Change your Brain! 10 Alternatives to Medication to Improve Depression and Anxiety-Neuroplasticity | Emma McAdam | Skillshare

Change your Brain! 10 Alternatives to Medication to Improve Depression and Anxiety-Neuroplasticity

Emma McAdam, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

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27 Lessons (3h 23m)
    • 1. Course Introduction

    • 2. 1. Change How You Think

    • 3. Black and White Thinking

    • 4. Catastrophizing-How to Change Cognitive Distortion

    • 5. 2. Nutrition-Feeding your Brain

    • 6. 3. Light Therapy

    • 7. 4. Exercise is Awesome for your Brain

    • 8. 5. The Abundant Brain

    • 9. 6. Managing Stress 1/3

    • 10. Managing Stress 2/3

    • 11. Managing Stress 3/3

    • 12. Self- Regulation-Understanding the Nervous System

    • 13. Perceived Danger vs Actual Safety

    • 14. Self-Regulation: Diaphragmatic Breathing

    • 15. Stress Release in 2 Minutes

    • 16. Self- Regulation "The Yawn"

    • 17. 7. Mindfulness: Learning how to be where you're at

    • 18. 8. Sleep

    • 19. 9. Journaling

    • 20. 10: Connection

    • 21. Bonus Video- Skills for Social Anxiety-Guided imagery

    • 22. Course summary

    • 23. Bonus Section: Turning off the Fight/Flight/Freeze Response

    • 24. Grounding Activity: Breath Counting

    • 25. Grounding Activity: Safe Place

    • 26. Grounding Activity: Square Breathing

    • 27. Grounding Activity: Straighten the Back

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About This Class

Emma McAdam, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist walks you through the basics of how you can change your brain, improve your mental health, and become healthier and happier without medication. This course will help anyone with depression, anxiety, other mental illness to know what they can do to get healthier. 

At least 35% of people experience a mental illness like depression or anxiety throughout their lifetime. That means that you or someone you love needs resources to know how to feel better.  Many people have heard that “chemical imbalance” or genes can affect mental health, but most people don’t know that you can actually change your brain chemistry without medication. Your brain's ability to change is called Neuroplasticity. 

People want to improve their lives, they just often don’t know where to start. I’m making this course  because this is fundamental information that I want all my clients to know. I teach simple daily habits that research has shown to work better than Prozac at treating depression or anxiety. Many of these changes take only minutes a day.

By the end of this course you’ll know 10 ways that you can change your brain’s chemistry, structure and function. You’ll learn how to prime your brain to be healthier and happier.  

You’ll learn what modern imaging technology has taught us about neuroplasticity-your brain’s ability to rewire itself-about using your body to regulate your brain, what nutrient deficiencies to look out for, how to resolve the “scarcity brain”, techniques for resolving stress, and more  

And in my work as a therapist I’ve seen this information change lives, resolve depression and anxiety and help people be happier and healthier.  

 So if you or someone you loves experiences mental illness, or if you just want to know how to be happier, come join me!


