Information

Why don't we hear all the processes in our body and what prevents us from doing so?


Why don't we hear all the processes in our body (like the rushing of our bloodcells through our arteries, the pumping of our heart, the electricity of neurotransmitters or our brain cells, etc.)

Is it only because the sound is too low for us to hear?


The issue here is with the definition of the word "hear". We do hear most of this, that is our ears actually pick up and transmit this sound. But we don't hear it in the sense that our brain ignores it and filters it out of what we are aware of. Only a very small fraction of all the sensory data that comes into the brain ever gets processed. The brain does something called sensory modulation it filters through all the sensory data and decides what is worth paying attention too.

This happens at several levels, not surprising since we see these same levels of filtering in animals, as soon as you evolve sensory organs the ability to filter sensory information is an advantage. Some happens directly at the sensory organ, many have a threshold before a signal is sent. In the brain the reticular formation is responsible for much of it. But each sensory processing area also does some of its own filtering. Basically each portion of the brain contributes in some way. Attention and how it is controlled is greatly studied as it is central to how consciousness functions. A complete rundown of all sensory processing is tricky since some senses (like smell) skip some parts of the process, and there are so many ways it can be filtered. you can find a more detailed breakdown here.


The sound is mostly drowned out by all the other sounds in your environment. The environment is just too noisy. However you can hear it if you are place in sensory deprivation chamber. You can hear stuff like your heart beat, the eyelids moving, joints creaking, muscles tensing and even the movement of blood in the arteries within your ear.

You cannot hear neurotransmitter diffusion because it is a movement of chemicals, which do not generate a pressure wave and is thus soundless.

But there are sounds that you hear. You can hear yourself breathing and chewing your food.


What does detoxing even mean?

Humans have detoxed in one way or another for thousands of years. We just didn’t always call it that.

Native Americans had sweat lodges, Hippocrates recommended enemas after overindulging, bloodletting was an orthodox medical procedure until 200 years ago and people have fasted since the dawn of time.

The rise of the wellness industry in the 21st century has seen detoxing and gut cleansing go mainstream once more. But detoxing doesn’t have a real medical definition, so anyone can claim that their product, method or diet will detoxify you. The same goes for gut cleansing.

Both terms are a bit misleading. This is because our body is constantly detoxifying on its own. The main function of your liver is to filter and remove toxins from your body. There are many mind-bogglingly complex ways it does this, using enzymes, oxygen and amino acids—among many other things—to send toxins on their way out of the body through bile or urine.

If you want to cleanse or detoxify your gut, the good news is you’re already doing it. It’s just a question of how well you’re doing it.


Spousal Union

And what does this have to do with sex? Well, when a man and a woman have sex, they perform the biological process of reproduction. Their reproductive organs work together and perform a single biological process that benefits the whole (in this case, the whole couple), much like the various organs of a single person work together to perform other processes. Granted, they don’t literally become one organism, but they form the closest biological union that two organisms could ever have.

That is significant because marriage is a complete union of two persons on every level (spiritual, emotional, physical, etc.), so sex forms the physical part of that union. This may not sound very romantic at first, but remember, we are not just souls trapped in bodies. Rather, we are body-soul composites, which means that our bodies really are us. Consequently, the biological unity brought about by sex is actually very personal. It unites two persons, not just two bodies, in a very deep and intimate way, a way that nothing else ever could.


Life Is What You Make It

I’ve been encouraged to write about what is going right in my life. I sat down to write and was at first at a loss for what to write about. It seems that for most of my life it has been automatic to focus on what is going wrong, to label it, and talk about it. Then, a few years ago I realized that focusing on the negative stuff just makes me feel more negative. So, as I focused on the good stuff, I found that I was sometimes sweeping the negative stuff under the rug, pretending like it doesn’t exist when in fact it still does.

The secret for me was to find the silver lining (the positive message, the lesson, or a new perspective) in the problems, issues, or what I could be labeling as something that’s going wrong in my life.

Here are a couple of examples of what I’m talking about here:

  • My son was home sick all week last week. Is this really something to be labeled as something going wrong? How can someone being sick be a good thing? He missed school all week he spent more time in front of screens to keep him occupied all day, less time outside, no social time with his friends, and he had to miss soccer. Yes, that’s all true but in todays’ society it seems that the only way that we have permission to slow down is when we get sick. It’s the bodies’ way of saying “I need to slow down, I need rest, there’s an imbalance and its time that it gets corrected!” Are we hearing this message? Are we giving the body what it’s really asking for? Are we feeding ourselves with nourishing foods, are we getting enough stress relief, are we drinking enough water? Are we giving ourselves the tender loving care that we need? Do you remember how good it feels to be cared for? In this case it’s my job to make sure that my son gets this stuff, and the good news is that we can also give that to ourselves!
  • My partner (Michael) has left me to go on a – more than a month long – road trip to follow a lifelong passion that he has. I could blame him for not being here to support me. I could stay at home and blame him for my isolation because he’s not here to go do social things with me. Those are ways that I have reacted to similar situations in past relationships (and one of the reasons why those relationships did not last). This time I decided that this is an opportunity for me to dedicate myself to working on my business and also to explore my loneliness. I know I’m a bit weird for wanting to explore my loneliness but I am really tired of that feeling. I’ve decided that it’s time to do something about it. (Stay tuned for more about my insights on loneliness). Instead of being upset and going into what I call “victim mode”, I am making the best of the situation, becoming more independent by doing things by myself, spending more time with friends, learning new things about myself along the way, and making productive use of my time. Yes, I miss him a bunch. However, Michael has recently stated that he’s tempted to come home early because he is missing me so much. He loves that I am supporting him in following his passion, and the truth is that I am really enjoying this time to myself.

That is a bit of what’s been going right for me.

What’s going right for you?

What’s going wrong? How could you reframe or learn from that?

I think the moral of the story (this post) is that life is what you make it. If you ignore the bad things & sweep them under the rug then you are also missing out on the positive lessons that might just improve your life, and make it rich & rewarding. I encourage you to take a step back and look objectively at what’s happening in your life, ask yourself the questions above and see what happens…

Feel free to drop me a note or comment – I would love to hear about your process!


Trust The Science: Boost Your Immune System

The Human Immune System

In order to know how to boost your immune system, you need to have a brief understanding of what exactly it is. We have 3 subsystems within our immune system the Innate system, the Interferon system & the Adaptive system. All three work together to attack invaders such as viruses & other types of infections, with the Innate system being the 1st defense & the Adaptive system revving up last.

Aside from that, we have what is called the Microbiome. The Microbiome is in our gut. The bacteria ratio in our gut determines levels of overall health for us. The brain is directly connected with our gut so any disruptions in the Microbiome can also affect the brain & cause different diseases as a result. Furthermore, the Microbiome communicates with the 3 subsystems of our immune systems which also communicate with the brain. Problems with our immune system can quickly become problems in other areas of our body.

The cool part about our immune system is that it basically has its own version of photographic memory. It literally remembers every single germ it has come across. This is super important and valuable because the immune system can easily recognize threats it has already defeated before, making it easier to diagnose & defeat the infection the next time around.

In simpler terms, our Immune System is our body’s soldiers. It fights back against any unwanted invaders. There’s a reason America always wants to have the strongest military You should too. The immune system is elite, it’s on us to not screw it up.

Boost Your Immune System

Your Diet Matters

Diet is super important when it comes to maintaining good health. With a poor diet, your immune system gets weaker & weaker. Thankfully, we know what our diets need to consist of in order to remain optimally healthy. Here are a few important factors, but there’s a ton more that readers should also research.

Vitamin D

A super important vitamin which reduces the risks of a cold or the flu. People with Vitamin D deficiencies are at a greater risk for being negatively effected by an upper respiratory tract infection (Ring a Bell?). Vitamin D naturally boosts our immune system. It’s also believed that Vitamin D may help prevent an exaggerated inflammatory response, which has led to severe illnesses in people when battling Covid-19.

The absolute best source for Vitamin D is the Sun. Stay inside?! No, get out & get some Vitamin D in your system! Your army will appreciate it. Other than the Sun, some popular food sources are red meats, some fish such as salmon & sardines, egg yolks, etc.

Extra Credit: Vitamin D is the only “vitamin” our body actually makes itself.

Vitamin C

Helps boost your immune system because it increases the production of white blood cells which help prevent & fight bacterial & viral infections. Our bodies don’t produce or store Vitamin C, so it’s important for us to implement it into our diet. Red Bell Peppers are a great source for Vitamin C. Citrus Fruits are also generally high in Vitamin C so figure out a way to include at least one of them in your diet. Citrus Fruit examples: orange/clementine, grapefruit, lemon & more.

Extra Credit: Vitamin C also helps you maintain healthy skin.

Vitamin E

An antioxidant that helps our bodies fight off infections. This vitamin is very important due to how powerful it is. Aside from fighting off infections, Vitamin E also prevents blood clots from forming in heart arteries. Examples: nuts, seeds, mango, avocado & more.

Extra Credit: A Vitamin E deficiency will result in loss of control of body movements, impaired vision, damage to peripheral nerves & more.

Vitamin B6

Works with biochemical reactions in our immune systems. It’s found in common foods such as chicken, potatoes, bananas, rice, salmon & more. Due to it being very common in our typical diets, most people don’t have a B6 deficiency. However, it’s still important to know about it & understand it is vital to a healthy immune system.

Extra Credit: Vitamin B6 can improve your mood, reduce symptoms of depression & even help treat nausea during pregnancy.

What Else?

