How Your Brain Can Turn Anxiety into Calmness



this program is a presentation of uctv for educational and non-commercial use only marty is a delight to have here and a delight to introduce especially to a room full of people who was interested in learning about mind-body medicine Marty Rothman has probably done more to bring Integrative Medicine to where it's at especially regarding mind-body medicine than any other one person I will ever get to introduce or perhaps even get to shake hands with marty was very early on was the one of the proponents of medical acupuncture he was a founding board member of the American and something-or-other American Board of Oh american academy of medical acupuncture he tells me he has been instrumental in developing guided imagery to the robust field it is today he works as well a great deal with hypnosis with many different techniques to help calm calm us down to help us get to a point of relaxation using hypnosis self hypnosis biofeedback bodywork but especially guided imagery he is a member of the advisory board for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and I was interested to discover he's also a member of the advisory board for the Rosenthal Center for Complementary medicine at Columbia University in New York I've known Marty for a number of years now I've been privileged to attend several talks that he's given I know that he's a great speaker well thank you very much it was very kind of you to say good evening everybody so how many of you have ever worried about anything does anybody here ever worried about anything okay good that's our topic tonight and of course everybody worries sometimes and some people worry all the time and if you're one of those people who finds themselves worried all the time I think that you might get something very useful I hope that you get something very useful out of tonight's talk if you just worry intermittently I hope you get something useful anyhow but you probably don't need it quite as much so I'm calling my topic tonight worrying well and I'm still looking for a subtitle but tonight we'll call it how to use your brain to relieve anxiety and stress and turn it into more desirable things like calmness and confidence worry I think it's a lot of bad press because we don't use it very well and so when I call it worrying well it's really about what is worried how do we do it what's the purpose of it is it possible that worry has a positive function which it does worry basically is an adaptive function it's so it's something that allows us to go over and over something in our minds in an attempt to solve a problem or resolve a situation so I think that that's the adaptive you know we humans have been born with faculties in our brain that as far as we know don't belong to any other creature on earth and it has allowed us to you know to come from being a pretty vulnerable prey animal on the African savannah to becoming the dominant creature on earth it's you know we we don't have many tools for survival if you look at a human as an animal you know we're pretty vulnerable you know we don't run very fast we don't have big teeth we don't have big claws you know we can swim a little bit but not very well we can't fly very well so out there you know without a lot of technology and on the African savannah we are meat basically and and we've got systems built into our system that we inherited and from the development of other prey animals that lead to things like fight and flight response which are adaptive in some situations and maladaptive in another but one of the things that are there one of the qualities that we've developed is or one of the mental abilities and functions is the amount is imagination its I could really make a strong case that imagination is is one of the key things and maybe the key mental faculty that separates the human from the not from all other forms of life that imagination lets us remember things from the past it lets us project things into the future and think about how things would be in the future if you did something this way or that way you know and everything that exists on earth that wasn't made by God or nature whatever take your pick or some combination of the two everything else that exists everything that humankind has created started in somebody's imagination that's where it made its first appearance on earth is somebody's imagination oh we could do that you know could make it round it'll roll we could chip these you know they notice that two rocks chipping together makes fire and they figured out a way to do that so imagination you could make a case that outside of God or nature that the human imagination is the most powerful force on earth and the thing is very few of us have ever really been taught how to use it most of our education especially all the way through to higher education is unusal faculties which also have made us very powerful the ability to analyze the ability to calculate the you know linear logical rational scientific ways of thinking have also contributed to us being very powerful because they allow us to take the things that we imagine and make them real in a certain way but a lot starts in the imagination worry is a function of imagination if you didn't have an imagination you wouldn't be worried that's what lobotomies are about and that's what a lot of that's what certain medications are about so we used to joke at our academy for guided imagery you know that if we could find a simple non-toxic way to do an imagined ectomy we could resolve everybody's worried and stress problems you know you wouldn't you just wouldn't be very worried you wouldn't do much either it wouldn't be creative you know you wouldn't but you wouldn't be worried if we could do that so I think rather than taking the imagination out what we want to do is learn how to use it better and so a lot of what I'm going to share with you about worrying well or worrying more effectively has to do with how you use your imagination so worry and stress have a lot of overlap right and we often use them interchangeably I'm going to spend a little time to differentiate these things a little bit but they do overlap quite a bit and then anxiety also overlaps with worry and stress they're all a little bit different and they're very interrelated they share in a lot of different kinds of ways the reason this is important is because our consciousness and our ability to become self conscious is potentially the greatest tool that we have for improving our lives and it also if we don't know how to use it can be something that can make our life miserable so I like this Ashlee brilliant quote you know due to circumstances beyond my control I am master of my fate and captain of my soul so you're like you're it if you want to do something about your anxiety your stress the way that you think the way that you create your life you know you you are the captain whether you whether you like it or not so we might as well learn how to use these capacities because there's really no going back I think sometimes unconsciously we try to go back with other ways of managing anxiety and stress like drinking too much or taking drugs or medications or eating too much all the billions of ways we have of going unconscious and kind of trying to just put our head in the sand and maybe it'll go away which it frequently does so it's it's not that it's not a good strategy in the short run but it as a total life plan it's kind of lacking okay it won't take you where you want to go so how are worried stress and anxiety different so worry is a type of this is how I think about it and I can be argued with I'm not sure that any of this is absolutely true I'm kind of throwing it out there I'm writing a book on it so if I'm wrong please tell me before the book is written but it seems to me that worry is a type of thinking okay it's a and our friend here Ziggy says the figments of my imagination are out to get me that's kind of the most common use of the imagination is just letting your imagination kind of go to the worst scene scenarios getting kind of entranced or hypnotized by by your worries you know and letting your imagination scare you because I think in a sense the most common the most common unconscious use of the imagination is to drive ourselves crazy or were you're so sick so the bar is set pretty low that's the good news we can learn to use it more on purpose and do better than that so worries a type of thinking it's a repetitive kind of thinking of sometimes a rumination it's generally troubled it often has to do with things that are either in the past or in the future okay it's it's the opposite of be here now it's the opposite of presents under that doesn't mean it's bad and that doesn't mean that it doesn't have a function but it's we're in our brain we're thinking about something we're going over and over and over it and again I think that's because the adaptive function of worry I always assume that something is there is an attempt by by nature or by life to solve a problem or to give us an advantage so if you think about what could the advantage be of being able to go over a problem over and over and over in my mind well so I think it's kind of like if you have a big tangled ball of yarn or or thread you know and you're you're trying to untangle it and you find a place that's loose and you pull it for a while and you get some some looseness and then you get stuck again so you turn the ball over and you find another loose place and you free up some more stuff and you turn it over again and you free up some more stuff and if you keep doing that turning it over and over looking at it from different angles finding the loose places finding where things are knotted together excuse me if you persevere with it more you know more often than not you're gonna get that whole thing untangled and then go on to the next tangled mess that you find okay but you are likely to get that one untangled and I think that's the function of worried it lets us it makes our it makes our concerns transportable you know so you can think about it at any time and that could be an advantage or a disadvantage and I think that that depends on whether you're using your brain or or your being run by it your brain is an incredible organ your mind has something to do with it and at least in certain circumstances your mind can learn to use your brain in better ways that's what this is about so it's very easy though for this adaptive function of problem-solving and turning things over and over to become a habit or to become repetitive it to become ruminative and just kind of become its own thing in and I think there's a couple reasons for that one is that worry can serve kind of a magical function there's a magical unconscious function of worry a couple of them actually so one is that most things that you worry about never happen most things that you worry about never happened and if you you know that's an old rubric that we've all heard and I found myself wondering well is that really true so I've been teaching this as a six-week class that's worrying well class I've taught it a few times done I've asked people over the at the beginning in the class to list all the things that they find themselves repetitively worrying about and then sometime later on we've just checked in with the first class which was about nine months ago to see how many of those things have happened and not very many of them have happened so I don't know if anybody's ever studied that really before but you could do it yourself by writing him down and then check in in about six months or a year now the interesting thing about that the way that the brain works is at some unconscious level of the brain it the brain could conclude that the thing didn't happen because you worried about it right that's a function of and there's an old story about a woman who walks around her house she's an old woman she's walking around her house every day mumbling walking around her house Walker and Harris he walks around her house all day long until she carved a rut around her house and it goes up to about the middle of her thighs and