Reprogram Your Anxious Mind
And fast disclaimer – this podcast isn’t designed to behave as an alternative choice to psychological well being counseling and I’m not your private therapist.
Alrighty – let’s get into immediately’s matter – The best way to Reprogram Your Anxious Mind.
- Do you wrestle with racing ideas? Does it generally really feel like you possibly can’t flip your mind off?
- Have you ever skilled moments the place your nerves felt so shot that you simply felt such as you had been crawling out of your pores and skin?
- When you concentrate on assembly new individuals in social settings, like at a bar or a celebration, does it make you’re feeling nervous?
If the reply is sure, you aren’t alone. Right here’s the factor – when left unchecked, anxiousness can wreak havoc on the thoughts and physique. In truth, it could even trigger some individuals to expertise excessive emotions of panic.
You recognize, through the years, I’ve labored with 1000’s of individuals as a counselor and mindset coach and I’m right here to inform you the subject of tension comes up ceaselessly. Folks wish to know what it’s, the place it comes from and how one can take care of it.
What Causes Nervousness?
So, let’s get proper into the solutions. Nervousness – within the common sense, comes virtually completely out of your ideas. Discover I didn’t say completely out of your ideas as a result of that’s not precisely correct.
In truth, we all know from a lot of analysis that some types of anxiousness may be traced to chemical imbalances – and I’ve linked to an article from Well being Line in Present Notes that offers you extra data.
With that stated, for the overwhelming majority of individuals, anxiousness is sort of completely pushed by your ideas. And that’s factor should you replicate on that for a second as a result of it means that you’ve the ability to alter your ideas – and in the end, your anxiousness.
And that’s precisely what I’m going to show you to do on this podcast – how one can shift your mindset from a spot of worry to a spot of confidence.
Nearly at all times, anxiousness is a fear that you could be maintain about one thing sooner or later. Examples embrace giving a public presentation, the way you would possibly come off on a primary date, or being interviewed for a brand new job. Once more, these are examples and as you take heed to my voice, you most likely can throw in a couple of of your individual.
Now I’m telling you this as a result of as human beings, we’ve been gifted with the power to think about the longer term. It’s that place the place creativity resides, and new beginnings are doable. That’s fairly cool, don’t you suppose?
The issue is that for a few of us, there is usually a flaw in what regulates our creativeness as a result of we’re wired to consider the unfavourable. Give it some thought for a minute. When you find yourself nervous about one thing related to the longer term, you by no means ruminate on one thing superb occurring.
It’s not such as you say to your self – “Oh, wow, I can’t get this considered me giving this superb presentation out of my thoughts” or “Oh man, I’m actually struggling immediately as a result of I preserve seeing myself making impression with this stranger I’m about to satisfy from this relationship app.
Am I proper? After all, it’s not this manner. As an alternative, your thoughts does one thing like this: “I’m nervous that I’m going to screw up this presentation I’ve received to offer” or “What if I am going on this date and she or he thinks I’m boring?”
Are you able to relate. And as I’ve stated on many previous episodes, notion is projection. Let me restate that once more – notion is projection.
Because of this should you aren’t conscious of your ideas and don’t really feel accountable for them, issues can begin to derail rapidly. I encourage you to return to episode 31 to study extra about this matter of derailment.
Amygdala and Hippocampus
And so, what’s going on in your head? What’s up with that glitch factor I simply talked about? Nicely, the reply may be present in human adaptation and it’s rooted in two components of the mind. The primary half is the amygdala and the second is the hippocampus.
Let’s speak concerning the amygdala for a second. The amygdala is an almond formed space of your mind the place data will get processed to maintain you protected. It’s a throwback to our cavemen days guys – consider it as your very personal inside alarm system. As an apart, it’s the identical place the place you faucet into your interior voice – or that sense of instinct.
So, what data will get fed into the amygdala? Nicely, plenty of it’s sensory, like what you see or hear. However ideas – that means your ideas – additionally get funneled into this a part of the mind, which have a direct influence on how – and what – you’re feeling.
Let me inform you a fast story to assist drive residence this level and it’s one I hinted at in episode 35 after I talked about how one can get out of a funk.
The yr was 1985 and I used to be on a tenting and canoeing journey within the Northern Woods of Wisconsin in a spot referred to as the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage. It’s a phenomenal a part of the state, means up North in Iron County.
Now people take note my tenting buddies had been individuals I went to army college with. We had been up in these woods as a result of that’s the place the varsity despatched us to maintain our butts away from the damaging summer time streets of Chicago. And I’m mentioning this as a result of a couple of of us had little or no expertise with tenting and even fewer experiences with what to do if we ran throughout a wild animal.
