Tag Archives: neuroscience

Anxiety makes us bad decision-makers. Here’s how to do better – CNN

>How Does Anxiety Short Circuit the Decision-Making Process? – Psychology Today

“Anxiety is on the rise globally amid the pandemic, and it can interfere with our ability to make decisions. Experts say, however, there’s a lot you can do to manage anxiety — techniques you can use to feel better and make wise choices. Here’s how.

Full story at Source: >Anxiety makes us bad decision-makers. Here’s how to do better – CNN

“Anxiety often goes up in any moment where our bodies perceive a real threat,,, It certainly makes sense in the middle of a pandemic. For many, anxiety is something that you know when you feel it. The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as an “emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” Other physical symptoms can include a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, sweating and trembling.

“While anxiety is distinct from depression, another mood disorder, it’s common to experience symptoms of both at the same time. There are several main types of anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and phobia-related disorders. And while the symptoms of anxiety can be deeply unpleasant…the emotion is actually an essential tool our body uses to get us out of dangerous situations. “Anxiety, as a biological response, is a state of fight or flight…Escaping from a lion? The hypervigilance associated with anxiety can help.

“But while that heightened awareness and vigilance makes biological sense …the emotion also erodes our ability to make well-reasoned choices. When you have a lot of anxiety you actually have trouble making decisions. That’s something I’m seeing in my clinic…Patients are having trouble figuring out: ‘Is this a good decision or not?’ And that’s because their brain is not fully on to be able to make decisions.

“That’s concerning: As the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds, many are facing daily decisions with high stakes for their families’ lives and livelihoods.

Learn more how to deal with anxiety and make good decisions in the full story at source link above

Practice paying attention to your thoughts and the judgments that your mind tends to make. Don’t try to stop or resist them, just curiously notice them. The Mind is like a label maker.>I Am Here Now: A Creative Mindfulness Guide and Journal

>Drumsoul on Mindfulness


How To Manage Coronavirus Anxiety: Life Kit : NPR

(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


How Your Breath Controls Your Mood and Attention – Mindful

“New research explores the relationship between the pace and intentionality of your breathing, and the brain networks involved in mood, attention, and body awareness.

Slow down, and pay attention to your breath. It’s not merely common-sense advice. It also reflects what meditation, yoga, and other stress-reducing therapies teach: that focusing on the timing and pace of our breath can have positive effects on our body and mind.

A new study in the Journal of Neurophysiology may support this, revealing that several brain regions linked to emotion, attention and body awareness are activated when we pay attention to our breath.

Paced breathing involves consciously inhaling and exhaling according to a set rhythm. For example, you might inhale for 4 counts, exhale for 6, and repeat. Prior research shows that paced breathing exercises can both focus attention and regulate the nervous system. To date, however, we have known little about how this affects brain function in humans.

These findings represent a breakthrough because, for years, we’ve considered the brain stem to be responsible for the process of breathing. This study found that paced breathing also uses neural networks beyond the brain stem that are tied to emotion, attention, and body awareness. By tapping into these networks using the breath, we gain access to a powerful tool for regulating our responses to stress.”

More at Source: >How Your Breath Controls Your Mood and Attention – Mindful