finally one of their neighbors can't take it anymore he he goes over and he says you know I hope you don't mind if I ask you why you walk around your house all the day every day and she says well I'm keeping it safe from Tigers and he says well you know we're in Indiana there aren't any Tigers here and she says see okay so it's possible that we get rewarded for worrying because so many of those things don't happen and at some magical unconscious primitive level of thought those two things could possibly be connected the other thing that has been researched is that in sometimes worrying about things distracts us from things that are actually bothering us so that worrying about little things and do lists and so on and so forth and always fussing and always worrying and always having something to fuss up about and to worry about actually distracts us from something that might be deeper and more emotional and and actually be harder for us to take so and and we know that that's a function that's actually been studied so that worry prevents deeper richer more emotionally to emotion Laden thinking which typically comes in images and comes in the quiet times you know so if there's a lot of feeling there that's hard to process or hard to feel or that's unprocessed and that and that we've never dealt with it's in a sense useful to keep the mind very busy because if you get quiet your emotions will come up and ultimately we think that that's a good thing emotions are natural they're healthy they have a wisdom to them that most of us have not also been educated in but they can be hard to feel you know nobody very few people have very much trouble feeling joy although a lot of times were blocked from feeling joy because we are unable or unwilling to feel other emotions when you start feeling one emotion you know the others go hey the door is open and they might want to kind of come up and be felt so there are functions of worry and again some of them unconscious magical maybe not in our best interest over time others adaptive problem-solving go over the problems so it behooves us to kind of learn what we're doing with the worry and that gives us choices in terms of what we're doing with the rust okay so where is it the thinking function whereas anxiety anxiety is a you know is an uncomfortable feeling it's usually in the chest or the upper abdomen not always but it's most often up in this area or this area it's an uncomfortable feeling of fear or apprehension or dread dread is a it's a it's that feeling oh my god something bad is going to happen I know it something bad is going to him it you don't know you mean maybe attached to something or it may be free-floating and not attached to to anything and anxiety often comes with physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat pain in the chest sweating you know shortness of breath there's often a feeling with anxiety if anxiety is very strong like panic attacks there's often a very characteristic feeling that comes with panic attacks and the feeling is of is impending doom people with panic attacks they feel they're about to die and it's often again since the symptoms are often in the chest or in the abdomen we see these things in medicine all the time and you could you could really make a case for you know one of the maybe the primary function of a primary care doctor is seeing if there's anything else but anxiety going on because anxiety can cause so many symptoms in so many systems of the body and make us and make us afraid since it's something Bad's going to happen anxiety is a function of a part of the brain that is a the emotional part of the brain it's called the limbic system or the emotional brain so worry belongs to the thinking part of the brain you know and there's a lot of interaction but worry belongs in the thinking part of the brain the cortex anxiety typically comes from the limbic or emotional part of the brain and I'll show you what that looks like and stress which is the third leg of our uncomfortable stool here is actually a physical response to a threat real or imagined and uh and in Modern Life most of the threats are either perceived or imagined but they're not you know we so somebody's probably told you the story of the saber-toothed tiger and the fight-or-flight response and so on you know that this is the response we think was designed by nature so when you walked out of the cave and you ran into a big predator like a saber-toothed tiger you're part of your nervous system fires off and you get a big shot of adrenaline and your heart beats faster and you your blood clots faster and your blood pressure goes up and your muscles get supercharged and you're ready to run or you know run the fastest two miles you've ever run in your life or fight the tiger to death you know and then it's supercharges you it's that kind of thing we hear about when the mother moves a car to say that say the baby the thing is that this response can go off in response to threats that are not predators that are not it can go off in response to stock market movements economic changes thinking about aging thinking about whether you can meet your responsibilities all kinds of stuff and all kinds of stuff that is that unless you know where the off button is on your television or your radio or your computer that you can just literally pump into your into your brain you know 24/7 if you stay up all the bad news of every bad thing that has happened around the world to anybody or if it's a slow news day what could happen okay you know like the h1n1 flu because it's not a terribly it doesn't look like a terribly dangerous flu right now but it could become really dangerous you know and that's what's got everybody's scared and everybody freaked out and standing like what could happen so and yes there's a balance between again being able to predict the future and take measures to prevent things happening that don't need to happen and freaking out for months about something that probably will never happen it's a union kind of relationship so stress is the important thing here is that stress is a physical response it's not stuff that happens to you it's a physical response that your body has to survive a short term stress and if you survive that short term stress like fight like the saber-tooth Tiger you know you've either killed it or you've run away from it and run the you know as fast as you can climb the highest tree that you can you burned up all these stress chemicals and when the tiger goes away you kind of limp back to the cave and breathe a big sigh of relief and tell everybody about how you've killed the tiger or ran away from the tiger and and your body rested and compensated and recharged itself and replaced all the chemicals that are used during that intense 20 to 30 minute fight you know or else the tiger has eaten you and you don't have any more stress you know but one way or another it's all over in about 20 or 30 minutes okay so there's none of this like years you know of stress that go on if you're a good worrier where you wake up in the morning and the first thing on your mind is oh my god what's gonna happen with this and we're gonna be able to do this and you're gonna be able to meet that and so on and so forth and of course the really good warriors are not only doing it during the daytime you're up at night too because you can't sleep right and so it's taking you soon and that takes your resilience away and it becomes a real you know negative dish's cycle so to review worry is a type of repetitive circular thinking anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of fear or dread stress is a physical response that prepares you to meet challenges and so it's interesting to look at this is a sort of a somewhat dated model of the brain that's called the triune brain but you know it's good enough for government work we can work with this model okay this is that there is what's called the cortical brain or the neocortex the big gray matter wrinkle big brain that we're so proud of that allows us to speak and add and calculate and reason and so on and so forth and imagine and do all these things that again as far as we know no other creature on earth does and that is really the most adaptive thing you know has helped us survive and dominate lower down limbic system midbrain okay the basic brain we call it the reptilian brain that's the brain we share with lizards you know and reptiles and amphibians that's the oldest part of the brain that part of the brain basically concerned with survival it basically sorts things into you know two or three categories you know can I eat can I eat this can you eat me can I meet with it that's basically what it's concerned with okay sorts down all the information that you receive into those three things okay and and it acts like that it acts reflexively and instantaneously just like if you come across a lizard you know on the path and you make a move towards that it's gone like that it doesn't go inside it doesn't do a Woody Allen thing you know well should I move should I not move this dangerous is it not dangerous how dangerous is it it doesn't do any of they're just gone okay there's any indication that there's a threat it sets off this stress response and it's gone the thing is this developed evolutionarily from the bottom up okay this was this part of the brain developed first and then as animals developed the limbic system pretty much developed in mammals and other in warm furry creatures who characteristically have social relationships and where and for mammals for most mammals not all mammals social relationships like pry like prides of lions and packs of wolves and families of people and things like that have adaptive value we do better when we're connected to groups we have more strength we have more problem-solving ability we have emotional support we are social creatures and our social positions mean a lot to us and all that emotional processing happens mostly in this limbic system and then on top of it the big smart intellectual brain every layer added new possibilities and new complexity to our ability to understand their world and to navigate in our world and part of the problem when we look at this whole issue is that the new guy is very entranced with himself ok the thinking brain thinks that nothing was important before he came along and I say he kind of deliberately it could be she too but it's a it's a kind of it's not that there you know that there aren't tremendously bright and intellectual women but if kind of thinking analysis logic that kind of thinking on a yin-yang scale we typically characterized as a kind of masculine thinking not that it doesn't belong to women to where's the feeling the intuitive tends to be a more kind of receptive softer has its own logic but it's not the same as the logic of mathematics and science okay so this brain is very good and especially part of the brain the part that's suited for for verbal and and mathematical skills which typically is in the left hemisphere of the brain and there's some variation but that typically is in the left brain which is called the dominant hemisphere speech capability mathematical capability and so on whereas in the right side of the brain in the same area lie areas of the brain that have to do with the body image with emotional recognition of facial expressions and tone of voice and those kinds of skills so they each have their place you know I mean logical skills have to do with building buildings like this and building MRIs and doing the kind of incredible science that goes on in a university setting like UCSF and looking through electron microscopes and doing chemical analyses and these are tremendous feats don't misunderstand me they're completely useless in a relationship okay it doesn't matter how many Nobel Prizes you have you may not be able to maintain a merit would be if that's the only kind of intelligence you have right and we see and then you may not be able to maintain good relationships with people whereas somebody who emotionally and in terms of social networking and understanding and compassion and empathy we have a different