Sunday, February 28, 2016

How Stress Affects the Brain

Surely we all know that stress wears on us. It can create tension in the body, lower energy levels, harm relationships with others, and makes us more unsatisfied with life in general. But did you know that long periods of stress can actually change your brain? Watch this video to learn how chronic stress can impact your memory, mood, and heighten the chances of more serious complications later in life.

Remember that you cannot always control the events in life that are stressful. But you can change how you respond to them. Some of the most helpful methods such as exercise, meditation, relaxation, and mindfulness all have one thing in common: conscious breathing. Not only does this have physical benefits of  increased memory and a relaxed body, but the same breathing techniques will bring you into the moment. A way to navigate life with a little more time to breathe.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Virtual Reality - Engage and Relax

What once was only depicted in sci-fi movies is now becoming an emerging trend in progressive psychology. Virtual reality.

Imagine that you have a fear of flying, for example. With new virtual reality technologies, it is possible to simulate boarding a plane, taking off, and landing. Engage in all the details of flying so that you know what to expect, and can practice free from harm. Build the skills you need to overcome your fear and travel the world.

There are similar programs for fear of heights, fear of storms, war zones (for those with PTSD), and more general calming scenes. Apps targeted for more generalized anxiety can sweep you away to a zen garden, a theater in France, atop a beautiful mountain, or under the sea. You pick the destination. You find the calm.

The relaxation scenes are an easy way to escape the stress of life and find a place to rest for a while. This 'sensitization' is a practice ground to work with anxiety and stress issues without a real threat. Develop relaxation skills in these far away spaces. Then the key is to learn how to integrate them into your daily life. Remove the obstacles and remove the stress from life!

Contact Dr. Klaybor if you'd like to give virtual reality a shot!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Procrastinate Later

Procrastination... can we talk about it later?

We are all forced to do things we would rather not do, and it is easy to delay those undesirable tasks. But the issue of procrastination is much more present for some than others. So what characteristics lead to a bigger procrastinator? We will cover two groups in particular: perfectionists and pessimists.

Perfectionists are procrastinators because they never think anything is good enough. Therefore, the added pressure of each task is magnified. It takes so much more effort to complete something perfectly, than just complete it at a passable rate.

All pessimists say they are realists.  Being a realist implies that things always end up a certain way. What about the reality of things going smoothly? Pessimists are more likely to believe that failure is longer lasting and quickly results in a lower confidence level. This is only worsened by negative self talk along the way.

The good news, especially for procrastinators, is that people can actually learn optimism, which can even help with procrastination. This was brought to the forefront of the psychological field by Martin Seligman. His research shows that changing one's perspective on the world can impact their happiness in a significant way. Seligman says "While you can't control your experiences, you can control your explanations." These explanations may be rationalizations for past experiences, or justifications for future work.

What explanations are you using when procrastinating? How is that serving you? And most importantly... Are you an optimist? Click here to take the quiz.

Friday, February 19, 2016

FOMO Fever

The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has become it's own epidemic recently. It's popularity solidified when added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013. The definition reads "Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen in a social media website".

At a glance, it is the idea that 'the grass is always greener'. Even if life is going well... could it be going better?

Before the days of Facebook, surely everyone skipped out on an invitation to a party only to learn that it was really fun, and they should have been there. But the pervasive feeling of FOMO goes further than that. It is incessant. It is due in large part to the public window that social media creates. The posts of other's joyous experiences, which are often only showcasing the best moments, have created an anxiety in the viewer that their life isn't quite good enough. That there is always something better that you can be doing. You might be missing out on a party. Or maybe you are missing out on your entire life.

After seeing all of the great experiences that everyone else is having, it is only natural to want that for yourself. And you deserve a wonderful life! But have your posts changed in reaction to everyone else's? The competition aspect of FOMO perpetuates itself. It is contagious.

The best medicine is to remember is that joy can be found in the present. There is something beautiful going on around you right now. It may be something small, but it is noticeable. And it is YOUR life. If you see a post and become a little jealous, bring yourself back to your surroundings. Find gratitude in the moments of life that have brought you joy. Find gratitude that the lives of your friends and family are full of great moments too.

Do you have a case of FOMO fever? Click here to rate your FOMO

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Flight or Flight... and Think

The amygdala is the organ in the brain that is the “fight or flight” self-protection system from danger. It alerts us to stress and wants to protect us. It serves as our instinctual center. The amygdala works so quickly, that is often serves us best to take a breath and observe our emotions as best we can. Then we can be assured we are moving intentionally on the right path.

The “brakes” for the release of the stress hormones of cortisol and adrenalin is the Prefrontal cortex, our thinking brain. The Prefrontal cortex is responsible for decision making, planning, and mediating our social identity. Learning to control fear is accomplished by neutralizing the fear, worry and anxiety with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) skills.

CBT is a practice to pause and evaluate thought and behavior patterns. Through this work, the aim is to replace negative cognitions such as fear and worry with those that serve us better. This will encourage the balance of instincts with your positive thoughts. Remember that “What we cultivate in our mind grows." Take a moment and ask yourself:

What thought patterns are holding me back? What am I most worried about? What in my life do I want to cultivate? In what ways would life change if I altered your perception and attitude? 

Why Worry? Recently, a reprint of the book  Why Worry  by friend and prolific author, Eric A. Kimmel was recently released. Gayle and ...