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How To Reprogram Your Anxious Mind

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Reprogram Your Anxious Mind

What’s up everybody and welcome – or welcome again – to episode 39 of the Males’s Self-Assist Podcast. I’m your host Dr. John Moore and in case you have not already completed so, please hit that subscribe button so that you by no means miss one other episode.

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And fast disclaimer – this podcast isn’t designed to behave as an alternative to psychological well being counseling and I’m not your private therapist.

Alrighty – let’s get into as we speak’s subject – The right way to Reprogram Your Anxious Mind.

  • Do you battle 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 have 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. Actually, it could possibly even trigger some folks to expertise excessive emotions of panic.

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You understand, over time, I’ve labored with hundreds of individuals as a counselor and mindset coach and I’m right here to inform you the subject of tension comes up ceaselessly. Individuals need to know what it’s, the place it comes from and find out how to cope with it.

What Causes Anxiousness?

So, let’s get proper into the solutions. Anxiousness – within the basic sense, comes virtually fully out of your ideas. Discover I didn’t say solely out of your ideas as a result of that’s not precisely correct.

Actually, we all know from a number of analysis that some types of nervousness may be traced to chemical imbalances – and I’ve linked to an article from Well being Line in Present Notes that provides you extra info.

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With that mentioned, for the overwhelming majority of individuals, nervousness is sort of fully pushed by your ideas. And that’s factor for those who replicate on that for a second as a result of it means that you’ve got the ability to alter your ideas – and finally, your nervousness.

And that’s precisely what I’m going to show you to do on this podcast – find out how to shift your mindset from a spot of worry 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 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 personal.

Now I’m telling you this as a result of as human beings, we have now been gifted with the power to think about the longer term. It’s that place the place creativity resides, and new beginnings are attainable. 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 damaging. 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 wonderful occurring.

It’s not such as you say to your self – “Oh, wow, I can’t get this considered me giving this wonderful presentation out of my thoughts” or “Oh man, I’m actually struggling as we speak as a result of I maintain seeing myself making impression with this stranger I’m about to fulfill from this courting app.

Am I proper? After all, it’s not this manner. As a substitute, your thoughts does one thing like this: “I’m nervous that I’m going to screw up this presentation I’ve acquired to provide” 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 mentioned on many previous episodes, notion is projection. Let me restate that once more – notion is projection.

That is why for those who 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 be taught 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 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 discuss concerning the amygdala for a second. The amygdala is an almond formed space of your mind the place info will get processed to maintain you protected. It’s a throwback to our cavemen days guys – consider it as your very personal inner 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 info will get fed into the amygdala? Properly, loads of it’s sensory, like what you see or hear. However ideas – which 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 house this level and it’s one I hinted at in episode 35 after I talked about find out how to get out of a funk.

Are you prepared?

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 an attractive a part of the state, approach up North in Iron County.

Now people take note my tenting buddies have been folks I went to navy faculty with. We have 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 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, in the future all of us have 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 recognize what it’s like. You need to stand up and see issues, proper?

Anyway -there we have been, climbing by means of the woods and taking within the surroundings. Properly, 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 happy we had stumbled into her territory. And accompanying her have 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.

Combat, 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 scientific phrases, that is referred to as combat, flight, or freeze. You understand 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 guess was to tuck tail and run the hell out of there. And that may have been a fantastic plan, besides one of many guys in our group – we’ll name him Joe – thought it could be a wise concept to choose up an enormous ass pinecone and throw it on the momma.

Why he did that I don’t know. Possibly that was the “combat” a part of Joe kicking. Who is aware of? It was nonetheless a silly factor to do and to this present day I nonetheless give him crap over it.

Anyway, let me inform you, after he threw that pinecone at momma bear, she acquired pissed – like actual pissed. Now the remainder of what occurred is a blur to me, however I can inform you that every one of us ran our asses off by means of these woods and some of us have been screaming like little ladies. I’m not naming names right here however I believe you get my drift.

Now clearly nothing occurred as a result of I’m nonetheless right here and sometimes, 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 fallacious. It’s not a phobic response. It’s not like I gained’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 change gears and discuss this different space of the mind referred to as the hippocampus.

rewire anxious brain
Rewire mind for calmness

So, what does the hippocampus do? Properly, to make a protracted story quick, the hippocampus is the a part of the mind that encodes threating occasions into recollections or subconsciously into tales.

Actually, it’s the identical 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, chances are 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. Keep in mind after I mentioned earlier that the majority nervousness may be traced to what you suppose goes to occur sooner or later? Properly, that’s what I’m speaking about.