Zinc will help reduce the length of a common cold when taken within 24 hours. Selenium strengthens our body’s defenses against bacteria, viruses & cancer cells. You can find Selenium in seafoods, cereals & dairy products, amongst others. Garlic & Raw Honey can be very helpful to your immune system as well, along with probiotics.

There’s obviously other antioxidants & vitamins that are important & can help the immune system. Just be sure to take good care of your diet & it’ll result in a better immune system & a healthier life. If you’re having trouble with that, be sure to read one of my previous articles 5 Tips For Maintaining A Healthy Diet.

Stress Kills

Stress has both direct & indirect effects on our immune system. It directly affects it because the stress hormone corticosteroid suppresses the effectiveness of the immune system. The hormone lowers the number of lymphocytes a type of white blood cell which is essential for the performance of the immune system. Due to this, the immune system’s ability to defeat invaders is lessened, causing us to be way more susceptible to various types of infections. Stress can be linked to headaches, infections/viruses, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc.

Its indirect effect on our immune system is often overlooked. Stress can lead people to make bad decisions which end up hurting themselves or hurting people involved with them. The coping mechanisms one chooses is so important. Drinking alcohol, smoking, eating shitty foods, etc. all negatively effect your immune system. If this is how you cope with stress, it’d be wise to change that in order to boost your immune system.

Healthy Coping Mechanisms

It’s ironic because NOT drinking, smoking, or eating bad foods are all great ways to cope with stress. Yet, we do the opposite & even more ironically we think it’s helping. When dealing with stress eating well & keeping alcohol or other stimulants at a limit is the best thing you can do. There are simpler mechanisms as well, such as making some time for hobbies or hanging out with friends (in a healthy environment). Yoga is a great option as well if you’re into it, along with meditation which can be extremely helpful when combatting stress. The last two healthy coping methods I will mention are exercising & getting quality sleep. Both of these will generally reduce stress levels & are also the next two factors when it comes to boosting your immune system.

Exercise Regularly

Exercising regularly also boosts your immune system. Notice when we are sick, we get a fever. When we exercise, we generally get hot from moving around. This rise in body temperature from exercising prevents bacteria from growing & the fever does the same. Physical activity slows down the release of stress hormones in our body, which would improve our immune system as I previously stated.

It also helps remove bacteria from the lungs & airways. Obviously, that can reduce your chance at getting sick & also speed up your recovery if you’re sick already. It’s possible that the increased flow of white blood cells that occurs when doing physical activities can also help prevent infections because they could detect illnesses quicker than before, potentially.

If you need some ideas on fun & easy ways to exercise, read one of my previous articles all about it.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is probably deserving of being the first topic discussed in this article. The reason for that is because it affects just about every system in our bodies, not just our immune systems. Dr. Walker put it best when he was on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

Sleep isn’t the 3rd pillar of good health alongside diet & exercise, it’s the foundation.

Dr. Matthew Walker

It makes sense as the body needs to be rested in order to function at its best. That part of it is simple & we all know how we feel when getting through a day on an insufficient amount of sleep. If we’re feeling it, our systems are feeling it too & probably worse.

Short & long term sleep deprivation hurts the immune system. There are some processes the immune system takes care of while we’re sleeping because it has more energy to allocate to the task. Our bodies naturally produce Melatonin while we sleep, which helps resist the stress of inflammation during sleep. Lack of sleep hurts these processes & our immune system’s ability to execute it’s job.

According to Dr. Walker, a DNA study was done in which healthy adults could only sleep for 6 hours per night instead of 8, for one week. In just this one week, the study found that 711 genes were distorted. Half were increased & the other half were suppressed. The ones that were suppressed: Immune Response Genes.

I’ll write more about sleep next week, including ways to improve your quality of sleep. Subscribe to this website & follow Jianchor on Twitter so you don’t miss it.

Full Circle

Sleep is the foundation of boosting your immune system

When it comes to maintaining a healthy diet, quality sleep is essential. Our body has two chemicals called Leptin & Ghrelin. Leptin tells your brain you are full, Ghrelin stimulates your appetite. When you lack sleep, your body produces Ghrelin, causing you to eat more & eat worse. This is why we get hungry when we’re up late.

On average, people who sleep fewer than 8 hours per night reported higher stress levels than people who do. When we get in late or just lack sleep in general, the struggle to find the energy to exercise is real. We’ve all been there. Sleep is the foundation of boosting your immune system. There are other factors, but diet, stress, exercise & sleep are the most important in my humble opinion.

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Co-Founder of Russo’s Playbook Sports Media
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Singing has been a pleasurable pastime for many and there’s a reason for it. And there’s no real reason not to do it even if you have a bad voice. Apart from getting entertained, with music being the universal language, I was thinking, there must be some other important aspects to singing that we do not usually explore that causes the sudden switch to a totally different mood for those that are involved in it.

Upon research, I found that singing has several health benefits. I came across a study by Professor Graham Welch in which he said that singing has both physical and psychological benefits.

Professor Graham Welch is the Chair of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. He spent 30 years studying the health merits of singing

What are the health benefits of singing? Let’s take a look.

It Prevents You from Getting Sick – Singing Strengthens Your Immune System

In a study done in the University of Frankfurt, several choir members had their blood tested before and after an hour-long of singing Mozart’s Requiem. In a majority of the cases, the immunoglobulin A levels of several participants increased. Sure, we don’t hear this word in our daily conversation, but if you look it up on Google, what an amazing truth for singers.

Immunoglobulin A is a type of antibody that fights off sickness. Also, called IgA, a deficiency in this antibody can lead to asthma and allergies. IgA is something that our body produces each day and makes up to 15% of all the types of immunoglobulins found in the human body.

It often measured to diagnose patients who have problems in the intestines, kidneys, and those who have auto-immune illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and lupus.

In the choir members, it was noted that the IgA levels increased right after the rehearsals. However, the same effect was not seen when the members merely listened to songs. Of course, we want to know more, further details about the study can be found here.

It Keeps You Happy – Sing to Fight Depression

Depression is taking its toll over many lives and it’s a very sad thing. A simple hum or tune in your head might be a temporary or even a permanent remedy if you allow it to be. The following is a more serious discussion, but if you’re in this dilemma, please keep reading.

The act of singing releases endorphins. These are also called happy hormones that give us a natural high. Endorphins are neuro-transmitters or chemicals that transmit signal from one neuron to the next. They come from different parts of the body and have several functions, one of which is to block pain.

Another function of the endorphin is to elevate our moods, and this is why we get pleasurable feelings when our bodies produce them. Usually, we get an endorphin rush when we exercise, have sex, or do things that we love doing.

Furthermore, since endorphin is a hormone, the hypothalamus is responsible for its production. The hypothalamus is the command center of the endocrine system. It tells the body when and when not to produce hormones. It also manages pain.

Studies show that there is a tiny part of our ears that respond to different frequencies as we sing. It is the sacculus. What it does is to respond with pleasure, even if you are tone-deaf. This is because the sacculus is connected to what is called a vestibular system, which is connected to our hypothalamus.

Since the hypothalamus is the area of the brain that processes our drives like sex and hunger, it listens to what the sacculus has to say.

Since the sacculus is sensitive to sound, it vibrates and sends a signal of pleasure to the hypothalamus, and the hypothalamus produces endorphins.

Whew! That was a bit heavy, right? But, think of what you’re getting out of singing your heart out and you’re not even aware of it. You’re wondering why something is taking your breath away while singing and even after the fact. That’s very cool. You might want to record your song to extend the fun!

I had those feelings myself even before I plan to do some singing, before going to a choir rehearsal, a karaoke singing, or when I’m thinking of rehearsing songs for a gig. Just the thought of singing makes you sense those feelings, how much more when you actually do it. In fact, I have those right now while I write these words. It’s remarkable!

It Keeps Your Numbers Low – Sing to Reduce Blood Pressure

Yeah, I know. Even mine is occasionally a bit higher than I want to and pretty alarming at times. I better keep singing more consistently, I suppose.

Do you know that research shows that singing can reduce anxiety and stress? Both of which can cause elevated blood pressure.

Listen to this: In a recent report, a 76-year old woman went through severe hypertension in a hospital before her operation. When the drugs did not work, the woman asked if she could sing, to which the hospital staff agreed.

As a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, she sang in the choir. In the hospital, she started to sing choir songs, after which her blood pressure dropped dramatically. Before she sang, her blood pressure was at 240/120, but this reduced to 180/90 after singing.

Sure, I’d try that myself anytime, it’s very simple to do. In another post, I will let you know my results, or I’ll just come back and edit this article.

What happens when we sing is that the endorphins and the immune systems worked together to reduce the blood pressure. Since you are eliminating stress and anxiety by singing, you are also taking away two potential causes of hypertension. This is good news to those who sing often.

Not to mention that you can gravitate your friends and family members intact by showing your videos or audio recordings of your songs in social media.

Start Singing Now – Get Healthier Sooner Than You Think

As these three studies show, there is a correlation between some aspects of our health and singing. And this correlation is positive in the sense that the activity produces hormones and results that are good for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Click here to start singing right away for your physical and psychological benefits.

What do you think of these discoveries? You can test it out for yourself and let me know what you find out. Please leave your comments or questions below and I’ll make sure to get back to you as soon as I can.


What I’ve learned about the healing process - lifelong depression - Part 1

Here’s the insanely long comment I wrote, that’s also helpful to me to write.

Ok. So I wrote an insanely long comment. The longest I’ve ever written. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to, but maybe there are 1 or 2 things at least that will sound helpful to you and can make you feel better in the next 1-2 days.