1. Course Introduction: there's lots of things you can do to change your brain, and this course is gonna teach you how to do it. This course is for anyone who wants to improve their mental health or functioning without medication. Techniques taught here can help people with anxiety, depression and other forms of mental illness. But it's also helpful for people who just want to live a happier or healthier life. What I'm gonna teaching this course are simple changes, but many of them can have a big impact on your health and happiness, and they've been shown to change your brain structure, chemistry and function. What I'm teaching in this course is research based. It's backed up by multiple peer reviewed scientific studies. The information I'm teaching is not like vou medicine or all natural homeopathic healing. This is information that the mainstream scientific community has found to improve mental health. But most people just don't know about it when it comes to the mental health diagnosis. We need to talk a little bit about what that means when you go to the doctor and you have symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea or body aches and chills, and the doctor sees you and runs the test and diagnosis you as having the flu. What they're saying is that the insulin's of virus is what's causing your symptoms. And so when you get a diagnosis and they say you have the flu, they're telling you this is what's causing your problem when you have a mental health diagnosis. On the other hand, you'll have symptoms like sadness, low energy, frequent crying spells or feeling hopeless or suicidal. And if you went to your doctor, he would give you a diagnosis like depression. But what's different about mental health diagnoses is that when they say you have depression, they're not telling you anything about the cause of your symptoms. They're telling you this cluster of symptoms. We in the scientific community call it depression, but we don't know what causes it, and in this course you're going to see that some people, their depression is caused by a nutrient deficiency or by a lack of sleep. Unfortunately, when many people here diagnosis like depression, they assume that what the doctor is saying is you are defective or you are broken or what they've learned from the kind of medication commercials that they've seen on TV is that you have a chemical imbalance in. The only way to treat it is through a chemical like a medication, and research really doesn't back that up. We don't know what causes depression. We know a lot of things that contribute to depression, and we don't know what causes your depression or your anxiety. So it might be genetic. It might be biological. It might be chemical. It might be an experience you've had or behavior that you're are acting on. So please don't automatically assume that you're stuck feeling this way forever. That is just not the case. And that's not what a mental health diagnosis really means. And what I'd like for people to know is that a mental health diagnosis does not mean you have this or you are this. It means that you were experiencing this. That doesn't mean it's not riel it Israel and most of the people I work with are doing everything they can to try and make things better. But nothing's working, so it's not laziness. It's not a moral failure, but it doesn't mean that it's who you are, So if you have a mental health diagnosis, please don't give up to just coping with it or feeling miserable for the rest of your life . There's so much that can be done to resolve the symptoms and sometimes the cause of mental illness. So stick with me to learn some of the ways to do this. It's certainly not helpful to blame yourself or beat yourself up for feeling the way that you're feeling. So I'm certainly not suggesting that you're bad or you're doing it wrong. If if you're feeling depressed or anxious or having other problems in your life, what I am saying is that let's take a step back and just say, Is there something you can dio that's going to improve your life? Some predispositions, like temperament, are natural and innate part of us, and we just don't know how to manage them in the right way. But the disorder, the impact that your feelings are having on your life, much of those symptoms can be resolved or greatly reduced. So let's talk about what causes mental illness. There's two extremes. One side says it's all biological, a completely medical view, and the other side says that this is all about choice. This is a weakness or a moral failing or even a sin. Now the truth is a lot more complicated than either of those options. Ever since scientists discovered that brain chemistry impacts depression, people have been assuming that brand chemistry is causing depression, those emotions and thoughts. But now new research and new imaging technology is showing us that how we think and how we feel also impacts our brain chemistry, mental illness, Israel but is not necessarily permanent. Moods, behaviors and thoughts do show up in our biology, and people who are experiencing mental illness can't just think their way out of it or get over it. I mean, that's just not helpful, and it doesn't work. But for many people, mental illness can be completely resolved, and for others, the symptoms can be greatly reduced. So please don't resign yourself to just giving up to feeling miserable for the rest of your life. In this course, I'm presenting 10 alternatives to medication for improving your mental health. But I'm not against medication. I've actually recommended to many of my clients that they consult with the doctor to find out what are the medication options for them, and medication can be a helpful stepping stone to improving your mental health to the point where perhaps you don't need them again in the future. However, many people are uncomfortable with the idea of taking medication. And here's some reasons why people are concerned about side effects, including weight gain, sexual problems and increased suicide ality. They worry about becoming dependent or not knowing what is them and what's the medication. Taking medication comes with uncertainty of not knowing how it's going to affect you, and the expense and time that it takes to find the right medication can be a roller coaster that lasts for months or years. Everything in this course is compatible with taking medications, so there's no reason why you can't do both. Take medication and learn new skills or technique that improve your mental health. So this course is gonna walk you through 10 things you can do to build a solid foundation of mental health to improve your mood, be happier and healthier and have better relationships. So I'm excited to walk with you on this journey. Let's jump in 2. 1. Change How You Think: with first segment of this course, we're gonna talk about how changing how you think actually changes the chemistry, structure and function of your brain. Hi, I'm ever macadam and I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I get really stoked about helping people improve their lives. I've been working in this field since 2004 and I've worked in a lot of different settings like juvenile corrections, wilderness therapy, residential treatment, outpatient treatment and I love the change process and walking with people as they're making these great changes to their life. I just love it when people start to feel that excitement about how good their life can be. So let's jump into this course and see what small changes you can make in your life that are gonna make a big difference. This course has nine simple, not easy, but at least straightforward ways to change your brain and one complicated one. This first segment is the most complicated one, and changing how we think is really difficult now of necessity. We have to start with this one because it lays the foundation for all the changes that we're gonna make. So understanding how we can change our biology by changing how we think is really essential groundwork for understanding how the other nine principles can work. So if this topic seems a little overwhelming, just stick with the course because it gets easier as we go on. So let's jump in. There are two. It isn't psychology that have been proven wrong. The 1st 1 is that once we hit adulthood, our brains really don't change much. And the 2nd 1 was that weaken. Separate the psychological disorders. These problems in living from the biological disorders, this chemical imbalance. And so someone might have depression. And it's caused by a chemical imbalance. And the only way to treat that is medication. And someone else might have depression, which is caused by choices they've made. And the only way to change that is by making them change their behaviors. So new research is showing us that our brain chemistry does impact how we think and how we feel. But how we think and how we feel changes are brain chemistry. This gives us more power and more influence over our lives to make him happier and healthier. So new imaging technology has changed our understanding of how our brain works and new research in the field of neuro plasticity has shown us that our brains, they don't even stop laying down the hardware until we're 25. But they can continue to change and grow and develop our entire lives. And this is called neuro plasticity, meaning that our brain is Moldable and shape herbal and changeable throughout our entire life. One of my favorite examples of neuro plasticity is the stories of people who are blind who have learned to navigate using echo location. So they developed the ability to locate objects in their environment using sound waves in the same way that bats dio. This is a nobility that their brains didn't have but developed after they went blind. If you haven't seen the videos of these people, you should check it out. It's really inspiring to see how much our brains can change, and this applies as well to people with anxiety or depression or other difficulties that, thanks to our brain's ability to grow, change and adapt throughout our life, we can improve our brain functioning and abilities in really dramatic ways. This again, I love this principle because it gives US room to influence our life. We are the agents of our own lives, and you can create the changes that you want to make in your life. It's become increasingly evident that biology impacts thinking. So this idea that you know you have a chemical imbalance that's causing depression. That's true. That does happen. But it's also become more and more evident that the way we think impacts our biology. So if we consistently think hopeless thoughts, then we're going to be more likely tohave biology of depression. So we might have what's considered a chemical imbalance. Or we might have lower levels of serotonin or dopamine when we have these depressing or hopeless thoughts. So to understand what we're gonna talk about in this segment, we need to do a little bit of brains. 101 So there's four aspects of brain performance that we're gonna talk about brain structure, chemistry, function and genetics. The 1st 1 is brain structure. There are physical structures in our brain, and each performs a specific function, and we're not gonna learn about all the parts of the brain for this course. But we're going to talk about a couple of them are. Brands are made up of distinct structures that change and adapt based on how we use them. For example, there's two structures in our brain that are impacted by depression. The amygdala is the part of the brain that processes fear and the fight flight freeze response. And in people with depression, the amygdala has been shown to be larger and more active. Another part of our brain that's impacted by depression is the hippocampus. Hippocampus processes emotions, and it's been shown that in people with depression, the hippocampus is actually smaller. Is shrinks when people are experiencing depression. The really cool thing is that some recent research and multiple studies have shown that the hippocampus has the ability to regain its size after a bout of depression. So in patients who were experiencing depression, they attend eight weeks of therapy, and they're hippocampus was measured before, and it was shown to be smaller and then, after therapy was measured and shown to be larger so the hippocampus can can change its size just based on something like talking with another person who's helping you change how you think when it comes to brain chemistry, our brain uses chemicals to communicate. And they're called neurotransmitters. The main ones we're gonna be talking about in this course, our serotonin, which has to do with confidence and happiness. Dopamine, which is kind of the reward. Chemical and pleasing chemical norepinephrine, which has to do with decreased pain, sensitivity and feelings of isolation. Oxytocin, which has to do with bonding and love, and g A B A, which is associated with anxiety and stress. Medication is not the only way to treat a chemical imbalance. So while depression or anxiety can be seen on a chemical level inside the brain, that doesn't mean that your only option is to change those chemicals by adding chemicals to your body like, uh, medication. Now again, I'm not against medication. I often recommended that my clients go to see a doctor to get some some medication options . However, it's not the on leeway to impact our brain chemistry. So cognitive behavioral therapy changing how we think and act has been shown to be as effective as medication as a treatment for mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. How we think affects our brain chemistry. So here's an example. If we interpret a situation like a work assignment as being threatening or impossible or overwhelming. Then our brain releases chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol. Now people with depression and anxiety have higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol in their brains, and this this creates a heightened stress response. So a cycle of being stressed out about being stressed out and they tend to get more stressed out than the average brain than a person who doesn't have depression. It has been proven that with many people, if they are taught how to think differently about a situation how to interpret that work assignment as not being stressful or overwhelming, then the brain releases less cortisol and is less flooded with adrenaline and therefore creates a more healthy balance of chemicals inside of it. So we can actually change those stress chemicals. We can decrease the level of the stress chemicals in our brain by changing how we think The third aspect of our brain that we're gonna talk about very briefly in this course is brain function. How we think changes our neural pathways. So we think along these little neural channels, and they're like roads and the ones we use the most become broad like highways. The ones that we rarely use are narrow and thin, and when we don't use them at all, they get trimmed off because the brain likes efficiency. So when we start thinking negative thoughts like this is hopeless or I'm no good or nobody's gonna like me, then those pathways become thicker and broader and easier for the brain to send signals on . We become habitual in thinking that way, and that shows up in our in our biology. But when we change how we think we start thinking hopeful thoughts like, I can do hard things or I can reach out in love other people and they're gonna respond with love to me. Then those neural pathways become broader and wider, and those physical structures in our brain actually change. The last aspect that we're just going to talk about briefly is our genes. Now we know there's a genetic aspect to mental health and mental illness, so depression tends to run in families, and anxiety tends to run in families. For many people, this feels like were predestined to feel the way we feel now. There's some recent research that's coming out that's really exciting that has shown that we have the ability to influence which of our genes get turned on and which our genes get passed on to our descendants based on the experiences that we have. So how we respond to our experiences and how we think can impact which genes get turned off . And this emerging field is called epi genetics. It gives us some degree of influence over a very impactful part of our mental health, our genes. So therapy isn't the only way to change our thinking. It's just the one that has the most research behind it. So cognitive behavioral therapy has lots of research showing that it's effective for 65 or 70% of people when it comes to improving their symptoms of depression and anxiety. And we know that it works because it not only changes how we think, but it changes the biology that's going on in our brains. There are other ways to change how we think things like self help and courses and seminars , books and and new experiences can all change how we think cognitive behavioral therapy is just one way that's been refined down to a skill that is a very efficient way to help people change their brain chemistry. Now I realize that this segment has kind of been more of an overview. And if you'd like to learn one specific way to change how you think, check out this video I made on black and white thinking when we resolved black and white thinking, we increase our brain's ability to be healthy and happy. So if you want to change a brain chemistry, start changing how you think. 3. Black and White Thinking: I went to sleep with gum in my mouth, and now there's gum in my hair. And when I got out of bed this morning, I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake, I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Have you ever seen this book, Alexander and the terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad day. Well, it's a perfect example of black and white thinking. So what is black and white? Thinking black and white thinking is a pattern of thought characterized by thinking in the extremes. Everything is always the worst day ever for the very best day ever. You know, we think of things in there. Absolutes. It's a polarized way of thinking, and it messes us up because it makes our emotions more extreme than they need to be. Black and white thinking is also known as all or nothing thinking. It interferes with our ability to have healthy emotions and relationships. Signs that you might be using black and white thinking is if you use words like always, never terrible, ruined, furious or you try to make things out to be worse than they were like I mean, you might have actually had a bad day, but it was the worst day ever, or some things might have gone wrong. And you might say nothing went right, right, So we're taking something, and we're making it out to be more exaggerated than it already. Waas. Now, why does black and white thinking mess us up? Well, the way we think affects our emotions. And if we're thinking in an exaggerated manner than our emotions are going to swing rapidly from one extreme to the other, people with anxiety or depression tend to think in extremes, and we can combat anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses by having more realistic, honest or moderate thinking patterns. Black and white thinking makes the problem worse than it already. Waas, black and white thinking creates helplessness. If my husband is a complete jerk, the biggest jerk in the whole world then makes no sense for me to try and change myself or improve myself because nothing is ever gonna work. See that black and white thinking in there and how that's gonna contribute to problems in my relationships. Another reason black and white thinking messes us up is it invites defensiveness and others . So if you say to someone you never do the dishes, they're gonna feel attacked because that's not quite true. You're exaggerating how bad they are. Sure, they might miss doing the dishes, and they might have forgotten to do this years. And they might have intentionally not done the dishes that day or multiple days, but to say never exaggerates. How bad they are, puts people on the defensive, and it just invites arguing and debating and fighting. The more extreme the statement, the more likely the other person is to feel attacked. If black and white thinking is so awful, then why do we do it now? I work under the assumption that everything we do serve some kind of function, right, even if it's dysfunctional in the long run, we do it for some sort of reason, and black and white thinking does serve a function. It just doesn't work very well. So black and white thinking helps us feel like we're the victim of our circumstances, which is kind of comforting right? Isn't it nice to think? Well, poor me you know everything's out to get me. And black and white thinking excuses us from having to do the difficult work of taking action and changing ourselves. So if my job is the worst job ever, or my boss is the meanest guy ever, it excuses us in our mind from having to take responsibility for our part of the problem and working hard to fix it. Black and white thinking helps protect us from feeling guilty or accountable for our own actions. And this might feel more comfortable but in the long run creates more problems. Black and white thinking also protects us from feeling vulnerable. So if we're thinking in extremes like everything is awful, then we have more excuse to just kind of hide in bed, you know, pull the covers over our head and and, you know, wallow instead of actually experiencing those tender feelings that we might be having, like hurt or sadness, perhaps, were feeling guilty or, you know, uncertain about the future. Black and white thinking is also very simple. It gets rid of the complex, nuanced reality that we have to face every day, and it gets it gets rid of that complexity that we experience when we're interacting with another person because every human being is a combination of good and bad. But if we just, you know, label them as being completely bad, then we don't have to manage. Ah, lot of that complexity that's involved in relationships now, while these air some of the functions of black and white thinking and it does, you know, work in the short term to relieve us of a little bit of that discomfort in the long run, it's gonna make us pretty unhappy if we consistently use this pattern of thinking in our lives. The more extreme are thinking, the more likely we are to be depressed. So saying things like, I'm a terrible person or wow, she has it all together. She is such a saint, or no one's gonna ever like me. No one wants to be my friend. These air simplistic statements that feed those negative emotions and create that feeling of helplessness that is associated with depression. The reality of life is there is no perfect job, no perfect marriage, no perfect person. And by telling ourselves that someone is either perfect or awful, we're creating more problems for ourselves than there need to be. If we want to improve our emotional control, we need to challenge our black and white thinking. So how do we fix it? If we catch ourself engaging in some of these thinking patterns, what do we do about it? Well, number one start to notice the signs of all or nothing thinking. So look out for words like we talked about always, never any type of exaggeration. What I like to call horrible is ations or trying to make someone else out to be perfect number to challenge your thoughts. Just because you're thinking it doesn't mean it's really true. So look for a more truthful and more moderate way of thinking about each situation or person, so that takes us right to number three, which is we need to replace those thoughts with a more moderate view of the situation. So back to the dishes situation instead of saying you never do the dishes, you big jerk say something like Okay, it bothers me when you don't do the dishes, and I know that I also miss my chores sometimes how can we work together to solve this? Number four an essential part of resolving black and white thinking means we have to increase our capacity to experience ambiguity. We need to increase our tolerance of, of complex situations, our ability to hold on to a little bit of discomfort while we will. We wrestle with a situation or a problem. Remember, life is beautiful, difficult, complicated, joyful, painful. In order for us to be able to fully live and appreciate, enjoy life, we need to embrace all the complexity that is involved with it. If we want to get healthier, it's not about just feeling better. It's about getting better at feeling. So consider a couple of these questions. Can someone love you and still be insensitive? Sometimes Can you be basically intelligent and still do something? Dump? Can an experience be really hard but still be beautiful in some way? Remember, one of the main reasons people get depressed is because of how they perceive reality. When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change when we're able to be more flexible and intentional in how we think that depression is gonna be more likely toe lift and we'll start to get feeling better depression often centres on one incessant thought like No one likes me when we replace those negative thoughts with healthy thinking than the Depression has nothing to feed on. Changing the way we think is really quite difficult. We might not even notice that we're doing it. So try to reach out for some help. Ask others for their perspective on how you talk about yourself or how you talk about situations. Watch yourself for signs of this negative and black and white thinking or work with someone like a mental health professional to change the way you think. By reducing or eliminating black and white thinking we could live much healthier lives. So I hope this was helpful. Thanks for watching and take care. 4. Catastrophizing-How to Change Cognitive Distortion: in this video, we're gonna talk about catastrophe izing expecting the worst catastrophe izing is an excellent way to make yourself anxious and depressed and completely ruin your life. Oh, yeah, and I'm gonna teach you three approaches to replace it with something healthier. So let's talk about that. This video is part of my intensive course on rewiring the anxious brain. It's on. You know me dot com. So if you'd like more information about that, check that out. A man was driving along a dark country road very late one night. There was a loud bang, followed by the thump thump thump of a flat tire. He gets out of the car, gets into the trunk, pulls out the spare tire and the lug wrench, but with a sinking feeling, realized that his Jack is missing, he checks his phone and