Anyway, at some point all of us had been hanging out across the campsite and feeling sort of bored. That’s once we determined to do some exploring and take a hike within the woods. For those who’ve ever been tenting, you realize what it’s like. You wish to stand up and see issues, proper?
Anyway -there we had been, climbing by means of the woods and taking within the surroundings. Nicely, low and behold about 20 minutes into it, we ran throughout this enormous Black Bear. And after I enormous, I imply enormous and let me inform you, she was by no means completely satisfied we had stumbled into her territory. And accompanying her had been two of her cubs, which couldn’t have been greater than six months previous. I can nonetheless bear in mind these little infants standing behind their momma as she stood guard.
Struggle, Flight, Freeze
So, most all of us in our group – and there have been perhaps six of us, stopped useless in our tracks and admittedly began to freak out a bit. In medical phrases, that is referred to as struggle, flight, or freeze. You recognize what I’m speaking about? It’s that primal factor within the mind that’s designed to maintain you protected.
Now, in some unspecified time in the future all of us instinctively knew that our greatest wager was to tuck tail and run the hell out of there. And that may have been a terrific plan, besides one of many guys in our group – we’ll name him Joe – thought it will be a sensible concept to select up an enormous ass pinecone and throw it on the momma.
Why he did that I do not know. Possibly that was the “struggle” a part of Joe kicking. Who is aware of? It was nonetheless a silly factor to do and to at the present time I nonetheless give him crap over it.
Anyway, let me inform you, after he threw that pinecone at momma bear, she received pissed – like actual pissed. Now the remainder of what occurred is a blur to me, however I can inform you that each one of us ran our asses off by means of these woods and some of us had been screaming like little women. I’m not naming names right here however I feel you get my drift.
Now clearly nothing occurred as a result of I’m nonetheless right here and on occasion, this story comes up with my buddies because the stuff of lore.
However right here’s the factor. Every time I’m within the woods now, I’m at all times on guard for animals within the woods. Don’t get me mistaken. It’s not a phobic response. It’s not like I received’t go into the woods as a result of the reality is I like tenting.
However I’m saying that I’m hypervigilant after I’m in any woodsy surroundings due to that incident. Now tuck that story into your pocket for a minute as a result of we’re going to modify gears and speak this different space of the mind referred to as the hippocampus.
So, what does the hippocampus do? Nicely, to make an extended story quick, the hippocampus is the a part of the mind that encodes threating occasions into reminiscences or subconsciously into tales.
In truth, it’s the similar a part of the mind that tells me each time I’m within the woods, I should be looking out for wild animals – significantly black bears. You see, my hippocampus remembers what occurred again in 1985 on that tenting journey and has been infused itself into my neural community.
Now, you could be questioning – what does this must do together with your private anxiousness. What does this must do with you being afraid of talking in public, assembly new individuals or struggles with confidence.
It’s fairly easy. It’s all about your ideas. Bear in mind after I stated earlier that the majority anxiousness may be traced to what you suppose goes to occur sooner or later? Nicely, that’s what I’m speaking about.
For those who suppose you may be rejected and suppose you’ll fail, you might be actually coaching your amygdala to have that struggle, flight or freeze response each time that anxiousness frightening occasion comes up.
And to make issues worse, you might be programming your hippocampus to include fear-based reminiscences that get deeply embedded into the unconscious.
Now I wager you might be pondering, “Wait a minute Dr. John. How can the hippocampus maintain reminiscences of one thing that hasn’t actually occurred?”
Nicely, right here’s the factor. Your unconscious thoughts doesn’t have the power to discern actuality from fiction. It doesn’t function that means. It’s devoid of time and area. All it is aware of is the story it has been fed or the film that’s presently taking part in on the reel.
So, what are you able to do about this? How are you going to reprogram your thoughts to dial down that anxiousness and create change? Nicely, the very first thing you are able to do is to interact in inventive visualization. Now discover I didn’t say meditation.
In fact, inventive visualization is a type of meditation however I’m purposely not suggesting this as a result of some individuals wrestle with quieting the thoughts lengthy sufficient to meditate.
So as an alternative, I would like you to create an alternate story in your thoughts that permits room for a hit end result. Right here’s an instance. As an alternative of coaching your mind for failure about that first date goes to quantity in an enormous fats failure, since you preserve asking your self, What if she doesn’t like me or what if I come off as uninteresting, create a story as an alternative that tells the story of you being fascinating – that tells the story of you being magnetic.
By doing this, you might be reprograming your thoughts to step again from the worry. To step again from the anxiousness and as an alternative, step into a spot of success. You’re actually retraining your response from one in all worry and dread to one in all calm confidence.
You recognize, when purchasers come to me with their particular fears and worries, I’ll take heed to them with a compassionate ear. However right here’s the factor – they aren’t working with me to expertise catharsis. As an alternative, they’re working with me as a result of they need concrete instruments to create change.