This is for you, but also helps me to go over all that I know, to remind myself about which track I want to be on in my own life. I was pretty severely depressed for a couple months recently (more than usual), and I’m in reflection and trying to chart my course forward.

(I’ll add some links in a reply to this comment, with the sources I mention here, like the neuroscientist, and Tara Brach, etc.)

PART 1: First off, you may want to see about accessing counseling services. You can do this with video calls or phone calls now that the world has made that transition due to the pandemic, so geographical distance to a provider is less of a barrier now, meaning you have a wider pool of clinicians to choose from. Your health insurance may cover it. But most schools provide access to these services. I’ve seen a few different counselors over my life (4 of them long term, in succession not simultaneously). They’ve all had different strengths and different compatibility with me, but no matter what, it has always been a helpful process to me.

There are other professionals whose services may be helpful in your healing journey, too. I’ve heard EMDR is helpful for “rewiring” our brain’s response to trauma-based triggers or emotional pitfalls. But there are so many types of therapies out there. (Even listening to music, DANCING to music that makes you happy/feel good, making art (or coloring in a coloring book) might be helpful.))

(Also, I personally have foregone antidepressants so far, but that’s a decision that each person has to make for themselves. The important thing is that you go through a responsible and attentive psychiatrist, so they work closely with you on proper drug and dosage choice, and make sure you take them properly, schedule regular check ins to make sure it’s going well for you, etc.

I personally am considering paying to go to a ketamine clinic for the antidepressant effects without daily dosing, but that touches on the healing powers of psychedelic and entheogenic drugs, and I’m also keen to go to an ayahuasca retreat, but it’s generally best to have prior psychedelic experience before considering ayahuasca)

Now, this is what I’ve educated myself about and learned throughout my life, mostly at ages 18-31.

We often overlook what’s truly happening in our internal processes. Our narrative, our self-talk, our unconscious belief patterns, our emotional triggers, our thought patterns. We may even think we are aware, but due to our coping mechanisms (childhood survival mechanisms), we may dissociate from the triggers and processes that cause us difficulty, so we may end up “stranded” at the outcome of all of this, without knowing how we wound up there or how we get out.

There is so much to talk about here, and undoubtedly many books, studies, concepts to cover. I’m afraid I may fall short on that, but I’ll see if I can explain a little.

It’s helpful to practice a no-consequences self-reflection or questioning. When you feel or think something, simply ask yourself, “I wonder why?” Not to berate yourself or find your failings, but to continue questioning and gaining insights you hadn’t allowed yourself before. So, maybe it goes like this:

“I’m so miserable, I can’t even manage to get out of bed today.” “I wonder why?” “Because I hate myself.” “I wonder why?” “Because I don’t feel good enough.” “I wonder why?” “Because i always fail in school and have no friends.” “I wonder why?” “Because as a child, no one helped me figure out how to get all of my homework and studying done, and also I was fearful of others because I was socially sheltered and had no confidence and was overwhelmed by that.” “I wonder why?” “Because my family had xyz conditions to their lifestyle and my parents functioned in xyz way.” “I wonder why?” Etc.

It helps to de-stigmatize what you’re feeling, and opens new doors in your thought patterns. When we self-criticize, we shut down our capacity to be aware and to learn, which means we can be totally stuck while we suffer. It helps to open these doors, and before you know it, learning about yourself can start you off on a new path. Practice being an observer of the pattern of your thoughts and feelings. What causes what?

Be the observer of your in we experience. Practice bringing conscious awareness to the way emotions feel in your body when you’re feeling them (actually proven to be very very helpful!)

Also, sometimes we might have to consciously intervene with our habitual thoughts. Or ‘manually’ condition ourselves with new thought patterns.

I’ve heard from a reputable neuroscientist that, because of our negativity bias (an evolutionary advantage to mostly think about and remember negative outcomes), we have to experience or focus on a positive thought/feeling for 12 seconds to make it stick. Obviously we’d also have to do this repeatedly, not just a once, to recondition our mood ‘set-point.’ (I’ll see if I can dig out a link to the interview with him.)

I’ve been pausing whenever I sense or realize that I’m enjoying something, and sitting with that feeling. It may help to focus on or say to yourself that you’re happy.

For instance, when I go out to the river for immersion in nature, it’s beautiful, I feel good, and I probably smile and laugh when I see other people out there having so much fun — families, friends. They might be laughing and playing in the water. Or how there are so many happy kids and dogs. But even the beauty of the clouds, the sound of the birds, the light reflecting under the water, etc. all makes me happy and feel a little more peace.

When I recognize im feeling this way, I might just breathe deeply and smile and say to myself that I’m so lucky to be there. Or even say in my mind “happy.” I try to take a short moment, maybe about 12 seconds like I’ve heard is advisable.

Similarly, you might try things such as listing what you’re grateful for every day. It might seem weird and ineffective, but studies support that this will make a difference for people (possibly just by a small increment) if practiced regularly. It helps to fit these things in based on a particular time of day, or within your routine, so it’s automatic. Or connected to any particular trigger consistently. (Before every meal, or any time you catch yourself feeling despair, or whenever you charge your phone, or whatever feels like it will stick.)

That, or try listing things you like about yourself, things you’re proud of yourself for. Forgive yourself and appreciate yourself. Combat negative self-talk with a deliberate opposite (positive) thing. Better yet, try a 1:5 ratio. For every negative comment you make to yourself about yourself, list off 5 positive things about yourself. (The same aforementioned neuroscientist also said that it had been measured and that it takes 5 positive comments to someone to offset the negative impact of 1 negative comment.) Try to stop punishing yourself and instead have some love and appreciation for yourself because you’re doing your best in life.

Even if you think there’s nothing positive to be noticed or said, I guarantee you if you try, you can find something. “I’m grateful for sunlight.” “I’m grateful I have 2 legs” (or some other body part you have) “I’m proud of myself for admitting on reddit that I’m struggling” “I like my hair” or “I like my taste in music” or “I can be funny sometimes” “I’m a good friend” — whatever!

Also! There’s a method of grounding your mental state (using your senses to acknowledge what is around you, called “5-4-3-2-1”) that can help you deal with anxiety, and ground you mentally/emotionally. Described here: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/behavioral-health-partners/bhp-blog/april-2018/5-4-3-2-1-coping-technique-for-anxiety.aspx

Next, a very important topic, for me, is that, if your childhood survival mechanism has been to tune out your surroundings (when you have no power over your life and cannot change your environment), you may be prone to dissociate or get lost in your head too much as an adult. The causes of doing this in childhood could include just feeling lonely a lot, being emotionally unsupported or unguided.

If that’s true for you, it’s possible that now, as a grown person, when you feel bad about something, you might have strong emotions about it but also a blind spot in your conscious awareness for it. Feelings of failure, fears, guilt, shame, etc might build up in the back of your mind while you are unable to face them and process them, and put you out of commission with severe depression. So they can creep into your mind slowly. (unresolved feelings that have plagued you since forever daily patterns of stress, fear, shame, etc or even just recent events that are emotionally triggering but hard for you to hold in your body and process). until you might be totally overtaken by unresolved emotional trauma or suffering. It can feel out of your power or like it blindsided you.

If this sounds like you, there is hope, though! It’s best to focus on self-compassion, and forgiveness.

On a related and also important note, I have found that I struggle with will power or ability to translate my thoughts into action. This is probably a “chicken or the egg” scenario between this trait and depression. Hard to say which one begets which, but it creates a feedback loop, where they spur each other on. I’ve learned that it also comes from my childhood, so it’s a long-running struggle.

It makes everything that much more debilitating (and means I feel I fail on top of failing and then fail again in life), so it adds to the feeling of helplessness, overwhelm, feeling trapped, and self-loathing and despair.

I’m still working through the ability to construct the behaviors I need to have. What I’ve found is that the best approach for me is to use microscopic goals that are in service of practicing daily consistency above all else. And that even though it feels absurdly, laughably small, I can and will celebrate each and every tiny success I have. (This all helps to reprogram my brain for the traits, abilities, and feelings I ultimately want to become second-nature to me.)

For example, If I want to start an exercise habit, I have tried the extreme and the baby-steps version. So at first i went all out and did the “Insanity” home workout videos. I’ve really benefitted from that in the short term, when I’ve managed to motivate myself with a personal rewards system and a calendar to keep me on-track. BUT aside from the downsides of overtraining that came with that (leading to a huge appetite increase, energy burnout, occasional injury from overly rigid muscles), it lead me to eventual motivation burnout and giving up. I did gain some insight from the experience, but only kept it up for a few months at a time, at best.

NOW, I focus on the most kind and forgiving and consistency-oriented practice I can, so I can gradually move the needle by very small increments. It helps to track my progress, as long as I only ever congratulate myself and never feel that I’ve failed. I never count the negatives, only positive. Any success is worth noting and consciously appreciating.

I currently do 1 push-up, 1 sit-up, 1 squat each day. It’s so small Im almost embarrassed to share that. But you know what? It’s so small I can do it every. Single. Day. It has taken only a tiny amount of conscious effort and energy expenditure. It’s so small I can succeed at DOING it so many more days.

And building the consistency is the key. Because it takes WAYY more effort to tell myself I’m going to work out for a half hour when I’m starting from square 1 than it would if I gradually increase my workout from 1 minute every day on the 1st week to 2 min every day the next, 3 min the next. until 30 min is so easy because it’s ingrained in me, and if I fall off the wagon I’ll just start again at whatever level I can manage, even if it’s all the way back at the beginning again.