he doesn't have reception. Now he's stuck as he's wondering what to do. He looks down the road and sees a porchlight a long ways away, and he decides to walk over and ask the farmer if he could borrow a jack. The walk was long and dark, and he starts to imagine what will happen when he reaches the farmhouse, the farmer will probably already be in bed. He probably will be cranky about being woken up. But because the man has no other options, he keeps walking. And as he walks through the dark, other thoughts come to him. What if the farmer doesn't have a jack Permits have guns? What if he pulls that out? The farmers probably gonna sick a dog on him. What if the farmer realizes that demands alone and robs him? At this point? The man is scared, but he's also getting angry. He knows that farmer is gonna jerk, but he still needs his Jack. So he walks up to the front door and knocks. And upstairs light comes on. And while waiting for the door to open, this stranded man imagines a red faced, bug eyed farmer wrenching Open that door. The door swings open and a man says, Can I help you? And the stranded man shouts, I don't want your Dane Jack anyway. And it grabs the door, slams it shut and storms away. So what is catastrophe izing? Catastrophe izing is a common cognitive distortion or thinking error. It's when we think of a current or future situation as a catastrophe. So, for example, you worried that you're gonna fail a test. But then you imagine what would happen when you do fail, you're gonna fail out of school, end up working at McDonald, never have success in life and die homeless on the street. Catastrophe izing is imagining the worst. It's taking a difficult situation and interpreting it as being horrible, terrible and un recoverable. We all know that person who, if they got a b on a test, they wailed, I'm failing math class. And many of us have had that parent who, when we didn't want to do our chores, they said something extreme like, If you don't do your chores, your college roommates will hate you and no one will want to marry you. Okay, that's not the voice my mom used, but you get the idea. So, like in the story about the jack catastrophe, izing often starts with genuine setbacks, like getting a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. But then the thinking error turns that reality into the belief that something horrible is bound to happen. So this man started thinking I'm gonna get shot, attacked and robbed at its root catastrophe. Izing is about our habitual response to challenges or shortcomings. So take a second, pause this video and ask yourself, How do you think about failure? When these habits become part of a repeated pattern, they lead to depression or anxiety, and people tend to imagine never being able to recover. So here's some common examples. Someone with anxiety imagines losing control of himself. For example, a man with panic disorder predicts that if he goes to the mall on a weekend afternoon, he'll have a panic attack. And he then predicts that having a panic attack would be a catastrophe rather than it just being really uncomfortable. Or a woman with depression envisions herself being depressed forever and never feeling happy again. Or a teen equates some type of mild to moderate social rejection with being totally shunned by all desirable people. So how does catastrophe izing mess us up? We have all experienced some tragedies in our life, including painful rejection or failure, and I think that we trick ourselves into believing that if we expect the worst, we can prevent it. But in reality, usually the exact opposite happens. So think about the man from the Jack story because he feared getting rejected. He slammed the door shut on himself. He cut himself off from the opportunity to get the solution he needed because he was thinking about everything that could go wrong. Seeing the worst often invites the worst. Not only do we cut ourselves off from opportunities, but we invite the exact problems. Were hoping tow Avoid. If we go into a conversation expecting the other to get defensive, we often lead off by being harsher or more rigid, inviting the other to get defensive. If you expect that your crush will reject you, if you ask him out and then you don't ask him out, you end up alone on the weekend catastrophe. Izing invites depression when we imagine a future that is bleak, threatening or hopeless, that our brain responds by putting out less serotonin and dopamine. The happiness, pleasure and motivation chemicals. Why be happier hopeful when the future is impossibly dreary, This leads to a cycle of withdrawal from life, a lack of motivation and a pattern of depression. Catastrophe izing also invites anxiety. It forces our brain to see threats and failure everywhere and our brain response to perceived threats with a very riel fear response the fight flight freeze response. This contributes to social anxiety, general anxiety, panic attacks and more expecting the worst makes us hopeless and depressed about the future , and it makes us unmotivated. Why try? If I'm just gonna fail and it enables us to wallow in self pity, Catastrophe izing closes us off to opportunities and options that might work, and it leads to a sense of paralysis. So if catastrophe izing is so harmful, why do we keep doing it? At this point, I've got a pause because some of you out there have started this super unhelpful thought process of Yeah, why am I such an idiot? I am so broken. See, I am defective because I do this stuff, Okay, you need to stop that. Take a deep breath. You are not defective. You might be doing something that's not working for you, But that doesn't mean your bad or broken. It means you can change and get feeling better. If you need to pause this video and take a second to be kind to yourself and practice and courage changing how we think takes work but you can do hard things. So let's go back to the question. Why do we catastrophe eyes? Well, it serves to dysfunctional functions. Number one Preparing for the worst is a coping strategy, preventing us from feeling risk or uncertainty. If I expect myself to fail, I won't be disappointed if I dio. If I reject myself first, then I don't have to worry that my crush will do it to me. Catastrophe izing is an attempt to avoid feeling, to protect ourselves from feeling, sadness or worry. But the crazy thing is that when we try not to feel, we often end up depressed and anxious. Expecting the worst also justifies us for not even trying and attempts to excuse our failure before we put in an effort. No wonder it feels more comfortable than putting your heart out there. It's comfortable in the short term, but it crushes the joy out of life in the long run. You're not risking failure, but you can't have success. You're not getting rejected, but you're still alone on the weekend dysfunctional function number two. Sometimes we think that or we've been trained to believe that the best motivation is fear that in order to motivate ourselves to study or to go to work, we have to predict doom and gloom. Fear as motivation works briefly, but in the long run, it makes us anxious, depressed, overwhelmed and less functional. So let me use a school anxiety example. So a kid's not going to school because of anxiety, and the parents also fallacious. So they go into a room and they say You have to get up or else you're gonna ruin your life . You have to go to school or you end up working a McDonald's, etcetera, etcetera, and in the short term, this gets the kid out of bed and into school. But then she spends the rest of the day worrying about being a failure, and the next day it's even harder to get motivated to go to school. Do you do this yourself like try to give yourself a pep talk, but it's really more of a fear talk. We or our parents may have used fear in the past as a strong motivator, but it's just not a sustainable source of motivation. So let's find something that's more functional than our self justifying, self defeating catastrophe izing. So first off, start with a good night's rest when were sleep deprived, were hypersensitive to threats and less resilient in the face of challenges. When you're rested, you'll have a greater ability to face these challenges. Bravely step to accept uncertainty as a natural, an acceptable part of living a wholehearted life. This is a fundamental life skills that could be developed and practiced. It involves changing how you think about anxiety. So instead of labelling, anxiety is bad or harmful or I can't handle it. You say this is uncomfortable, but it won't injure me. I can do hard things. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgment that something else is more important. Embrace acceptable risk and the anxiety that comes with it as normal, natural and helpful. And build up your emotional muscles to experience uncomfortable emotions by practicing mindfulness meditation or doing something that scares you every day. And number three. Motivate yourself by what you want in life by what you value and hope for instead of trying to use fear. So these are called positive goals. So instead of saying I have to go to school so I don't die homeless on the street. You say I choose to go to school because I want to be a therapist when I grow up. Okay? I never said that as a kid, but you get the idea. Choose what you do want in life, break it down into small goals and bravely work toward those little by little. Now here is the classic CBT approach to ending catastrophe izing. So number one start by noticing when you are catastrophe izing. What are the words you use when catastrophe izing commonly leader things like never terrible, fail, rejected, awkward or using exaggerations, making things out to be worse than they are? Notice. What are the situations you tend to catastrophe eyes about? Write down what it looks like when you do it. Ask a friend or family member to point it out to you. Number to challenge those thoughts. Just because you think it doesn't mean it's true. Learn to notice and gently question your thoughts. You don't have to believe everything you think, but also don't beat yourself up for thoughts, saying things like, What's the matter with me? Why do I always think this way? It's just not very helpful Instead, notice your thoughts and let them pass. This is another skill from acceptance and commitment therapy, and it could be practiced with activities like leaves on a stream, which are linked to below number three. Replace those thoughts with something more honest and helpful. So once you start to notice this type of thinking, you can bravely pick up your emotional sword and begin to combat it with more honest, more rational thoughts. So consider other possible outcomes. Even if something bad did happen, you could learn from it. It wouldn't be the end of the world. So here's a couple of examples. Here's the catastrophe izing Oh, no, I am such an idiot. I already made a mistake on this report. I'm never gonna finish it. Or if I do, it'll be so flawed that it won't matter. I'm gonna get fired no matter what. And here's an example of what you could replace that with. Okay, wait, that's not true. Everybody makes mistakes. I'm only human. I'll fix this mistake, and if I need to ask for help, I can. But I'm just going to keep working hard and try to be more careful in the future. nobody is gonna fire me for a mistake or two in a report or another example, I can't believe I said that to my boyfriend. He's gonna leave me for sure this time. I shouldn't have said that to my boyfriend. I really need to learn how to talk kindly. Even when I'm upset, I'm gonna go apologize and try to make it right. Hopefully he'll understand. Accept my apology and who both learn something from this. This approach requires us to stay engaged even when there's a risk of things not going perfectly. This is called vulnerability, the potential for success and also for getting hurt. But the only alternative is to guarantee failure by cutting yourself off before you even try. I'm a big fan of acceptance and commitment therapy. Ah, process, which basically trains you to get better at feeling to open yourself up to the emotions that come with living the life you value love, joy, sadness, worry, hope, excitement and anxiety, etcetera, etcetera. As you come to wholeheartedly embrace life, your goals and your values. You'll get better and better at living with some risk, and you'll be rewarded with good things happening to you. all the time Make good things come to you as you courageously face life and the risks and joys and loves that. Come with it. Please share this video cause you never know who could benefit from it. Thank you for watching and take care. 5. 2. Nutrition-Feeding your Brain: thin this segment. We're gonna talk about how to use nutrition to feed your brain, and we're gonna talk about a few nutritional deficits that can mimic mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. So our brain isn't just a mind. It's a £5 chunk of fats and proteins and chemicals and water and all sorts of other physical building blocks in order for it to run well, it needs really specific nutrients, And many people just aren't getting the right nutrients that it needs to be healthy and running. Well, For this segment, we're gonna talk about some of the most common nutrient deficiencies that have been scientifically shown to affect mental health. So the 1st 1 is vitamin D, and a vitamin D deficiency is actually really common. About 50 to 70% of people are low on their vitamin D levels, and this is something you can get tested at your doctor's office. You get checked to see what your vitamin D levels are, and then you can begin to supplement them, And vitamin D is an important part of our brain. Functioning vitamin D receptors appear in a wide variety of brain tissue, and when activated the increased nerve growth in your brain. Sunlight helps activate the vitamin D in the skin, so do what you can to get sunlight and healthy doses. Vitamin D deficiency has long been associated with depression, so there are some people out there who think they're depressed because of their thoughts are whatever else is going on in their life? And really, what's happening is it's just a vitamin D deficiency. And when you supplement that vitamin D or you get those levels back up, the depression goes away. So it's something to rule out as you look to improve your mental health. Vitamin D is naturally occurring in foods like fatty fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon. And then there's some foods that are fortified with vitamin D, like dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, etcetera. You can also find in beef, liver, cheese and egg yolks, so magnesium is another important nutrient. It helps to transport nutrients to the various parts of the body. I want her this story about this woman who started taking calcium supplements and the calcium without her knowing. It depleted the magnesium in her body, and for the first time in her life. She developed OH CD symptoms like she was extremely obsessive and compulsive in her behaviors because of this magnesium deficiency, and when she decreased the amount of calcium supplements, increased the amount of magnesium supplements. By working with her doctor, she was able to find this out. Um, the O. C. D symptoms. They went away. So again, it's a story of someone who thought that there was something wrong with them or that they were going crazy. And in reality, it was just a nutrient deficiency. So you can look at getting your magnesium levels back in balance. And again, with all these things you want to be working with the doctor. Foods with high levels of magnesium include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit and dark chocolate. Omega three fatty acids are essential for proper brain functioning. Deficiencies in omega three have been associated with depression and other mental health disorders. There's a lot of studies about Omega three, and one interesting study showed that people with low levels of Omega three had a much more negative outlook about life in general. So again, it's a simple thing. You can supplement with, and it helps your brain function it at much more optimal levels. Most people don't get enough omega three in their diet. Omega three can be found in fish, flax seed, chia walnuts, soybeans, spinach and you can consider taking fish oil or other omega three supplements. So B vitamins are really important for your brain to function and for, you know, your physical health to be optimal and in a lot of different types of them. And the very best way to get them is by having a healthy diet. And that goes for all the vitamins. So just supplementing with vitamins is not going to replace the need for a healthy diet. Eating lots of plants, vegetables and fruits is gonna help. You have better access to this, a multitude of of nutrients that you need. B Vitamins are necessary for the basic upkeep of healthy nerve and blood cells and their essential ingredients for the production and proper functioning of several neurotransmitters, including dopamine, which is crucial to the experience of pleasure deficiencies and vitamin B 12 and B six, and perhaps other B vitamins have been associated with depression, anxiety, other mental health disorders. Vitamin B 12 deficiency is associated with depression, and one in four people have it. So again, here's another deficiency that people might think I'm depressed and what's really happening is not that they're crazy or that they're having bad thoughts, but that they just have a nutrient deficiency. I had a neighbor who had kind of chronic low energy. He was pretty depressed and he was having some suicidal, suicidal thoughts. And this guy was a really hardworking and a kind guy like a really good person. And, you know, this guy was trying really hard. Teoh make his life good, and so he did some genomic testing. He got his gene sequence and send it out to some third parties and found out that he did not metabolize vitamin B six. So when he started supplementing with vitamin B six, he noticed that his energy levels and increased and he had less symptoms of depression. He still experiences it to a degree, but not as much as before. And he also found out that by supplementing with that vitamin B six that he needed one less hour of sleep per night to an extra hour of life every day. Now, obviously, everyone's different, So most people are able to metabolize vitamin B six, so this might not apply to you. That's why it's again important to work with the doctors. You try and figure out what's going on with your physiology when you're working to improve your mental health. Caffeine is the world's most used psychoactive substance. About 90% of Americans consume caffeine daily, and the problem with caffeine is it crosses the blood brain barrier very quickly, and it shuts down the production of a dentist scene, which is the natural calming chemical in your brains. So if you're having a problem with anxiety or sleep, then you should consider cutting caffeine out of your diet for a week just to test it out and see if your anxiety or your sleep issues resolved themselves. One thing most people don't know is that caffeine can affect your anxiety levels and your sleep levels for up to two days, 48 hours we've all experienced. How are stomach? Gets upset when we have an emotional experience, right, like having that butterfly feeling in the stomach or feeling like you took a hit to the gut when something emotional happens. A lot of people don't know how important your gut bacteria is for your mental help. Your gut is literally your second brain. 95% of the serotonin that's produced in your body occurs in your gut, so it's really important to have good gut health. And one of the ways we do this is by eating a lot of probiotics and fermented foods like kimchi. Also, taking antibiotics can sometimes affect that gut bacterial balance and can impact mental health. I'm not saying don't take antibiotics something. Just be aware that sometimes that could be a factor. Another thing to consider is looking into food allergies. I have known a few people who really believed that when they eat gluten, they felt more anxious, and they're not exactly sure why that is, but one of them later was diagnosed as having a gluten allergy. So look into food allergies and and see if that's impacting your mental health. So there are many medical conditions that can affect mental health, and some of them even mimic mental health disorders like depression. So it's important to work with the doctor to rule out any physical causes of mental health issue again. Like I said when were diagnosed with depression, it's not telling you your depression is causing you to feel this way. They're saying you're having this cluster of symptoms that we don't exactly know what's causing it. So look into things like vitamin D deficiencies or anemia or other physical conditions that are impacting your ability to feel happy and healthy. One of the ways you can check for this is to get a physical run some blood tests. You can even consider doing some genomic testing. But work with your doctor to rule out these medical conditions. So a word on supplements and natural supplements in general. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's safe. Lead. Arsenic, snake venom. These air all 100% natural, and they could kill you. Okay, so just dozing upon vitamins are going with this or that natural supplement fad is not a good choice, and it can be quite dangerous. Talk with your doctor about any supplements you're using because they're all some type of chemical. There are two supplements that I know that have been tested, and they have been research backs shown to have a mild effect on depression and anxiety of mild positive effect on depression and anxiety, and that ST John's wort and valerian root everything else has no researcher testing behind it that is validated by the FDA. So that means you're taking a risk with your life or your health by experimenting with these supplements. If that's something you want to do, you know that's your choice. But don't go thinking that just because something is natural means it's safe or healthy. So in summary, just take good care of your body to have a healthy mind. Small changes can make a big difference. Work with your doctor to consider supplementing with things like vitamin D, vitamin B's and potentially magnesium or zinc or or other supplements. Also, consider supplementing with fish oil and consider cutting out caffeine, alcohol or other psychoactive substances from your diet. By creating a healthy body, you're setting the stage for your brain to heal and function at its very best, and this is gonna lay the foundation for you to be healthier and happier in the next segment. We're gonna talk about how to use light to boost our mood 6. 3. Light Therapy: for 1/3 segment. We're gonna talk about photo therapy, which is using light to regulate your break. So the light that enters our eyes gives information to our brain as to what our energy levels should be. Light sets our bodies clock, which is called the circadian rhythm, and changes in light levels affect hormones like melatonin and serotonin, and melatonin is associated with falling asleep, and serotonin is associated with happiness. A lot of people feel depressed or low energy or low mood on cloudy or dark days, and around 20% of Americans experience a seasonal effective disorder or winter blues. Seasonal effective disorder is basically when your mood changes. Based on the season, it's often similar to depression, but it might include agitation, irritability or restlessness. So some of the signs or symptoms are feeling depressed. Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed. Feeling sluggish, tired or low energy about having problems with sleep, feeling hopeless or appetite changes and specifically, cravings for more food in the winter land, less food in the summer and feelings of agitation or anxiety. Now it's more common in the summer or spring to feel agitation or anxiety or having a hard time sleeping and more common in the winter to feel low energy and high appetite and want to sleep all the time. One aspect of this is the shorter days and decreased levels of light. During these times, the sun's UV rays have been linked to vitamin D production and lower blood pressure. When I worked in wilderness therapy with troubled teenagers and I was living outside, I noticed that my body started to naturally sink to the patterns of light outside. So in the summer, during the long, bright days, I didn't need as much sleep. I only slept about six or seven hours, and I'd wake up in the morning just full of energy and couldn't stay in my sleeping bag any longer than that. I also noticed that I didn't need as much food because I just simply didn't need the calories. In the warm weather in the winter, I was able to sleep a lot longer. The nights were long and I was able to spend, you know, 13 hours in my sleeping bag, which during the summer would have I would have gone crazy spending that much time just laying around. But in the winter naturally had less energy, and I was able to stay warm and wrapped up in my sleeping bag during those long nights, and I was probably sleeping 11 or 12 hours at night. And, uh, I also was hungrier and I ate more calories, which helped me stay warm during those cold winter days, and our brain has evolved to adapt to our natural environment, and it's not adapted very well to all the artificial lighting in our current environment. Historically, our ancestors almost all worked outdoors. It was very efficient for them on the cold, wet or dark days to stay indoors and stay warm and conserve energy and the bright, hot, sunny days to get outside and be actively hunting or or farming or whatever it was that they needed to do. Our modern society expects us to work a 9 to 5 schedule regardless of the season. The temperature of the weather and our brain just hasn't evolved very well to this, so this sets us up to be more irritable, depressed or feel low energy because our body is out of sync with our work environment. So in this segment we explored how light affects the brain. In the next segment, we're gonna talk about how we can use light to positively impact our brain. So light therapy is the intentional use of light to improve our mood. It's often done with artificial lights that mimic natural light. Light therapy has been shown to be effective with seasonal effective disorder, low energy sleep disturbances and changes in sleep schedules and depressive disorders. Light there be can replace or supplement medication, and it has few risks or side effects. A recent study compared four randomly assigned groups of people with depression, and at the end of the study, a minimum of 50% improvement in symptoms was achieved by just over 33% in the placebo group , 29% in the Prozac only group, 50% in the light therapy only group and nearly 76% in the active combination group. So those who are doing light therapy plus Prozac showed the greatest signs of improvement. We talked about light or how the lack of natural light can affect our mood. So now we're gonna talk about what we can do about it. The best way to get light exposures to have access to natural sunlight throughout the day, and even diffuse light coming in through windows could be beneficial. A recent study has shown that spending a weekend camping in the winter can even reset that natural body clock and results of those issues like like low energy and seasonal effective disorder. When natural light isn't an option or it isn't enough, we can use artificial lights to supplement so you can do light therapy at home and feel free to talk with your doctor about this before starting it. He might have some specific recommendations for you and by a light box. They have them at Amazon, Costco and many other companies. One very reputable company is Northern Lights, but when you do buy a light look for these things at least 10,000 lux and a light box that has no UV rays is the best type. When you do light therapy, you sit or work near a light box, so the light from the light box needs to enter your eyes indirectly. You can set it on your table or desk at home. That way you can read or do some other activity while having light therapy. The light needs to go into your eyes. You can't get the same effect by just exposing your skin to the light. And make sure to not look directly at the light box because the bright light could hurt your eyes. Light therapy requires time and consistency. I use it every day. Now the timing is important. So for most people, light therapy is most effective when it's done early in the morning. Right after you wake up and you want to have the box 16 to 24 inches from your face and with a 10,000 lux lightbox, light therapy usually involves daily sessions of about 20 to 30 minutes. You can use natural daylight or artificial light boxes to increase the amount of this blue toned life that triggers higher energy levels. The other thing you can do is use red or yellow tone lights to trigger the production of melatonin in your brain, which will help you sleep better at night. Most people don't know that if they're using a screen like a TV phone or tablet in the hour before bedtime, that screen, which is emitting a blue hued light, is going to interfere with the melatonin production in the brain. So if you want to mimic the natural lighting that triggers healthy sleep cycles, you need to avoid bright lights and screens during the hour before sleep. Instead, dim the lights, read on paper instead of screens and try to be around things that emit a yellow or red hue . So in nature, this was things like sunsets and campfires. There's a feature on many smartphones called night Shift that changes the screen Hugh on your phone to a more amber tone. This is better than nothing. But if you're having a hard time sleeping or you're feeling overly tired, you may want to try cutting out screens altogether before bedtime. It's not just the hue of light, but the brightness and the proximity to your eyes that can interfere with proper sleep cycles. And in a later segment, we're gonna talk about how important sleep is for mental health. So light therapy is something you can consider incorporating into your life to help you feel happier or to increase your energy levels. Light therapy has very few risks. Using artificial light boxes can trigger mania, however, so if you have bipolar disorder, a manic disorder or you've experienced manic episodes in the past. You'll want to be very cautious using light therapy, and you'll want to work with your doctor to figure out if that's even a good option for you . Also, if you have really sensitive skin or really sensitive eyes, you should talk with your doctor first. Now tanning beds are not an alternative. They release a different wavelength of light, and they could increase skin cancer risk, just like exposure to sunlight does. So just to sum things up, we can use lights to affect our mood, and we can incorporate natural and artificial lights as interventions to improve seasonal effective disorder and its symptoms of depression. 7. 4. Exercise is Awesome for your Brain: So in this segment, we're gonna talk about exercise and how. It's one of the very best treatments for depression and anxiety. It's just really good for your brain. I once had this roommate who was really struggling with depression. She had a hard time leaving the house. She didn't really interact with her friends. She wasn't going to school and she was working in a job that she hated. You know, she just watch TV all day, but she was really depressed, and she tried a few things, and nothing really seemed to be working to help. And she and my other roommate started a couch to five K program, which is where you build up the ability to run a five K by just starting by, walking a few blocks and then walking a block and running a block and walking a block. So just a very gradual system to build up physical strength to run a five K. And as she started to do the workouts, I saw this change in her where she I started to be happier, shed a little more energy to do things, and she was more motivated to get back into school. she became a little bit more social and as she worked out and I got healthier and gradually a little bit more motivated, she started to date a little bit. And now I think her life has completely turned around. She has started designing swimsuits, and they've been shown in some semi prominent fashion shows. She's married, so she'd met someone and got married. They have a dog, and I think her life has changed in just a really drastic way. And I know that there's a lot of different moving parts that helped her life improved. But the exercise was one of them that helped trigger that initial catalyst. That initial shift from being depressed, unmotivated Teoh feeling good enough to be able to try some new things. And she's not the only one. So research shows that exercise is one of the best treatments for anxiety out there, so exercise is awesome for mental health. It's been shown to be helpful with anxiety. Depression, PTSD 80 HD found a bunch of other mental health diagnoses. It's been shown to outperform Prozac or other antidepressants in a lot of medication trials , and I'm not trying to bash on medications because often the combination of exercise and an antidepressant had the best result. But if you were only gonna do one of those, exercise for some people is more effective. Exercise improves brain chemistry without some of the negative side effects that people worry about with medications and has a lot of really positive side effects, like improving self esteem and improving physical health. Exercise changes your brain chemistry So have you ever heard of a runner's high? Well, there's a whole lot of stuff going on chemically that makes you feel great after working out. Now we're beginning to understand what's going on chemically in the brain when you're exercising. So exercise releases endorphins, which are powerful chemicals that feel good and lift your energy. It stimulates euro trough, in which improves learning and memory. And a recent research is even shown that exercise releases endo cannabinoids, which are chemicals similar to cannabis, like marijuana in small doses in your brain, thes feel good and help decrease pain. Sensitivity. Exercise helps your brain create new neural pathways. It reduces inflammation. It often helps people feel calm and relaxed, and it also helps with many of the physiological effects of emotion like muscle tension and insomnia. Exercise also helps the nervous system go through these natural cycles of being alert and elevated and relaxed and calm. So that helps foster that that healthy, nervous system that we're gonna talk about in Section six. Exercise also improves creativity, and it can boost your self esteem. It helps to normalize your insulin levels, and it helps to remove a harmful protein associated with depression. Exercise increases energy levels and improves resiliency. So what I'm talking about exercise. I don't think that I'm meaning You have to become the CrossFit champion of the world. Even moderate exercise can create improvement. So if you're not exercising at all, think about walking five or 10 minutes a day. Just that small change could start to make a difference. Now a lot of people have a hard time getting themselves and motivated to exercise, especially people with depression. It's just hard to get yourself up and moving. So here's a few tips on how to incorporate exercise into your life. If it's hard for you to exercise or if you don't like it, the 1st 1 is just find something you enjoy. Many people think of exercise as suffering and sweating at the gym for hours is more important to find a way to enjoy any type of movement by doing it with something you like, like music or whatever works for you. So try going for walks with friends or taking the stairs up to your office. Try cleaning the house vigorously or dancing in your kitchen, digging in the garden. It doesn't matter what you dio just get some movement in. The next tip is to just start small. Don't make some massive Jim resolution or by some huge purchase. It's better toe walk five or 10 minutes a day for a year, then have some ramped up resolution that only last a couple weeks into January before it's so overwhelming and exhausting that you can't maintain it. So choose something sustainable that you can incorporate into your routine that is gonna work for you. Start small, even small amounts of exercise or beneficial and listen to your body. It's asking for movement, so try to find an activity that lines up with that intrinsic motivation, and that's more likely to be a sustainable change. Also, pay attention to that rewarding feeling in your body after you exercise your body, likes it and wants more of it. And it's intrinsically motivated to get that movement in a few other things that help people who don't like exercise is getting social. So find a workout buddy that will help you stay committed and make the activity more fun. And pick a time of day when your most motivated. For some people, that's first thing in the morning. And for others, it's right after work. You know, we often like these resolutions that are big and dramatic, like getting up at 5 a.m. and going to some gym that you hate and pushing yourself so hard . But if that resolution only lasts a week or two, it's much better to pick something that is gonna last like just walking 10 minutes a day. Anything that gets you moving is gonna be helpful. If you want to get more mental health benefits out of your exercise, here's a few things you can try. One thing you can try is exercising mindfully instead of zoning out. So try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing or the feeling of the wind on your skin by adding this mindfulness element, really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise. You'll not only improve your physical condition faster, but you may be able to interrupt that flow of constant worries running through your head. So clear your mind. Turn off the external distractions like headphones and music, and just focus on what it feels like to exercise. This could help prevent injury and increase that mind body connection. Another thing that's been shown to increase the benefits of exercise is getting outside. So there's some interesting research showing that people who run outside are healthier physically and emotionally than people who run the same distance on a treadmill. If I had the time, I'd make an entire segment on how getting outside is amazing for mental health. So nature is really good for your brain, but in this course we don't have time to go into that. So if you'd like to get more benefits out of your exercise, try exercising outdoors so exercise is really good for your brain. It helps strengthen those neural pathways. It removes, uh, toxins and negative chemicals and helps restore that chemical balance. It helps the nervous system be more regulated. It's been shown to be better than antidepressants for treating depression, and it's helpful with other mental health diagnoses like 80 HD and anxiety. Find some kind of exercise that you enjoy, even if it's just simple movement. A few minutes every day, even small amounts of exercise could make a big difference to help you be healthier and happier. 8. 5. The Abundant Brain: Let's talk about the abundant brain channel and gratitude to create health. The number one default function of our brain is to keep us alive. So it's gonna focus its attention on avoiding things that are dangerous or avoiding things that are bad. That's why we see a lot of news articles about things that are awful. Because people are more likely to click on those. Our brain is inclined to avoid something that's dangerous instead of to notice what's good or what's happy or what's going well. Unfortunately, when our brain does perceived threats, it shuts down that higher functioning and reverts to a more animalistic approaches to solving problems. We don't want to run around with a brain that's focused on scarcity in danger all the time because it's not gonna be able to focus on what we want our life to be about our love and our relationships, the good things that are happening, and it makes it really hard to be healthy and happy. When are our mind is constantly focused on the negative. When our brain does perceive danger, it shuts down our higher functioning like improving relationships or planning for the future. It focuses on what's going wrong, and it makes it really difficult for us to, you know, intentionally live our values because we're constantly trying to avoid dying. I mean, that's how our brain sees it. We might not notice that. That's how our brain is working. But if we have a brain focused on scarcity, we're not gonna be able to live the life that we dream of. Ah, happy life and a healthy and positive productive life. This survival instinct gets triggered just by thinking about scarcity. So the way we counter act, that is by actively thinking about gratitude. We create a scarcity mindset by thinking thoughts like All be happy when dot, dot, dot or I'm never good enough or this generation's worse than the last or this was the worst day ever. This this creates a perception of a survival threat and are deep brain responds by shutting down our ability to make the life that we want to make. The scarcity reaction totally messes things up. What example of this is dieting? If we immediately start to drastically reduce our calories, our brain perceives this as a famine, and it starts storing fat, dropping our metabolism and we actually tended to gain more weight. So one of the best indicators of future weight gain is starting a diet. A scarcity mindset does not help us make good choices. Abundance does not come from things. Abundance comes from a mindset. I recently heard an interesting study that examined the lives of two groups of people. Those who had won the lottery and those who had become paraplegic one year after the events that many people would assume would bring them either happiness or misery. Both groups expressed the same level of happiness that they had had before their good luck or bad luck. In many ways, they had returned to the same amount of fulfillment in life that they had before, So abundance does not come from things. It comes from our mind set. Happiness doesn't depend on our circumstances. It depends on how we think about our circumstances. We can counter act the scarcity mindset with a simple practice of gratitude. Your brain has a limited amount of attention, so it can Onley focus on what you choose to focus on. The default setting is to focus on the negative, but we can train our brain to intentionally focus on what's going well in our lives, and the best way to do this is to gratitude practice. Now I find that gratitude is better than just positive thinking, because positive thinking is all about saying, Oh, everything's gonna be fine Don't worry, it's all OK. And for someone who is really depressed, that all sounds fake or falls. But instead, if you focus on what is actually going well and it's just about shifting your attention from yeah, things do genuinely suck in this area, you shift your attention to okay, and what do I have that's going good? So it could be things like, I'm grateful that I have hot running water, or I'm grateful that I have central air conditioning like thes air, really simple things to be grateful for and by shifting our attention, weaken, turn on that abundant brain and create this perception of abundance, which is also truthful, and that lays the foundation for happiness. Gratitude actually changes how our brain is working. National Institute of Health researchers examined blood flow in various brain regions while subjects summoned up feelings of gratitude. They found that subjects who showed more gratitude overall had higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus. This is important because the hypothalamus controls a huge rate of essential bodily functions, including eating, drinking and sleeping. It also has a huge influence on your metabolism and stress levels. From this evidence on brain activity, it starts to become clear how improvements in gratitude could have such wide ranging effects from increased exercise and improved sleep to decreased depression and fewer aches and pains. People with depression often have a hard time getting motivated, and gratitude helps your brain pump out dopamine, which is a motivation. Chemical gratitude directly activates brain regions associated with the neurotransmitter dopamine and dopamine. It feels good to get, which is why it's often called the reward neurotransmitter. But dopamine is also important in initiating action. That means increases in dopamine make you more likely to do the thing you just did. It's the brain saying, Oh, do that again. So dopamine and gratitude help us be more motivated to do the good things in our life that we value and create a life that's more fulfilling and in line with the kind of person that we want to be. There is so much good research on the benefits of gratitude that I could go on and on. Studies have linked gratitude to all sorts of of wonderful things. Here's a few of them. Better relationships, improved mental health, improved physical health, decreased physical pain, more hope, decreased stress, increased energy, better empathy, decreased aggression, better self esteem, better sleep and improved resilience. Gratitude practices. One of my most prescribed interventions and the one that comes back with some of the best results one of my favorite authors bring a, Brown said. Without exception. Every person I interviewed who described living a joyful life or who described themselves as joyful, actively practiced gratitude and attributed their joyfulness to their gratitude, practice and both joy and gratitude were described as spiritual practices that were bound to a belief in human interconnectedness and a power greater than us. Fortunately, we can counter act the scarcity mindset by developing an abundance mindset through simple practice from the basic idea of gratitude. Practice is to write down something every day that you're grateful for. That's it, so you can use a gratitude journal or you can get more creative and make a Gratitude bulletin board or a Facebook challenge it doesn't matter how you do it. The basic idea of gratitude practice is to acknowledge something every day that you're grateful for and to make a habit out of that and get creative. It doesn't have to be some huge thing that you're grateful for. We could be grateful for our homes and our families. But we can also be grateful for the miracle of zippers. The way that soap bubbles look so beautiful in a certain light, whatever your practice is, find a way to make it a daily ritual. And I promise you you're going to start to feel happier and you're gonna better mental health. We can continue to develop an abundance mindset by living an abundant life. Here's a few ways you can do that. Show your appreciation toe. Others write thank you cards or call someone up to tell them what you appreciate about them . Give back, find a way to serve someone give of your time skills or resource is when we give we trigger the brain to believe that we're doing okay when we hoard our time and resource is, we create a greater perception of scarcity. The same thing goes with service. When we're focused on ourselves, we tend to be miserable. When we serve others, we tend to feel joy. Generosity is linked to decreased stress, improved health, longer life and improved relationships. In high school, my cross country team theme was What you give you have what you save, you lose, and I believe that's true. Reduce your media consumption. Facebook is full of people showing the best things that happen to them. Commercials are intended to trigger feelings of want and need, and celebrities lead unrealistic lives. Instead, choose to consume uplifting stories in addition to headlines and appreciate a power higher than yourself. Get out in nature and connected the higher power. Feel a sense of wonder and beauty. So make a commitment today. How are you going to practice living an abundant life? Write it down. Put this somewhere that you're going to see it every day. There's this amazing story of a woman, Corrie 10 Boom, who was in a concentration camp and her experience with gratitude, and I really recommend that you go ahead and read it. It's from the book The Hiding Place. Check out the link here 9. 6. Managing Stress 1/3: I think this segment we're gonna talk about self regulation, which is training yourself to regulate your nervous system. Now, the topic of stress and relax ation is something you could study pretty much your entire life. I could easily make a 10 hour course on this topic and not even scratch the surface. So in this really brief introduction to the topic, we're gonna cover what's essential to know, which is that our stress levels really dramatically impact our mental health. And there are some simple things we can do throughout the day to decrease our overall stress levels and help foster a state of calm. That's gonna make it easier for us to be more intentional in our decisions and have more integrity towards our values. So first we need to define terms. Stress is the physiological response we have to perceived danger. It's that release of adrenaline or the feeling of butterflies in your stomach or the sweaty hands, and worry is the thoughts we have about that danger. Anxiety is the combination of worries and thoughts and that physiological stress response. So most of us have had an experience where a strong emotional reaction has created a physical response and just to give an example of share one from my life. The night of the 2016 election, I got so worried about the future and what was gonna happen with our country that I, you know, I had a physical reaction to it. My stomach got upset, my tear ducts open, so I cried a little bit. You know, I felt shaky and tense inside, and I think a lot of people can relate to this experience. So when we're worried about something or we perceive danger, our body's gonna have this reaction. And it's called the fight flight Freeze response. And in the moment, it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense because it's tied to these ancient evolved reaction in our body, this physiological response in our body that was meant to protect us from physical threats . So let's take a look for a second at this fight flight freeze response. Your body has this natural reaction to perceived threats or perceived danger, and it's the fight, flight or freeze response. So this triggers a fast and powerful physiological reaction that sets off a chemical change in our body. This reaction is automatic, and unless we train ourselves to turn it off, it's gonna run rampant over our nervous system. I made a quick video to explain more about this fight flight freeze response, and you're welcome to check that out. If you'd like to know more, here's the link. Chronic stress has been shown in a ton of studies to be very harmful, both physically and emotionally. It's been linked to all sorts of problems, including anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches and I could go on and on. Now, in this segment, we're not gonna focus on all the bad things about stress. But we are going to talk about a few simple changes we can make to decrease our stress levels throughout the day. Let's do a real quick overview of our nervous system. Our brain has this natural alerting response and a natural calming response. Many people's alerting response has been strengthened while they're calming. Response hasn't been exercised Now. Our nervous system is meant to respond to physical threats like a tiger or a cliff that are actually gonna harm our body. But our brain has developed a way to think through threats that might happen in the future . So this is where worry comes in. This fight flight freeze response served an important function in our past. So our ancestors had to survive attacks from tigers, and they had to be afraid of heights so that they wouldn't get close to cliff edges and fall off of them and die in our modern world. We don't have as many physical threats like that, but we have a lot more mental and emotional threats, and our brains just aren't developed as well to manage. Those are core brain could become chronically stressed out by modern threats that, unlike a tiger, don't just go away. Many of us are running around with brains that have been trained to be freaked out and in order breast, who have a healthier nervous system. We have to actively turn off that stress response. Our brain has a natural alerting response and a balancing out calming response, and that's called the parasympathetic nervous system. Most people don't know how to turn that on, and I'm gonna teach you a few ways that we can actively trigger that parasympathetic calming response. There are so many approaches to managing stress and anxiety, and in this course, I'm just gonna talk about one, and it's called self regulation. I used to work in this treatment center with teenage girls who genuinely