kind of intelligence as well as an intellectual kind of intelligence so my point is that these are different kinds of intelligences that are useful in different situations what has happened since the advent of you know the age of reason and which is you know and the advent of discovering the immense power of our intellectual capabilities I think has been a devaluing and an an ignoring of the earlier kind of intelligence that has to do with our relations with each other and with other living things and with our environment and I think that a lot of the crises were seeing now is we're trying to come back to that and own those relationships while still maintaining their ability to be technically creative and help solve those problems that way I think that you know these have been around a lot longer this guy's really fascinated with himself and sometimes thinks you know he's the only game in town so the reason we used to say you know when we're talking about left and right hemisphere and I don't want to go into it too deeply tonight but the reason that the left hemisphere is called the dominant hemisphere can anybody guess it does dominate but the main reason that it's called the dominant hemisphere is that it's the one that names things it's the verbal hemisphere it's the one that gives people things so it said I'm the dominant hemisphere and you're the sub-dominant hemisphere I'm the major hemisphere you're the minor hemisphere and it's kind of kind of a joke but I think it's also true and we have valued that think about your education how many hours of emotional education did you get how many hours of education and using your imagination did you go or your intuition so your education and I'm not saying that you know it was hopefully at least when I went to school it was reading writing arithmetic you know it was those left brain analytic logical skills tremendously tremendously useful but not all of us and this other kind of intelligence I think we need a lot more education experience with it learn how to communicate with it and that's why in a little while I'm going to talk about imagery which is it's coding language in a sense of this more emotional and intuitive brain so here's a kind of a picture of a real brain cut in half this way and I don't know how well you can see this but you know there's the wrinkled cortex neocortex that goes all the way around and then in the center this area here more or less is the limbic or emotional brain and you can see that there's and then this would be the reptilian reflexive survival brain and you can see there's lots of connections between you know between the two so that this brain could send messages into this brain and create an emotional reaction which would send messages down to this part of the brain and send it out to the body and vice versa like for this guy so this guys having a Ray he's not having a good day he's having a rage reaction and without going through all of these things just you know if you want to study this you can but something didn't match up with his expectations okay that's where most anger comes from he had an expectation something didn't come up to it it sent some kind of a message of danger or threat to this emotional brain its signal his his lower brain that get ready for a fight and this thing sends out through all the cranial nerves and spinal cord and so on messages to every organ in his body and your physiology changes very dramatically when you're angry when you're frightened when you're sad when you're happy when you're calm you are physiologically different then ok so there's plenty of connections and this is basically just to show yes there's a real wiring diagram and a real chemical messaging system so anxiety stress and worry are interactive they're bi-directional if you if you have a tendency to be anxious that emotional brain is going to be pumping out more messages of look out look out look out look out look out they may not know what it's looking out for but it's gonna be more vigilant it's going to raise the it's gonna send more messages to the cortex to be on guard for problems and then the cortex is going to be able to imagine all the problems that there could be out there and it's gonna send messages back and they can get into a real kind of a reverberating circuit all these parts of the brain are chemically sensitive and you know of course in medicine typically we try to chemically manipulate these things if somebody's got a real anxiety disorder we're not talking about anxiety disorders which is where the anxiety level is just cranked up high in spite of the thinking here but we try to manipulate that with medications those of us who have studied nutritional medicine know that there are naturally occurring molecules that there are molecules in our foods that can be used as nutraceuticals to maude to modify how active or up regulated the nervous system is or downregulated so we try to do it through more natural molecules but the other thing to know about this is that they're also thought sensitive that thoughts at a chemicals at a certain level and those chemicals stimulate the physical mechanisms that underlie our reaction so and that's going to be our focus tonight is about thinking for any of you who have any doubts that the mind and body or tonight are really connected and create physiology just real quick this is biofeedback data and to make it simple this is this muscle tension there's electrical response on the skin this is fingertip temperature which is a sign of either stress or relaxation this nice even white line here is respiration so this guy is sitting in a biofeedback therapist office with a bunch of sensors hooked up to his muscles and his fingertips to measure his the way that his circulation responds to stress and he's got a belt around his chest and he's just breathing nice and Nora and around his abdomen this is actually his abdomen and he's breathing nice and normally even he's just sitting there relaxing there's not much going on so you won't be able to read all this stuff just watch what happens here so he's a guy there's an actual patient who has a phobia about driving over bridges and he lives here okay bad combination right so he's sitting so he goes to the biofeedback therapist here he's just sitting there relaxing then the biofeedback therapist asked him just to think about just imagine approaching the Golden Gate Bridge and all of this goes in the same direction is an immediate fight-or-flight response just goes off and it's from imagining driving across the bridge you can see it best here what happens to his breathing it just goes to pot it's just very shallow very irregular stops breathing into his abdomen you know his skin temperature actually this is reversed it should go decrease his muscle tension goes up he's physiologically ready to defend his life by imagining going to the bridge know if he can learn to get his breathing under control again and his therapist can guide him to think about some other things that are more relaxing they typically break it down just just think about coming down the stairs and seeing your car keys in a person who's developed a phobia that would be enough to stimulate a huge reaction now if the person then can learn to breathe more deeply and to induce a relaxation response which most people can while he's imagining that go back to the calm physiology by the time he gets to the place where he can actually imagine driving across the bridge and staying calm he'll be able to go across that bridge that could take months to get to there's a lot of practice in here but that's a that's a good example of a mind-body connection and how much we respond to just thinking about things so there's a lot of how many have heard the term neuroplasticity has that been talked about here so it doesn't mean your brain is made of plastic it means that your brain is changeable and there's been a lot of literature lately about how changeable the adult human brain is up until very recently the dictum was you know we have an adult brain that's it their cells die off but that's about it and you can't teach an old dog new tricks and it's about all that kind of stuff and we know now how many of you have read this book by Norman Doidge the brain that changes itself it's an astounding book on brain science a couple of an example there are researchers now that have developed techniques sending taking people who have been blind since birth hooking up a little video camera to an electric device that kind of draws a picture on their back by poking them you know kind of a thing that puts out multiple little pokes and gives them a picture on their back and they start to see okay they can see so that they can walk around now they have it where a little video camera on the glass goes to a little wafer on the tongue that sends out little electrical signals and they start and they are able to see probably not like most of us who are able to see naturally normally but they are able to see they can walk around the room and not bump into objects and so on and so forth okay and what happens over time what they found was in these people that watching a device called a functional MRI which can show us what parts of the brain are active while people are thinking that it was the part of the brain the occipital cortex that visual information that took all of this data from their back or their tongue and started putting pictures together so the brains taking this non vision this data and putting pictures together because that's what it does normally it gets the input from your eye but if we can get at the information some other way it can create new pathways that create these abilities and that's the astounding so part of Jeffery Schwartz is at UCLA his research has been with people with obsessive-compulsive disorder which has been a traditionally a very very difficult condition to treat and finding that very structured repetitive exercises which fortunately obsessive-compulsive people are very good at by focusing their mind in a certain way that they literally can change not only their behavioral patterns but that their brains change after a period after a decent period we're talking about months of practice so that you can actually lay new hard wiring down as well as changing your mind you know you can change your mind in a nanosecond but it takes it students to take weeks to months to change your brain but when you change your brain now you've got a new default position installed and you don't have to be the same way that you were before Louann Brizendine has a professor of psychiatry here at UCSF wrote this wonder how many have read this book the female brain if he never read another book in your life if you're and if you're either male or female you should read this book this is an astounding book a really astounding book about the brain and how its organized and and and what different capabilities there are both genders have similar capabilities but it's a bit of a digression but it was tremendously useful to me to learn from this book that at 8 we you know off all fetuses as they're growing in the womb are female or male at the beginning and at eight weeks yeah anyway they're all female they're all female at eight weeks the fetus with the y-chromosome gets a wash of testosterone and you know what that testosterone does to the brain you're gonna love this it explains so much it kills 80 percent of the neurons in the male brain that process emotional communication this is apparently brain science and when they get it again when they're 14 and 15 I don't know how many of you who remember being 14 or 15 or if you have a 14 or 15 year old son who sits at the table like this and looks like a cretin and spends all of his time in the room in his room and you know is barely human and he was a brilliant loving little kid you know he's got testosterone poisoning which is again seriously is again killing neurons in his brain that have to do with emotional communication and increasing the parts of his brain that have to do with sexuality and aggressiveness okay well the female's brain is still maintaining this big part