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 right this moment’s subject – Methods to Reprogram Your Anxious Mind.
- Do you wrestle with racing ideas? Does it typically 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 just felt such as you had been crawling out of your pores and skin?
- When you concentrate on assembly new folks in social settings, like at a bar or a celebration, does it make you are feeling nervous?
If the reply is sure, you aren’t alone. Right here’s the factor – when left unchecked, nervousness can wreak havoc on the thoughts and physique. The truth is, it will probably even trigger some folks to expertise excessive emotions of panic.
You recognize, through the years, I’ve labored with hundreds of individuals as a counselor and mindset coach and I’m right here to inform you the subject of hysteria comes up incessantly. Folks need to know what it’s, the place it comes from and tips on how to cope with it.
What Causes Nervousness?
So, let’s get proper into the solutions. Nervousness – within the normal sense, comes nearly totally out of your ideas. Discover I didn’t say solely out of your ideas as a result of that’s not precisely correct.
The truth is, we all know from numerous analysis that some types of nervousness will be traced to chemical imbalances – and I’ve linked to an article from Well being Line in Present Notes that provides you extra info.
With that stated, for the overwhelming majority of individuals, nervousness is sort of totally pushed by your ideas. And that’s factor when you replicate on that for a second as a result of it means that you’ve got the facility to vary your ideas – and finally, your nervousness.
And that’s precisely what I’m going to show you to do on this podcast – tips on how to shift your mindset from a spot of concern to a spot of confidence.
Nearly all the time, nervousness is a fear that you could be maintain about one thing sooner or later. Examples embody 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 in all probability can throw in a number of of your personal.
Now I’m telling you this as a result of as human beings, we now have 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 assume?
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 destructive. Give it some thought for a minute. If you end up fearful 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 right this moment as a result of I preserve seeing myself making impression with this stranger I’m about to fulfill from this relationship app.
Am I proper? In fact, it’s not this manner. As a substitute, your thoughts does one thing like this: “I’m fearful that I’m going to screw up this presentation I’ve obtained to provide” or “What if I’m 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 when you aren’t conscious of your ideas and don’t really feel in command of them, issues can begin to derail rapidly. I encourage you to return to episode 31 to study extra about this subject 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? Properly, the reply will be present in human adaptation and it’s rooted in two elements of the mind. The primary half is the amygdala and the second is the hippocampus.
Let’s speak in regards to the amygdala for a second. The amygdala is an almond formed space of your mind the place info will get processed to maintain you secure. 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 inside voice – or that sense of instinct.
So, what info will get fed into the amygdala? Properly, 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 are feeling.
Let me inform you a fast story to assist drive dwelling this level and it’s one I hinted at in episode 35 once I talked about tips on how to get out of a funk.
The 12 months 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 lovely a part of the state, means up North in Iron County.
Now of us take into accout my tenting buddies had been folks I went to navy faculty 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 harmful summer time streets of Chicago. And I’m mentioning this as a result of a number 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, sooner or later all of us had been hanging out across the campsite and feeling form of bored. That’s once we determined to do some exploring and take a hike within the woods. Should you’ve ever been tenting, you already know what it’s like. You need to rise up and see issues, proper?
Anyway -there we had been, climbing by the woods and taking within the surroundings. Properly, low and behold about 20 minutes into it, we ran throughout this enormous Black Bear. And once I enormous, I imply enormous and let me inform you, she was in no way completely happy we had stumbled into her territory. And accompanying her had been two of her cubs, which couldn’t have been greater than six months outdated. I can nonetheless keep 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 possibly six of us, stopped useless in our tracks and admittedly began to freak out a bit. In medical phrases, that is referred to as combat, flight, or freeze. You recognize what I’m speaking about? It’s that primal factor within the mind that’s designed to maintain you secure.
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 will have been an awesome plan, besides one of many guys in our group – we’ll name him Joe – thought it could be a sensible concept to choose up a giant ass pinecone and throw it on the momma.
Why he did that I do not know. Perhaps that was the “combat” 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 obtained 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 these woods and some of us had been screaming like little ladies. 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 every so often, 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 all the time on guard for animals within the woods. Don’t get me flawed. 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 once 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? Properly, to make a protracted story brief, the hippocampus is the a part of the mind that encodes threating occasions into reminiscences or subconsciously into tales.
The truth is, it’s the similar a part of the mind that tells me every time I’m within the woods, I must 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, it’s possible you’ll be questioning – what does this must do together with your private nervousness. What does this must do with you being afraid of talking in public, assembly new folks or struggles with confidence.
It’s fairly easy. It’s all about your ideas. Bear in mind once I stated earlier that the majority nervousness will be traced to what you assume goes to occur sooner or later? Properly, that’s what I’m speaking about.
Should you assume you may be rejected and assume you’ll fail, you might be actually coaching your amygdala to have that combat, flight or freeze response every time that nervousness upsetting 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?”
Properly, 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 house. All it is aware of is the story it has been fed or the film that’s at present enjoying on the reel.
So, what are you able to do about this? How are you going to reprogram your thoughts to dial down that nervousness and create change? Properly, the very first thing you are able to do is to interact in artistic visualization. Now discover I didn’t say meditation.
