Issues of the Thoughts: Perceive nervousness to overcome it

Part II

A quick search the internet for statistics of rising anxiety around the world calls for trouble. It quickly turns into a thick smog in and around us that we only recognize when it is too late.

While the anticipatory stress response helps us cope with it in the short term by fighting or foresight to escape difficulty, in the long run it damages our core. Whether it is a confrontation with a giant reptile or a more diffuse fear of something terrible, the feeling of being so constantly affects our health and our quality of life. The health loss and cost in terms of effects on the brain, body, spirit, relationships, and productivity are significant.

Experts predict a startling increase in cases of anxiety disorders over the next decade. I think it has already started. I want to create awareness and consciously alert you about our almost constant alarm reaction.

Rather than let this lead us into a global mental health crisis, we can actively intervene to improve things with some arrows left in the quiver.

There are many approaches to reducing anxiety and preventing or treating anxiety disorders. Mindfulness, conscious cognition, and neuroplasticity are three empowering and healing tools. The most important common factor is self-work.

The cognitive approach

Imagine opening your picnic basket in the park. You pull out a peach and find that it is dented on one side and there is a brown pulp emerging on the other. You immediately decide that you don’t want to consume it and throw it in the trash. This is because if you observe you will know that this apple is unhealthy and even risky. Unfortunately, we do not practice conscious observation of the thoughts we consume, even if they are lazy, unhealthy and risky for us. This is understandable because we cannot hold onto our thoughts and see them.

What if I told you we can? When we become aware of our thoughts by listening to what we say to ourselves, we can consciously discard some of our cognitive rigidity and unconstructive thinking. These are the “must”, “should”, “should” or “must” dialogues that we have with ourselves. The belief in perfection and control, the striving for guarantees and the demand for certainties break with us, because all these are embedded in self-created, imposed and constructed rules and ideas. A quick check of the rationality and disputation of such rigidity by simply asking yourself: “Is who saying?” Or “How do I know exactly?”. can be a worthy rebuttal.

The mindfulness approach

This is a practice that is talked about a lot. But in my experience not recruited with clear to-dos. Allow me to give you one step-by-step coping tool for this one.

Meditation and learning how to breathe properly can relieve anxiety; this is an established evidence-based finding. Concentrated, deep breathing affects our brain function, neural health, hormones, memory, judgment, immunity, and reduces the effects of stress. Here we start.

1. Inhale deeply into your nose and exhale forcefully. As you continue to breathe, focus on every aspect of this process, the air that is inhaled, the chest, the abdomen that is expanding, or the air that is exhaled.

2. As we continue to breathe, notice how the great waves of our thoughts gradually become more visible or audible to us. This is a powerful phase in which we become aware of our perception.

3. The next step is to try to get a pause or silence in the mind. This can be achieved by focusing on breathing or slowly washing away our thoughts creating moments of pause or emptiness. Don’t be too strict with yourself if these don’t last too long. One break is enough and with consistent practice these moments can be extended.

4. A blank is not valued by nature. It plunges into a vacuum in some form to fill it and give it meaning. Rather than allowing irrational thoughts about the past or future, keep the cognitive focus on the present – thoughts of the now – that help us feel functional emotions and restore and strengthen us.

Since fear is caused by thoughts about the future, being aware of the present is an incredibly powerful exercise that effectively dispels fear.

5. To continue planting the seed, or the intention to be grateful for this moment as it is, without wanting to change anything, is profoundly wholesome. Maintain and practice this intention to keep anxiety at bay.

Fear is a difficult feeling. When it interferes with our functionality, we must give in and seek assistance from trained professionals to help us deal with it. (Photo: Getty / Thinkstock)

The neuroplasticity approach

Long ago it was assumed that the brain was fully developed in childhood and developed in adolescence.

Over the years, research has shown the opposite. “Neuroplasticity” is our brain’s ability to rewire itself. In this way, it can develop and change throughout our lives.

Using brain imaging, the researchers observed that after studying the map of London, London taxi drivers had increased numbers of neural connections and their brains changed for a period of time.

The findings have shown that after accidents or trauma, people lose the function of part of their brains, resulting in a loss of speech, memory or motor function; with consistent therapy and rehabilitation, the lost brain functions can be rekindled.

It has been proven that we as a species are dynamic and evolving. So how can this help with anxiety?

Identify your perception that is bothering you. Take public speaking as an example. For many years you have thought of this trigger mainly as follows: “I will most certainly make a mistake or forget what I have to say” or “People will laugh at me”. Can we speak to ourselves differently so that a different neural path is ignited? Take a different perception, consciously, deliberately, and consistently in order to establish and practice a new cellular circuit.

This changes the way your brain is used to perceiving the trigger. The presentation, speech, or debate in a crowd can then seem less threatening or scary.

Neuroplasticity can be nurtured and practiced daily to keep our brains active, learning, and growing. This helps in the release of happiness hormones in the body. Some of these exercises are learning new information, a new language, playing new games, learning a new craft, making art or music.

Fear is a difficult feeling. When it interferes with our functionality, we must give in and seek assistance from trained professionals to help us deal with it. Just as we accept and deal with many other difficulties in our life, begin by understanding the nuances of problems in order to effectively solve, learn, and resolve them.

For more lifestyle news, follow us: Twitter: lifestyle_ie | Facebook: IE Lifestyle | Instagram: ie_lifestyle

Comments are closed.