So, right here’s a inventive visualization train I’d such as you to proper now or when you’re in a spot that the place you are able to do this privately.
First, ask your self what you might be anxious about. Let’s say your nerves are wrecked since you’ve received to offer a presentation to your boss, alongside together with your coworkers. So, what are you afraid of right here? Nicely, for our functions let’s say you might be afraid of stumbling over your phrases and coming off as some sort of fool.
OK, in order that’s the worry.
What I’d such as you to do is shut your eyes. Absorb a deep breath. Let your thoughts clear for a second till you solely see darkness. As you do that, think about for a second there’s a inexperienced neon circle across the middle of your chest. Preserve respiration out and in.
With every inhalation, think about that inexperienced neon circle will increase it’s depth and with every exhalation, the brightness decreases. And I’d such as you to do that for roughly sixty seconds. The objective right here is to create a way of peace and permit area to reprogram the amygdala and hippocampus.
Now when you’ve performed this, it’s time to create a psychological film in your thoughts the place you visualize your self giving that presentation in a assured and relaxed means.
Simply think about your self sharing data with others in a relaxed, assured and relaxed means. Think about others feeling related to you as an individual and even a bit captivated. Think about after the presentation that individuals clap and your boss says one thing like, “Nicely performed – you probably did a terrific job”.
The film in your thoughts doesn’t must final multiple minute. The objective right here is to yank out that previous fear-based stuff, which can or is probably not based mostly on actuality, and reprogram it with a brand new film – a brand new imaginative and prescient for the longer term. And the extra you replay this film in your thoughts, the extra you might be conditioning the amygdala and hippocampus.
In only a second, I’m going to inform you about another methods to reprogram your mind. Dangle tight.
Alrighty, so let’s get again to sensible was of reprograming your anxious mind. Earlier I talked about participating in inventive visualization and the way this helps to reprogram the amygdala and hippocampus.
However what about conditions the place the worry response is so sudden and so highly effective that attempting to visualise your means by means of it isn’t a chance.
Right here’s an instance. Let’s say you might be on a aircraft and out of nowhere, the plane is rocked by horrible turbulence. Have you ever ever had one thing like that occur? It sucks, proper?
Did your coronary heart race uncontrollably? Have been you sweating underneath your shirt so unhealthy that it grew to become noticeable? Nicely, when one thing like that occurs, it’s your amygdala kicking in. It’s that reptilian a part of the mind that each one of us are outfitted with.
And when you undergo one thing like this, it turns into embedded within the psyche to the purpose that everytime you get on a aircraft and expertise the slightest little bit of turbulence, that flight, struggle or freeze factor we talked about goes into overdrive.
So, what are you able to do when a conditioned response comes on so forcefully that it sends you right into a panic? Nicely, there are two issues you are able to do.
4 Squared Respiratory for Nervousness
The primary is to interact in 4 squared respiration. I’m going to hyperlink to an article in Medical Information Every day that walks you thru how to do that, so don’t fear about memorizing what I’m about to share [link to Four Squared Breathing].
Alright that is the way you do it:
The first step: Shut your eyes. Breathe in by means of your nostril whereas counting to 4 slowly. Really feel the air enter your lungs.
Step two: Maintain your breath inside whereas counting slowly to 4. Strive to not clamp your mouth or nostril shut. Merely keep away from inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds.
Step three: Start to slowly exhale for 4 seconds.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1 to three at the very least thrice. Ideally, repeat the three steps for 4 minutes, or till calm returns.
The concept with 4 squared respiration is to reset your nervous system so that you aren’t in a spot of panic. This strategy is especially useful each time an anxiousness frightening stimulus occurs, such because the turbulence I discussed earlier.
And folk, I can inform you that I personally use this one each time I fly within the right here and now.
Prepare for one more story.
It was the July of 1989. I used to be on TWA Flight 746 going continuous from Chicago’s O’Hare to JFK in New York – which was the airline’s Worldwide hub again within the day. My final vacation spot was Rome, however I digress.
At any charge, this specific aircraft was a 727 plane, which I feel some pilots referred to even again then as a tri-saurus as a result of they had been so previous. Anyway, I used to be sitting means within the again on an aisle seat.
So, to get again to it – at departure time, which I feel was round 1 pm, we pulled again from the gate and taxied over to the holding space the place all the opposite planes had been ready to take off.
After quarter-hour or so, our flight was lastly cleared to make a flip onto the runway. As I inform you this story, I can nonetheless bear in mind it like yesterday, proper right down to the Continental Airways Tremendous 80 that had taken off simply earlier than us.
Anyway, we had simply turn out to be airborne and doubtless had solely 2000 ft of altitude when all the sudden our aircraft dropped. And after I say dropped, I imply it dropped 50 or so ft. Prefer it dropped so unhealthy that a few of the overhead bins popped open and luggage flew out. Folks had been screaming and freaking out bigtime – and I used to be one in all them.