had a lot of difficulties, and it was a pretty stressful job from day to day. But every other month we had what was called a parent weekend and all the parents of all the girls would come out and visit and they'd spend three days, and this was really intense time. We'd work 12 or 14 hours each day, and we do back to back individual and family sessions, making sure to get a family session with each of our clients before their parents had to fly back to wherever they lived. You know, you could imagine that when teenagers and their parents who haven't seen each other for a while come together, that some really good things would happen and that there would also be some problems and challenges that would come up. Sometimes there was some really bad behavior or some sneaking around, or sometimes they were just fights and arguments and disagreements. And for sure there was a lot of emotions going on. So as the weekend would go on before I learned to turn on my parasympathetic nervous system . I used to get really stressed out and I would kind of go through the weekend in this state of just being tight and nervous and worried and and worked up. And I go to work and I just kind of go, go, go, go, go! And I'd be busy and I'd be tight, intense and by the end of each day, I would be completely exhausted. By the end of the weekend, I was all the way worn out and stressed out that it wasn't uncommon for me to get sick. Now I didn't know there was another way to do it. I didn't know that there was a way to be in a in a high pressure environment without taking that stress inside of me. When I grew up, the way to be busy was to be stressed out, and those two things you know, being busy and being stressed out were linked together. Now I went to a training with this guy, Eric Gentry, and he caught me how he trains E R. Doctors and military operatives and other people with high stress jobs to be busy while being calm and he calls this relaxed vigilance. And as long as we're perceiving the cause of our stress as our situation, we get stuck. So we we create a sense of helplessness as long as we believe that the reason I am stressed out is because of my situation. There's nothing I could do about it. But when we learn that I can turn on and turn off my stress response, I can I can interact with a stressful situation in a calm manner. We create power and we create a room for growth and change. So he trained me in some of these self regulation techniques and I started going to these parent weekends and I was still busy and there were still problems that came up. There were still fights and they're still rule breaking, and I had to manage those. And as I managed those situations and as I worked and I was very busy, I kept myself in a state of ah, call nervous system and I realized that by the end of the day I was no longer exhausted. I mean, of course I was a little bit, you know, a little bit tired ready for a change. But I wasn't running a stress marathon inside of my body in addition to doing the work that I needed to do, because when we're engaged in a fight, flight freeze, reaction, then our body, our heart is pumping harder, Our lungs are moving faster, our muscles are tense, the adrenaline is flowing and it's physically exhausting. So I trained myself to have a more calm approach to this busy and stressful situations, and they no longer wore me out. And because I was able to stay calm, my immune system was still turned on, which meant I wouldn't get sick or right after these parent weekends like like I used to. So in the next segment, we're gonna teach you a couple of ways to turn on that calming response while in a stressful situation. This ability to regulate our nervous system can be helpful with PTSD, other anxiety disorders and with depression. It's also a helpful way to manage relational difficulties because we all have those from time to time. So this is the skill that I'm gonna teach you in this segment. It's called relaxed vigilance or self regulation. We can create this state by pairing the perception of safety with mindful awareness and physical self regulation. We perform the same tasks that were previously found to be exhaustingly stressful with calm and self renewal. So we need to talk about accessing our nervous system from the bottom up instead of top down. Now, when I talk about top down, I'm saying our thoughts. So have you ever tried to think yourself into stopping worrying? It doesn't work. We can't make ourselves stop worrying by thinking about not worrying. It's just not how our brain works. The best way to access our nervous system is through our body and a great story that illustrates this is a story about a dog. So I recently heard a story about a woman who adopted a stray dog that she found wandering the highway. He was a great dog, a sweet little mud. He was good with kids and well behaved, and he didn't make messes in the house. The only downside was that every time they got into the car, he would get worked up into a tizzy. He would run back and forth on the back seat, frantically panting and whining with anxiety and If that wasn't enough, he would then throw up all over the backseat, and this happened every time they got into the car. You can imagine the dog owner was about at her wits end. In desperation, she decided to take the dog to a trainer and ask for help. The trainer taught the woman to teach her dog to be calm by having the dog laid down in the car. She explained that when the dog's body is in a calmer position, it sends messages to the brain that he is safe, and it triggers him to relax. The woman started working with the dog every day, putting him in the car, gently making him lay down, and before long he stopped throwing up in the car. Problem solved. So if we want to train our minds to calm down and to decrease this stress reaction, we need to have a calm body many people are familiar with relax ation skills. With relax ation, we stop doing a task step away and engage in an activity that takes a much of our attention . Relax, ation skills really are important. Um, but again, they're hard to practice daily, and they can be a form of avoidance that lead to problems in the future. Self regulation skills are things that we do. Wow. Performing a task to keep our nervous system balanced. We can practice them throughout the day and while doing almost any activity, they keep our nervous system calm while active, thus decreasing stress and exhaustion. The goal of self regulation is to pair the thoughts. I am safe right now with a relaxed body which keeps us calm, clearheaded and focused when we're calm, were better able to make values based decisions instead of being reactive. Okay, so here are three techniques to start to train yourself to have a more relaxed nervous system. The 1st 1 is called progressive Muscle Relaxation, and this is training yourself to soften your muscle tension. I'm gonna link you to an audio file that will walk you through this technique. Once you've learned to intentionally tighten your muscles, you can train yourself to intentionally relax your muscles. And then with practice, you can train yourself to relax those muscles in a tense situation. And by doing that, he regulate your nervous system. The second technique I'm gonna teach you is the yon and yawning triggers are vagal nerve, which sends a message to our brain that we're safe and to lower the blood pressure to calm down that nervous system and to turn on that parasympathetic response. The third technique that's really essential to self regulation is diaphragmatic breathing, so learning to breathe with your diaphragm instead of just with your chest. So I'm linking it to videos on all three of these techniques. Go ahead and watch each of them. Then come back to the next segment, which is gonna teach you how to practice using these skills in a way that will train you to have a more relaxed and regulated nervous system. The best way to practice these skills is to do something that's mildly uncomfortable and practice relaxing while doing something uncomfortable. So I'm asking you to put yourself in a mild leave awkward situation. Here's an example of how you can do that, and you can think of your own. There's lots of ways to do this, but one way that I have my clients practice is find a partner friend, someone you can work with and set up some chairs where you're sitting across from each other with your knees facing, so you're practically touching knees. Then look at each other I and maintain eye contact. Set a timer for two minutes and try and keep eye contact this whole time. This is an intentionally awkward position. I'm putting you in and you're gonna notice yourself starting to tense up. You might also catch yourself trying to relieve the pressure by laughing or joking or talking, and I don't want you to do any talking. You might laugh or or fill awkward, but just keep coming back to that eye contact and see if you can soften up while doing this uncomfortable thing. Okay, so soften your stomach, soften your your muscles, open up your breathing and see if you could relax while doing something uncomfortable. Okay, if you don't have someone you can do this with, you can choose some other activity that's uncomfortable for you. You might go, I don't know, dress in an awkward way and then go out in public. Or you can practice this in lots of different ways while public speaking or giving a presentation. The best thing to do. Those practice this in something that is just moderately uncomfortable. Don't go and throw yourself into your most anxiety provoking situation first and try to practice it so you practice it on something that, on a scale from 0 to 10 is like a level three of anxiety. You go practice that until you can relax down to about a Level two. Wow in the uncomfortable situation to go into an uncomfortable situation. The situation naturally makes you feel anxious at a Level three and then you practice relaxing until you can bring that anxiety level down to a two. Don't leave the situation until you brought your anxiety down just a little bit. There are lots of things you can do to foster a calm, nervous system, and here's a couple of suggestions if you're looking for more ways to practice this and obviously, different things work for different people, so try a couple of these out. Here's a short list meditative breathing, laughter, sex paying attention to your biorhythms, so that means eat when you're hungry. Sleep when you're tired. Um, mono tasking. So that means doing one thing at a time. Our brains really don't multitask very well, and that triggers that stress response. Do one slow thing each day, like stop to pet a dog or sit and drink tea without doing anything else. Hug someone you care about, stretch or get a massage or even getting upside down. So, like doing a headstand, this sends blood to the heart, slows down it's beats and contributor. A relax ation response for some people, I've also got a bunch of additional resource is that I'm going to give you access to. I'm riding a 30 day course on this so here links the three of those days. So in summary, your nervous system has a natural alerting reaction and a calming reaction. You can train yourself to turn on that calming reaction, fostering a sense of calm, decreasing your stress and creating a healthier environment for your brain to work through the emotions and situations and experiences that you go through. Practice self regulation by using these bottom up or body first skills to managing your anxiety, like diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and a simple trick like the yawn. And if you practice these activities in mildly stressful situations, you're gonna have them in your tool belt. When anxiety provoking situations come up in your life so you can train yourself to be more calm in these stressful situations that happen. By fostering a calm, nervous system, you're gonna have a lot better physical and mental health. 10. Managing Stress 2/3: I think this segment we're gonna talk about self regulation, which is training yourself to regulate your nervous system. Now, the topic of stress and relax ation is something you could study pretty much your entire life. I could easily make a 10 hour course on this topic and not even scratch the surface. So in this really brief introduction to the topic, we're gonna cover what's essential to know, which is that our stress levels really dramatically impact our mental health. And there are some simple things we can do throughout the day to decrease our overall stress levels and help foster a state of calm. That's gonna make it easier for us to be more intentional in our decisions and have more integrity towards our values. So first we need to define terms. Stress is the physiological response we have to perceived danger. It's that release of adrenaline or the feeling of butterflies in your stomach or the sweaty hands, and worry is the thoughts we have about that danger. Anxiety is the combination of worries and thoughts and that physiological stress response. So most of us have had an experience where a strong emotional reaction has created a physical response and just to give an example of share one from my life. The night of the 2016 election, I got so worried about the future and what was gonna happen with our country that I, you know, I had a physical reaction to it. My stomach got upset, my tear ducts open, so I cried a little bit. You know, I felt shaky and tense inside, and I think a lot of people can relate to this experience. So when we're worried about something or we perceive danger, our body's gonna have this reaction. And it's called the fight flight Freeze response. And in the moment, it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense because it's tied to these ancient evolved reaction in our body, this physiological response in our body that was meant to protect us from physical threats . So let's take a look for a second at this fight flight freeze response. Your body has this natural reaction to perceived threats or perceived danger, and it's the fight, flight or freeze response. So this triggers a fast and powerful physiological reaction that sets off a chemical change in our body. This reaction is automatic, and unless we train ourselves to turn it off, it's gonna run rampant over our nervous system. I made a quick video to explain more about this fight flight freeze response, and you're welcome to check that out. If you'd like to know more, here's the link. Chronic stress has been shown in a ton of studies to be very harmful, both physically and emotionally. It's been linked to all sorts of problems, including anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches and I could go on and on. Now, in this segment, we're not gonna focus on all the bad things about stress. But we are going to talk about a few simple changes we can make to decrease our stress levels throughout the day. Let's do a real quick overview of our nervous system. Our brain has this natural alerting response and a natural calming response. Many people's alerting response has been strengthened while they're calming. Response hasn't been exercised Now. Our nervous system is meant to respond to physical threats like a tiger or a cliff that are actually gonna harm our body. But our brain has developed a way to think through threats that might happen in the future . So this is where worry comes in. This fight flight freeze response served an important function in our past. So our ancestors had to survive attacks from tigers, and they had to be afraid of heights so that they wouldn't get close to cliff edges and fall off of them and die in our modern world. We don't have as many physical threats like that, but we have a lot more mental and emotional threats, and our brains just aren't developed as well to manage. Those are core brain could become chronically stressed out by modern threats that, unlike a tiger, don't just go away. Many of us are running around with brains that have been trained to be freaked out and in order breast, who have a healthier nervous system. We have to actively turn off that stress response. Our brain has a natural alerting response and a balancing out calming response, and that's called the parasympathetic nervous system. Most people don't know how to turn that on, and I'm gonna teach you a few ways that we can actively trigger that parasympathetic calming response. There are so many approaches to managing stress and anxiety, and in this course, I'm just gonna talk about one, and it's called self regulation. I used to work in this treatment center with teenage girls who genuinely had a lot of difficulties, and it was a pretty stressful job from day to day. But every other month we had what was called a parent weekend and all the parents of all the girls would come out and visit and they'd spend three days, and this was really intense time. We'd work 12 or 14 hours each day, and we do back to back individual and family sessions, making sure to get a family session with each of our clients before their parents had to fly back to wherever they lived. You know, you could imagine that when teenagers and their parents who haven't seen each other for a while come together, that some really good things would happen and that there would also be some problems and challenges that would come up. Sometimes there was some really bad behavior or some sneaking around, or sometimes they were just fights and arguments and disagreements. And for sure there was a lot of emotions going on. So as the weekend would go on before I learned to turn on my parasympathetic nervous system . I used to get really stressed out and I would kind of go through the weekend in this state of just being tight and nervous and worried and and worked up. And I go to work and I just kind of go, go, go, go, go! And I'd be busy and I'd be tight, intense and by the end of each day, I would be completely exhausted. By the end of the weekend, I was all the way worn out and stressed out that it wasn't uncommon for me to get sick. Now I didn't know there was another way to do it. I didn't know that there was a way to be in a in a high pressure environment without taking that stress inside of me. When I grew up, the way to be busy was to be stressed out, and those two things you know, being busy and being stressed out were linked together. Now I went to a training with this guy, Eric Gentry, and he caught me how he trains E R. Doctors and military operatives and other people with high stress jobs to be busy while being calm and he calls this relaxed vigilance. And as long as we're perceiving the cause of our stress as our situation, we get stuck. So we we create a sense of helplessness as long as we believe that the reason I am stressed out is because of my situation. There's nothing I could do about it. But when we learn that I can turn on and turn off my stress response, I can I can interact with a stressful situation in a calm manner. We create power and we create a room for growth and change. So he trained me in some of these self regulation techniques and I started going to these parent weekends and I was still busy and there were still problems that came up. There were still fights and they're still rule breaking, and I had to manage those. And as I managed those situations and as I worked and I was very busy, I kept myself in a state of ah, call nervous system and I realized that by the end of the day I was no longer exhausted. I mean, of course I was a little bit, you know, a little bit tired ready for a change. But I wasn't running a stress marathon inside of my body in addition to doing the work that I needed to do, because when we're engaged in a fight, flight freeze, reaction, then our body, our heart is pumping harder, Our lungs are moving faster, our muscles are tense, the adrenaline is flowing and it's physically exhausting. So I trained myself to have a more calm approach to this busy and stressful situations, and they no longer wore me out. And because I was able to stay calm, my immune system was still turned on, which meant I wouldn't get sick or right after these parent weekends like like I used to. So in the next segment, we're gonna teach you a couple of ways to turn on that calming response while in a stressful situation. This ability to regulate our nervous system can be helpful with PTSD, other anxiety disorders and with depression. It's also a helpful way to manage relational difficulties because we all have those from time to time. So this is the skill that I'm gonna teach you in this segment. It's called relaxed vigilance or self regulation. We can create this state by pairing the perception of safety with mindful awareness and physical self regulation. We perform the same tasks that were previously found to be exhaustingly stressful with calm and self renewal. 11. Managing Stress 3/3: Hello. Everyone in this lecture river learned about views in Teradata SQL and we will also see the advantages off using views. So views in a stool and nothing but a saved escalate quickly revert. Normally complex are big school queries. Results are stored using views. So let's see an example in which we're going toe preparing a skill query and we're going toe stored. The result off school, Grady using views select static from die start imply this is my first table. So I'm going to use joints toe. Combine this table with another table, which is called department table select. So this is my department table in this table. I have this department I d through this department idea. I'm going to join this imply table, you know, join department. He be on condition Igor department I d equals to be dark department. I d. So let me quit this imply name. He don't imply name. E dark position, A dark facility. Be dark Department name for this is my SQL query. Let me executor discreetly. So the result off this escort, Grady, is not saved anywhere. So you think view, I can save the result off this Siskel quickie. So let's create of you create view then the name off you, Let's say employ underscore view. So this is my name. Name of you? Yes. This select execute disk Ready, Create view completed. So in order to retrieve the data from view, I will use select statement Select static from name off. You bitches imply underscore view. Look, data has been saved in this imply underscore view. So any time, if I'm required the information off this SQL Grady instead off running dish skulking Quaid e with joints. I will just execute this view, which is imply underscore view, you think Select statement. So in this Lee, I can avoid complex joins, aggregate functions and many other things. So let's say I don't want the salary column in my view. So in order to modify the result off view, I will use replace view statement. So lets you here in this result, I don't want this salary column, so I will just write, replace view, remove the salary column and from this Grady. So let's execute this replace you completed. So let me execute this escalate e look. Ah half modified this view using replace you statement the lecture. I don't find this view anymore. So I've used drop view statement to drop this year. So drop view, then the name off, you imply underscore view is my name. So let me execute this. Drove you completed de imply underscore view, local imply and a Scorpio doesn't exist So this has been dropped. So what are the advantages off using view? So these are the advantages. So user can be given access only to views instead off base tables. So instead of giving access to these imply in department tables, I can create a view and can only give access toe this particular table imply underscore view. So this is the benefit off using view. You can save the desire a school query result using views and later can be used if it requires. So so, these are some benefits off creating of youth 12. Self- Regulation-Understanding the Nervous System: Our nervous system has two parts and alerting, activating, stressed out part and a calming, relaxing, restoring part. Today, we're gonna learn about activating the second part when we feel unsafe. Our nervous system has a way of getting activated to respond to threats. This is called the Sympathetic Nervous System. This leads to the physiological reaction that is the fight flight freeze response, and it gets our heart pounding and our muscles ready for a big fight. The body also has a system to calm down and restore peace after a stressful incident. This is called the parasympathetic nervous system, and I remember this because a pair A is like a parachute. It calls us down and slows down this reaction. Now the part of our nervous system that we use the most becomes the strongest, so it's very important that we intentionally train our bodies and minds to have a more dominant parasympathetic response. Otherwise, we'll have a very unhealthy nervous system. So a healthy nervous system is able to use both parts of the nervous system, the activating response and the calming response. It can go through these cycles of waking up and performing a task, getting motivated or feeling worried and concerned about a situation, and it naturally also has the ability to calm down, relax and resolve any problems. This gives the body a chance to heal, and replenishing its resource is for upcoming performances. A healthy, nervous system tends to spend more time in the column state, so it tends to be dominated by the parasympathetic nervous system. An unhealthy nervous system sees threats everywhere. It gets stuck in an elevated state of stress, rarely going through cycles of calming and relaxing. The sympathetic nervous system takes over and you feel constantly anxious, worried or worked up. Your body feels tight, intense. This leads to periodic exhaustion and crashing. People who are dominated by their sympathetic nervous system are often unaware of the high alert mode that their body is stuck in. But they do feel stressed out a lot of the time and exhausted the rest of the time. When the parasympathetic nervous system is dominant, we can face stressful situations with a calm resolve or a relaxed vigilance without freaking out our body, and when the parasympathetic nervous system is dominant, were able to quickly restore our resource is and replenish them through rest and relax ation. We have quite a bit of influence on which part of our nervous system is being activated, and we can train our nervous system to be dominated by the parasympathetic nervous system or to be dominated by calm By practicing various exercises, both psychological exercises and physiological exercises that help us restore calm in our body, we create calm by training our brains and bodies to feel