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How your brain can turn anxiety into calmness | Martin Rossman | Summary
Key thoughts -
Self directed neuro-plasticity - using your mind to change your brain
Intention deficit disorder - not focussing your awareness adequately on what you want to accomplish
The fix - Bringing your limbic system into play with guided imagery
Guided Imagery - imagery is the coding language of the intuitive brain
Actual example of guided imagery. Starts ~1:10:00
Notes from listening to the video
Marty speaks at UCSF Osher center for integrative medicine. This 1 hour 28 minute video has 3.3M views on 2021-12-01
Dr. Martin L Rossman MD, looks at Mind body connections, Integrative Medicine and use of guided imagery to teach you to - how to move yourself into Calmness. Check out his Book - Guided Imagery for Self-Healing
his website - thehealingmind.org
Everybody worries some time. Some people worry all the time. You can learn to worry well. To relieve the brain of anxiety and stress
We don’t use worry well. By itself, worry is not bad. Worry allows us go over and over something in our minds, in an attempt to solve it. Worry has helped humans evolve to advantaged position on the planet today.
Imagination is a key faculty that separates humans from other animals. it is needed to - Remember the past; Project into future; Test alternatives in mind.
Worry is a function of imagination. If you did not have imagination, you would not worry.
Rather than taking imagination out, we want to learn how to use it better (and not worry)
Worry anxiety and stress have a lot of overlap. Whether you like it or not, you are the captain of your ship for these three.
Worry is repetitive thinking. Often troubled. It is the opposite of here and now. Though, it is an attempt to resolve or avoid problems - It is easy for it be become a habit - its own thing.
You can begin to treat worrying as magical. Two possibilities here.
One - Since most things you worry about don’t happen, you can infer that if you worry about it, it will not happen!
Two - Worry can also help distract us from things that are actually bothering us. Some of us may find it useful to keep the mind very busy (worrying) so that they have to contend with deeper emotions.
Anxiety is Feelings based. Felt fear or dread in the chest or the gut. Comes with physical symptoms - rapid heart beet, sweating, shortness of breath. Panic attacks. You could say, Worry is from the Head, Anxiety is from the Heart - and as we shall see - Stress is from the Hands!
Stress is a physical response to a threat - real or imagined. Prepares us to fight or flee. In today’s world - imagination is driving stress non-stop.
Stress from a saber-tooth tiger is over in 15 minutes either-ways (in the jungle) but in the stock market - it continues 24X7.
Stress creates Heightened senses. Hormones, released rapidly, put you on high alert. Supposed to be over in short duration. But imagined stresses never go away.
The triune brain model assigns
Stress - to Reptilian brain (reflexive - eat | mate, developed 1st). The inner-most, primitive layer,
Anxiety - limbic part of brain (developed first in mammals | to cope with social organization),
Worry - to neo-cortex (smart, intellectual - us).
Each layer adds complexity and new abilities. Limbic over Reptilian. Neo-cortex over both.
Neo-Cortex tends to be a know-it-all and does not share well. It is the dominant hemisphere in our society.
In the other intelligence - limbic -- we need more development, to improve our Emotional | intuitive sides. This can bring calmness.
Anxiety, stress and worry affect each other and are chemically related to each other. They are thought sensitive (thoughts become chemicals) and bi-directional (mind affect emotions affects body, and vice-versa)
#doableAction Breathing deeply (body) induces a relaxation response (thoughts).
Neuroplasticity - Brain can rewire itself. The brain changes throughout life. The anxious can learn to relax.
Self directed neuro-plasticity - is using your own mind to change your brain.
Back to topic - There is good worry and there is bad worry.
Good worry - anticipates and solves problems, has #doableActions | Bad worry - circular, habitual, magical
Do you recall the serenity prayer - “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can change and the wisdom to know the difference.” This is the skeleton of proposed rewiring!
The key is to have that Wisdom!
How do you get more Wisdom?- #doableActions
You talk to the wise,
You ask - WW/J/B/DL/Y Do (what would Jesus Buddha Dalai-lama Yoda do?),
You do Guided Imagery - move from fear and anxiety to wisdom, using the limbic system
Guided imagery helps us take the place of a trusted friend ourselves. Easier to give good advise to friends but not to yourself! Key difference - we are not worried about the friend. Worry makes us regress (we become child like, weak, don’t know what to do)
#doableAction Take your worry and separate into 2 columns by writing it down. ‘What you can change’ and ‘What you can not change’. The first one - just do it!
For what you can not change - Give acceptance to what you can not change.
Then look past it and turn it into where you want to go. It is like moving back one step to look further down.
Focus on where you want to go not where you might get caught! In other words, go past what you can not change. (Analogy 1 - skiing between the trees | Analogy 2 - looking at empty spaces between the cricket fielders).
Intention deficit disorder - when we can not put our attention on where we want to go then we will not get it.
People don’t act on their intentions because they think they do not have it. Imagery helps with that.
The important of imagery - It is the coding language of imagination
Runaway imagination is source of stress. Skillful imagination is source of outcomes. Brings emotional and intuitive intelligence, to bear on the problem.
Skilful imagery is potent stress reliever
Few people have ever been taught to use their imaginations for this purpose
This is the summary of the talk upto 1:10:00.
@1:10:00 - 1:20:00 - guided imagery exercise : #doableAction check it out to experience it, when you can sit quietly by yourself and experience it.
You can recall this quality at anytime you like and bring back your awareness to the room. #doableAction Then write or draw anything you want, based on this experience.
Before he concludes he shares another #doableAction to address anxiety - A double shot of Jack Daniels! 🙂
For further reading Dr. Marty also recommends these books -
The brain that changes itself, Doidge,
Brain and Mind, Schwarz,
The female brain, Brizendine (insightful for gender differences too!).
Related Posts here -
[Vipassana Meditation - An introduction | S N Goenka]
[Enemy to Restless Minds | An invitation to explore together]