I’ve done this with meditation, too. In both of these instances, it has been extremely helpful to me. I have fallen off the wagon and had to start over. But the most important thing to me is to avoid (even unconsciously) feeling I’ve failed because that means I won’t re-attempt, but will feel a huge invisible wall prevents me from having any will power over it whatsoever.

Every re-start is a huge success and very very helpful, mentally, to train myself that I can always succeed if I just forgive myself and start small. Consistency (daily is ideal) is a game-changer. (I don’t even know when I’m unconsciously sabotaging myself, which may be characteristic of being depressed for my whole life, so I’m still learning here, but this principle has been absolutely crucial to my growth.)


Endocrine System

The endocrine system is made up of glands that make hormones. Hormones are the body's chemical messengers. They carry information and instructions from one set of cells to another.

The endocrine (EN-duh-krin) system influences almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies.

What Does the Endocrine System Do?

  • Endocrine glands release into the bloodstream. This lets the hormones travel to cells in other parts of the body.
  • The endocrine hormones help control mood, growth and development, the way our organs work, , and reproduction.
  • The endocrine system regulates how much of each hormone is released. This can depend on levels of hormones already in the blood, or on levels of other substances in the blood, like calcium. Many things affect hormone levels, such as stress, infection, and changes in the balance of fluid and minerals in blood.

Too much or too little of any hormone can harm the body. Medicines can treat many of these problems.

What Are the Parts of the Endocrine System?

While many parts of the body make hormones, the major glands that make up the endocrine system are the:

  • hypothalamus
  • pituitary
  • thyroid
  • parathyroids
  • adrenals
  • pineal body
  • the ovaries
  • the testes

The pancreas is part of the endocrine system and the digestive system. That's because it secretes hormones into the bloodstream, and makes and secretes enzymes into the digestive tract.

Hypothalamus: The hypothalamus (hi-po-THAL-uh-mus) is in the lower central part of the brain. It links the endocrine system and nervous system. Nerve cells in the hypothalamus make chemicals that control the release of hormones secreted from the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus gathers information sensed by the brain (such as the surrounding temperature, light exposure, and feelings) and sends it to the pituitary. This information influences the hormones that the pituitary makes and releases.

Pituitary: The pituitary (puh-TOO-uh-ter-ee) gland is at the base of the brain, and is no bigger than a pea. Despite its small size, the pituitary is often called the "master gland." The hormones it makes control many other endocrine glands.

The pituitary gland makes many hormones, such as:

  • growth hormone, which stimulates the growth of bone and other body tissues and plays a role in the body's handling of nutrients and minerals
  • prolactin (pro-LAK-tin), which activates milk production in women who are breastfeeding
  • thyrotropin (thy-ruh-TRO-pin), which stimulates the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones
  • corticotropin (kor-tih-ko-TRO-pin), which stimulates the adrenal gland to make certain hormones
  • antidiuretic (an-ty-dy-uh-REH-tik) hormone, which helps control body water balance through its effect on the kidneys
  • oxytocin (ahk-see-TOE-sin), which triggers the contractions of the uterus that happen during labor

The pituitary also secretes endorphins (en-DOR-fins), chemicals that act on the nervous system and reduce feelings of pain. The pituitary also secretes hormones that signal the reproductive organs to make sex hormones. The pituitary gland also controls and the menstrual cycle in women.

Thyroid: The thyroid (THY-royd) is in the front part of the lower neck. It's shaped like a bow tie or butterfly. It makes the thyroid hormones thyroxine (thy-RAHK-sin) and triiodothyronine (try-eye-oh-doe-THY-ruh-neen). These hormones control the rate at which cells burn fuels from food to make energy. The more thyroid hormone there is in the bloodstream, the faster chemical reactions happen in the body.

Thyroid hormones are important because they help kids' and teens' bones grow and develop, and they also play a role in the development of the brain and nervous system.

Parathyroids: Attached to the thyroid are four tiny glands that work together called the parathyroids (par-uh-THY-roydz). They release parathyroid hormone, which controls the level of calcium in the blood with the help of calcitonin (kal-suh-TOE-nin), which the thyroid makes.

Adrenal Glands: These two triangular adrenal (uh-DREE-nul) glands sit on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands have two parts, each of which makes a set of hormones and has a different function:

  1. The outer part is the adrenal cortex. It makes hormones called corticosteroids (kor-tih-ko-STER-oydz) that help control salt and water balance in the body, the body's response to stress, metabolism, the immune system, and sexual development and function.
  2. The inner part is the adrenal medulla (muh-DUH-luh). It makes catecholamines (kah-tuh-KO-luh-meenz), such as epinephrine (eh-puh-NEH-frun). Also called adrenaline, epinephrine increases blood pressure and heart rate when the body is under stress.

Pineal: The pineal (pih-NEE-ul) body, also called the pineal gland, is in the middle of the brain. It secretes melatonin (meh-luh-TOE-nin), a hormone that may help regulate when we sleep at night and wake in the morning.

Reproductive Glands: The gonads are the main source of sex hormones. In boys the male gonads, or testes (TES-teez), are in the scrotum. They secrete hormones called androgens (AN-druh-junz), the most important of which is (tess-TOSS-tuh-rone). These hormones tell a boy's body when it's time to make the changes associated with puberty, like penis and height growth, deepening voice, and growth in facial and pubic hair. Working with hormones from the pituitary gland, testosterone also tells a boy's body when it's time to make sperm in the testes.

A girl's gonads, the ovaries (OH-vuh-reez), are in her pelvis. They make eggs and secrete the female hormones (ESS-truh-jen) and (pro-JESS-tuh-rone). Estrogen is involved when a girl starts puberty. During puberty, a girl will have breast growth, start to accumulate body fat around the hips and thighs, and have a growth spurt. Estrogen and progesterone are also involved in the regulation of a girl's menstrual cycle. These hormones also play a role in pregnancy.

Pancreas: The pancreas (PAN-kree-us) makes insulin (IN-suh-lin) and glucagon (GLOO-kuh-gawn), which are hormones that control the level of glucose, or sugar, in the blood. Insulin helps keep the body supplied with stores of energy. The body uses this stored energy for exercise and activity, and it also helps organs work as they should.


The Philosophy Of Life. Through The Eyes Of A Bodybuilder.

The bodybuilder has the potential of taking his Art straight to God. Every time you go to exercise, train, to push that extra, you make a deposit in your life's account .

P rehistoric Man, by leaving all fours (Homo Erectus), emancipated his hands, and with this new freedom, he developed his mind, through his hands. The hands are the eyes of the body. The hands of time, have always written the pages of history. All ancient knowledge came from this source and that is why the eye in the palm, is a symbol for many cultures.

Bodybuilding also starts with the hands. In order to lift you have to touch (make contact with what your lifting). Remember the hands are the eyes of the body, so with a firm grip, you create a confident mind, and the weight powers up, because the hands could see. With your hands, you move into the action and gain wisdom.

Some would say, Peter your hands don&apost see, they feel their way around. I tried an experiment, and I did 2 weeks of training blind. Eyes covered. Yes I was under tight supervision by another lifter. Balance, for me huge problem in squats, lunges, and I some how I didn&apost have the confidence for heavy lifts. 2 weeks later, I did get better in balance, it did strengthen my mind-body connection and I can see a purpose to blind training.

Hands and consciousness have walked together (hand in hand), since cavemen were drawing on the walls, they drew what they could see and do. From this lengthy process, mankind became conscious of himself, and expressed this new consciousness through his hands by drawing on the cave walls.

Years of wall drawings, expressing all that he could see, he began to draw himself, as part of the picture. This was a giant leap for Mankind. The beginning of self-awareness, a consciousness of the self, and in relation to the overall environment. And this new awareness brings fourth, the one question, that we as Humans have asked ourselves, for thousands of years. The one question, where all philosophy springs fourth, WHO AM I, the original, prevailing thought, that leads us to believe, that life is only as good as the questions you ask.

Who am I? This is the beginning, and from this thirsty minded need to know. To know what?

All Human societies are based around personal identity, and note how this concern can last a lifetime. There is something odd about a Human with no identity. The original question of "Who am I?" is only answered by the knowledge that you gain from knowing yourself.

The Socratic vision, from this knowing of the self comes fourth, understanding, respect, love, and world peace. Then the next step is:

The Mayan says "In la Kech, Ala Kem," I am your other you and you are the other me." (World Peace can only be accomplished this way). Lifters can make great contributions to mankind. Some say I&aposm only one!

Listen carefully:
The greatest contribution you can make to mankind, is a happy healthy Self. As Zig Zigler would say, "are you a wandering generality, or a meaningful specific?"

Most religions, believe that we are created in the Image of God, and this leads us to the Question, How do I know God? To know God, first "Know Thy Self." If I am the Image, and God is within, knowing one self becomes a priority.


You And Your Environment Are One

    As is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm.
    As is the atom, so is the universe.
    As is the human body, so is the cosmic body.
    As is the human mind, so is the cosmic mind. Ancient wisdom.

In a very real sense, your environment is your extended body. Example: With every breath you take you inhale millions of atoms of air which were exhaled by someone else, trees, animals, even insects in your environment. If we turn up the magnification you&aposll find that you are made of atoms, electrons, subatomic particles. Then further magnification you will find vibrating waves that come and go these waves are unseen to your eyes however they extend past your physical earth body, into the air and into your cosmic body (space).

Chinese Tao masters such as Confucius and Mencius knew that a very enlightened aware human recognizes his cosmic body.