about four to five times as much brain area devoted to emotional communication to talking about sensing emotional nuances which is why in general you ladies are so much better at it than we are and you like to talk to each other about all that stuff you like to talk to us about it you don't understand why we don't understand okay this would be like and this is no offense I need a better art but this would be like my dog who has 20,000 times the neuron smell neurons in his nose than I do this would be like my dog asking me why don't you smell that Jake was here earlier I'm sniffing this book why don't you you know I'm living in a world of smell smell is all around us it's a world of smell to the dog right I don't smell any of it I don't hear the high pitch sounds because his brain is tuned differently so this has saved my marriage was discovered and when you wonder and when the guys you know these are all over generalizations and I'm playing it up a little bit but you guy may not be able to tell what you're feeling as easily as you can tell what he's feeling it's a different world he just mean I used to like and this is what guys always say to each other why is she mad I don't get it why is she mad I asked her out to lunch on Tuesday she got mad at me I don't know why you know so mr1 mystery not exactly solved but the brains are organized differently it's really fascinating that is a great read all right I'm gonna go and go on before I get the stone here the brain changes throughout life and here is the basis of my interest in thinking about how we think thinking about how we worry that if the blind can learn to see then the anxious should be able to learn to relax I would think it's much easier to learn to relax than it is to see when you've never seen before I may be wrong but this is kind of at the center of it if our brain is capable of that kind of learning then what do we need to do in order to teach it and this is a great term that comes from Jeffery Schwartz at UCLA self-directed neuroplasticity which is fascinating because you're using your own mind to change your own brain really an interesting concept was one of my favorite Gary Larson cartoons it has to do with this this is the ultimate self self help technique and the guys here are reading these books like do it by instinct and you know dare to be nocturnal predator prey relationships and the best one of course is how to avoid natural selection which is so this is ultimately I mean our greatest self care tool so let's talk about how we can think about this and this is how I'm thinking about it now I'm thinking that there's good worry and bad worry and by that I mean good worry is functional worry it's worry that's trying to solve a problem and that has some potential to solve a problem and that and if we separate our worries into good worries and bad or futile worries okay we can treat each one of them in a different manner we can use our brain in a different way so good worry is you know I'm worried about this project I'm worried about where to go to school I'm worried about whether I'm gonna be able to pay for my kids education real stuff to worry about it's not that there's any lack of real stuff to worry about but stuff that if you asked yourself is it likely that I could actually do something about this that you would say either yes or maybe as opposed to when you actually write out the stuff you're worrying about a lot of times you'll find out you know you look at stuff and you say well you know I can't do much about that 2012 you know gee I thought my worried that the words can end in 2012 yeah what are you gonna do about that okay are you likely to be able to do anything about that you might want to put that on your bad worry list okay and just enjoy the movie as a as a great rollercoaster ride so good worry anticipate sin solve problems bad worry circular habitual magical doesn't go anywhere doesn't lead to solutions scares you in a sense it starts to become a type of auto suggestion right because you're thinking about this thing all the time you're scaring yourself you're sending out you're sending off those fear pathways and that makes it harder to use your brain when you're feeling that way and so how many of you are familiar with this serenity prayer how many of you have heard of it before okay I won't ask how many of they're in 12-step programs with the 12-step programs adopted the serenity prayer serenity prayer goes back probably as far as Roman times and then in modern times was was attributed to a theologian in World War two but to serve the 12-step programs have adopted it it's a brilliant prayer thought if you don't like prayer just take off Godward okay but the serenity prayer goes God or whatever grant me the serenity to accept the things that cannot change the courage to change the things I can change and the wisdom to know the difference okay so if we use the serenity prayer as kind of the skeleton of our worrying well practice we want to think about separating things we're worrying about into things you can change things you probably can't change and then if there are some that are left over that you're not sure of where you need the wisdom to know the difference I'm gonna talk to you at least about a ways that you can use imagery to help with all three of those things so the first question is if you're not sure about something and you need more wisdom how do you get more wisdom besides living another 30 or 40 years okay by which time I mean that's not all that useful when you've got an immediate problem so there's you know there's ways ordinary ways to access more wisdom talk to people that you think are wise if you have wise friends if you have wise teachers see if they'll talk to you and you can share your problem listen to them consider what they say that's one good source of wisdom this stands for what would Jesus Buddha the Dalai Lama or Yoda do so if you don't have access to a wise friend or teacher you know this is a type of inventory technique think about what would somebody that you imagine is genuinely wise what would they say in that situation remember Hillary Clinton got all kinds of flack from people when she was the first lady because she said she was in a circumstance where she wasn't sure what to do and she thought a lot about Eleanor Roosevelt and what Eleanor Roosevelt would have done in that situation and of course you know all the kook's got up on there you know she's into spiritualism and so on and so forth it you know she's conjuring the ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt no she was imagining what wise ethical role model would do in that situation it's a perfectly natural and very intelligent thing to do what would somebody with class and wisdom and caring and morals to do in this situation you know and if you took it another step and you do it as a guided imagery where you actually relax you go into a meditative or relaxed just a relaxed state and you kind of daydream that you were walking in the garden with Eleanor Roosevelt and you told her what was going on and you imagined that she spoke back to you you know that's not spooky as long as you know you know that it's not really Eleanor Roosevelt and you know or if it is that she's you know that you're not identifying with her you're not the person in the crazy house who thinks that they're Jesus you know but you could imagine what Jesus would say what Jesus would do if Jesus is important and meaningful to you or what the Dalai Lama would do or what your wise grandmother would do or what your grade wise grandmother would do if you had a wise grandmother right so you start you start accessing well what would it be like if there if I were to approach this from a wise place and you take the time to quiet down and take the time to get deeper inside and that's what we do it with an imagery we so come to call inner wisdom imagery or inner advise or inner guide inner a lion or whatever you can have your higher power guardian angel you know people call I have called this by different names throughout throughout history and some people feel like well you are calling on on a spirit and other people feel like it's just a way to get to the part of my brain that it has this wisdom because there is a part of all of us that has a lot of wisdom you know when it comes out it comes out when your friends in trouble your friend comes to you for advice because they can't figure it out right and have you ever noticed how easy it is to give advice to your friends good advice usually and if it's a serious thing you take time to think about it you know you don't just give them a glib answer you take some time and you think about it you you you go down as deep as you can inside yourself and you give them that wise advice the thing is it's probably easier for you to get to your wisdom than your friend if your friend is really frightened because when we are frightened when we're anxious when we're worried there's a psychological phenomena called regression we tend to regress we tend to feel like we're we're too little or too weak we don't have the resources we don't know what to do we were wishing that somebody bigger wiser stronger we're there to tell us what to do and we we feel more childlike and that blocks our access to our own wisdom and that's why taking the time to go to actually do a relaxation practice relax your body shift your mind imagine that you go to a place it's beautiful and peaceful and safe so that you get out of that fearful loop you imagine or you invite an image of someone or something that's wise and loving and that cares about you whether it's someone or something you've ever met or something you just make up you just imagine and you imagine what it would tell you or show you or do with you and it's quite remarkable what can come from a meditation like this does that make sense to people and so it's easier to do that for your friend because as much as you love your friend you're probably not going to be as freaked out as they are if it's a serious situation so we see this all the time you know the most common place that I see this in my practice isn't people who've just been newly diagnosed with cancer and they're just shocked and freaked out as most people are and in and in the meantime they're visiting all these different doctors and oncologists and trying to become an oncologist in like two weeks and learn the whole field of oncology and figure out their best option while emotionally they're feeling like a three-year-old you know so and it's very difficult for them to make good decisions in that way these kinds of techniques if you started early and helped them connect to a deeper level and not that scared child can really make a difference in terms of wise decision making so sometimes they give you know your inner advisor will say something like this the secret of living without frustration and worry is to avoid becoming personally involved in your own life this is a this is definitely a good treatment for worry okay but usually and that's not bad advice here's how I think this thing kind of works so if we go through this process of thinking about the worries I actually have people in class write them down and then go through and separate them I mean it sounds mechanical it's just using our ordinary intelligence separate them into three columns things you think you could change if you wanted two things you think you couldn't change if you wanted to not to end things that you're not sure about and people rarely do this and that so we carry it around in our head just writing it down is often very helpful for people and sorting it out and then where we want to get to is down here either if it's something you can't change you know basically what you want to do is get to a place where you either get to a place of some kind of acceptance some kind of coming to terms or you turn it around into an intention or a prayer so in other words you're worrying about something that something's going to happen but it's not something that you can physically do something about it's interesting to see what happens if you take it and you turn it around and