(Dr. Brewer’s Coronavirus Anxiety Update Youtube Playlist. Click on “Youtube” in the video to see the whole playlist on the right. See below for more Dr. Brewer’s Youtube site and website)
14 Minute podcast and full transcript at: >How To Manage Coronavirus Anxiety: Life Kit : NPR“
“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
“A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
“Welcome and entertain them all!
(Continue reading poem at >The Guest House by Rumi)
“Toilet paper hoarding. Obsessive cleaning. News bingeing. Sometimes panic can be as contagious as a virus. Dr. Judson Brewer, a neuroscientist and psychiatrist at Brown University, is doing his part to help us manage coronavirus anxiety with practical advice in his daily YouTube updates.
“Life Kit host Shereen Marisol Meraji spoke with Dr. Jud about what’s going on in the brain when we’re anxious, how to get our “thinking brains” back online and how not doing anything can actually be helpful to those around us.
“Dr. Jud, everyone, including me, has been saying, “Take a deep breath” or “I need to take a deep breath” way more lately — to the point where I feel like it’s becoming a little bit cliché. But you say this actually works?Yes, this is how our brain works. Fear is a normal adaptive response, but fear plus uncertainty makes our brains spin out in anxiety.
“And the best way to get our physiology calmed down and our thinking brain back online is literally to take a deep breath. If we can understand why fear is a helpful adaptive response, we can understand how taking a deep breath can help.
“Fear helps us learn. For example, if we step out into the street and we almost get hit by a car, but step back just in time, our fear response here reminds us to look both ways before crossing the street. We get revved up [and anxious] when the newer parts of our brain, the thinking and planning parts of the brain, don’t have accurate information. And [the newer parts of the brain] start spinning out into these “what if” worry loops. You know, “What if this happens? What if that happens?”
If we can notice that we’re starting to spin out and take a step back and see that our brain is just trying to get control where there’s uncertainty, we can try and get our thinking brain back online.
“We can try to literally calm our nervous system down by taking a deep breath or feeling our feet as a way to ground ourselves in our direct experience. You’ve talked about how the prefrontal cortex in our brains needs very clear information. And we’re in a place right now where information is changing rapidly. So what’s going on in the prefrontal cortex while all of this is changing… (continue reading at source above)
“In today’s Coronavirus Anxiety Update video, you’ll learn the following: -Why people have been buying what seems like a decade’s worth of the toilet paper in the grocery store, and why when you see them, you suddenly feel the urge to buy toilet paper yourself.
-The mechanics of reward based learning, which underpins all of our anxious thinking and behavior. -The role of the neocortex in anxiety. The neocortex is the part of the brain involved in thinking and planning. -Why a lack of information leads to anxiety, and how fear + uncertainty = anxiety
-The role of social contagion and why it leads to anxiety and panic spreading more rapidly -The problem with your prefrontal cortex going offline You’ll also learn how to practice good mental hygiene. There are 3 key steps to this: -1) take a deep breath (or 3). This helps you literally calm your nervous system so your brain can have time to stop spinning out and get back online. 2) Ground yourself in the present moment by feeling into your hands or feet.
Your feet aren’t the place in your body where you feel anxiety, so they’re a safe place to help you ground in the here and now 3) Rinse and repeat.
Click here to subscribe to my Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi6b… By subscribing, you’ll be notified of future daily updates and of my free weekly “office hours” anxiety Q&A session on Mondays at noon eastern US (12:00 EST) Build your body awareness using mindfulness practices, like those in the free “Breathe by Dr. Jud” app, available on both Apple and Android devices. Apple: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/breathe… Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/de… For even more resources on anxiety, including free mindfulness exercises, visit my website: https://www.drjud.com Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/judbrewer Follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/dr.jud