In Unity consciousness, people, things, events out there all become part of your body. The famous naturalist John Muir said "Whenever we try to pick up anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."

The cosmic worldview is not a spiritual one in its equations Einstein and his colleges are united by the same thoughts of the ancient wisdom.

    Niels Bohr compared the wave aspect of matter to cosmic mind.

This minor perception shift makes all the difference between freedom and bondage.

In the cosmic world, change is inevitable just as it is inevitable for your cellular interaction with a constant changing environment.

The bodybuilder has the potential of taking his Art straight to God. Every time you go to exercise, train, to push that extra, you make a deposit in your life&aposs account. And the more you deposit, the more you have to pool from, and the more options appear. This is the fertile ground of Growth, the valley of the Gods.

Arnold used Imagery, he fantasized that he was the Scandinavian God of thunder, the Hammer, the mighty Thor in mythology. 20 years later Arnold&aposs dream comes true in Conan the barbarian, in that movie he was outrageous and breathtaking, all at the same time.

Imagery creates an energy field, that has its own expectations, as in icons, the law of attraction. You create a vision, that vision has an energy field, that you have an attraction to. So as you move forward toward your goal, your goal pulls you into that energy field where success is an everyday event.

Many people say "oh how boring" doing almost the same thing all the time, lifting is boring, anyways I don&apost what to get big".

The Masters say, "repetition is the path to success." Not a comfort zone repetitiveness, but a consciousness that observes it self, and becomes more and more aware of itself.

As we all know, who lift, that we thrive on number of sets and reps, the number of these sets and reps over many years creates an accumulation effect of muscle memory that lasts a lifetime.

This self-awareness, through lifting countless hours leads to self-respect, which has the ability to love others. The dedication, determination, patience of repetitious actions creates its own sense of knowing that you are building a foundation of health, strength and happiness. Life is sweet when you&aposre, healthy and happy.


Action: The Only Way To Live

Words come easy concepts and philosophies may be profound good intentions may sound very convincing, however turning the words, concepts and ideas into action requires energy and sacrifice.

Action is not easy in this world of doubt, fear and judgementalness. We have to overcome insecurity, laziness, apathy, boredom, excuses and reasons not to rock the boat, to blend in.

Life gives us the same repeated message that knowledge and awareness without experience (action) has little truth of reality. Many motivational speakers shout out passionate and beautiful ideas to inspire us to get off the couch and make a new life, to put some effort, some will power and discipline. However, most of us take action only when the emotional, mental and physical pain gets so bad that we are forced to act. The gap between knowing and doing remains the weak link in most of our lives.

Remember action and change require initial discomfort, effort and energy. After all that is said and done, it boils down to three words: "JUST Move IT."

Most of us wait for permission from our insides to do anything we wait until fear is looking the other way or self-doubt or insecurity step aside and give us permission to act. It&aposs when you give yourself permission to act that creates the action.

Remember how long it took to come to the gym. Most people think about exercising for months (years) before they actually come to a point of action. And the good thing is that action creates more of itself - more action. So you might get on a roll (exercise habit), to get rid of your roll (around your mid-section), and not on a pastry roll.

The most powerful way to shape our lives is to get ourselves to take action. Don&apost wait, choose the way of courage and integrity. Come from the heart and then act despite the feelings of fear, rejection and self-doubt. To handle fear and self-doubt, act as if you felt courageous, as if you felt capable of any task. MOVE IT, and you&aposll soon feel your fear disappear.

Vision isn&apost enough unless combined with venture. It isn&apost enough to stare up the steps, unless we also step up the stairs. What is lacking in the present world is a profound knowledge of the self, and without this knowledge of the self, life goes on without purpose, fragmented and shattered. The been there, done that, don&apost want to do nothing, attitude of middle aged people of today represents poor thinking from a long time ago.

The average age of today&aposs population is between 45- and 47-years old. 67 million Americans turn 50-years old in the next three years. This age is a time of introspection when most people anticipate the days ahead are fewer than the days behind.

Some would call this mid-life crisis or half-century shock. Much of our society fears a lengthy life span. They believe that an extended life span would mean even more time spent in sickness and bedridden at the tail end of life. However this fear is unrealistic and in most cases unnecessary.

We cannot entirely stop or completely reverse the aging processes. We can significantly slow many aging mechanisms, and in some areas, partially reverse some of the aging processes. Our information age moves so quickly that research and knowledge in the biological sciences are doubling their information.

This means that in 10 years or less, we know twice as much and the knowledge we know today, will seem very small in comparison.

When we look around us, it becomes very obvious why people will not try to improve their health and why they are attracted to death. "Even if I do everything right, I could get hit by a bus. Everyone has to die sometime. "You are over the hill at 40." They have a big investment in planning their lives by assuming death at a certain point.

They see sickness and death among friends, relatives, public figures, and therefore feel that it is traditional.

Question: Why is it we always get what we expect? We expect to get sick, so we do. We are convinced that death is inevitable and a nice way out. We see ourselves as victims of hereditary diseases, lifestyle abuses and rigid repetitive thinking patterns. Neurologists tells us we have 60,000 thoughts per day, however 59,500 are the same as yesterday. Rigid thinking patterns give rise to repetitive, recycled social behavior, which extended over a period of time creates a mental and physical rigor mortis. The medical field says, "Humans are living shorter, but dying longer."

    We polluted air, water and soil on earth.

Now, I am not going to include pornography, but I will add a dash of Ecstasy and Viagra, the new disco cocktail.

We know that all our cells are capable of regenerating the entire human body in 8 months from stomach-lining renewed every five days, to liver and blood new every 8 to 10 weeks and a skeletal structure that renews itself every 8 months.

We also know that a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables is capable of regenerating human tissue on a cellular level. We also know that taking correct amounts of vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids to supplement good food, increases our ability to prevent sickness and disease.

We know the benefits of exercise on our immunity system, digestive system and circulatory system. Cardiovascular exercise and progressive resistance (weight training) has the ability to maintain bone density and regenerate and repair the respiratory system.

Everywhere around us are signs of what not to do and of course, what to do. When does it become obvious to us? Is humanity involved with the experience of the extremes? And when does the pendulum slowly swing to a harmonious center?

Repetitive thoughts and behavior leave us very susceptible to addictive behavior which is why you see so much of it today. Everyday is the same as yesterday and tomorrow is anticipated to be the same as today. A destiny is in the future not in the repetitive past. Where is our evolution?

And why are we the only species of nature that consistently repeats past mistakes? We are the only living species that lives half a life span. We are the only living species that uses the mind to destroy its own body and is able to commit suicide and call it an acceptable tradition. These questions everyone asks. And each individual needs to answer them in the privacy of their own lives.

Science itself is meaningful from the beginning to the end, but on certain kinds of meanings, ones that are external, existential and global. However to questions, what is our purpose in life, does life make sense, does the cosmic drama have a point, to these questions science is silent.

Values, life meanings, purposes, and qualities slip through science like the sea slips through a fisherman&aposs net. Yet Man swims in this sea, so he cannot exclude it from his sight. Taken in its entirety, the world is not as science says it is it is a science, philosophy, religion, an art, and constantly changing.

Bodybuilding, weight training, is also a science, where knowledge of biology, chemistry, nutrition, kinesiology, psychology, and with all this knowledge you create a philosophy. A wisdom that only comes from action, walking the talk, thought, word and deed.

A philosophy, that thrives on movement, a religion that seeks daily expression, an art form that goes beyond language. Jared Diamond in his book Guns, Germs, and Steel, "History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among people&aposs environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves." Everywhere in the world, where people live, you will find a gym, where you are welcome.

I personally, believe that my ability to train people goes beyond language. I may not speak the language, but I can train the people. I can go anywhere in the world and get a job as a trainer. My skills are beyond language, most people learn from observation, not from what they hear. Bodybuilding is a passport to the physical world, and the Spiritual world.

Submission (taslim) means to give yourself, unconditionally, whole-heartedly and without greed in your mind. It means not allowing yourself to be disturbed by whatever comes by, and maintaining a cheerful countenance.

For most people, submission is a sign of weakness and lack of will power. However in the theater of lifting, the gym environment creates a humble, submissive environment, because after all is said and done there is always another plate, there is always a goal that is yet to be reached.

Submission means eagerly and gladly welcoming whatever hardship arises. So if your car is in the shop, catch a bus to the gym, no excuses.

Lifting is one of the most satisfying relationships that lasts a life time, filled with joy, confidence, power and love of hard work. A Brotherhood of valiant men and women, who show to themselves and others the gift. The gift of a healthy happy life.

Submission to the process is an intelligent knowing, filled with patience and action, not a blind faith, but an understanding of what could be. To have a vision of one self is to know one self. Ask yourself, what do I want to be like 2-to-5 years from now? And single-mindedly move forward to that vision. The hands of time, and your timely hands will create the difference of your life. Poetry.


You Are Not Your Anxiety: A Journey Into the Anxious Brain

Another Note: If you prefer to print this post out or read it offline, you can grab a nicely formatted PDF of it by becoming a patron .

I’m going to start this post off with a really, really weird question, but I need you to stay with me here.

Do you remember the last time you had super intense and truly explosive diarrhea?

A bit of an uphill battle… but once again, I encourage you to stay with me here.

Perhaps you don’t remember the exact details of the diarrhetic experience, but I can guess that the following three things were true while you were going through it:

(1) You really, really wanted it to be over with

(2) You wanted to know what caused it

(3) You made a commitment to avoid doing whatever caused it again

Maybe you’re one of the few people in this world that enjoys having regular, routine bouts of diarrhea, but if you are not, then the three points above can almost act as laws surrounding this kind of experience.

