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  1. I have had the good fortune to confer with some of the top brain researchers in the world this past 4 years. Michael M. Merzenich who has had several PBS brain specials, Robert Sapolsky at Stanford, Daniel Amen (also many PBS brain specials) Malcom Lader in the UK and many others. Off the subject of exercise but Dr. Merzenich is considered the father of neuroplasticity research and he told me to study primates brain ability to heal they give them SSRI's then stop them. OK Exercise - none of these experts had a clue on how to heal a drug damaged brain. The one common theme was aerobic exercise. There is a great book out on this called SPARK on this. There is also the work of the Cooper Center on the benefits of aerobic exercise for anxiety and depression being better than medications. For the first 3 years I could not do any more than walk - any strenuous activity made me critically ill. I still walk a lot and more if I am in a wave (which seems to be continual) but now I have been able to do some 10 mile bike rides. Has anyone else found benefit/determent to exercise??
  2. ADMIN NOTE Also see: Ways to cope with daily anxiety Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms * This topic is based on an article in the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/smarter-living/the-difference-between-worry-stress-and-anxiety.html The online article is free of charge but may require the reader to sign in/create an account to gain access. I appreciate how the information is presented in a clear and simple way, with practical tips for non-drug coping strategies. The subject matter seems relevant to SA members (of course we should still keep in mind that our brains and nervous systems are sensitized/destabilized, and we may have paradoxical/unexpected reactions). An edited version of the article appears below. Omitted sections are marked in the text with ( . . . . ) The Difference Between Worry, Stress and Anxiety By Emma Pattee Feb. 26, 2020 ( . . . . ) What is worry? Worry is what happens when your mind dwells on negative thoughts, uncertain outcomes or things that could go wrong. “Worry tends to be repetitive, obsessive thoughts,” said Melanie Greenberg, a clinical psychologist in Mill Valley, Calif., and the author of “The Stress-Proof Brain” (2017). “It’s the cognitive component of anxiety.” Simply put, worry happens only in your mind, not in your body. ( . . . . ) Three things to help your worries: - Give yourself a worry “budget,” an amount of time in which you allow yourself to worry about a problem. When that time is up (start with 20 minutes), consciously redirect your thoughts. - When you notice that you’re worried about something, push yourself to come up with a next step or to take action. - Write your worries down. Research has shown that just eight to 10 minutes of writing can help calm obsessive thoughts. ( . . . . ) What is stress? Stress is a physiological response connected to an external event. In order for the cycle of stress to begin, there must be a stressor. This is usually some kind of external circumstance, like a work deadline or a scary medical test. “Stress is defined as a reaction to environmental changes or forces that exceed the individual’s resources,” Dr. Greenberg said. Three things to help your stress - Get exercise. This is a way for your body to recover from the increase of adrenaline and cortisol. - Get clear on what you can and can’t control. Then focus your energy on what you can control and accept what you can’t. - Don’t compare your stress with anyone else’s stress. Different people respond differently to stressful situations. ( . . . . ) What is anxiety? If stress and worry are the symptoms, anxiety is the culmination. Anxiety has a cognitive element (worry) and a physiological response (stress), which means that we experience anxiety in both our mind and our body. “In some ways,” Dr. Marques said, “anxiety is what happens when you’re dealing with a lot of worry and a lot of stress.” ( . . . . ) Three things to help your anxiety - Limit your sugar, alcohol and caffeine intake. Because anxiety is physiological, stimulants may have a significant impact. - Check in with your toes. How do they feel? Wiggle them. This kind of refocusing can calm you and break the anxiety loop. - When you’re in the middle of an anxiety episode, talking or thinking about it will not help you. Try to distract yourself with your senses: Listen to music, jump rope for five minutes, or rub a piece of Velcro or velvet. ( . . . . ) Here’s the takeaway: Worry happens in your mind, stress happens in your body, and anxiety happens in your mind and your body. ( . . . . ) The good news ( . . . . ) there are simple (not easy) first steps to help regulate your symptoms: Get enough sleep; eat regular, nutritious meals; and move your body.
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