safe. Check out the next video, which is a grounding exercise that helps trigger that parasympathetic response. I hope this was helpful. Thanks for watching and take care. 13. Perceived Danger vs Actual Safety: are you? 100% safe right now. Today we're gonna talk about perceived and actual safety. Now, go ahead and take five minutes to answer the question. Are you 100% safe right now? Go ahead and pause the video. Now, when I was asked that in a workshop, I was like, Well, yeah, I'm safe. I'm just sitting here in a room. Nothing's gonna happen. And as I thought, more and more about it, thes possibilities started to come into my mind like, Well, the ceiling could fall down on me or this person sitting next to me potentially could just freak out and start attacking me. The more I thought, the more possibilities came into my mind. Of all the bad things that could happen, the room could catch on fire. A terrorist could attack. There could be a freak earthquake, and the entire building could crush me. And as I thought about each of these options, I realized, No, I'm not 100% safe right now. Anything could happen. But that's not what the question was asking. The question wasn't Is there any foreseeable danger that could happen in the future? But the question was asking, Are you 100% safe right now? And in this present moment, you all are. Or if you're not safe right now, you probably stop watching this video and take care of whatever is dangerous. But the reality is almost all of the time. We are physically and actually safe in the present moment. The danger that we perceive and that we feel is almost always something in the future. So something we're worried about happening at another place or another time. This is called perceived danger. The thoughts and feelings of danger that could happen instead of danger. That's actually happening. So this is important, because if most of the danger that we're feeling is perceived something that might happen in the future, that's not happening in the present moment, then we need to counter act those thoughts and feelings with perceived safety. We create the vision of safety in our minds, using that amazing brain that we have that can force see things that aren't happening in the present moment. So the antidote to perceived danger is perceived safety paired with actual safety. That means that you know all of these exercises to help create the feeling of safety and calm inside of our bodies. They can Onley work when we're in a safe environment. So if you're in a dangerous environment or in a dangerous situation right now, you should take steps to leave that situation. But otherwise you should take steps to create that safety in your mind. In this episode, we're going to teach you a few ways to do that. 14. Self-Regulation: Diaphragmatic Breathing: who did you know that yawning is an important skill for anxiety reduction. Today we're gonna talk about how to activate your parasympathetic nervous system by triggering the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is different than most of the other nerves in our body because it sends information in both directions, down from the brain to our bodies and from our bodies back toe our brain. So the vagus nerve helps trigger the bottom up approach to resolving anxiety. The bottom up approach is basically the fact that a calm body can create a calm mind. I recently heard a great story about this. Ah, woman adopted a dog that she found on the side of the road. It was just running around on the side of the road, and this dog was a great dog. It was good with kids. It was good with families. It was wonderful to have around. It was obedient, and it listened to them. But the dog had one major drawback When they would put the dog in the car and take it anywhere, like on a trip to the park, the dog would freak out. It would just have a crazy anxiety response and it would start to throw up in the back of the car. So after this happened over and over again and their their car was just smelling disgusting . The woman who owned the dog took the dog to a dog trainer and asked, What do I do? I cannot figure out how to help this animal. And the wise dog trainer said. In order to help this dog feel calmer, it needs to have a calm body. First, she taught the woman how to direct the dog to sit down and lay down, and they constantly trained the dog to do that. So they bring it into the car, have it lay down and force it into a relaxed position. And as they did that, the anxiety that the dog was experiencing decreased. And pretty soon the dog was not throwing up in the car anymore. This this story illustrates the principle that a calm body can create a calm mind. Ancient societies have known this for years. People practicing yoga or meditated breathing understand that we can change our minds reaction by changing our body, and today I'm gonna teach you, ah, couple of techniques to do that So the first technique I'm gonna teach is diaphragmatic breathing. That means breathing with your stomach. Now, most people don't realize it, but they spend most of the day breathing with their chest. We have some ability to expand our chest, but when we only breathe with our chest were about 70% less oxygenated than when we breathe with our stomach. The diaphragm is the muscle that's right below our rib cage and as we take a deep breath or diaphragm pushes down and pushes those abdominal organs out. So in order to breathe with our diaphragm, we need to see our belly moving in and out. So one of the ways to do this, take your hands, cross your fingers and put them on your stomach and then lean back a little bit in your chair and take a few deep breaths and try and get your hands to move out When you breathe. That's it. Diaphragmatic breathing. Now these air called self regulation techniques, and they're called self regulation techniques because you can regulate yourself in any situation. You don't have to leave the situation to calm down, so relax. Ation is where you go. Leave a situation. Take a hot bath, get a massage. Now, if we could do that all day long, we wouldn't have a problem with our nervous system. But the reality is we're often stuck at work or in stressful meetings stuck in a commuter traffic jam. And we need to be able to regulate our nervous system during stressful experiences, not just avoiding stressful experiences. So diaphragmatic breathing. It's something you can do in a meeting. You don't have to make a loud noise. Just sit there and take deep breaths and have your stomach move in and out. It even helps a little. If you put your hands behind your head, lean back in your chair, take a deep breath. This increases the ability of your lungs to expand. And again, you should be seeing your stomach move in and out as you do this, and you don't have to do it as loudly as that again. This is an activity you can do during meetings, phone calls while reading an important email, whatever it may be, 15. Stress Release in 2 Minutes: give me two minutes and I'll show you something about stress. So stress is the physical aspect of anxiety. The fear, emotion, stress is how anxiety shows up in our bodies. It comes with things like an increased heart rate, shallow breathing, muscle tension, stomach problems and headaches. So take a second right now and check your back and shoulders. Do you feel any tension there? Odds are good that you dio. So go ahead and relax. No, really, Relax. Relax. Now, for most of you, this did not work. It most likely actually made things worse. So now you may be feeling stressed out about feeling stressed out. This is the paradox of emotions. The more we try to make them go away, the more we magnify them. But all is not lost. That does not mean that we're powerless over our emotions. We just have to go in the back door sometimes. So try this instead. Notice an area of your body that's feeling tense. It may be your shoulders or your face or your back or your hands. Now I'm going to ask you to lean into that tension. So, with the shoulders example, I want you to try to exaggerate that tension, pull them up hard and tight around your ears. Clench and harden those muscles. Really feel those muscles tighten and hold it for five seconds. It helps if you scrunch your face. Okay, now soften those muscles. Breathe out. Does do it one more time. Tense Titan. No check in with your shoulders. For most people, this helps them soften and relax those muscles in a way that they weren't able to do by just trying to relax. And that's a curious thing with emotions. They don't respond well to being dismissed, ignored or avoided. Often they're just asking to be noticed or acknowledged. It's like our stress is saying, Hey, just noticed me for a second and then I'll move on. But when we're constantly trying to keep our emotions at arm's length, our emotions act more like a toddler sink. Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, What? And when you finally give them your attention, they say me, Oh, good job. You're the best, and the kid moves on. Now, if we really want to have choice with our emotions, we have to be willing to spend a second and lean into them. Comment below. What are the emotions you're most afraid to sit with for a second? Thanks for watching and take care. I'm excited to announce my upcoming course called How to Help Powerful Tools to Help When someone you love struggles with mental health. I'll be including some videos here, but the full course is on you to me dot com and is going to include over 40 instructional videos outlining specific ways to help someone with depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. 16. Self- Regulation "The Yawn": the next self regulation technique that I'm gonna teach is softening the palate. So if you feel the roof of your mouth with your tongue and you move your tongue towards the back, you can feel where it goes from being hard to being soft. That's called your soft palate way in the back of the top of your mouth. Now the soft palate is located right beneath your brain and is actually the top end of your vagus nerve sits right above your soft palate, and your vagus nerve runs right down the middle all the way through your back and ends in your pelvic region. Now, if we want to trigger that vagus nerve to send a calming message to your nervous system, one of the ways we can do that is by raising the soft palate. Now singers have been trained to do this as they sing to open up the size of their mouth on one of the ways you can teach yourself to do that is by making the R sound. So are you can feel that soft palate lifting up. Oh, are as you do that you might feel yourself start Tian because it's triggering that calming reaction. But another way we can also trigger that vagus nerve is by yawning on purpose. So go ahead, make a big fake yawn. It might even turn into a really on. If you can't do that, watch some videos of people yawning and it'll make you young um, fake. Yawning or lifting your soft palate triggers that calming reaction in your body, and it's another easy trick you can do pretty much any time of the day. You don't want to go on in your boss's face when he's telling you something important. But other than that, it's a pretty easy activity to do. One of the things that I find is really fascinating about yawning is it's also a social response. Have you ever seen your dog get really hyper? I used to have this dog that would get really hyper in the car. And when he would get mawr and more and more excited, he would start yawning these big bones out the window like uncontrollable eons. And I read that this is a social behavior that helps trigger other dogs to calm down. So if you imagine a whole pack of dogs getting really excited and really anxious, and pretty soon they worked themselves up into a frenzy. And who knows what might happen? You know, not necessarily good things happen when dogs get worked up into a frenzy. So they have this yawning reaction that triggers other dogs. Tianhe two. And it signals the herd to calm down when they're getting stressed so we can use the same Yanni reaction in ourselves. Tribute, the vagus nerve and, um, I feel a little calmer. 17. 7. Mindfulness: Learning how to be where you're at: I think this segment we're gonna talk about mindfulness, which is about learning how to be where you are. What is mindfulness? Well, very simply, mindfulness is about learning to be where you are, and that's it. Just learning to be in the present moment. So bringing your attention to where you are right now. So, for example, can you feel the chair pressing up against your legs right now? Well, now you're mindful of that. Can you notice the sounds in the room that you're in? Well, now you're mindful of that. Another way to describe mindfulness is being awake to the present moment. So instead of being wrapped up in thoughts of the past or worries about the future, we bring our attention to the present moment and we're awake to that. We can practice mindfulness or actively work out those mindful muscles by bringing our attention to the present moment. And one of the ways that helps people do this is by bringing their attention to their current sensations. We focus our awareness on her present experience what our body sensations are and noticing what our thoughts and emotions are. So let's try a little dose. I'd like you to watch this little three minute mindful breathing exercise with no Levine. So go ahead and click on this link. Now. In that video, no, Levine used the term meditation to describe this. Now what's the difference between mindfulness and meditation? Meditation is an activity, and mindfulness is a state of awareness, so you can practice mindfulness in pretty much any situation as long as you're up your present in the moment while you're doing it to bring your attention to your present moment experience that's mindfulness. Meditation is stopping doing what your day to day activities would be doing and doing something else. Now I find meditation kind of hard to practice. It's hard for me to stop doing what I'm doing and carve time out of my day to meditate on a specific topic. But I really like mindfulness because it's something I could do while I'm doing the other activities of my day so I can practice mindfulness while interacting with my Children by being present and eliminating distractions. I can practice mindfulness while I'm taking a shower. But just noticing what it feels like to have hot water hitting my hair and by practicing mindfulness. It brings vitality to the task at hand that helps me foster a general state of calm in my life. Meditation is an activity. Mindfulness is a state of awareness. Meditation can be done by stopping what we're doing and focusing on something so mindfulness can also be done while we're in the middle of whatever else we're doing. Some characteristics of mindfulness present moment awareness that means keep bringing yourself back to the here and now. A non judgmental approach that means don't label your thoughts, emotions or sensations as good or bad. Just noticed them as, ah thought emotion or sensation. Non striving. We aren't trying to force, change or make ourselves calm down or compete with others. Changes a different activity. This activity is about being where you are while you're there. Openness, curiosity. This is called, you know, a new mind or a curious scientist approach. So what does it feel like to experience this? An example of this is there was a woman who had been blind for a long time, and then she had surgery that repaired her eyes. And after she had the surgery, she described the experience of seeing soap bubbles in the sink. So she was looking at these bubbles, and she started to cry because she thought they were so beautiful. So she's noticing something that most of us just see and completely Passover, and she looks at it. She appreciates the beauty of it and in impacts her in a new way, something you might try. If you want to get an idea of this curious scientist approaches, take a minute with your tongue and feel around the inside of your mouth. Pretend like you've never felt the inside of your mouth with your tongue before. How would you describe that experience as if you were a scientist exploring a new world for the first time? Can you learn anything new about something you've spent your entire life with? Another principle of mindfulness is expanding our awareness. So asking what else? We often get hyper focused on one emotion or one thought that we're feeling, and our experience often involves much more than that. So one example of this is if someone who's elderly or has been sick for a long time passes away, you might feel a really sad, and you might also feel grateful that they aren't in pain anymore. And if we can expand our awareness to the other, things were feeling. It gives us a greater ability to be flexible in choosing our choices and reactions to what our experience is now. Often mindfulness helps us create that sense of calm. But that's not always the goal of mindfulness. A big part of mindfulness is also creating space or expert, banding our ability to experience the emotions and sensations that were already having. So it's not just about feeling calm, but it's about embracing all of our experience. That means that sometimes mindfulness makes us feel worse in the short term but develop greater strength and greater calm in the long term. It's like being a weightlifter to get better at lifting weights. You don't just try and shrink down the size of your weight so that you could do more reps of it. Instead, you try and practise feeling and lifting that weight, and eventually your muscles get stronger and stronger. So that's something that used to feel heavy for you. No longer feels as heavy is something that you can now lift with ease. And it's like that with emotions. The greater awareness and acceptance we have of our emotions, the greater our capacity to feel them without them dragging us down. Mindfulness has been shown to change the physical structure of people's brains. Some of the recent research is showing that mindfulness helps with anxiety, depression and anger. It helps people have a greater sense of self. It improves relationships, can increase feelings of well being and reduce physical pain. It decreases emotional reactivity, heightens empathy and emotional processing skills and improves people's immune systems so mindfulness can change our brain. Mindfulness impacts the structure and neural patterns of the brain in a very positive way. So some of the recent imaging and research they've done has shown that it increases the density of the gray matter so it shows greater activity in the anterior cingulate cortex. This impact, self regulation, flexibility and impulse control. Mindfulness has shown increased gray matter in the hippocampus. This is the area that processes emotion and memory. Depression and PTSD are associated with a smaller hippocampus. It's like a muscle that has been strengthened by proper exercise. They have observed a decreased size of the amygdala, so this is the fear and stress response part of the brain, and it increases the thickness of the cortical regions of the brain, and this is associated with attention. They have also observed a decrease in court is all, which is a stress hormone. So here's a short activity that can help you learn what it is to practise mindfulness, and it's called the rays and activity. So to practice this, you're gonna need a raisin or some other small piece of food that you can eat mindfully. Here's another activity you can do to practise mindfulness. It's called mindfully. Washing the dishes instead of seeing the task is just something to get out of the way or avoid. Allow yourself to be present to the experience. Ground your feet on the floor where you stand. Notice yourself pressing down on the floor, pressing up on you. Notice the feeling of the warm water and the smell of this hope. What did the bubbles and the dishes and the flowing water look like? If you find your mind wandering, just bring it back to the sensation in your hands. If you find yourself a rushing, just take a deep breath. Notice the experience of the present moment if we live our lives for just some future moment of happiness. Then we'll find that we have missed much of our life. And if we can find joy in each of the little moments that we experience, then we'll find our life to be fuller, more beautiful and more happy. As you dry the dishes and your hands, pay attention to that sensation of dryness and the beautiful appearance of the clean, neat dishes. So I hope that this really brief introduction to mindfulness can help trigger in your mind some ways that you can practice mindfulness throughout your day. And while doing your day to day activities, mindfulness is about bringing awareness to your present moment so it can be done in any activity. Washing the dishes, taking a walk, listening to your child. There are some really helpful APS that can help you learn this one that I really like is called Stop, breathe and think, and another one that's very popular is headspace. Now, both of these absent do cost, and there are other ways to learn mindfulness. There's lots of great online resource is and YouTube videos out there, so I recommend that if you're interested in learning more about mindfulness to do some searching on your own. But here's one link to a website that might be helpful. I hope that this gets you started in your practice of mindfulness. I sure have found mindfulness to be beneficial in my life. And recent research is showing that mindfulness can be beneficial in your life in so many different ways to increase your health and happiness, to help you feel less stressed out and to increase the vitality of each moment that you experience. So I encourage you to find a way to practice mindfulness in your day to day activities. 18. 8. Sleep: thin this segment. We're gonna talk about sleep and why it's so important for mental health. I have this toddler. She is super cute. She's smart and kind, but when she is sleep deprived, she turns into a monster. And I think we can understand this. You know, each of us, when we've been really tired or exhausted have had a moment where we've kind of broken down or, you know, become extra emotional or something that wasn't that important as a mom. I've gotten a firsthand look at what sleep deprivation does to my brain, and it makes me irritable, tired, moody, and it makes it hard for me to even make words or think straight. So it becomes pretty clear how sleep and the lack of sleep can impact our mental health. Sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture, and extreme sleep deprivation can even lead to death. Sleep is essential for a happy brain for good emotional processing and for mental health. It's also essential for physical health. Now, adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, and teenagers need 9 to 10 hours of sleep every night. Now this makes me wonder how much of teenager moodiness could be attributed to sleep deprivation. Sleep is when our brain trims unused neurons and removes toxins. It processes through memories and makes meaning out of them. And our brain resolves problems. Even as we sleep. Many of the clients that I work with experience, sleep difficulties. They have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, or they're just not getting enough sleep. And recent research has shown us that Ah, lot of depression and anxiety is related to lack of sleep, so sleep affects our brain in a really important way. Sleep deprivation can impair several brain networks that control cognitive abilities and behaviour and research. Using brain imaging technologies like FMR Eyes suggests how, when comparing the brain of someone who's sleep deprived to the brain of someone who has slept normally, scientists have found a reduced metabolism and blood flow in multiple brain regions. Reductions in blood flow and metabolism are linked to impaired cognitive function and behavior. Lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of cortisol, irritability, poor memory, emotional instability, behavioral dis regulation, decreased ability to solve problems, and poor concentration and weight gain. Now, when I don't have enough sleep. I have a hard time even connecting my thoughts together. Which makes me wonder how many people who are diagnosed with a D H. D perhaps are just a little sleep deprived. Now, don't get me wrong. I know 80 HD is a real disorder, and sleep is not the cause of it. But for some people, it does impact their abilities to function throughout the day. Have you ever had an experience where you were really emotionally upset or worked up about an issue and you went to bed? Woke up in the morning feeling like, Okay, this problem is not the end of the world. I can probably manage it. You know, you feel better when you wake up in the morning. I found a recent study really interesting and understanding how sleep affects our brain's ability to process emotions. And in this study, a researcher who is looking at the effects of PTSD and nightmares and sleep on the brain. He found that during sleep during rem sleep, that rapid eye movement sleep when we're dreaming. That's one of the only times when our brain shuts off the production of norepinephrine or adrenaline right. So this is that that chemical that triggers that fight flight freeze response. So during REM sleep, our brain shuts off. That heightened a reaction that that adrenaline response to emotions or thoughts or memories, and that way the brain can process a memory or an experience or interaction without the strong, sharp, emotional edge is connected to it. And it makes it so. The brand can look at the incident from, ah, detached point of view, reprocess it from what can I learn from this? What do I need to avoid in the future and then removes all that emotional negativity around the memory through the dream process? So sleep is really an essential part of our brains ability to think through and process those strong and emotionally charged events that we experience. The link between depression and lack of sleep is really well established. Of the approximately 18 million Americans who experienced depression, more than half of them experience insomnia. For a long time, they thought the depression caused the insomnia, and now new research is starting to show that the insomnia is also a contributing factor to depression, so some depression may be caused by insomnia. So this new research is showing that one of the most effective ways to treat depression is by helping people improve the quality and quantity of their sleep. One study of people with depression