Well, it turns out that these three laws apply to nearly all unpleasant physical experiences stemming from unknown origins:

Whenever we experience these types of physical discomforts, we cycle through the three laws so we can stop the uncomfortable experience, identify what caused it, and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Well, what if I added in a fourth law:

(4) Attribute the unpleasant experience to an unpleasant quality about your character

How would that make you feel?

What if upon completion of your diarrhetic episode, you concluded that it was good reason to believe that you were not worthy of love, you didn’t deserve friendship, or that you possessed nothing of value to contribute to this world?

Would that make any sense?

If you have a bad case of nausea, does that say anything about the quality of your family relationships?

If you are experiencing discomfort in your joints, does that invalidate an opinion you may have about the wonders of life?

“No, dude, of course not,” is the proper response to all those questions.

It wouldn’t make sense because these are purely physical sensations arising in your body that have nothing to do with the quality of your character. They say nothing about your life aspirations, whether or not you deserve love, or your position as a reliable/likable person in a community.

To put it simply: Law #4 is a lie.

Indigestion, heartburn, joint pain, loss of certain faculties, etc. are all the result of biological processes that occur without your conscious involvement. As a result, there is no connection between them and the inner qualities of your being and character. You having explosive diarrhea tells me absolutely nothing about who you are as a person.

While this makes sense, the deceitful Law #4 seems to hold significant power over the millions and millions of people afflicted by a specific type of biological condition:

Conditions such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (abbreviated as “GAD”) or Social Anxiety Disorder (sadly abbreviated as “SAD”) can be debilitating forces that derail people’s lives into deep pits of fear, despair, and seclusion. What differentiates anxiety from other behavioral health disorders (such as depression) is the deeply woven interaction between the following three elements:

Physical Sensation

Sufferers of anxiety disorders don’t have to wonder when a bout of anxiety has hit them. They will feel it, and they will feel it as an individualized hurricane of unpleasant sensations. Highly uncomfortable sensations such as chest pain, shortness of breath, profuse sweating, dizziness, and tenseness can ripple throughout the body instantaneously.

The texture of these physiological discomforts 1 The terms “physical” and “physiological” will be used interchangeably throughout this post. in their combined form are very specific to each person despite their broad descriptions — it’s as if a bartender from hell took the most generic drinks (gin, whiskey, vodka, etc.) but used a very specific mixture of them to create a cocktail that only you will ever have. The texture of something like “tension” can be completely different from how another person describes it, and when you do this across the potential spectrum of unpleasant sensations, you get infinite possible permutations of this feeling of dread.

What further exacerbates the struggle of anxiety is the tendency to believe that only you alone will ever feel this particular cocktail of sensations, which is absolutely frightening. And speaking of frightening…

Emotional Interpretation

These physical sensations inevitably lead to an emotional deciphering of them. If you feel your chest suddenly tense up and your face flush hot red, that strong discomfort will make you feel something about it. Since we all experience ourselves as a fluid state of mind and body, the mind tags bodily sensations with an emotional experience so you know what to do with them — in the case of anxiety, these emotions are usually negative in nature (fear, dread, panic, embarrassment, and so on).

This attachment of a negative emotional state to a physiological discomfort makes sense, as Law #1 states that you generally want unpleasant experiences to be over with, and this is the brain’s way of telling you to get rid of it. It is this very response, however, that often leads to a lot of suffering for those that have anxiety disorders.

Behavioral Response

The behavioral response is the part of the wheel that holds everything together — the proverbial glue that solidifies the difficulties one faces with anxiety. It’s the part that converts these physical sensations and emotional experiences into a false narrative that you tell about yourself.

To illustrate this point, let’s walk through a possible behavioral response to social anxiety using the Three Laws of Terrible Experiences:

[Law #1] You really, really want it to be over with

Upon meeting a friend of a friend, your body experiences a wave of unpleasant physiological sensations that are overwhelming and uncontrollable. Your heart races, your lips shake, and your face flushes immediately. These sensations are accompanied by a feeling of fear and panic, and you don’t want to make these emotions known to this person you’ve just met. Since this interaction provoked these unpleasant sensations and emotions, you excuse yourself from the conversation because you don’t want to feel like this anymore.

[Law #2] You want to know what caused it

This has been going on for a number of years now, even with people that you know quite well. Yes, you intuitively know that you have some kind of anxiety problem, but why? This can’t be normal. Why have you been afflicted with this terrible thing?

Was it that one traumatic event from your early childhood that rippled its way into adult life? Or maybe it was that other one? Is it because you never “corrected” for your shyness and didn’t really contribute much to conversations? Maybe that led to an inability to say anything interesting…

The possible causes are endless, but you just can’t pinpoint the right one.

[Law #3] You want to avoid doing whatever caused it again

Since the physical sensations are so real but the cause of them can’t be attached to any external factor, you feel that your anxiety is the result of who you are internally and it must be saying something about your character. You feel like you must be afflicted with this acute sense of anxiety because there’s something inherently problematic with you in general.

So the common behavioral response to this is avoidance of social situations and seclusion of the mind. Things are scary out there, and your anxiety is telling you that something about your character is just not right.

While this type of behavioral response is common, the underlying narrative could not be further from the truth. If a bout of indigestion or a physical ailment tells me nothing about your values as a human being, having anxiety also tells me nothing about the merits of your character. These are all byproducts of processes in our biology rather than flaws in our humanity, and the more we understand this, the more we can make progress in managing the difficult symptoms and behaviors that arise from this condition.

This post will act as a brief primer on the neurobiological basis of anxiety disorders — it will explore the weird object known as the human brain, and the players involved in creating the physical sensations associated with anxiety. 2 This post will focus particularly on social anxiety (and a bit of generalized anxiety), but will not be going into depth for panic disorders. However, many of the points mentioned can also apply in the realm of panic disorders as well. After spending many weeks researching this subject (primarily using these two wonderful books: The Anxious Brain by Margaret Wehrenberg and Anxious by Joseph LeDoux) , I’ve found that understanding the biological mechanics of anxiety can be greatly beneficial for the following three reasons:

(1) It helps to relieve the destructive tendency of looking for the personal reasons behind one’s anxiety

While determining the causes of an illness can be helpful in finding the best ways to address them, the desire to do so for those with anxiety disorders can often lead to unnecessary levels of suffering. The search to find the elusive “event that caused it” primes the belief that anxiety arises purely as a result of traumatic emotional events, and puts the burden on your personal mental history to discover it.

In reality, the mind and body are one inseparable entity, meaning that emotional events are the result of a flow of information brought forth by activity in the brain, and vice versa. Anxiety does not necessarily arise solely because of a concrete external event that happened to you — it occurs because of the false signals the physical brain is producing that provokes intense emotional and physiological responses to them. Once we get better at remembering this, we can shift our attention away from obsessively finding the emotional root of anxiety over to using thought-management methods to better tame and control the responses to it.

(2) It motivates change by having one understand the link between lifestyle shifts and brain activity

While reading about all the intricate shit the brain is doing, it helped me understand why it’s so important to exercise and eat well. In fact, I realized that exercising does so much more for my mental health than my physical health, and it gave me a clear picture as to why that is the case. Now when I go for a swim or go running, I know what exactly is happening in my brain, which further motivates me to maintain a regular schedule in doing so. This link between knowledge and lifestyle can become a powerful tool when undergoing treatment and therapy for anxiety.

(3) It lessens self-blame and self-condemnation

This is perhaps the most important one of all. Anxiety can be such a crippling disorder because of the stories we tell ourselves about it. If you feel a pervasive sense of dread whenever you are with your friends, it makes sense that this would inevitably lead to a negative narrative you construct about yourself. The physical discomforts and emotional symptoms you experience can cause your self-worth to plummet, and make you feel that you are not deserving of friendship or love.

Any justification behind self-deprecation is the oldest myth the mind has ever told itself. And in the past, we only had inspirational stories to explain why we shouldn’t blame ourselves for the shitty things we feel (religion, mythology, etc.).

But now, we have science as well.

We can now pinpoint the exact things that are happening within the brain that may cause you to feel these condemning thoughts and responses. And when these processes are outlined, it becomes very clear that you are not your anxiety . Knowing about the details of the anxious brain greatly lessens the self-blame that prevents effective therapy and treatment, and also helps to disassociate yourself from the sensations that come with it.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you that learning about the anxious brain is pretty important. But to understand it more, we first need a case study to delve deeper into.

Thankfully, I’ve found someone that can help.

The Story of Sam

Sam has social anxiety disorder, which impacts approximately 15 million people in the United States alone. His social anxiety started to develop when he was around 18 years old, which is an age where the initial development of SAD is quite common. In fact, there are two peaks of incidence:

When looking at these two age ranges, it makes sense why anxiety disorders are commonly birthed there. These are periods where physical, social, and educational changes are sudden and dramatic — between the ages of 11 and 15, puberty is a thing that comes and fucks up all the definitions of what it means to be male or female, and what it means to co-exist with one another. From 18 to 25, people are expected to take on unprecedented levels of independence and enter super complex social structures like college or work without much parental guidance.

These are stressful times, and different brains respond in different ways.

For Sam, heading off to the foreign world of college was the onramp to his ongoing struggle with anxiety. After graduating as a valedictorian in his small Midwestern high school, he was really looking forward to entering college as a freshman at a large university in California. He was going to spend the next 4 years in a foreign coastal city surrounded by smart, weird, and hopefully fun people from all walks of life.

