Self help for anxiety is very similar to taking care of the pillars of brain fitness, with a couple of other ideas thrown in.
Ever think about scheduling a time to worry? No worrying except for when it is scheduled.
But back to the pillars of brain fitness and why working out your brain is a good self help anxiety model.
Anxiety is a whole body experience that happens when I am struggling to exert some control over something external, that I usually cannot control.
I will do much better emotionally if I am taking care of the inside of me, emotionally, cognitively, and physically, which means I will be able to transform the nervousness of anxiety into a feeling of excitement, or wonder, or gratitude.
The one thing that most every self help for anxiety books or websites do not tell us is that I need to be prepared to manage the inside of me much more frequently than once or twice a day.
For example, if your heart stops, do you need to worry about anxiety?
So if life is a heart beat to heart bear phenomenon, then shouldn't self help for anxiety be done on a heart beat by heart beat schedule?
I am sure you are wondering about how you could take care of the inside of yourself that frequently?
There are tools available now that work on a heart beat by heart beat basis, thanks to research discoveries in the last 10 to 15 years, particularly the new field of neurocardiolgy, which is the study of to heart's own nervous system.
The tool I have used since 2000 is called Heartmath, or heart rate variability biofeedback, which I taught to myself using my computer and the Heartmath program in three (3) hours or actually six 1/2 hour sessions.
Once the process is learned, then I can replicate it on demand on any given heart beat, for heart rate variability coherence, which feels really good, and opens my brain's higher perceptual centers for problem solving, without being hooked up to a computer.
If you are curious about the Heartmath tool, please click below. (Want to sleep better? Check it out)
Not only did we not know about the heart's own nervous system too many years ago, we did not know that the human brain grows new neurons everyday, a process called neurogenesis, nor did we know that the capacity of neurons to form new connections, which is called neuroplasticity, can be enhanced by attending to our brain's fitness.
How do you make your brain fitter? By attending to the pillars of brain fitness, physical exercise, nutrition, including getting a daily dose of omega 3 fatty acid, sleep, stress management, and novel learning experience.
When I build those things into my daily life, I am doing an excellent job of self help for anxiety.
The first and most important brain fitness tool is physical activity, where there is really good news about intensity and length of workouts for folks who are worried that they are going to need to fling around huge barbells for a long time every day to enhance neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.
Not true, according to Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D. who go into great detail about the pillars of brain fitness in their book
Brainfit for Life.
Evans and Burghardt say that the key to brain fitness and self help for anxiety is doing more of the physical activity that we are already doing, at least to begin, and if you want to increase the level of challenge you can.
Again more good news, we can get a very brain healthy self help anxiety workout following a HIIT or high intensity interval training workout at home at our pace and level on intensity in ten minutes of daily exercise.
I guarantee that it will leave you breathless and sweaty and full of good feeling endorphins, and you do not need a sophisticated array of equipment or uniforms.
In fact, you may get by with no tools other than a clock to time your 30 second intervals of exercise.
If you need a model to look at, please consider what Scott and Angie Tousignant have put together for couples.
What sold me on their model was the picture of Bill and Pat who are following the Tousignant model even though Bill is 88 and Pat is 82.
If they can do it, so can I, at 61 years of age.
Evans and Burghardt go on to talk about the next pillar of brain fitness, which is nutrition, including omega 3 fatty acid.
The best source of omega 3, which needs to be ingested on a daily basis for the health of our new and old neurons, is fish, which may conjure up worries about mercury poisoning, so you may want to consider a supplement for your omega 3's. The Heartmath tool and process discussed above have tremendous application to the sleep and stress management aspects of brain fitness, neurogenesis, and neuroplasticity processes.
So that leaves us with the brain fitness pillar of novel learning experience to discuss.
Most of the literature on brain fitness indicates that novel learning experiences need to be of the kind involved in learning a new instrument or learning a new language. (Can't be more crosswords, or in my case, more counseling text books).
If you do not have time to learn a new language, then you may want to take a look at the computerized brain fitness programs available to include in your self help anxiety brain fitness protocol.
There is some really intriguing research being done, like the IMPACT study showing how Senior Brains are enhanced by the use of the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program, and how we can increase our IQ using the Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro for a really time efficient and economical tool for a neuronal workout.
When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
Would you share what you are most grateful for? Your story could be just what another person is searching for to renew themselves? Thanks.