you put it into a positive visualization of what you would rather have happen okay so and I'm gonna skip the whole argument here about whether or not that has a physical effect and like the secret you know whether we just make something happen by changing our intention it sometimes it seems that we do and sometimes we don't but what does happen when people in other words so some friend gets diagnosed with cancer and you are overcome with a worry because you were just worried that she's going to die okay I'd be sick or go through some horrendous thing because you care for your friend it's a typically normal reaction but you find yourself losing sleep and you're thinking about it and you're getting obsessed with it and so on and so well and there's nothing more that you can do you're bringing her food and you're a source of support and so on and so forth but you aren't personally going to be able to cure that cancer okay but now you start to say okay instead of constantly imagining what I don't want to have happen I'm gonna think about what I would rather have happened so I'm gonna start to imagine that she gets great treatment and that her cancer responds and that she comes through that treatment and she survives it and she comes out being an even stronger healthier person that if it's up to me if it was up to me if I was god that's what would happen and I don't know if that'll make any difference but that's where I'm gonna put my energy and turn instead of putting my energy over here and whether it changes the outcome or not way beyond me but what it does do is that when people start focusing on that image they become less anxious you become less anxious because you feel like I'm doing what I can be doing and I'm putting my energy into what I want to see happen does that make sense and there's a lot of principles of suggestion that are at work there though there's a couple analogies I use for people one is I'm not a skier myself a mountain biker and I've skied I don't know how many of you are but you can imagine being a skier so imagine that you're up on the top of a very steep very challenging ski run what you want to do when you're up there at the top before you start before you push off you want to check it all out you want to say hey there's a big rock over here I don't want to hit that there's big trees over here I don't want to hit those then what you want to do and any skier I'll tell you that you want to see what the line is that takes you through safely through those things and once you start skiing and you're going fast or riding your bike downhill or any other thing that's like that what you want to focus on is you want to focus on where you want to go not on where you don't want to go because if you fixate on that rock you will crash into it because that is how your body mind is put together it tends to go where you look the other example I used for people is if you want to hit a bull's-eye in a dartboard it helps if you look at it okay if you look at it you're not guaranteed to hit it but you're much more likely to hit it then if you close your eyes or your attention is just over the place and if you keep looking at it even if you keep missing your whole nervous system is wired to recruit resources and to control your body so that you get closer and closer to it and that you hit it more and more often so it's it's a goal setting it's focusing your intention on what you want to have happen that makes sense without doing that it's talking to a psychiatrist friend of mine the other day about this and he says he says you know I think you're talking about intention deficit disorder because a lot of this comes down to whether how much control we can have about where we put our attention so we put our attention in this case on a if you're a prayer if you're a religious person and you have a way of praying then you pray for the outcome that you desire if you're not a religious person if you don't pray you visualize are you intended you say if it's up to me I'm I'm worried that my friend will succumb I don't want that to happen but the way that I'm gonna I'm gonna put my energy into her getting better into imagining that she gets better and if nothing else it'll help you it'll help reduce your anxiety level sometimes a little sometimes a lot so the other thing is is that on the other side if something that you can change there's a whole couple of processes for doing this one of the questions is sometimes people don't act on things that they can change because they feel like they don't have certain they don't have enough creativity they haven't been able to solve a problem they don't have the guts the courage to act on it they don't have the assertiveness they don't have the confidence so imagery and I'm gonna hopefully share with you an imagery that you can experiment with yourself is a fantastic way of both accessing and building these kinds of personal qualities in yourself so that you can be more effective in making changes that you – okay and leading to an action that can actually resolve these problems so imagery is a type of thinking people often say that involves your senses thoughts that you can see hear smell feel you know daydreams it's a language it's an emotional language it's a synthetic gestalt language it's a language of the arts it's you know all the visual arts drama poetry painting even music dance images that bring convey a lot of information but not in the same way that an equation because it conveys information but it makes sense you know it's the difference between listening I think Einstein once said you said you could break a Beethoven sonata down into wavelengths and frequencies but you'd be missing the point you know so there's that when you're scientific part there's that experiencial part where after that so imagery it's a natural way that we think it's very closely linked to the emotions it's a natural if you think about it as a coding language it's a coding language of the emotional intuitive brain and it's just that we haven't had much education and using it and runaway imagination is probably the primary source of modern stress it's not just what's happening it's what you think will happen to you and how it will affect you that sends the signals down into your body on the other hand developing a skillful imagination one that can one that you can use to send messages of calmness of confidence creativity of there's a lot of different ways to use it your most potent tool for stress relief but you need to learn some skills in order to use it on purpose so the imagery what the imagery does is if we're having problem that we can't solve in that cortex the imagery brings the limbic brain into it brings the emotional intuitive into intelligence to that issue or problem so it just brings a whole other big area of the rain to bear on whatever the problem is so it doesn't take anything away it adds intelligence to your problem-solving so you can calm your brain with imagery just like you can you can make it anxious you know I could I could take you through a little imagery just ask you to imagine the scariest thing you've ever been through don't do that right now if we went through it and had you really you know what do you see what are you here what do you smell imagine you're there again you can work up pretty good anxiety if I ask you instead to imagine that you go to a place it's peaceful and beautiful to you and that you just love to be in we have nothing to do and it's safe and it's the right temperature and notice what you see and hear and smell and immerse yourself in that daydream your brain will send messages down through the limbic system down into the lizard brain it'll say it looks beautiful peaceful and safe it sounds beautiful peaceful and safe it smells nice it's peaceful here it's safe hit the all-clear button and your body will shift into that so there's that place as we're right now do I want to focus my attention what the what train of thought do I want to put my attention on and again few people have ever really been taught this so we have got I'll get to the commercial aspect later but it's one reason that I've devoted as much time as I have to writing books and doing audio CDs and downloads for to teach people these skills they're very they're simple skills your imagination is your birthright it's built into you nobody ever really just taught you how to do some fairly simple but potentially profound moves with them that can literally change your life depending on what you're doing you know I can certainly improve your life so rather than talk with you more I want to offer you a chance let's do summit would you like to do some imagery some guided imagery and stone will rest your left fan it off cool it off so I want to share with you a fairly simple imagery that we call evocative imagery how many of you used guided imagery on purpose before so a fair number maybe maybe half or a little more than half so this is a way to use imagery to help you access particular quality that you might want to have more of okay and that could be you know could be courage could be confidence could be creativity it could be patients could be humor it could be assertiveness any quality that you want to think about and the way that we usually use this and you could do this is to think about a situation that you've got going on that you have had difficulty solving or resolving and you just feel like you just haven't been able to resolve it it seems like something that you could potentially solve or resolve well you just don't feel you have enough fill in the blank to do this you need a little more again courage assertiveness patience humor whatever it is okay if you can't think of one right off the bat just think about a quality that you would lo that you would like to experience more of in yourself joy calmness get confidence self love you know whatever floats your boat just some quality you'd like to experience Maura and give it a name think about what the name of it and you could do a couple of qualities I wouldn't do more than you know sometimes it's unclear what you need more of I feel like I need more I don't know if it's courage or I need more strength so you could do them both kind of together kind of know what you're after but think about a specific quality or a couple qualities then you would just like to feel more of the yourself okay and then let yourself be as comfortable as you can be in your in your seats you can close your eyes you don't have to but it's usually easier to pay attention to your imagination in your inner world if you do and then just let yourself take a couple of deeper breaths in your breathing let your breathing get a little deeper into your abdomen and let your out-breath be kind of a letting go kind of a breath and without forcing anything or straining just again drawing a deeper breath into your into your abdomen into your belly letting the out-breath be a letting go kind of a breath just inviting your body to begin to soften or relax and just another time or two as you welcome the breath into your body just notice that you're literally bringing fresh energy and oxygen into your body you can invite it to circulate and flow around your body in the bloodstream to every cell of your body brings fresh energy and as you let the breath out if you like just let it be an invitation to your body your mind even your spirit to just let go of any tension or discomfort you don't have to hold right now and you don't even have to worry about whether you know what you need to hold or what you can let go of just invite the body to soften the mind to begin to quiet and invite your body to continue to soften and relax perhaps to become more a little more spacious without worrying about how it does that feel free to shift or move to be even more comfortable and if you haven't already let yourself go inside to a place that's very beautiful to you let yourself daydream yourself to a place that's very beautiful peaceful say and it might be a place that you've actually been in your life either in your outer life or even in your inner life or it might be a place that just comes to