But when he arrived on campus, he felt a strange feeling of isolation and fear that he first attributed to “new beginning jitters.” He understood that nervousness was a normal part of any new chapter (especially when it comes to meeting new people), so he brushed off his inability to connect with others as typical growing pains of a fresh college student.

However, as the days became weeks and the weeks became months, his initial bout of “new beginning jitters” morphed into something entirely different. While he felt somewhat comfortable with his roommate, his mind and body would experience almost unbearable levels of fear and anxiety when faced with various social situations.

Whenever Sam would meet someone for the first time or hang out with an unfamiliar acquaintance, his heart rate would rapidly increase, causing his chest to tighten up as tension swept through his entire body. This overwhelming feeling of dread would start from his heart and quickly make its way to the top of his head, causing his mind to race violently in the process.

As he would try to converse with a stranger — let’s call her Sharon — his mind would spew out thoughts at a frantic and chaotic manner.

Anxious thoughts quickly bombard his mind as a response to his uncomfortable physiological sensations, causing them to grow even stronger. As these sensations intensify, Sam avoids eye contact with Sharon as much as possible, believing that she will judge him for being the anxious wreck that he is. He tries his best to carry along the conversation, but believes that he is being judged every step of the way.

However, the reality is that no one is really judging him, and Sharon is genuinely excited to meet Sam. She’s heard a lot of great things about him, and just wants the opportunity to get to know him better. She doesn’t really notice all the things that Sam is experiencing, and even if she did, it doesn’t matter to her because she believes that she’s engaged in good conversation.

But even if Sam knew all this, it would be difficult to feel reassured because all these physical sensations are telling him otherwise. Despite him knowing that this conversation is not a life-or-death situation, his mind and body are automatically reacting to her presence as if it were just that. These physical discomforts (rapid heart rate, flushing of the face, etc.) are giving way to an emotional interpretation of them (fear, dread, embarrassment), thus solidifying themselves into a behavioral response of avoidance.

The reality, however, is that these sensations are the result of neurobiological processes that are happening within his brain, and they don’t have anything particularly wise to say about the narrative of his character. In order to break the link between these physiological sensations and his behavioral response to them, it’s important to take a look at what’s going on underneath the hood. When we’re able to understand the automatic processes that happen here, it becomes easier to disassociate ourselves from the thought that our anxiety defines who we are.

So what we’re going to do now is zoom in on that mysterious, three-pound hunk of goo sitting in Sam’s head. This impossibly intricate, complex mesh of neurons, cells, and tissue has provided us with all the wonders we see before us today, but it’s also making Sam feel terribly petrified at the sight of Sharon’s presence.

What exactly is happening here when Sam’s social anxiety kicks in? How does an external social cue / stimulus cause his body to instantaneously tense up and sweat profusely?

Well, let’s jump into Sam’s brain and find out.

The Biology of the Anxious Brain

The thought of illustrating an actual brain is an extremely daunting task, as it’s nowhere near as simple and cuddly as I’ve been drawing it to this day:

If you search online for some actual images of the human brain, you’ll find that the thing responsible for so much beauty in this world looks like an absolute shitshow. It’s a hot mess of blood, tissue, and goo that looks really difficult to map stuff onto, so I’m going to take a different approach to illustrating it in this post.

One model I’ve found particularly useful in providing a high-level view of the brain is Paul MacLean’s triune brain model. It breaks the brain down into three metaphorical (not literal) layers, with each section having a group of components working together to achieve a greater function. 3 Some neuroscientists might be angrily composing an email right now to tell me how outdated this model may be. I totally get it, but while the triune brain model does have its shortcomings, it’s a very useful tool to communicate the workings of the brain to a layperson like myself. Using this model as our navigational tool, let’s imagine the brain as if it were a world divided into three interconnected islands:

(1) Land of the Wise
(2) Land of the Emotional
(3) Land of the Automatic

Here’s the official More To That map of this three-continent brain:

There’s a lot going on in this wild amusement park, as each continent has its own inhabitants and gears that allow the whole system to work. We will soon visit each one, but in an order that follows how an external stimulus is processed through each of the lands to create the dreadful feeling of anxiety.

Before we begin the tour, let’s rewind the tape to seconds before Sam meets Sharon.

They will meet shortly, and Sharon will become the external stimulus that pushes Sam’s anxiety into full gear the moment it happens.

So in the context of our map, Sharon is the passenger aboard the S.S. Stimuli, the boat that is headed toward Sam’s awaiting brain.

The S.S. Stimuli’s destination is the Land of the Emotional, which is where we will begin our tour.

The Land of the Emotional

The Land of the Emotional, or the LOE, is better known as the brain’s limbic system . The term limbic system comes from the Latin word for “ring,” which refers to the structures that ring around the upper part of the brainstem. 4 The fact that I’m using the word “emotional” to describe the limbic system may make some neuroscientists’ heads spin. Joseph LeDoux, the author of Anxious , has stated that he is a long-time critic of the limbic theory of emotion, which puts the limbic system at the center of emotional emergence. Although this theory has been criticized by many scholars, I will continue to use the “Land of the Emotional” to describe the limbic system due to the usage of MacLean’s triune model to organize my map of the brain.

The limbic system is responsible for taking in external stimuli, initiating involuntary responses to them, and assigning emotional significance to them afterward. It is the part of ourselves that we jokingly call “our monkey brain”, where impulsive behavior and automatic responses to our environment can reign supreme.

It’s the part of our brain that evolved to make us feel fear when we see a lion, arousal when we check out an attractive person, and hunger when watching someone eat a delicious meal. The LOE has allowed us to use pleasure and fear as tools to propagate the human species, but if left unchecked, it can lead to a significant number of problems. We’ve explored the bugs of natural selection in the past, but if you were looking for an actual location of where these shortcomings originate from, look no further than the Land of the Emotional.

The LOE is our starting point here because this is where the brain first receives the S.S. Stimuli. And the place it does this is at the port of the thalamus, which acts as the relay station for incoming information from the external world.

Upon receiving a stimulus, the thalamus makes an instantaneous evaluation of it, then sends its results to two primary places:

(1) The amygdala (which resides in the Land of the Emotional as well), and
(2) The Land of the Wise.

The amygdala will make its grand entrance shortly, but it’s important to remember that the thalamus also sends its information to the Land of the Wise as well. However, since the amygdala lives right next to the thalamus, it receives sensory information faster than the Land of the Wise does (in fact, the neural pathway from the thalamus to the Land of the Wise is literally longer than the one going to the amygdala). This will be very relevant when we begin discussing the function and characteristics of the Land of the Wise in the next post.

So in Sam’s case, the thalamus has received Sharon’s face as an external stimulus, and has passed that information along to the next character, the amygdala. The amygdala is one of the central characters in initiating the brain’s anxious response, so let’s take some time to explore this odd thing.

The Amygdala

The amygdala is the reason why the Land of the Emotional is just that… an extremely emotional place. The amygdala acts as the brain’s early warning system, and assigns emotional significance to incoming information from the thalamus. And since it’s the first part of the brain to produce a reaction to this stimulus (the specific area of note is the lateral amygdala), it is the pivotal character to much of the emotion behind fear and anxiety. 5 Joseph LeDoux is one of the first researchers to draw the map of the brain’s “fear circuit”, which placed the amygdala as a central character in the generation of fear. However, LeDoux has since revised that view, arguing that the amygdala is only a nonconscious processor of threats, and it is our conscious feeling of being afraid that leads us to experience fear. In other words, the amygdala doesn’t directly generate fear and anxiety, but instead simply detects the threats that allows our brain to generate fear. For purposes of this post though, I will refer to the amygdala as a generator of fear to limit confusion for readers. Sorry, Dr. LeDoux!

Robert Sapolsky, an author and professor of biology and neuroscience at Stanford, describes an experiment in his book, Behave , where this phenomenon is clearly shown:

“In one study subjects in a brain scanner played a Ms. Pac-Man-from-hell video game where they were pursued in a maze by a dot if caught, they’d be shocked. When people were evading the dot, the amygdala was silent. However, its activity increased as the dot approached the stronger the shocks, the farther away the dot would be when first activating the amygdala, the stronger the activation, and the larger the self-reported feeling of panic.”

While this pretty-fucked-up experiment clearly shows that physical pain will trigger amygdala activation, I wondered how various social situations (i.e. meeting strangers, not conforming to social norms, etc.) would also cause the amygdala to freak out.

Interestingly enough, Sapolsky states that there is a link between amygdala and social nonconformity as well. Imagine an experiment that goes something like this:

That one person that stuck to his guns showed distinct amygdala activation.

The desire to fit in with a group is deeply embedded in our brains, so when the risk of being a social outcast is high, the amygdala freaks out and sounds the alarm. This fear of being “the other” is undeniably tied to social anxiety, where its sufferer is under the continuous assumption that he is not exhibiting behavior that would make him likable.

This is what happens when Sam’s amygdala receives information about Sharon’s status as a stranger. Sam’s amygdala has been conditioned to treat unfamiliar faces as threats to his survival, so Sharon’s presence causes it to prepare other parts of the brain for an instantaneous stress response. 6 Interestingly, people with social anxiety tend to have larger amygdalas than usual, which causes overreactivity to changes in facial expressions.

As the amygdala sends its alarmed response over to another player in the Land of the Emotional (who we’ll get to shortly), I want to pause for a moment and draw your attention to this interesting fella, who is feverishly recording everything that’s going on in the background.