found that after resolving their insomnia, 87% of them experienced major improvements, with their depression symptoms disappearing after eight weeks. Sleep hygiene is a first line treatment for improving sleep quality, and it involves basic things like establishing a regular bedtime, improving your sleep environment and making sure to have good sleep habits. Avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and heavy foods. Lowering lights and using red or yellow tones in the evening instead of blue tone delights like TV's or smartphones, creating a dark, cool space for sleeping and making sure to exercise during the day. There is also a specialized research back to treatment for insomnia. It's called CBT I, which is short for cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, and it takes sleep hygiene to a new level, so it trains people to get out of bed when they're awake and to manage their their thoughts and behaviors around sleep. So establish a regular wake up time, get out of bed when you're awake, morning or night. So if you're having a hard time falling asleep, don't stay in bed more than 15 minutes. Get out of bed, get doing something and make sure to avoid napping during the day. So eventually this is going to force your body to get back on a regular sleeping pattern of wood eating, reading, watching TV or similar activities in bed. This study found that those who overcame their insomnia using this program recovered from their depression at nearly twice the rate of those who did not. One of the researchers said if the figures continue to hold up, the advance will be the most significant in the treatment of depression since the introduction of Prozac in 1987. If, after trying to improve your sleep hygiene and looking at some of these tips from CBT I, if you're still not sleeping, there's a few other things you can try. The effectiveness of these treatments varies from person to person, so you'll just have to try some of them to see what's gonna work for you to help you get better sleep. You'll also want to make sure to check with your doctor. If you're having consistent sleep problems, there might be underlying medical conditions like sleep apnea or other issues that are interfering with your ability to get rest ful. Sleep gratitude practice. So this turns off the scarcity brain, which also helps turn off some of that adrenaline that's keeping people awake a warm glass of milk. Some studies have shown it to be as effective as a prescription medications. You can try relax ation techniques so deep breathing progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness can help people become aware of their body and decrease anxiety about going to sleep. Now there are some herbal remedies, and again, you always want to talk to your doctor. Um, melatonin is pretty well researched and can be helpful in in helping people fall asleep initially. Now, like all supplements and herbal remedies, the effectiveness of these treatments has not been proven for most people, and neither treatment has been approved by the F D. A. Cognitive behavioral therapy could be helpful so it can help you control or eliminate a resolve. These negative thoughts and worries that keep people awake and light therapy can help people sleep so it can help people get back on a regular circadian rhythm, and specifically it could be helpful to people with a condition called delayed sleep phase syndrome. So, in summary, depression and insomnia or lack of sleep are closely related, and the lack of sleep is gonna impact your ability to process and manage emotions and thoughts. It's really important to get enough sleep 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep for adults in order to process your emotions well and to have a healthy mental state. So if you don't have good sleep, try improving your sleep hygiene. Look at some of these techniques that are included with CBT I and other techniques to help you sleep better and work with your doctor to rule out other medical conditions that might be interfering with your sleep. If you can improve your sleep, your brain is gonna be working better, and you're gonna have better mental health and better emotion management 19. 9. Journaling: thin this segment, we're going to talk about how journaling is an essential practice for mental health. Is your brain ever so full that you just can't even think straight? Or have you had a difficult problem that you're trying to solve, or a a challenging experience that you're not quite sure what to make of? While journaling has been shown to be beneficial in so many ways, Lewis and Clark, Abraham Lincoln, Andy Warhol, Henry David Thoreau, Leonardo da Vinci, Anne Frank, Albert Einstein all have one thing in common. They all kept a journal. Many of the most influential people in the history of the world have kept journals. Think of the ancient scriptures and the modern philosophers, and they didn't wait until they were famous or influential to start journaling. I believe the process of keeping a journal is one of the things that helped them become great and influential. Journaling helps me clarify my thinking, process through my emotions and make better decisions. It helps me set and achieve my goals, and it's also cheaper than therapy. Keeping a journal or writing things down helps take what's vague and make it more concrete , which makes it more manageable, which makes it so we can do something with it. All these thoughts and emotions that are going to our head. One of my favorite quotes is life's lessons are repeated until they're learned. Journaling helps us learn from our experiences, so we don't have to keep repeating the same old mistakes. Journaling has been shown to improve your I. Q. Journaling has even been shown to help foster physical healing. It's been shown to improve immune function and increase the T lymphocytes in our system. There have been other studies showing that it decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Journaling has also been shown to evoke mindfulness, which is associated with lots of benefits. Help you achieve goals, boost memory and comprehension, strength and self discipline, improve communication skills and spark creativity. One study took a random group of participants and asked them to journal for 15 to 20 minutes on a stressful or really traumatic experience in their life. And the study showed that three times journaling about this incident three times was enough to significantly reduce the distress associated with that memory so journaling can help us deal with stressful, traumatic or otherwise disturbing events in our life. Journaling has been shown to help improve emotional intelligence and decrease anxiety and stress, so it helps the brain process and resolve emotions. Journaling has been shown to help with sleep and journaling about positive experiences. Allows your brain to relive them and reaffirm your abilities. When you're feeling self doubt, this releases endorphins and dopamine, which improves self esteem and mood. There's too easy ways to start journaling. One of them is called a brain dump. So when your brain is feeling really full or you're feeling overwhelmed, you just take a piece of paper and I prefer one that you can throw away So I don't write these in my favorite journal, Um, and you just write down everything that comes to mind and you try not to edit as you go. You just dump everything that's in your brain down on paper as fast as you can. Then when you're done with it, you don't need to save it. You can throw it away or burn it or whatever you want. And so this is the brain dump activity. Another effective way to Journal is to do a daily processing journal and you can just write whatever comes to mind or write about what's happening for you. What's important for you, or you can have more of a structured approach. And I'm going to share an example from Michael Hyatt. He's just this uber productive guy and his journaling template that he uses. Every day I'm gonna share with you a couple examples of my journals. OK, so these are some of the journals that I've been using over the last 10 years or so and the price of my most valuable possessions. I've used a lot of different formats, but mostly kind of a free hand format, and currently I'm using one that's a lot more directed. So this this journal came with, ah, format not already in it. And you set your smart goals for the whole quarter at the beginning, and then each week you set weekly goals. You go over what you learned in the last week, Um, and then each day you said, You know, you start out the day by talking about what you're thankful for, what your priorities are and your to do list. And then at the end of day, you reflect on your accomplishments and what you learned. And then it's got a space for schedule, and I'm really liking that format. I'm finding it's helping achieve more of Michael's. So in summary, journaling could be a very effective way to manage thoughts and emotions and process through them in a healthier, more intentional way. It helps us line up our lives with our values by taking a careful look at what we're learning and what we're experiencing. And research has shown that it's helpful for both mental health and physical health, So if you aren't already doing it, find a way to start journaling. 20. 10: Connection: in the last segment of this course, we're gonna talk about how to sue their brains and create this foundation for mental health by having healthy connections with the people around us. Are social connections are vital to mental health? So just toe oversimplify. Our brain has three main parts. The deep core reptilian brain, which is really about survival. It's about keeping our heart beating and keeping us breathing. This is called the brain stem, and the mid brain, which is also known as the mammalian brain, manages some higher functions like emotions, some thinking and planning and social connection, which is an essential aspect of survival. And then the upper brain, the cortex or the human brain. You know, it worries more about thoughts and plans, and gold envisioned that philosophies and all those things. And so for us to really have mental health, we need to be managing all the parts of our brain and soothing each of those parts. To keep our midbrain happy, we have to have good, healthy social connections. I'd like to start you off by running you through a little thought exercise. So think about where did you get your shirt? The shirt you're wearing right now, your initial reaction might be to say, Well, I bought it, Okay, Where did you buy it? Who was essential for you to be able to buy that? So let's think about We've got a cashier and we've got people who stock the store delivery trucks. He drive the merchandise to the store. Then we've got the credit card that you used to pay for it. Someone's running those credit card machines and keeping keeping the credit card system up and running. And so you were able to buy that shirt at the store, and that may be involved. Five or 10 or 15 people who made that possible for you. Now, after that, how did that shirt get to the store? Someone had to drive a truck. Someone had to manage those logistics. Someone had to keep gasoline in the truck. So we're talking about gas station attendants and and, um, gas tanker drivers. Oil refineries. Before your shirt made it into that truck, perhaps it was on a cargo ship. Someone had Teoh pilot that ship. Someone had to run the GPS systems and make the satellites that made it possible for that ship to navigate. Before that, your shirt was probably made in some factory. So take a look at the tack. Maybe it says, made in Thailand. And so there was some worker there who cut the pieces and so the pieces and trimmed the pieces and turned that that raw material into a shirt. Before that, someone had to make the raw material. So now, if it's a cotton shirt, then we're talking about someone farming back cotton so they needed to be a farmer and someone who was picking it and someone who was weaving it. And then even someone who is growing the seeds to make cotton seeds and someone who was, you know, making the fertilizer and selling the seeds. And and before long, we're expanding this web of who were dependent on. So to get the shirt that you're wearing right now, or the shirt that I'm wearing right now, I'm dependent on literally thousands of people from the people who made the steel for the plough, for the cotton to make the shirt. Or the scientists at NASA who sent up a satellite that managed the GPS system that that helps the cargo truck navigate to America were literally dependent on thousands of people for just a simple thing, like a shirt. Now this is an interesting activity, because in our western culture, we like to pride ourselves in our own independence. This idea of I did it myself or I pulled myself up by my bootstraps. And we create this illusion of independence and of self sufficiency. And when we thrive on that idea of I'm doing this by myself, we we sacrifice a lot of our own happiness. We create the illusion of independence and self sufficiency at a great cost. Our connection toe others and our dependence on them was essential for our survival. When we were hunter gatherers, when our when our species was a hunter gatherer species, we depended on the people in our tribe or in our village for our survival and rejection from that group often meant death. So our brain is invested in keeping us connected to other people for our survival. We are just dependent on others for our material needs. But we're dependent on them for a mental, emotional and physical health. Loneliness has been shown to be really awful for physical help. Our brains are hardwired to connect to other human beings. Babies are born with instincts that help them to attach to caregivers, and caregivers are hardwired to attach to babies their instincts, like crying and responding to cries, routing and nursing, reaching out and holding, cooing and gazing into each others eyes. When a baby has a need like hunger and the caregiver meets that need by feeding the baby, the baby develops what's called secure attachment. When the caregiver does not respond or responds unpredictably, the baby develops insecure attachment. The attachment style has huge implications for the development of the brain and the life of the person. As they grow without a healthy attachment figure, they simply may not grow and even die, as seen in babies who grow up in orphanages, where caretaking is unpredictable. When the babies mature, they often develop all kinds of cognitive, social and emotional difficulties. Long story short, our connections to other human beings creates a hardwired map in our brain of whether the world is safe, whether people are trustworthy and outcomes are predictable. Secure attachment soothes and calm is the deep parts of our brain, and babies aren't the only ones who need connection for their brains to function without secure attachment. As Children or adults, it will be very difficult to regulate our emotions and build strong relationships. Fortunately, we have influence over our ability to attach and connect others, and we can develop skills to have good relationships. Relationships are the main source of our greatest joys and pains. Many of the emotional challenges we have directly relate to our relationships. If we want to be emotionally strong and mentally resilient, we can't just focus on ourselves. We need to strengthen our relationships, to improve our mental health and improve our mental health to improve our relationships. This isn't just a nice principle. This is a biological fact. Our brains don't work well without connection. Now that we live in a huge global community, we often forget about that need for connection. Our modern society has a huge emphasis on individual ism, and people are growing more and more isolated as time goes on. Research over the last decade has shown that people are becoming increasingly isolated and lonely, with 25% of people saying they don't even have one close friend Researches even joined the people have less friends than they had 10 to 15 years ago. This lack of connection is really unhealthy, both physically and emotionally. Loneliness has been shown to be worse for your health than smoking, obesity and high blood pressure. One study showed that the brain perceives rejection in a very similar way to physical pain , and when participants were asked to take Tylenol is part of the study. They experienced less pain upon rejection. Connection to others has been shown to increase longevity, strengthen our immune system and quicken healing. It has also been shown to decrease anxiety and depression and improve self esteem. When we connect toe others, we release oxytocin, and this is known as the love hormone. It helps people attach and connect to each other. It's the neurochemical basis of the sense of safety and trust that allows people to become open to therapeutic change. Taking care of others has also been shown to release dopamine, the feel good chemical into the brain. One of my favorite researchers, burn a, Brown said. A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all. People were biologically, cognitively, physically and spiritually wired toe love to be loved and to belong when those needs are not met. We don't function as we were meant to. We break, we fall apart. We nam. We ache, We hurt others. We get sick. Research shows that most adults have less and less friends as they enter their thirties. If you are one of the one and four people who say that they don't have a close friend, it's time to start investing time and energy into making close friendships. So making new friends as an adult is an important skill that could be developed for. For some people, making friends is a skill that comes naturally. But for a lot of people, they have to work hard at it. Here's a few ways that you can actively work to increase your friendships and your social connection. Fortunately, we have many. Resource is out there to improve our connection. We have family members and friends who would love to help us if we were to reach out to them. We can also access support through therapists and mental health professionals and through community activities and offerings, be active, join a club or picking activity, put up a post in a local climbing gym looking for a partner. Goto a meet up group for photography or attended poetry readings. Whatever floats your boat and there's religious groups out there, church and religious society is a great way to build social connections and use those social connections for greater good. Try community education. Take a class that you're interested in, like bowling or pottery. If nothing else, you'll get some new skills service. Get involved in a cause. Meet good people while making a difference. Leave your house. You probably get invited to things like baby showers and work parties start going to them instead of looking for excuses. So if you're unsure of who can give you that source of connection, try to find someone. You can give that to try to have an outward mindset. Make other people feel like they matter to you. Ask them about themselves. We can almost always find someone to be a friend to so focused on being a friend to others in reaching out to them and with some work, you'll soon find a mutually rewarding relationship and take the initiative. Look for opportunities to invite people deeper into your life. It doesn't matter how it could be a simple is inviting people over for dessert or a movie night or planning and outing together suggest to meet up in a show. The important thing is just putting yourself out there. If you wait for the other person to do it, they usually won't. So if you'd like to improve your mental health, find a way to improve your connections. Reach out to someone today that you can connect with. On a personal level, these interactions are most soothing for the brain when they're face to face. I'm attaching a link to an exercise that I often have my clients to, and its purpose is to explore your support network. So take some time to fill this out. Creating healthy connection is essential for help, connection and grow. Our brain is wired for connection, and loneliness has been shown to be detrimental for mental and physical health. But unfortunately, many people are lonely so you can improve your mental health by actively working to improve your connections with other people and developing closer relationships with friends and family members. Take some time to commit to a way that you can improve your connections with other people, and that's gonna help you be healthier and happier 21. Bonus Video- Skills for Social Anxiety-Guided imagery: Hi, I'm Emma McAdam, a licensed therapist. In this little nugget of help, we're going to apply some tools from acceptance and commitment therapy to help with school and social anxiety. Thats activity is meant to help build an increased ability to face anxiety provoking situations like school or social settings. The goal of this activity is not relax ation but resilience, meaning the ability to experience uncomfortable sensations with strength, compassion and calm. So during this activity, you may feel a couple of emotions, some comfortable and some uncomfortable. Please stick with the activity through the end, and I promise you'll develop a greater ability to experience your emotions without them controlling you. So first, check in with yourself. Sit in a comfortable place, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Let it out slowly take a moment and notice your feet. Wiggle them now. Press them against the floor. Just feel what the floor feels like pressing back up against your feet. Now move your awareness up your legs, clench your cows and then softened those muscles, then clinched the big muscles in your thighs for a moment. Now relax them. Breathe in, breathe out Now move your awareness up to your stomach. You may feel some tension here, and that's okay. Pretend you're scientist who has never noticed what that feeling is like. Explore that feeling in your stomach and describe it in your mind. What does it feel like? Allow it to be there while clenching your stomach muscles as tightly as you can. Now breathe out and then take a big inhale. Expand your stomach out as far as it goes. Hold that breath and notice what that feels like. Let that air out and move your awareness up to your chest and back. Tense those muscles. Pull your shoulders up to your years and hold them there tightly clenched hard. Then soften those muscles and breathe out slowly. Now clench your biceps, your upper arms and then release. Now clench your fists and release. Move your awareness up to your face and clench your face muscles tightly and now soften those muscles in your face. Now we're going to do a quick scan of your bodily sensations. What do you notice in your body? There might be some places in your body that feel warm, soft and comfortable. Notice those and there might be some places that feel tight or painful. Notice these areas. You don't need to label these as bad or avoid them, but just notice them. Notice yourself breathing. What does it feel like to breathe? Take one more deep breath in, on out. What feelings or emotions are you experiencing right now? Some of them may be uncomfortable, and that's okay. Just notice them. Be curious. What does it feel like to feel those emotions without needing to escape them? Send each of your emotions a little mental. It's okay to have feelings. Notice if there any more emotions, perhaps quieter emotions that you're feeling to. What else are you noticing? Be curious. You don't need them to go away. You can handle feeling them. How would you describe each of these emotions? Okay, take one more deep breath and notice yourself breathing. Now let's visualize yourself going to the first day of school. The bus pulls up to the front of the school, and as you get off the bus, you feel your stomach tighten a bit. Perhaps you feel a lot of energy coursing through your body. You may feel a little tense or jittery, and that's OK, It's perfectly normal to be having these emotions and sensations. Most of the other kids are feeling a little anxious and excited to. You can handle feeling this way. Anxiety and excitement are the same physiological response in our body, both of them prepping us for action to perform well. And it's okay to have this feeling in your body. Your old habitual thought is I need to escape or I can't handle feeling this way. But now you remind yourself I can handle feeling this way and be OK. I don't need my sensations to go away for me to be all right. I can feel them and notice them. And while they are uncomfortable, they can't harm. I am actually safe in this moment. You look around and remember that probably most of the other kids are also feeling a little anxious or excited right now. It's perfectly natural to feel this way, and it's not going to harm you. You shift your attention back to your breathing, and as you step toward the school, you notice something beautiful. What is it? Perhaps the clear sky where the green grass take a minute and notice that one pretty thing . You hear lots of kids running noisily toward the school. Some are meeting up with their friends summer alone. Suddenly you have the thought. What if no one will be my friend or you worry that people are looking at you in a funny way . For a moment, you have visions of a catastrophe runs for your head. You're afraid of being rejected, being alone, being a loser. But you quickly notice those thoughts. They are painful and loud thoughts, but they're just thoughts. Just as you can notice yourself listening to my voice at this moment, you can notice yourself having those thoughts. They are truthful. They don't help you be the person that you value because you value being kind. Do you care about connecting with people? You want to be a good friend, You're gonna act on those values and good things will happen. People will want to be friends with you when they get to know you because of who you are. You notice those scary thoughts and you imagine them written on the side of the bus and the bus begins to pull away. You remember that? You're okay. You have some inner gifts to share with the world. Even if you are quiet or observant instead of a loud clown, take a minute and think of one of the gifts that you have one thing that you are good at like being a good listener or noticing others needs. For example, You remember some of the people who love you and like you, your friends, your parents, you remember that you are safe right now. It may feel uncomfortable, but