need for approval from others. You are the wise one. You usually do know best. Trust yourself."

  • Reconnect With Your Body

    "Get in the habit of asking yourself, How do I feel right now? Notice and give yourself some slow deep breaths. The body and breath anchor you to the present moment (unlike the mind which often dwells in the past or future). "Relax your body, whether sitting or standing. Feel your feet on the floor. Notice your weight and balance; relax your arms and hands. Straighten your spine. "Relax your shoulders. Relax your face, your eyes, your jaw, your forehead. Pay attention to your body and breath at least three times a day."

  • Take Time Out For A Time In

    "Sit in silence and meditate for 20 minutes each day. (All at once or two periods of 10 minutes each.) Get your power back and "re-source" your energy. Simply sit down, close your eyes, and as you breathe through your nose gently focus on the natural sensations of your breath. "Don't try too hard. Don't worry about your thoughts. If you get distracted, refocus. Be kind to yourself. The stress will dissipate. "Don't wait for something magical to happen, instead, just do it. Come out slowly and you'll feel happier, more creative, and fulfilled."

  • Be Here Now

    "Your life is taking place one moment at a time. So it's ideal to have your attention on this moment right now. This is where your life is. This moment, like all present moments, is when you have access to your creativity, inspiration, possibilities, even your inner wisdom and your emotions. "When you notice you are focused on or worrying about the future more often than you are paying attention to the present moment, bring your attention back to the present moment by paying attention to your body or your breath."

  • Make Ordinary Actions Mindful

    "It's a practice that helps you to break out of your habitual responses and your 'automatic pilot.' Choose a cue, such as your phone ringing, or passing a particular road sign on your way to work, or drinking a glass of water at your desk. "Use the cue to be completely aware of what you are doing while you are doing it in a non-judgmental way. Bring your attention to the present moment, become aware of all your senses. "Mindfulness reduces stress, increases self-awareness, and makes you aware of the choices available in each moment."

  • Approach People, Places & Experiences With A Beginner's Mind

    "Don't be a know-it-all. Instead, be present with what is actually happening instead of your ideas about it. Maintain a childlike curiosity. For example, go for a walk (without talking on your cell phone) and resist the urge to label or categorise anything. "Notice the actual colors, textures, shapes, temperature, sounds, aromas, space, light, shadows, movement and stillness as each sweetly meets your senses. "Simply experience, rather than label, this world around you. With an open mind, wisdom, inspiration, and support are found everywhere."