This is the hippocampus, and you can think of it as the record-keeper of the mind. The hippocampus is vital for the development of memory, and it pairs the details of a situation with the emotion that the amygdala generated for it.

It feverishly writes down all the events and emotions of the day on a big scratchboard, and when the day is over, it will deliver this up to The Land of the Wise for memory storage and processing. During the all-important REM sleep cycle, the insignificant details of life are discarded, and significant information is stored as long-term memory. This process will then free up the hippocampus’ scratchboard, which allows it to record all the details and events of a fresh new day.

So if the sight of Sharon’s face got Sam’s amygdala all worked up, the hippocampus will record that fact, and will process it as a significant event for the day. As a result, unfamiliar faces can be tagged as fear-inducing stimuli for Sam, regardless of whether or not Sharon continues to be the unfamiliar face in question. It can be any stranger that causes it due to the emotion associated with that encounter — this is why anything that can remind someone of a traumatic event (a smell, a sound, etc.) can elicit the stress response that was experienced during the actual event itself.

The hippocampus’ role as a record-keeper is important to remember as we continue this tour of the anxious brain — if we can determine how to “unlearn” the fear associated with an external stimulus, the hippocampus will also keep track of that fact too. Any progress or work we do toward treating anxiety will also be recorded by the hippocampus as well, which is a great thing to be mindful of when addressing it head-on.

Okay, now that we’re aware of the hippocampus’ background omnipresence, let’s get back to the amygdala.

At this point, the amygdala has interpreted Sharon’s presence as an immediate threat, and wants to initiate the body’s stress response to prepare it accordingly. The famed fight-or-flight response is the body’s way of putting you in a state of alertness to address a stressful situation — whether the stimulus is a hungry mountain lion or an unfamiliar human face, the body will go through the same motions to prepare you for it.

The pathway to a physical sensation starts with a character living in the Land of the Emotional, but it lives in an embassy representing another continent: the Land of the Automatic.

The amygdala has alerted the ambassador living in this embassy, who is none other than this guy.

The hypothalamus takes the fear alert from the amygdala and translates it into a message that the Land of the Automatic could understand. It does this through the release of something called the corticotropin release factor, which will kick off a series of events that leads to all the unpleasant sensations associated with intense anxiety.

To see what happens next, let’s now head south, where we’ll see how the hypothalamus’ message translates into the formation of the stress response.

The Land of the Automatic

The Land of the Automatic (“LOA”) is an ancient and primitive place — I imagine it to be the desert ruin of the human brain.

In Paul MacLean’s triune model, the LOA is known as the “reptilian” part of the brain — it’s the part of our brain that regulates automatic functions like heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, temperature control, etc. — essentially, it’s the engine that keeps the brain working without asking too many questions.

Although the LOA seems very mundane on its surface, it plays a huge role in the creation of uncomfortable sensations for those with anxiety problems.

When the hypothalamus is alerted to initiate the stress response, it will start a process known as the HPA axis, resulting in the release of that infamous hormone known as adrenaline. Adrenaline will stimulate the body by increasing the heart rate, elevating blood pressure, and increasing respiration levels , triggering what is known as the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). 7 The brain stem and all its projections down the spine and out to the body are collectively referred to as the “autonomic nervous system” — the SNS is the alerted version of this, whereas the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is the chilled out version of it.

While adrenaline is released in high levels during this state of arousal, there is another important player living in the LOA that is responsible for even greater levels of discomfort brought forth by anxiety.

The specific place of interest here is the pons, which is located in the brainstem. It typically deals with boring things like swallowing, facial sensations, posture, and so forth, but there’s a landmark here of particular interest:

The locus coreuleus is a factory that can receive information directly from the amygdala, and it manufactures one primary product of importance:

Norepinephrine is the key that unlocks all the heightened physical responses you feel when anxiety hits you like a ton of bricks. It’s a neurotransmitter that triggers many of the immediate signs of social anxiety — sweating, blushing, tremors, heart palpitations — and is poured out in droves when the sympathetic nervous system is turned on. 8 We won’t get into how exactly neurotransmitters work in this post, but you can just think of them as chemical messengers of the brain that communicate thoughts and reactions from one part of the brain to another. Here’s an entertaining and delightful 10-minute video of how they work.

For those with social anxiety disorders, an excessive release of norepinephrine kicks the sympathetic nervous system into overdrive, and can lead to the sensation of “freezing” during a SAD attack. This is when your mind goes completely blank during the middle of a conversation, and nothing comes to mind to bring things back on track. As you can guess, feelings of shame and embarrassment are commonly felt during this shitty experience, and can intensify one’s fear of being in a social situation again.

As adrenaline and norepinephrine are released in droves throughout Sam’s nervous system, keep in mind that the hippocampus (the record-keeper of the brain) is logging all of this down, associating Sharon’s presence with the unpleasant sensations of the fear response. Since the hippocampus’ job is to link an emotion with a stimulus, tagging Sharon as an “unpleasant threat” seems like the logical thing to do, given all the havoc she’s caused for his nervous system.

In many ways, we tend to think like the hippocampus does. We only see the beginning point (the stimulus) and the end result (the triggering of the stress response), and immediately associate causation between the two. However, the reality is that there is an intricate chain of neurobiological processes that occur for the stimulus to eventually create this response.

In summary, the process is this:

The stimulus first reaches the thalamus, which relays this information over to the amygdala. The amygdala quickly interprets the response as threatening so it alerts the hypothalamus, kicking off a multi-step process that produces adrenaline and norepinephrine. This then fires off the sympathetic nervous system, which finally creates the sensations of chest tension, sweaty palms, and lip quivers that makes Sam feel so anxious and scared.

There’s a lot going on here, but unfortunately, it all happens within a fraction of a second. And because it happens so quickly, we end up lumping together all of these individual players and processes into a singular amorphous feeling and call it anxiety.

When we do this, it becomes difficult to face this overwhelming blob directly and find ways to manage it mindfully. It’s like being the head coach of the Lakers and saying that your gameplan for beating the Warriors is that you’ll “just find a way to beat the Warriors.” A coach doesn’t view the opponent as a singular team that moves as one massive unit — no, he breaks down the opponent into individual players, studies each person’s strengths/weaknesses, and analyzes the relationships they have with other players on the team to understand how they all work together. Breaking down the team into individual components is the only way to figure out how to face the team as a whole.

Similarly, learning about the biology of the anxious brain allows you to break down the feeling of anxiety into smaller players that can be identified and targeted. What was originally perceived as a “feeling of fear and unworthiness when meeting a stranger” can be reframed as an “overreactive amygdala that has incorrectly perceived this stranger as a threat.” The thought that your sweaty and flushing face “is due to social incompetence” can be reframed as the result of an “automatic norepinephrine release that can be calmed down.”

When we learn how to attribute these unpleasant sensations to known biological processes, our emotional interpretation of them shifts accordingly. The more we can train our brains to know that these sensations do not signify anything meaningful about the quality of our character, the more we can adjust our behavioral response to readily enter situations that would generally elicit discomfort.

So where do we go to start this process of reframing our minds? How do we modify the incorrect beliefs that anxiety may have improperly installed?

Well, now is the right time to set our sights north and head on over to the highest land on our map of the brain. We’ve spent a good amount of time in the Land of the Emotional and the Land of the Automatic, but when it comes to making rational choices and executive decisions, these places aren’t equipped with the proper terrain to do that.

Instead, we need to visit the outermost layer of the brain, where all the magic happens. This is the most recently evolved part of our brain, and is responsible for handling cool things like reasoning, decision-making, abstract thought, and executive function. It also has the amazing power to override the functions of the other two lands that we’ve already visited, and it actually does this quite regularly.

To illustrate this, let’s pause for a moment to take a nice, deep breath. Allow the cool sensation of the breath to enter through your nostrils:

… and follow it as it ends in a relaxing exhale out of your nose or mouth.

That deceptively simple action right there is this magical land at work. It overrode the unconscious pattern of breathing that the Land of the Automatic usually controls, and commanded it to take a backseat for the time being.

To put it another way, this magical land can tell the Land of the Emotional and the Land of the Automatic to relax and calm the fuck down.

In the cortex , or the Land of the Wise, the tools of cognition, learning, and working memory can help us manage the symptoms brought forth by anxiety, and reframe our responses to them accordingly. It is here where we can use the therapeutic tools of intention, awareness, and thought-management methods to exert control over the lower parts of our brain, thus keeping their wild tendencies in check.

This unique land plays an essential role in our understanding and treatment of the anxious brain, and will take an entire post of its own. But in the meantime, I encourage you to reflect on the biological roots of anxiety that we discussed, and to think about all the processes involved in creating the sensations that generate these difficult emotions.

While the thalamus, the amygdala, and all the other players are indeed a part of you, it wouldn’t make sense to believe that your identity as a whole is tied to any one of these characters. This detachment of one’s identity and behavior from the physiological sensations of anxiety is a great place to start, and learning about the science of fear and anxiety helps tremendously.

While some people’s brains may have naturally higher baselines for anxiety and ruminative thought than others, the good news is that the brain is adaptable. With enough intention and effort, anxiety-inducing thought patterns can be replaced with more realistic, healthy ones that keep us grounded in the present moment. This is where the Land of the Wise really shines, and is the only place equipped with the proper terrain and characters to help us do just that.

See you in this magical land in Part 2 .

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Watch the video: Why you Need a Hearing Test even if you Hear Well with Brad Ingrao, AuD (January 2022).