In reality, artistic visualization is a type of meditation however I’m purposely not suggesting this as a result of some folks wrestle with quieting the thoughts lengthy sufficient to meditate.
So as an alternative, I need you to create an alternate story in your thoughts that enables room for successful final result. Right here’s an instance. As a substitute of coaching your mind for failure about that first date goes to quantity in a giant 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 attention-grabbing – that tells the story of you being magnetic.
By doing this, you might be reprograming your thoughts to step again from the concern. To step again from the nervousness and as an alternative, step into a spot of success. You’re actually retraining your response from one among concern and dread to one among calm confidence.
You recognize, when shoppers 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 a substitute, they’re working with me as a result of they need concrete instruments to create change.
So, right here’s a artistic visualization train I’d such as you to proper now or when you find yourself 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 obtained to provide a presentation to your boss, alongside together with your coworkers. So, what are you afraid of right here? Properly, for our functions let’s say you might be afraid of stumbling over your phrases and coming off as some form of fool.
OK, in order that’s the concern.
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 heart of your chest. Maintain 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 purpose right here is to create a way of peace and permit house to reprogram the amygdala and hippocampus.
Now when you’ve accomplished 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 info with others in a peaceful, 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 folks clap and your boss says one thing like, “Properly accomplished – you probably did an awesome job”.
The film in your thoughts doesn’t must final multiple minute. The purpose right here is to yank out that outdated fear-based stuff, which can or will not be 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. Cling tight.
Alrighty, so let’s get again to sensible was of reprograming your anxious mind. Earlier I talked about partaking in artistic visualization and the way this helps to reprogram the amygdala and hippocampus.
However what about conditions the place the concern response is so sudden and so highly effective that making an attempt to visualise your means by it isn’t a chance.
Right here’s an instance. Let’s say you might be on a airplane 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? Had been you sweating beneath your shirt so dangerous that it turned noticeable? Properly, 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 geared up 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 airplane and expertise the slightest little bit of turbulence, that flight, combat 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? Properly, there are two issues you are able to do.
4 Squared Respiration 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 1st step: Shut your eyes. Breathe in by 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 a minimum of 3 times. Ideally, repeat the three steps for 4 minutes, or till calm returns.
The thought with 4 squared respiration is to reset your nervous system so that you aren’t in a spot of panic. This method is especially useful every time an nervousness upsetting stimulus occurs, such because the turbulence I discussed earlier.
And folk, I can inform you that I personally use this one every time I fly within the right here and now.
Prepare for an additional 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 price, this specific airplane 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 outdated. 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 keep 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 possibly had solely 2000 toes of altitude when the entire sudden our airplane dropped. And once I say dropped, I imply it dropped 50 or so toes. Prefer it dropped so dangerous that among the overhead bins popped open and baggage flew out. Folks had been screaming and freaking out bigtime – and I used to be one among them.
To make a protracted story brief, what occurred was our plane had hit wake turbulence. That’s a flowery means of claiming the engine exhaust from the airplane that took off simply earlier than us – that Continental MD-80 – had disturbed the air in such a means that our airplane 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, every time I fly, the smallest little bit of turbulence causes my amygdala to enter panic mode – and making an attempt to visualise one thing constructive isn’t going reduce it. What’s that outdated saying, when emotion is excessive, logic is low? Properly, it’s like that.
So, to deal with sudden concern 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 absorb a protracted, deep breath. I maintain it for 5 seconds after which I exhale. I then ask myself on a scale of 1-10 my nervousness stage. Normally after some turbulence, it’s round 8 or 9.
As soon as I’ve obtained 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 nervousness is current – and every little thing goes to be simply wonderful. 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 nervousness is current – and every little thing goes to be simply wonderful. 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 nervousness is at. Normally, it has lowered from one thing like an 8 right down to a 5. My purpose is to get that quantity down to 2. And so I begin the method once more, again and again till that quantity decreases.
You could be questioning, “Hey, doesn’t that particular person subsequent to you assume you’re a freak? I imply come on Dr. John, they’re watching you breath like that and faucet. They need to assume you’re a little loopy, proper?”
People, I can truthfully 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 and so they find yourself doing it with me.
My level in sharing this with you is to show you tips on how to mix respiration and tapping collectively throughout moments when the concern response is extreme, and also you want one thing concrete to get by.
Have you ever ever watched a kind 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 following time you begin to really feel nervousness approaching, I need 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 artistic visualization and re-write the story – rewrite the narrative in a means that strikes away from failure or the destructive.
If it’s coming out of your amygdala as a part of a concern response, you’re going to must bypass the pondering half – the artistic visualization half – and leap proper into motion. Right here, I’m speaking about deep respiration and tapping.
Should you do each of these items over time, you’ve the facility to reprogram your anxious mind. If it lets you replay this episode a number of instances to soak up a few of what I’ve shared right this moment, go for it. The thoughts responds to repetition and patterns very properly.
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: Methods to Use the Neuroscience of Concern to Finish Nervousness, Panic and Fear by Dr. Catherine Pittman and Dr. William Youngs. I’ve linked to this e book on Amazon so that you can take a look at.
So, to recap, you’ll use artistic 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 right this moment, don’t you assume? Properly, that’s what I’ve obtained for you right this moment. Should you 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 evaluate wherever it’s possible you’ll be listening, however significantly Apple Podcasts.
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