To make an extended story quick, what occurred was our plane had hit wake turbulence. That’s a elaborate means of claiming the engine exhaust from the aircraft that took off simply earlier than us – that Continental MD-80 – had disturbed the air in such a means that our aircraft felt it. Wake turbulence doesn’t occur usually, however I can inform you from expertise it’s like flying right into a horizontal twister.
Now I’m telling you this tory as a result of within the right here and now, each time I fly, the smallest little bit of turbulence causes my amygdala to enter panic mode – and attempting to visualise one thing optimistic isn’t going reduce it. What’s that previous saying, when emotion is excessive, logic is low? Nicely, it’s like that.
So, to deal with sudden worry and panic, like throughout turbulence, I’ve discovered to mix deep respiration with bilateral stimulation.
Tapping For Nervousness – Bilateral Stimulation
And right here is how I do it. I place my left hand on my left knee and my proper hand on my proper knee. I then shut my eyes and soak up an extended, deep breath. I maintain it for 5 seconds after which I exhale. I then ask myself on a scale of 1-10 my anxiousness stage. Normally after some turbulence, it’s round 8 or 9.
As soon as I’ve received my quantity, I begin tapping from left to proper on my knees, alternating from left to proper at one second intervals. As I faucet, I say in my thoughts’s eye: I acknowledge my anxiousness is current – and every thing goes to be simply high quality. I can turn out to be calm.”
Let me repeat that once more. As I faucet from left to proper, I say in my thoughts’s eye: I acknowledge my anxiousness is current – and every thing goes to be simply high quality. I can turn out to be calm.”
Now I do that for roughly one minute. I then open my eyes and ask myself what quantity my anxiousness is at. Normally, it has diminished from one thing like an 8 right down to a 5. My objective is to get that quantity down to 2. And so I begin the method once more, again and again till that quantity decreases.
Chances are you’ll be questioning, “Hey, doesn’t that particular person subsequent to you suppose you’re a freak? I imply come on Dr. John, they’re watching you breath like that and faucet. They have to suppose you’re a little loopy, proper?”
Of us, I can actually inform you I don’t give two-craps about what that stranger sitting subsequent to me thinks. To maintain it actual with you, on multiple event, I’ve ended up explaining what I’m doing to my seat-mate they usually find yourself doing it with me.
My level in sharing this with you is to show you how one can mix respiration and tapping collectively throughout moments when the worry response is extreme, and also you want one thing concrete to get by means of.
Have you ever ever watched a type of nature documentaries? You recognize, like those the place the Gazelle will get chased by the Cheetah? Did you discover that if the Gazelle will get away, it takes a second after the chase to shake itself off? Prefer it actually trembles and shakes for a second. That’s as a result of Gazelle’s mind launched a boatload of cortisol and adrenaline into system, and it turns into overloaded. That’s what occurs to you when expertise panic – your amygdala sends a message to your hypothalamus to fight the stress. Make sense?
So, the subsequent time you begin to really feel anxiousness approaching, I would like you to ask your self is it coming from my amygdala or is it coming from my hippocampus?
Whether it is coming out of your hippocampus, do some inventive visualization and re-write the story – rewrite the narrative in a means that strikes away from failure or the unfavourable.
If it’s coming out of your amygdala as a part of a worry response, you’re going to must bypass the pondering half – the inventive visualization half – and soar proper into motion. Right here, I’m speaking about deep respiration and tapping.
For those who do each of this stuff over time, you will have the ability to reprogram your anxious mind. If it lets you replay this episode a couple of instances to soak up a few of what I’ve shared immediately, go for it. The thoughts responds to repetition and patterns very effectively.
Re-Wire Your Anxious Mind E book
I’m additionally going to suggest a useful resource to you. It’s a booked referred to as Re-Wire Your Anxious Mind: The best way to Use the Neuroscience of Worry to Finish Nervousness, Panic and Fear by Dr. Catherine Pittman and Dr. William Youngs. I’ve linked to this guide on Amazon so that you can take a look at.
So, to recap, you’ll use inventive visualization for future based mostly fears and also you’re going to make use of respiration and tapping for panic and fear that comes on instantly within the hear and now.
Man oh man did we cowl so much immediately, don’t you suppose? Nicely, that’s what I’ve received for you immediately. For those who beloved this podcast or any of my earlier episodes, please do me a favor. Take two minutes out and do two issues for me. One, hit that subscribe button. Two, go away a assessment wherever you could be listening, however significantly Apple Podcasts.
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Nicely, there you will have it – one other present. Make it your objective immediately to place a smile on another person’s face. I recognize you listening and hope you will have a tremendous day.