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If you’ve been suffering from anxiety lately, you’re not alone. The societal changes under the pandemic have left many people disoriented and unsure about what the future holds. These, of course, are strong triggers for anxiety. So what can you do if you find yourself unable to control your own anxious thoughts? It starts with your brain. In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen give you some practical tips you can start today to calm your anxiety to start feeling better.
Daniel Amen, MD:
Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel. Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.
Welcome back, everyone. We are so happy that you are staying with us. We love being with you, especially during this very weird, unusual time, and so you know the drill by now. If there’s one thing you learn, write it down, take a picture, and post it. In this episode, we’re going to talk about pandemic-related anxiety. So who hasn’t been anxious?
I feel like that’s all we’ve been talking about for three months.
And one of the questions we got from [inaudible [00:01:30] is, how do you control inner anxiety?
Yeah. That’s interesting, because we’ve been hearing about it everywhere I go. For the short time salons were open, actually open here yesterday again and I went and got my hair done, the stylists are talking about it. Some think it’s all ridiculous. Others are extremely nervous. When you go to the grocery store, people are anxious. Everywhere you go, people are anxious. So how do you control it? Let’s talk about some tips and strategies.
Well, you do what you can do.
That’s the first thing, is you don’t believe every stupid thing you think. You know this well. Turn off the news.
That was the first thing I did. So I noticed that when the news was on, I was screaming at the TV and just annoyed all day long. And when the TV’s off, I have no flipping idea what’s happening, and I like it that way.
Well, and I’ll look at it for 10 minutes a day, just to have a sense.
I literally ask him, “Is there anything critical I need to know?” Because when I turn the TV on, I just get way too hooked.
And know that COVID-19 is serious. You don’t want it. But even for the people who get it, 90% of the positive tests, those people are actually not infectious to other people, so know that. And wearing a mask, because I say this a lot, it’s actually a sign of love because you’re protecting other people. My book in March coming out, called Your Brain is Always Listening, I talk about the dragons from the past. This is new. You haven’t heard this yet. That people who won’t wear their masks, they have this special, spoiled, or entitled dragon that thinks the world owes them something.
I’m not sure that’s true.
Be careful. It’s just a symbol of love. Now the problem with masks, in large part, in our genes, masks have been programmed-
There’s a lot of reasons people resist wearing a mask.
… for us to be afraid.
Yeah. I’m going to push back on that.
For us to be afraid that, “Oh, he has a mask,” or, “She has a mask. He’s going to rob me. She’s going to hurt me.”
And also there are people who have things like autism. Makes it hard to put masks on people. After a while, I stay home because I feel nauseous.
Right. No, it’s complicated. But at the same time, I never want to do anything that makes other people upset.
And so if, for example, you have asthma and you can’t, or autism, then work with the stores. My family owns a chain of grocery stores, and they’ll actually do the shopping for people.
Yeah, that’s cool.
Or they will let them shop after hours when there’s not a lot of people.
So COVID is only one of the reasons people are feeling anxious. The other, there’s so much societal unrest, and on both sides of the fence, people are angry and upset, and it’s just a mess. And that was the thing that got to me. I mean, I dealt with flesh-eating bacteria in the hospital, crazy stuff, so through COVID, I felt like, “Yeah, this is serious, but I feel like I can deal with it.” Right? I felt like my training gave me the ability to deal with it. But when the societal unrest came, that was different.
One thing that really helped me, and I don’t know that everybody has this opportunity, but I would suggest it as a potential solution for those of you who can. I love this. It was amazing. Our friend, Pastor Miles McPherson, who is a Black minister, has a huge church called The Rock in San Diego. And we were able to sit down and have this incredibly raw, open conversation about some of what’s happening in the world, fears on both sides. Honestly, it’s not that it fixes anything. I feel like until those conversations can happen, there’s just always going to be gaps, right? It was a beautiful thing to be able to just communicate with people. So I would just highly suggest it. It was just very healing.
All right. How to control sad feelings without medication. Write this down. Exercise. So important. Happy Saffron from BrainMD, really great. Whenever you feel sad, write it down. Question the automatic negative thoughts you have. And then bright light in the morning. So, BrainMD actually makes the Bright Minds Therapy Lamp behind me. For half an hour in the morning, really has been shown to boost mood, to boost energy, to boost focus, and to help reset your sleep. And then something Tana teaches, called positivity bias training. When you wake up in the morning, say to yourself, “Today is going to be a great day,” and before you go to bed at night, “What went well?” And really focus on those three things.
My tendency is to notice the negative, and one thing that I did in addition to that was find a partner, a friend, who she and I keep each other accountable by sending each other texts every day about what we’re grateful for. And that was really helpful also.
Good. When we come back, we’re going to talk about “Brain in the News” and also make an announcement.
Some of the winners.
Winners. For books.
So we’re very excited. Stay with us.
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