you can handle that. You may feel a bit of anxiety, but you can open up some space for that anxiety inside of you. You don't need to make that anxiety go away to be okay. Imagine that your anxiety is a little child saying, what if no one likes me and you say, Come here, little anxiety. I want to give you a hug. See, it's uncomfortable, but you can experience it and it doesn't harm you. You walked through the front doors of the school, and there's a lot of noise and commotion. Not your favorite. So you head over to your locker. You already know where it is because you went to the open house and you open your locker, and a gentle loft of your favorite smell comes out of it. You spend a minute just enjoying that smell. Breathe in deeply. Now you walk to your first class, you know right where it is, and you arrive a few minutes early. You take your seat and look around. There's a few other kids sitting down and you say hi to the girls sitting next to you. She says, Hi back. And then suddenly you feel so awkward. You start worrying that you should have said more. Or maybe you shouldn't have said anything or that maybe you didn't make it. If I contact and suddenly you're hyper aware of how you're sitting in your chair and you can feel your heart beating a little faster in your hands, sweating a little bit and then you notice yourself tensing up and you can notice your thoughts. Now in this moment, notice what's going on in your body and in your mind. You remember what your mentor said. You don't actually act awkward. You just feel awkward. No one else is even paying attention to you. They're all anxious and excited about their first day of school, and they're too busy worrying about what people think about them to notice you. You can still feel that type feeling in your stomach and your sweaty palms, and you tell yourself that's OK. It's OK to have uncomfortable sensation. Sometimes I can let myself feel this experience without needing to escape it or make it go away. You know that it never helps to beat yourself up. So instead you just show yourself a little compassion. You go back to noticing for a while and you sift through your experience in this moment, so sift is an Acronym S is for sensations. Notice your physical sensations. Just notice them both comfortable and uncomfortable. I is for images. What do you envision in this moment? Can you notice those images and then bring yourself back to center with the breath? Can you notice those images in your head and then bring yourself back to center by noticing your breath? F is for feelings. What emotions are you experiencing? Are you having more than one? What is one thing you're excited about and t is? Thoughts? Notice? What are you thinking? You don't need to battle or change your thoughts. I just noticed yourself having them. You take another deep breath and you're feeling kind of proud that right now you're experiencing a little anxiety, but you're OK with it. It's a bit uncomfortable, but you're beginning to develop the skill of letting yourself feel it. You give yourself a little imaginary pat on the back for being courageous, for letting yourself too hard things and feel hard things and stick with it. Bell rings and the teacher starts class. He goes through the role you pay close attention, waiting for him to call your name. And then when he does, you say here and maybe you wonder a bit if you did OK, but no one even looks at you. They're all just paying attention to their own stuff right now. You remind yourself that you can do hard things. You take another deep breath and let it out slowly. Then the teacher passes out a sheet of paper to everyone on. It is an icebreaker activity. You hate these. You have to go around the room and find someone who has broken their arm and someone who has lived in another state someone who has a pet reptile. Maybe you're afraid that you'll be awkward. You might worry that no one will ask you questions or that you're afraid that people will ask you questions. You press your feet into the floor, feeling the floor pressing backup. You you notice your fear. It's telling you to run away tow. Avoid hide to be silent, and you notice that fear. You acknowledge it, you say hello Fear. I've noticed you're trying out with me today. I know I can't make you go away, but you're not the boss of me, and I still get to decide what matters to me. So fear you can keep making suggestions. But I know what's more important. You know that you don't like these icebreaker activities, but you also know that you do want to make some friends, and you don't want to isolate yourself on the first day. So you look around and see another kid who looks kind of quiet and is standing by himself. You walk over to him and you feel a little awkward, but you don't actually look awkward from the outside. You look perfectly normal when you get to his desk. You look down at your paper and you ask him. What's your favorite book? He seems a little shy. So you just listen while he tells you about the book series that he likes. Then he looks at his paper and asked you, What's your favorite book? You tell him about your favorite book and what you like about it, and you could see in his smile that he's read that one, and he likes it, too. He must be a special type of nerd like you. You stand around and other kids come up to you and ask their questions. You ask yours, and pretty soon you're papers. All feel them. The teacher gets back up. He seems nice and also a little funny. And you think you'll like his class. The rest of that class goes pretty smoothly. You just sit in your chair and read the syllabus while the teacher tells you the class rules and talks about what you're going to learn. So far, so good you feel proud of yourself. After your first day of school, there were times that were uncomfortable, but that's OK, and there were times that were good. You learned more about what to expect, and even though you felt some anxiety. You didn't let it boss you around. You were gentle with yourself, patient with your emotions and sensations. And you were courageous to show up and feel lots of things today. Excitement, beauty, anxiety, hope for new friends and a sense of confidence in your ability to do hard things. Now come back to the present moment. I noticed your feet on the floor. Notice your breath. Think back over this exercise. Was it uncomfortable at times, but you stuck with it. You chose to do something challenging because something else mattered more than avoidance. Take a deep breath and give yourself a little pat on the back for letting yourself experience your emotions. You are on the pathway to growth and emotional strength. Keep up the good work. 22. Course summary: e hope you've enjoyed taking this course and learn some new things that are gonna be helpful for you in making your life healthier, happier and more in line with the person you want to be. I know that some of these principles are difficult to apply in your lives at first. But Ralph Waldo Emerson said that which we persistent doing becomes easier to dio. Not that the nature of the things has changed, but that our power to do it has increased. Our brain is flexible, and it it builds like muscles. The more we do something, the easier it becomes to do it. So don't be afraid to put some effort into making these changes in your life because it's gonna become easier and more natural to do them as time goes on. Now just to review, here's 10 essential tools for mental health. Number one change How you think Number two. Nutrition number three, exercise light therapy, gratitude, self regulation, mindfulness, sleep, journaling and connection. I hope you've enjoyed this course and more importantly, learn some new ways to change your brain, increase your happiness and live a better life. You face unique challenges, but you bring your own unique strengths to the table. I hope that you can use the tools from this course in your journey. Thanks for watching and take care. 23. Bonus Section: Turning off the Fight/Flight/Freeze Response: I'd like to do a quick introduction into grounding activities. Being grounded means that you are in your body, your feeling, your emotions and you're aware of your present moment experience. It also means that you're feeling responsible for your safety and well being. Grounding is an important therapeutic approach for managing anxiety flashbacks, symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and for improving your mental health. Grounding strengthens your parasympathetic response. This is your body's natural ability to return. To call this parasympathetic response counter acts the fight flight or freeze response. PTSD and other anxiety disorders. Our disordered in their essence because you're feeling like you're in danger when you're actually safe. So your body is having this danger response. This fight flight freeze response. When your present moment experience is actually safe, and that's one reason why they're disordered, anxiety is often about worries about the future. What might happen and depression is often about discouragement about the past, and both of these can be counteracted with an increase in our ability to be here in the present moment. Most of the time are present. Moment is a safe and secure environment. If it's not, we need to leave, so we need to create a safe and secure environment in our present moment. But grounding activities help us activate that safe feeling in our brain by reminding ourselves that here in the present moment we are safe when were grounded and calm, were ableto work through emotions and memories in a healthy way. Our body has a natural ability to resolve trauma or to work through emotions. But when were panicked or in our fight flight freeze danger response, our brain shuts down those abilities because it thinks that our survival is at stake. We can train ourselves to trigger this calming response by practicing grounding activities . It's important to practice these exercises over and over again so that they become habitual and weaken drawn them in moments of stress or anxiety. Many of the grounding activities that I'm going to teach you use your body as a way to create that sense of calm. So these air physiological grounding skills this is called a bottom up approach bottom up, meaning we go from the body to the brain instead of from the brain to itself. And this makes sense because most of us aren't ableto think ourselves calm like if you're stressed out and you say, Don't be anxious, don't be anxious. That never works. We could never actually tell ourselves to calm down by just forcing it from the top down. That's partly because our brain, when it feels threatened, it reacts at a very animalistic level. It's using this deep part of our brain in the limbic system in the brain stem to react impulsively or instinctively, to danger. So this makes a lot of sense. This is a really functional reaction. So if a tiger jumps out at you, you're not gonna be using your thinking party your brain to be like whom I wonder what I should do with this. Your body's gonna naturally and instinctively gonna run away. So it's gonna have this physiological reaction, this fight flight freeze response that turns up your heart rate and it turns up your breathing rate. Since we can't access those deeper survival parts of our brain with our thoughts, the best way to access that calm is through our body. So this is called a bottom up approach to grounding. Our five senses anchor us to our body and our surroundings, using this bottom up approach is a much more effective way to treat anxiety and stress than trying to simply change how we think and by creating that physiological calm, were able to lay the foundation for future cognitive work. Many of these activities focus on our breathing, and that's because our breathing is something that happens both automatically. And we have some degree of control over, so that can help trigger that change in the limbic system that we need to create that physiological calm grounding exercises help connect us to our body and help us reassert that sense of self control. And they re orient us to the safe context that were actually in the present moment. One of the ways that we gain confidence in our ability to use thes grounding exercises is by doing a check in before and after the exercise, and one way to do that is to do a quick scale. So before you do a grounding exercise, scale your anxiety on a scale from 0 to 10 and then do your grounding activity and then just check in with yourself again afterwards and put yourself again on the scale from 0 to 10. Now it's not necessary for you to decrease your anxiety every time. Sometimes a grounding activity is just about increasing your awareness and your contact with the present moment. But if you do these consistently, you will notice a gradual pattern of decreasing your anxiety little by little, we need to be able to notice these small victories because they can add up toa large gains over time. Another way you can look at the effects of these grounding activities is to ask yourself these questions before and after. What are you noticing in your body? What are you noticing with your breath? What's happening with your feelings, what's happening with your heart and what's happening with your thoughts during these grounding activities. If at any point you need to take a break, that's OK, you can just pause the activity and then come back to it later. When you're initially learning these grounding exercise is the best way to practice is when you're in a place that's quiet, peaceful and calm. Don't wait until you're stressed out or in a chaotic environment to try them. And again, it's important to practice these activities every day for a few weeks before trying to practice them in a stressful environment. The more you practice them, the more habitual and instinctual they'll become. And you can actually train yourself to calm your body down with just a thought or a word. As you get better and better at grounding, you'll increase your confidence and ability to create that physiological calm even when you're in a stressful situation and you congratulate. Use your skills in MAWR and more difficult situations to maintain that sense of calm that we all need to feel safe and happy. Over the next couple of months, I'm making a bunch of grounding videos. I hope they're helpful for you. Take time to practice them and please like comment and subscribe. Thanks for watching and take care. 24. Grounding Activity: Breath Counting: this grounding activity is called breath counting. It could be done in just a couple of minutes. To do this activity, all you need to do is find a comfortable place to sit or lay down and close your eyes. Get yourself center to take a couple of deep breaths and then begin counting your breaths. So as you breathe in when you exhale, you count one one you breathe in when you exhale. Count too. Two didn't count in your head or you can count out loud. Um, and you count all the way up on each exhale up to five and then one to reach five. You start back again at one. So you breathe in, Breathe out. Count one. Breathe in, breathe out. Come to all the way up to five. Want to get to five? You go back to starting at one. Repeat this five times, so never count higher than five and only count on the exhale. You'll know that your mind is wandering. If you catch yourself counting up to eight or nine or whatever right, Anything higher than five. This activity is a helpful way to keep you centered and help you train your mind to focus on the present moment by maintaining this present moment awareness of your breath. This skill is called mindfulness, and it's been shown to be beneficial with anxiety, depression and all sorts of other mental functioning. So it's a great way to develop that skill. I hope you found this video helpful. Thanks for watching and take care. 25. Grounding Activity: Safe Place: this grounding activity is called creating a safe place, and this could be helpful for anyone who has experienced trauma or is experiencing anxiety . In general, things exercise can help people who are in a freeze mode. So they're stuck in this, this state of chronic tension or immobility or if they're feeling numbed and frozen. So start this activity with your feet on the ground. Try and get yourself into a comfortable position. Get in touch with your body, and it's quickly scan your body for any areas of tension. If you feel an area that's especially tense, you can try to relax that area. If you're unable to relax or soften those muscles, then you should check out my other video on progressive muscle relaxation because that's a method that we can use to train ourselves to turn on that relax ation response. So as you scan your body, feel your head, your neck and your shoulders, I feel your chest in your stomach. Check each of these areas for attention. Feel your arms and your hands. Check your pelvis, your thighs, your hamstring for tension. Scan down your legs into your feet and then bring that scan back up right to your heart. Fill yourself breathe. Imagine that air coming in has bringing a relaxing in a warm sensation into your body. Choose whether you want to keep your eyes open or closed in this activity. Now bring your attention to my voice. Think of a time and a place where you were feeling confident, safe and coal. It may be outdoors. It might be at home. It might even be an imaginary place. What matters is that you bring this place to your mind in as much detail as possible. It could be a place where you've been many times more place you've only visited. It could be some place you've seen in a film or even just imagined. It could be a place with someone else, or it could be where you're alone. It could be a private place unknown to anyone else where no one can find you. Or it could be a place surrounded by people who love you and care about. This place suits your needs. You can constantly re create or adapt this place to your needs because it's your place. Everything you need to be comfortable is present here and When you imagine this place, you feel calm and safe. So when you decided on your safe place go ahead and imagine this place. Imagine that you are there. What do you see around you? Describe the little details in your mind. Take time to absorb what it looks like. What does it sound like? What do you hear when you're in your safe place? What does it smell like? What else do you notice while you're there? Imagine the sunshine feel the weather and the temperature. Notice how it feels to stand. Sit or lie there. Notice the sensations you feel in your body as you touch the items in your safe place. How does your body feel when everything is fine and everyone is safe in your safe place? You can see here and feel and smell everything that is needed to help you feel safe and comfortable. Maybe you take off your shoes and take a walk through the grass. You can go to this place whenever you want to. Just thinking about it will help you feel more calm and confident. Remain in your safe space for five more seconds. Thank you. Prepare yourself to re enter the room that you are in in the present moment. Open your eyes. Stretch yourself. Do whatever you need to get re centered in this present moment. Now remember, you can take your safe space with you. You carry it in your mind and bring it to the front of your mind. Can help you feel safe and confident and trigger that calming physiological response. Take a minute right now to notice what you're feeling. Do you feel calmer or more centered? This is an activity that can help your brain retrain and re wire itself to believe that safety is a really think way. Create imaginary danger by remembering dangerous things that have happened to us. And we can counter act that imaginary danger by bringing to mind memories and thoughts and visions of safety. So practices activity frequently to create those neural pathways in your brain. That safety exists, and it's a real thing in the present moment. By bringing to mind our safe place, we create actual safety in our present moment, which is actually safe. So this activity is an important activity to practice our danger. Thermostat has been set too high, So if we're constantly perceiving danger. Even if we're safe, this activity can help counter act that by creating the perception of safety when our reality is genuinely safe. I hope you found this video helpful. Thanks for watching please, like comment and subscribe and take care. 26. Grounding Activity: Square Breathing: thats next. Grounding activity is called square breathing and square breathing could be helpful for a couple of reasons. One because our breath is connected to both the part of our nervous system that we can control and the part of our nervous system that is automatic so it helps us access that calming part of our brain kind of in through the back door. The other thing about square breathing is you practice it with varying lengths of breaths. Then you can practice putting yourself into a slightly anxiety provoking situation, which is being out of breath. But you're doing it intentionally in such a way that something that would normally be anxiety provoking or uncomfortable becomes something that you can handle with willingness. So you are basically converting something that might have been stressful into something that is very comfortable and that trained your brain to believe that you have the ability to convert something that's stressful into something that's beneficial for you. So let me just explain square breathing really quickly. So with square breathing, you imagine yourself breathing a longest square. You imagine yourself starting at the top right corner of the square, and you might yourself breathing in for four seconds and then you imagine yourself holding that breath for four seconds and then you imagine yourself breathing out so exhaling for four seconds and then holding that air out for four seconds and you're back to the top of the square and you repeat that four times. So breathe in 234 So you're breathing in that whole time holding it for four seconds, breathing out for four seconds. You're exhaling for four seconds, and then you're staying without breath for four more seconds. So, just like that, when you exhale, you want to have all the breath out that you can have out to be completely out of breath. When you're done with your inhale, you want to be completely full of breath, and the other two are the process of getting in and out. Now you can lengthen the amount of time that you're doing these inhales and exhales and holding so you can lengthen it out to eight seconds or 10 seconds or 16 seconds. But when you lengthen the amount of time that you're out of breath, you're gonna cause your brain to panic for a little bit and that's where you can kind of challenge yourself, Teoh. Increase your comfort with being out of breath. So really, there's two ways to do this activity. The first way is to just stay at four seconds. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breathe out before seconds. Hold for four seconds on. And that's just gonna be kind of naturally calming because it's creating a rhythm. And the other way you can do this is the child yourself toe. Lengthen the amount of time you're holding that breath, and that's gonna be a little bit more of a mental challenge that creates more resilience. So as you do this activity, just watch yourself and pay attention to the emotions that come up. So paying attention to your breath is gonna help you stay centered and grounded while various emotions go through you. I hope this video is helpful. Thanks for watching and take care 27. Grounding Activity: Straighten the Back: this grounding exercises called straightening the Back Way. Now how we carry our body directly impacts our emotions. Now it's really clear to think about how our emotions impact how we carry our bodies, right? So for happy, you're proud we lift ourselves up, we look up. If we're feeling depressed, maybe we look down. If we're feeling shameful, we hunch over. We make ourselves small and, you know, collapse in on ourselves. Now it's it's clear to see how our emotions affect our body. But what most people don't know is that our body affects our emotions so we can impact our emotions by changing how we carry ourselves. We carry ourselves with our spines. We can react to danger by collapsing our spines, crunching down and hiding, and this affects our posture. We can also carry ourselves in a bold and powerful way by lifting ourselves up by changing our posture, weaken remind our mind that we are strong and powerful in our own lives, and this could make it easier to manage our emotions and our experiences by carrying ourselves upright. We can foster that sense of in the internal locus of control or the belief that we can have power over our own lives. So to start this activity, collapse your chest and back, just hunch over and make yourself as small as possible. Act like you know, you were just a limp rag. Can't even hold yourself up. How does that affect your breathing? Pause and notice. How does this impact your feelings and your mood? Be aware of your body. Just pause for a minute in that position and see what does it feel like to be small and hunched over and collapsed. So just take a minute and notice what that feels like. Be aware of your thoughts. Now say I am powerful. Now say I am happy. Say it again. I am happy. Do you feel happy? Does it feel right to say that you're happy when you're hunched over and small like that? No. Slowly lengthen your spine. Stretch yourself up tall. Expand your chest, Pull back your shoulders. Sit up straight. Now you can wiggle a little adjusting Experiment until you feel like your spine is just lined up and straightened out. Now extend your head up a little bit higher. Be aware of how you feel. Pay attention to your breathing. What does it feel like to be upright and tall? Be aware of your feelings and your mood. Be aware of your body. What does your body feel like now? Say I am sad. I am sad. Say it again. I am sad with your head up high. Does that feel weird? Our body and our brain really are connected, and we can. We can impact one with the other. So if you want to feel more powerful and more content in your life, you need to carry yourself in a more upright posture. If we want to counter act a shame or grief for guilt, we need to actively carry ourselves in a way that's more powerful, more self controlled. So lift yourself up, lengthen your spine and acknowledge your own sense of worth and power. Help. This video was hopeful. Thanks for watching please like common and subscribe and take care