mind right now an imaginary place or some combination it doesn't really matter as long as it's a place that's beautiful to you and peaceful and safe and if more than one place comes to mind just pick whichever one attracts you the most right now and imagine in your own way that you're actually there and take a few moments to just look around and notice what you imagine seeing in this beautiful peaceful place notice the colors and the shapes and the things that are there and don't worry about whether it's very vivid and clear like like a usual eye sight or whether it's kind of vague or it comes and goes but just notice what you imagine is there in this peaceful beautiful place safe place and notice what you imagine hearing in that place or if it's just very quiet notice any sounds you imagine hearing notice if there's an aroma or a fragrance or a quality of the air and notice what time of day or night it seems to be and I wonder if you can tell what season of the year it is just just find the spot in that place where you feel most comfortable and at ease and just trusting your instincts just like a a dog or a cat will circle around and find the most comfortable place to be I let yourself get comfortable there and then think about a quality that you'd like to feel more of the name of a quality a particular quality feeling state that you'd like to feel more of and then let yourself go back in your memory to some time when you experienced yourself having that quality in yourself just let your memory go back to some time when you felt that quality in yourself and some of you may not have a memory of having that quality so let yourself go to some time when you witnessed somebody else expressing their quality or embodying that quality that could be a real person or a fictional person or a historical person and if you found a time when you yourself had this quality imagine that you're there again now and notice what you see what you hear what you feel as you're feeling that particular quality within you and if you're imagining somebody else embodying that quality imagine that you bring them inside you so that you can feel what it feels like to have that quality inside you and then notice where you feel that quality most strongly in your body you might want to just gently scan through your body with your attention from head to toe and back up as if your attention or a sonar beam or a radar beam and just see if you've where do you feel that particular quality most strongly in your body its strongest in your feet or your legs your pelvis abdomen chest your neck and shoulders arms and hands in your face just notice wherever it seems to be strongest and let it grow a little bit larger imagine that you can just allow it to go a little bit larger and stronger just a little bit and notice how it feels to feel that quality in yourself and notice what your posture wants to be like as you feel that quality more strongly in yourself and if you're comfortable with it imagine that you turn up the volume on that quality like you had a control like a volume control on a radio or television and you turn it up so that it radiates out from wherever it's centered in all directions radiates out and begins fills your body with that particular quality and as you feel that in your face notice how your face feels and as you feel that quality notice what you imagine your voice would be like if you were in touch with that quality when you spoke and if you like the feeling of this quality go ahead and turn it up even more so that it overflows the space of your body and fills the space around your body forefoot in every direction an imagined that it radiates inside your body and touches every cell in your body with that quality from the deepest part of your bone marrow to your bones connective tissues your muscles the organs in your pelvis your abdomen in your chest especially your brain spinal cord and your nervous system as if every cell of your body were touched by a ray of this quality and as if you were a sponge and you were bathing in this quality and could soak up as much as you like and if you like you can turn it up even stronger and bigger fill the space around your body for several feet in every direction you can experiment with that never turn it up so strongly that you're uncomfortable but if you're if you like the way it feels imagine you can turn it up that there's a an abundant source of this quality and you can turn it up so that you fill the space around your body for 12 15 20 feet around fill the room with it fill the bay area with it fill the world with it just experimenting and then let yourself turn the volume to whatever is most comfortable for you right now no matter how strong or weak how big or small that is just give yourself permission to let it be like listening to music when you're all by yourself whatever volume is most comfortable for you right now is exactly the right volume and just let's just rest in that for a few more minutes and just take a moment before you bring your awareness back into the room just take a moment to review what's happened in this brief imagery experience what quality you were looking to experience more of whether you have or not what it was like and if there's anything in particular that you want to bring back from this experience and remember when you come back to the outer world before you come back to the outer world take a moment if there's a particular situation that you wanted more of the more of this quality in order to address imagine addressing that situation while being in touch with this quality and just notice whatever you notice notice whether seems the same or different in any way what they're bringing more of this quality into the situation seems to change anything about it or your relationship to it and before you come back to the outer world just remember that you can recall this quality access it feel it build it more strongly in yourself anytime you like just by going through this process again and so when you're ready just let the images go back to wherever they came from and become aware of the room that we're in together and just gently start to bring your awareness from your inner world back out to the outer world us in this room here together and if you like just very gently stretch your body and feel your fingers and toes and everything in between I want to give you just a few minutes to write or draw anything that you want to remember about this experience this is just for you let me give you about three or four minutes just to write or draw anything and I would recommend that you do it whatever happened even if nothing happened just take three or four minutes and write about the experience especially about anything that you want to remember that you thought was important or that you thought was interesting about this experience let's just have some discussion comments questions did everybody hear that you know it's sometimes you get into such a stressful state in an anxious state it's just you know that she's had experiences where relaxation guided imagery have been very useful and other times when she's been so stressed and so anxious and upset that she couldn't even get into it or she did it just didn't even touch it and yes that can that can happen this is not a magic panacea so sometimes that's a place where you can use somebody else to help you or to take a half time or to do some things that are real I get a massage take a hot tub talk to you know talk to a friend this is a place where medications may come in I find a double shot of Jack Daniels works really well and you know I wouldn't recommend it as a daily diet but it certainly helps really get your anxiety level down and you may be able then to to relieve enough of the anxiety that you can pay attention – you think so there are there are many other things we can do from medications to nutrients – you know to other relaxants – doing whatever you need to get to that place where you can focus one of the qualities of imagery thinking is that it can help you connect with a bigger picture and how things are connected and kind of a bigger picture so that can include your faith or you may find well if it has that happens I don't want that to happen but maybe there's a good part of it or maybe or maybe I can I'll just deal with it the best that I can so if this is to expand the picture and let yourself kind of go out to what the consequences might be because that's part of really sorting it into things that you might be able to do something about and things you can't do something about is to let yourself run it out does that make sense to you yeah so so sometimes when people are making treatment choices that are very difficult I'll ask that I'll invite them to imagine that they're at a crossroads again this happens when and if they go down this road they choose this kind of treatment and just imagine walking down that road and just imagine it going as far as you can and see what you imagine go down this road well go down as far as you can't see what you imagine and along the way you're just gonna like flesh out the picture and part of that's going to be able to see is there something I can do about that is there not something I can do about that which one do I imagine is gonna ultimately be better for me and kind of make that choice what's the difference between imagining going to the beach and being at the beach you know so imagining being in a quiet peaceful safe place is the next best thing to actually being there you know and it has certain advantages in that you can go any time you want and it's and you can be there very quickly and it's very inexpensive you know so you can go to home you know so I'd like to go to the beach in Hawaii a lot you know but I can't go every day because they work you know and I have responsibilities and so on lucky if I can go every couple of years but I can when I decide I've had enough I need to break I can take a few deep breaths and I can close my eyes and I can be back on a particular floating in the water just off of a beach and I can immerse when I do immerse myself and take the time to notice the different sensory qualities what we know now from looking at brains on the functional MRI is that if I make an effort to notice what I imagine seeing and hearing and feeling in the weightlessness of my bodies and floating in the lapping of the waves and the surf and the smell of the plume areas and the humidity in the air and I go through all that sensory stuff that when I'm noticing what I'm seeing the part of my brain that processes vision is active when I'm noticing the sounds I'm hearing the parts of my brain that process sound is active but I'm noticing the sensory details that part of my brain sensory cortex is active so what you have is you have more and more parts of your cortex sending messages down to those lower more reflexive parts of your brain and they're saying it looks like I'm in Hawaii it sounds like I'm in Y feels like I'm in Hawaii it smells like I'm in Hawaii and that part of your brain just goes okay you know all clear sends out the all clear signal and a lot of things in your body start to go to work in a more effective manner that haven't been able to work as well when you're constantly reacting to messages of look out what's next how am I gonna get that done Danger Danger Danger Danger threat problem so on and so forth which is where we spend so much of our time and that's so this little lizard brain is sitting there look out look out look out look out look out right and it's constantly getting the body prepared for that and that's exhausting so if we're spending 90% of our waking time and half our sleeping time dealing with those kinds of things we see why we get exhausted we get wired and tired we have trouble sleeping the body starts to signal that it need something so finding a way to get to those deeper levels and plug in a couple of those lack sation places as just a basic tool is thing one of the real fundamental benefits of guided imagery which is a type of meditation at that home and I really appreciate your attention thank you very much [Applause]

