Bet you didn’t know: Your BRAIN may have changed during Covid & tips to help

Have you been feeling less alert? Less clear headed? More emotional? Feeling mentally fuzzy? than before Covid 19 appeared?

It isn’t just lack of sleep. Our brains actually change how they work in very stressful times.

Neuroscientist Hilke Plassmann calls this Covid Brain.

She explains why, instead of being clear headed during a pandemic, you may be having trouble concentrating. The area of the brain, called the prefrontal cortex,  that does the planning, thinks analytically and uses your working memory is overwhelmed when:

  • It gets unclear or contradictory signals, which hinder your decision making ability.
  • It has no previous experience to draw on for an event like a pandemic, and looks outward but finds the signals are not consistent.
  • Higher sensitivity to outside information and decreased ability to think analytically keeps us unfocused and anxious.

Here are some tips to help your brain cope:

1. How you think about stress matters

It isn’t the stress itself that gives us difficulty, it is our thoughts about the stress. If you think of stress as helpful in managing difficult times, it becomes less harmful, maybe even helpful  This may be even more true now.

Click here to learn more – The Upside of Stress”

“Regarding stress as a catalyst for positive change rather than a threat, for example, can promote clearer thoughts and keep negative emotions at bay”. 

2. Music can change your mood 

“Something as simple as listening to music can restore our equilibrium. Indeed, one study linked emotions induced through music to activity in brain networks that are essential for generation and regulation of emotions. Playing music in the background while working can also bolster productivity in times of stress by sustaining mental attention and sharpening focus,” Plassmann says. 

3. Meditation helps your brain 

Click here for ways to meditate

Much research shows that meditation  helps you manage your own brain.

Developing ways to regulate your brain, your stress levels and your mood will be a benefit long after Covid 19 is gone.

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/neuroscientist-covid-brain-is-a-real-thing-heres-how-to-deal-with-it.html

Self-Talk Yourself into Love

Early on in our practices we learned that feelings are neurochemically based.  Emotions and what we think are vitally interconnected in a feed-back loop in our brain.  There aren’t many things in this life we can control (contrary to popular opinion) but we CAN control what we THINK .

In psychology, inner conversation is called self-talk. Research shows self-talk has the power to actually shape our perceptions. The way we talk to ourselves influences how we view ourselves, how we view other people, and how we interact with others.

Self-talk can change negative feelings such as shame, loneliness, and anxiety to feelings of pleasure, reassurance, and safety. Our thoughts also influence our self-esteem and self-confidence. Self-talk not only affects these emotions and characteristics, but also how we view others.

Thinking Love, by Peggy

 Here’s some basics to guide you:

  1. Neuroscience has shown us that love has real estate in the brain. Love lights up the right hemisphere.
  2. Brain scans and longitudinal studies have revealed that neglect, abuse and early chronic stress damages the developing brain and primes people for addiction, disease and premature death.
  3. Lack of love shrinks the brain’s hippocampus. Neuroplasticity allows for some neural growth and rewiring, but the damage from early severe neglect and abuse may be permanent.
  4. Attachment science tells us that it’s never too late to create a secure base in relationship. While we are wounded in relationship, it’s neurobiologically true that we heal in relationship too. We don’t have to heal in the same relationship where the wound originated, as studies show that, through attuned, reliable emotional connection, we can grow the front of the brain, our pre-frontal cortex, which mediates empathy, trust, intuition, self-regulation, even morality.

  5. Practicing sensitive and responsive communication, mindfulness and compassion (including self-compassion) changes the nervous system, our chemistry and circuitry from an anxious, hyper-vigilant mode to a calmer, more connected state.

It’s not “nature versus nurture,” but both nature AND nurture. When we actively, intentionally and consciously practice strong bonds, we nurture our nature.

      *    *      *

“If you truly loved yourself,

you could never hurt another.”

Gautama Buddha

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