Stress Proof Your Brain??? Is it possible?

Is it possible to build resilience into your life, let alone your brain? I believe the answer is a resounding “YES.”

Of course, you will most likely have to make some adjustment in your thinking, beliefs, behavior and perhaps actions you take for self-care. 

Psychologist Melanie Greenberg offers tips on how to better react to stressors.  (The Stress-Proof BrainNew Harbinger Publications). The main premise is as follows; 

changing the way you think about stressors can eliminate this phenomenon.”

The brain’s amygdala acts as a kind of alarm system for the brain that can hijack it while looking for threats. The prefrontal cortex, on the other hand, can calm the amygdala down through meditation and mindfulness.” So, relaxation, changing your thinking changes the brain’s reaction to stress and negativity. Melanie Greenberg has 5 notions she presents in the book.

  1. Live in the moment.
  2. Focus on what you can control.
  3. Examine your thoughts.
  4. Practice self-compassion.  
  5. Find “like minded people” & take action.

If you aren’t familiar with CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, then it may be time to do so. Automatic negative thoughts are circuits in our brains that become entrenched with their associated negative emotions.

For example, “I am afraid to fly” causes feelings of fear, panic, anxiety and anticipatory anxiety. These thoughts and feelings get imprinted on the brain. Unless or until you create new thoughts, called a “reframe.”

Reframe your negative thoughts into positive ones. Sounds simple, but it takes practice and creativity. I believe this is not a figurative change in the mind, rather, literally a new circuit you are creating in your brain. This new circuit replaces the existing negative circuits. The quote that captures this concept best it. “If you fire it, you wire it into your neural network.” This new circuit can change your perception of stress and reduce the reaction of your amygdala so you can relax, remain calm and be more at peace. Study mindfulness, yoga, exercise, develop good sleep hygiene and have more fun.

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Dr. Mike Klaybor

Dr. Mike Klaybor

Dr. Mike Klaybor brings thirty years of experience in practicing counseling psychology with individuals and couples. His approach is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. Specific specialties include; anxiety and stress management, chronic pain & chronic illness management, depression, substance abuse evaluations, employee assistance and executive coaching for workplace performance and leadership.