39 comments

  1. Serenity prayer :
    "Grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference"

    NEED TO REMEMBER THIS

  2. If you can think yourself calm then you do not have a major problem. This talk does not cover those whose anxiety is out of control and are in need of medical intervention. You may not be able to self diagnose and could be vulnerable and are unlikely to be in this audience.

  3. I relate to this so much. I have been suffering with Generalised Anxiety Disorder [GAD] for 2 years now and I can tell you it is horrible. I have created a YouTube Channel in which I talk about my experience and the importance of mental health awareness. I would greatly appreciate the support, take a look see if you relate to what I say? Maybe even subscribe? I never force a subscribe, only if you think you enjoy my content 🙂 Thank you very much for listening.

  4. He's got that Bob Ross kind of speaking voice. Happy little clouds He could Jedi mind trick the audience with that hypnosis-like moment during this lecture. I mean, you're getting sleepy, very sleepy and, viola, the whole room has now been brainwashed to become future assassins like the Manchurian Candidate. This plot could start an interesting Netflix series, or something like it.

  5. His voice is calming and kind however he woke me up… so the people saying you'd fall asleep listen again until you wake up…He's not saying pump massive meds, he's not saying prayer alone is the answer,hes not saying its magic, he is using science and self help goals to get us at least onto the path of change.. No false unrealistic promises, no pharma, just about how our brains can HEALand work with us instead of agains us… I didn't find him to be boring, fake or with any agenda other than helpful… RE watch it until you are able to see past you worry that is won't/can't work… We are amazing animals and we CAN get better or at least feel better until we die… Hugs to all my fellow compulsive worriers…. Worriers to Warriors … My grandpa use to say "it's all in your head" how true…

  6. Im clinically fraind of illness and domage to my body, I think it will kill me every time through sepsis or the like, and this helps a lot

  7. Very interesting and well presented talk. It's 9 years old and still holds attention. Thank you for the upload.

  8. never watch the new's there making a living of your fear …. if it bleeds it leads if the world gonna end you'll find out …… it's junk food for the mind

  9. Question: "What does the Bible say about anxiety?"

    Answer: The Bible has a lot to say about anxiety, but the word itself may not be found all that often. In the English Standard Version, it is used 8 times. In the New International Version, it is found 7 times. The King James Version does not use the word at all. Synonyms like trouble, heaviness, distress, and cares are used in its place.

    The specific causes of anxiety are probably more than can be enumerated, but a few examples from the Bible point to some general causes. In Genesis 32, Jacob is returning home after many years away. One of the reasons he had left home was to escape the anger of his brother, Esau, from whom Jacob had stolen the birthright and blessing from their father. Now, as Jacob nears his homeland, he hears that Esau is coming to meet him with 400 men. Jacob is immediately anxious, expecting a horrible battle with his brother. In this case, the anxiety is caused by a broken relationship and a guilty conscience.

    In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah is distressed because she was unable to conceive children and she was being taunted by Peninnah, her husband's other wife. Her distress is caused by unfulfilled desires and the harassment of a rival.

    In Esther 4, the Jewish people are anxious because of a royal decree allowing them to be massacred. Queen Esther is anxious because she was planning to risk her life on behalf of her people. Fear of death and the unknown is a key element of anxiety.

    Not all anxiety is sinful. In 1 Corinthians 7:32, Paul states that an unmarried man is “anxious” about pleasing the Lord, while a married man is “anxious” about pleasing his wife (ESV). In this case, the anxiety isn't a sinful fear but a deep, proper concern.

    Probably the best-known passage on anxiety comes from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6. Our Lord warns us against being anxious about the various cares of this life. For the child of God, even necessities like food and clothing are nothing to worry about. Using examples from God's creation, Jesus teaches that our Heavenly Father knows our needs and cares about them. If God takes care of simple things like grass, flowers, and birds, won't He also care for people who are created in His image? Rather than worry over things we cannot control, we should "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things [the necessities of life] will be added to you" (verse 33). Putting God first is a cure for anxiety.

    Many times, anxiety or concern is a result of sin, and the cure is to deal with the sin. Psalm 32:1-5 says that the person whose sin is forgiven is blessed, and the heavy weight of guilt is taken away when sins are confessed. Is a broken relationship creating anxiety? Try to make peace (2 Corinthians 13:11). Is fear of the unknown leading to anxiety? Turn the situation over to the God who knows everything and is in control of it all (Psalm 68:20). Are overwhelming circumstances causing anxiety? Have faith in God. When the disciples became distressed in a storm, Jesus first rebuked their lack of faith, then rebuked the wind and the waves (Matthew 8:23-27). As long as we are with Jesus, there is nothing to fear.

    We can count on the Lord to provide for our needs, protect us from evil, guide us, and keep our souls secure for eternity. We may not be able to prevent anxious thoughts from entering our minds, but we can practice the right response. Philippians 4:6, 7 instructs us to "not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

  10. He made me think on MANY, Practical & Prayerful Scriptural reference’s:

    Jesus “Let go” & “Softened”, (Or He was TEACHING ME) too?

    Some technics I’ll accept (Yet others .. Still No .. Because I don’t want to allow another creature Humid or DIVINE .. to CONSUME ME.

    Daniel 2:44-45 (CJB)
    [44] “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will establish a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not pass into the hands of another people. It will break to pieces and CONSUME all those kingdoms; but it, itself, will stand forever—[45] like the stone you saw, which, without human hands, separated itself from the mountain and broke to pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold. The great God has revealed to the king what will come about in the future. The dream is true, and its interpretation is reliable.”

    Daniel 7:26-28 (CJB)
    [26] But when the court goes into session, he will be stripped of his rulership, which will be CONSUMED and completely destroyed.

    27] Then the kingdom, the rulership and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. Their kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will serve and obey them.’”
    [28] This is the end of the account. As for me, Dani’el*, my thoughts frightened me so much that I turned pale; but I kept the matter to myself.

    Mark 7:34
    And looking up to heaven, He (Jesus) sighed, and saith to him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.

    Mark 8:12 (KJV)
    [12] And he SIGHED DEEPLY in His SPIRIT, and asked: “Why does this generation SEEK after A sign? Honestly, I‘m going to tell you, There will be no sign given to this generation.

    Luke 11:29-30
    ¶ And when the people were gathered together, and became a crowd, He began to say, “This is an EVIL generation!
    They SEEK .. A SIGN! BUT .. there will be NO SIGN given to it, but the sign of Jonah: The Prophet!

    30] For as Jonah was: A SIGN to The Ninevites, so shall: “The Son of man” also be to .. THIS generation. (2000 years ago!)

  11. I really appreciate your acceptance on the Religious aspect ..

    You made me think on many of the Practical & Prayerful Scriptural reference’s

    Genesis 2:18 (CJB)
    [18] ADONAI*, God, said, “It isn't good that the person should be alone. I will make for him a companion suitable for helping him.”

    Exodus 18:17-27 (CJB)
    [17] Moshe's* father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing isn't good. [18] You will certainly wear yourself out—and not only yourself, but these people here with you as well. It's too much for you—you can't do it alone, by yourself. [19] So listen now to what I have to say. I will give you some advice, and God will be with you. You should represent the people before God, and you should bring their cases to God. [20] You should also teach them the laws and the teachings, and show them how to live their lives and what work they should do. [21] But you should choose from among all the people competent men who are God-fearing, honest and incorruptible to be their leaders, in charge of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. [22] Normally, they will settle the people's disputes. They should bring you the difficult cases; but ordinary matters they should decide themselves. In this way, they will make it easier for you and share the load with you. [23] If you do this—and God is directing you to do it—you will be able to endure; and all these people too will arrive at their destination peacefully.”

    (iii) [24] Moshe* paid attention to his father-in-law's counsel and did everything he said. [25] Moshe* chose competent men from all Isra’el* and made them heads over the people, in charge of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. [26] As a general rule, they settled the people's disputes—the difficult cases they brought to Moshe*, but every simple matter they decided themselves.

    [27] Then Moshe* let his father-in-law leave, and he went off to his own country.

    Daniel 2:1-2 (CJB)
    [1] In the second year of the reign of N’vukhadnetzar*, N’vukhadnetzar* became so troubled by a series of dreams he had that he couldn't sleep. [2] So the king ordered the magicians, exorcists, sorcerers and astrologers summoned to interpret the king's dreams to him. They came and stood in his presence.