Should you suppose you may be rejected and suppose you’ll fail, you might be actually coaching your amygdala to have that combat, flight or freeze response each time that nervousness upsetting occasion comes up.

And to make issues worse, you might be programming your hippocampus to include fear-based recollections that get deeply embedded into the unconscious.

Now I guess you might be considering, “Wait a minute Dr. John. How can the hippocampus maintain recollections 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 approach. 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 taking part in on the reel.

Make sense?

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 inventive visualization. Now discover I didn’t say meditation.

In reality, inventive visualization is a type of meditation however I’m purposely not suggesting this as a result of some folks battle with quieting the thoughts lengthy sufficient to meditate.

So as an alternative, I need you to create another story in your thoughts that permits room for a hit end result. Right here’s an instance. As a substitute of coaching your mind for failure about that first date goes to quantity in an enormous fats failure, since you maintain 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 worry. To step again from the nervousness and as an alternative, step into a spot of success. You might be actually retraining your response from certainly one of worry and dread to certainly one of calm confidence.

You understand, 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 a substitute, 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 if 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 acquired 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 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 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 about sixty seconds. The aim right here is to create a way of peace and permit house to reprogram the amygdala and hippocampus.

Now when you’ve completed 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 approach.

Simply think about your self sharing info with others in a relaxed, assured and relaxed approach. 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 completed – you probably did a fantastic job”.

The film in your thoughts doesn’t must final a couple of minute. The aim right here is to yank out that previous fear-based stuff, which can or is probably not primarily based 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. Hold 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 approach 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 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 every 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 aircraft 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 Anxiousness

The primary is to interact in 4 squared respiration. I’m going to hyperlink to an article in Medical Information Each 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. Attempt 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 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 each 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 fee, this specific aircraft was a 727 plane, which I believe some pilots referred to even again then as a tri-saurus as a result of they have been so previous. Anyway, I used to be sitting approach within the again on an aisle seat.

So, to get again to it – at departure time, which I believe was round 1 pm, we pulled again from the gate and taxied over to the holding space the place all the opposite planes have 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 all the way 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 toes of altitude when all the sudden our aircraft dropped. And after 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. Individuals have been screaming and freaking out bigtime – and I used to be certainly one of them.

To make a protracted story quick, what occurred was our plane had hit wake turbulence. That’s a flowery approach 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 approach 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 constructive isn’t going minimize it. What’s that previous saying, when emotion is excessive, logic is low? Properly, it’s like that.

So, to deal with sudden worry and panic, like throughout turbulence, I’ve realized to mix deep respiration with bilateral stimulation.

Tapping For Anxiousness – 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 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 acquired 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 the whole lot 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 nervousness is current – and the whole lot goes to be simply high-quality. I can turn out to be calm.”

Now I do that for about one minute. I then open my eyes and ask myself what quantity my nervousness is at. Normally, it has decreased from one thing like an 8 all the way down to a 5. My aim 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 individual 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?”

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 a couple of 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 find out how to 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 understand, 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 inventive visualization and re-write the story – rewrite the narrative in a approach that strikes away from failure or the damaging.

If it’s coming out of your amygdala as a part of a worry response, you’re going to must bypass the considering half – the inventive visualization half – and soar proper into motion. Right here, I’m speaking about deep respiration and tapping.

Should you do each of this stuff over time, you have got 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 as we speak, 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: The right way to Use the Neuroscience of Concern to Finish Anxiousness, Panic and Fear by Dr. Catherine Pittman and Dr. William Youngs. I’ve linked to this e book on Amazon so that you can try.

So, to recap, you will use inventive visualization for future primarily based fears and also you’re going to make use of respiration and tapping for panic and fear that comes on all of a sudden within the hear and now.

Man oh man did we cowl loads as we speak, don’t you suppose? Properly, that’s what I’ve acquired for you as we speak. 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, depart a overview wherever chances are you’ll be listening, however significantly Apple Podcasts.

I don’t faux to know all the ins and outs however apparently, leaving a overview helps the pod present up organically within the listings when folks similar to you might be searching for most of these packages. The reality is people I would like your help to assist develop this podcast and I’ll be tremendous grateful to your efforts.

If you wish to attain me, yow will discover me on my social media accounts. I’m on Instagram and Twitter and Man Counseling and I’m on Fb on the identical deal with. You can even head on over to my web site, – and there, you possibly can signal as much as get my publication. I promise I don’t ship loads of e-mail out and no matter I do ship will probably be quick and candy.

Properly, there you have got it – one other present. Make it your aim as we speak to place a smile on another person’s face. I recognize you listening and hope you have got an incredible day.

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