How to reset your mind
With drug and alcohol psychologist Tara Hurster from The Tara Clinic
There are 3 main parts of the brain that we will look at today and understand how they are impacting you during stressful periods…like a pandemic.
1.) The brain stem
Firstly, we have the brain stem which is the part of our brain that keeps us alive as humans (sometimes called the reptilian brain). It deals with our heart rate, sex drive, hunger and feeling cold/hot etc.
2.) The neocortex
Then we have the neocortex up the front of our brain that focuses on all the higher order thinking- like problem solving, conflict management, language and personality.
3.) The limbic brain
In the middle, attached to the bit that keeps us alive is the limbic system which houses our fight/flight/freeze/faint/fawn response.
The brain’s response to stress
When we are stressed or feel threatened, the fight/flight response is turned on and a bunch of chemicals are released that effectively turn off everything in our body that we don’t need to run away or fight the tiger… and turns on everything that we do need to run away from or fight the tiger.
In real time the shortness of breath, increased heart rate and sweatiness helps us to be ready to run or fight by using this life saving energy in a short burst. At the same time, there is no need to sleep, eat poop or direct any of this energy towards fighting the common cold when we are faced with teeth, so these parts of the body are turned off.
What does this mean?
So when you’re noticing that you’re finding it hard to sit still, focus, find your words or sleep, then it is highly likely that your brain thinks there is a tiger stalking you in the bushes.
Tips to cope:
The best way to reset your brain is to trick it by doing bursting exercise that is different to your usual exercise. So if you’re a marathon runner, try yoga, or if you’re a pilates wiz try swimming, or if you love the gym then you could try boxing!
Simply give your brain a reason to think you’ve managed to evade the teeth and live on another day! You will notice a reduction in those uncomfortable feelings and an increase in peace and calmness.