A Natural Anxiety TreatmentDecember 19, 2008 Written by JP [Font too small?]
What do you do when you’re feeling anxious? Do you “drink your problems away”? Do you indulge in “comfort food”? Or maybe you try to distract yourself by watching TV or playing video games. If any of that sounds familiar to you or if it describes someone you know, then you’ll want to read the rest of today’s blog.
Brand new research out of the University of California Berkeley offers us tantalizing clues about the best ways to cope with feelings of anxiety, and the proposed solution may surprise you.
In the past, the common perception about anxiety-sufferers was that they were too sensitive to their own “fight or flight reflex”. In other words, their brains would perceive danger in situations where a real threat was unlikely. One example of this would be getting anxious when surrounded by unthreatening groups of people, like in a shopping mall.
But now there is a new theory on the block. Dr. Sonia Bishop, a psychologist at UC Berkeley, has shown by way of brain imaging that a different part of the brain also plays a role in anxiety disorders. Dr. Bishop found that individuals with anxiety had a hard time activating the prefrontal region of the brain. But, if their brains were challenged by a complex task, a shift occurred and the prefrontal brain began to work more like that of “normal”, anxiety-free people.
The bottom line is that anxious minds appear to benefit from mentally challenging exercises like playing “brain games”, such as doing crossword puzzles, playing chess or sudoku. The key appears to be that the activities must be demanding in nature. Engaging in such games and challenges can not only help manage anxiety, but may also improve “control planning, organization and memory”.
Tune in, not out. Make your brain work for you. What have you got to lose?
Posted in Mental Health