    Daniel 2:13-20 (CJB)
    [13] When the decree was published that the sages were to be slain, they sought Dani’el* and his companions in order to have them put to death.

    [14] Then, choosing his words carefully, Dani’el* consulted Aryokh*, captain of the royal guard, who had already gone out to kill the sages of Bavel*. [15] He said to Aryokh*, “Since you are the king's official, let me ask: why has the king issued such a harsh decree?” Aryokh* explained the matter to Dani’el*. [16] Then Dani’el* went in and asked the king to give him time to tell the king the interpretation.

    [17] Dani’el* went home and made the matter known to Hananyah*, Misha’el* and ‘Azaryah*, his companions; [18] so that they could ask the God of heaven for mercy concerning this secret, and thus save Dani’el* and his companions from dying along with the other sages of Bavel*. [19] Then the secret was revealed to Dani’el* in a vision at night, and Dani’el* blessed the God of heaven [20] in these words:

    “Blessed be the name of God

    from eternity past to eternity future!

    For wisdom and power are his alone;

    Romans 13:5 (CJB)
    [5] Another reason to obey, besides fear of punishment, is for the sake of conscience.

    1 Corinthians 10:28-30 (CJB)
    [28] But if someone says to you, “This meat was offered as a sacrifice,” then don't eat it, out of consideration for the person who pointed it out and also for conscience's sake—[29] however, I don't mean your conscience but that of the other person. You say, “Why should my freedom be determined by someone else's conscience? [30] If I participate with thankfulness, why am I criticized over something for which I myself bless God?”

    James 1:2-27 (CJB)
    [2] Regard it all as joy, my brothers, when you face various kinds of temptations; [3] for you know that the testing of your trust produces perseverance. [4] But let perseverance do its complete work; so that you may be complete and whole, lacking in nothing. [5] Now if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all generously and without reproach; and it will be given to him. [6] But let him ask in trust, doubting nothing; for the doubter is like a wave in the sea being tossed and driven by the wind. [7] Indeed that person should not think that he will receive anything from the Lord, [8] because he is double-minded, unstable in all his ways.

    [9] Let the brother in humble circumstances boast about his high position. [10] But let the rich brother boast about his being humbled; since, like a wildflower, he will pass away. [11] For just as the sun rises with the sharav* and dries up the plant, so that its flower falls off and its beauty is destroyed, so too the rich person going about his business will wither away.

    [12] How blessed is the man who perseveres through temptation! For after he has passed the test, he will receive as his crown the Life which God has promised to those who love him. [13] No one being tempted should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, and God himself tempts no one. [14] Rather, each person is being tempted whenever he is being dragged off and enticed by the bait of his own desire. [15] Then, having conceived, the desire gives birth to sin; and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. [16] Don't delude yourselves, my dear brothers.

    [17] Every good act of giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father who made the heavenly lights; with him there is neither variation nor darkness caused by turning. [18] Having made his decision, he gave birth to us through a Word that can be relied upon, in order that we should be a kind of firstfruits of all that he created. [19] Therefore, my dear brothers, let every person be quick to listen but slow to speak, slow to get angry; [20] for a person's anger does not accomplish God's righteousness!

    [21] So rid yourselves of all vulgarity and obvious evil, and receive meekly the Word implanted in you that can save your lives. [22] Don't deceive yourselves by only hearing what the Word says, but do it! [23] For whoever hears the Word but doesn't do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror, [24] who looks at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. [25] But if a person looks closely into the perfect Torah*, which gives freedom, and continues, becoming not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work it requires, then he will be blessed in what he does.

    [26] Anyone who thinks he is religiously observant but does not control his tongue is deceiving himself, and his observance counts for nothing. [27] The religious observance that God the Father considers pure and faultless is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being contaminated by the world.

  12. If no tendency to, then no PORN SALES, or any propensity. A tautology. And Repression is refusing to accept what is TRIVIAL ABOUT HUMAN NATURE (Re: adolescents). Mountains out of mole hills.

  13. Listening to this entire talk is very calming and helpful. I went from a very anxious state to a peaceful one. Thank you

  14. Sorry, you lost me at 41:14. Louann Brizendine a FEMINIST. Love this lecture but leave out the fucking feminist bullshit of all fetuses starting out as female.

    All fetuses starting out as female, This fucking myth needs to fucking DIE already!!!

    Fetuses start out as NEUTER.

    Something people never bring up is the WOLFFIAN DUCTS. All sexes have it but it is only functional in MALES and is only vestigial in females. Hmmm… I wonder why this is?

    Because at the beginning there is no female or male. That's why!

  15. The only problem I have with his technique is ; when you are in the middle of a panic or anxiety attack, the body is going through very uncomfortable sensations. Imagery will be impossible to be effective until the actual attack is over. Meditation is great and useful but not during an attack.

  16. This fellow the speaker has a very calming voice, it is really halping becasue I was just in a situations where I was panicing abou something that happened that I hope wont get worse … Thank you Shall-Aum

  17. anxiety and depression are the curse of smart people. You'll never encounter a dumb person suffering from any of these. This is because dumb people are easily entertained, all they need is another episode of the Kardashians to get out of their head, or go to Thailand for a couple of weeks. This however doesn't work when you have a high IQ, especially when you're getting older. The shit this dude is spilling in the vid also only works on dumb/medium-IQ people; all this guided meditation and imagination stuff, this is just ways of entertaining the brain, but only a stupid brain can be tricked into this type of entertainment. So my advice if you are a smart person that can't beat anxiety and depression – don't listen to this, the only thing that can save you is good sleep, regular exercise and most important doing something you truly love, preferably something that involves helping other people, i.e. try to find work that really helps you lose yourself, i.e. get out of your head, cause when you're in your head you will always default back into anxiety mode, no matter how great you master this imagination bullshit taught in this video.

  18. Now I'm not a psychologist, but as a Buddhist practitioner, who learn
    how the mind works through Buddhist teaching, there's a reason where
    this emotion fear, anxiety come from. The moment each one of us is born into this
    world, there is a sense that "me is special and different from the rest
    of the world". And as we're grown up, this sense of separateness become
    bigger and bigger. This sense of separateness come from the Ego that is
    programmed into your mind the moment you're born. Here is the thing, as
    we've grown up and if we don't know about spiritual cultivation, then
    this ego become strengthened, and bigger. The bigger and more
    strengthened the ego, the more fearful, loneliness one become. Yes, ego
    can deceive us to feel good when we see that "we are special and very
    different from the rest". But that is just a deceiving from the ego, and
    the price to pay for that "feeling good because I'm very special and
    different from the rest" is the feeling of fearful and loneliness bigger
    and bigger.

     So as you see, the feeling of fear and anxiety already there for so
    long, it didn't have to wait until something "scary" to be fearful. It's
    just that we haven't noticed about it. Something "scary" is just an
    event that amplify the magnitude of "fear" so that you notice it more
    easily.

    We can NOT "hack, suppress, kill" these negative emotion because the more we
    try to avoid it by "hack, suppress, kill" then it can only TEMPORARY go away.
    And where do they go? These negative emotion will stay deep into deeper layer
    of the mind until something else come up to trigger it again and again.

     So what is the use of practice Buddhism you may ask? The answer is,
    as an Enlightened master, the Gautama Buddha know all the tricks of the
    mind, so only an enlightened master know effective method how to cure completely
    these diseases. One of such effective method to cure the mind, yes Buddhist
    teaching is specialization in curing the mind. One of powerful method is
    mindfulness so that you learn to observe the mind instead of
    identifying immediately every time an emotion come up. This way, after a
    serious practice then your ego become weaker and weaker instead of
    stronger, because your wisdom through the practice arise. You will be
    able to see the inter-connectedness among all sentient beings. The less
    you see someone different from you, the less fearful you become. In
    other words, you don't have a big ego and the reward you get is a sense
    of peaceful instead of fearful. I hope it helps my friend.

     Unfortunately, the western world you're living promoting a sense of
    "i am very special and different from anyone else", "I need to promote
    my specialness through doing a certain thing". That's why most of you in
    a state of confusion and not sure which one right.

    But if you want to know which one is the right way then you can ask
    yourself this "All the conflicts in the world, the war, jealousy and so
    on…"where it comes from if not from the ego, the sense of
    separateness?"
    That's why in our Oriental culture many thousand years ago, all the
    Awakening saints and sages never teach us to promote "I am special and
    different from the rest". Instead, we just promote a sense of community
    and de-emphazing the importance of individuality.

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