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Silencing Anxiety's Assault: Unleashing Neuroplasticity's Brain-Body Healing Powers


After spending a Month at the Mayo Clinic in a very specialized program, I came to realize that a lot of us “know” that anxiety and stress are bad for us… but do we really know why or even how damaging it can be on our bodily systems?


In today's fast-paced world, anxiety and stress have become all too common. The pressures of work, relationships, chronic illnesses and personal expectations can take a toll on our mental well-being, ultimately affecting our physical health. Today I would like to delve into the detrimental effects anxiety and stress can have on our bodies, and explore how harnessing the power of neuroplasticity can help combat these issues.


The Impact of Anxiety and Stress on Our Bodies:

  1. Cardiovascular Health: Chronic anxiety and stress can lead to an increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and heightened levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Prolonged exposure to these physiological responses can contribute to the development of cardiovascular problems such as hypertension, heart disease, and an increased risk of heart attacks.

  2. Immune System Dysfunction: Anxiety and stress can impair the immune system, making us more susceptible to infections and diseases. High levels of stress hormones (like cortisol) can weaken immune responses, leading to a higher likelihood of illness and a longer recovery time.

  3. Mental Health: Anxiety and stress often go hand in hand with mental health disorders such as depression and panic disorders. Persistent feelings of worry, fear, and tension can disrupt our emotional well-being, affecting our daily functioning and overall quality of life.

  4. Digestive Issues: The gut-brain connection is a powerful link, and stress can disrupt the balance of the gastrointestinal system. Anxiety and stress can exacerbate existing digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and contribute to symptoms such as stomachaches, nausea, bloating, and diarrhea.


None of these effects are desirable. So what can help buffer against and recover from them? 


Neuroplasticity refers to the brain's ability to change and reorganize itself throughout life. By understanding and utilizing this incredible capacity, we can reshape our neuropathways and alleviate anxiety and stress. It’s a powerful tool all of us have at our disposal and can use at any time during the day, and even at night! Here are some strategies to incorporate neuroplasticity into our lives:


Harnessing Neuroplasticity to Combat Anxiety and Stress: 

  • Mindfulness and Meditation: Engaging in mindfulness practices can help rewire the brain to focus on the present moment rather than getting caught up in anxious thoughts. Meditation and deep breathing exercises promote relaxation, reduce stress hormones, and improve overall well-being. Apps like Headspace and Calm are excellent here.

  • Cognitive Restructuring: Our thoughts play a significant role in shaping our emotions and responses. By identifying negative thinking patterns and consciously reframing them into positive and rational thoughts, we can rewire our brains to perceive stressors differently and reduce anxiety levels.

  • Physical Exercise: Go out and sweat! Regular physical activity has been shown to boost mood, reduce stress, and promote the release of endorphins, which act as natural mood elevators. Engaging in activities such as walking, yoga, running, or swimming can be particularly beneficial for combating anxiety and stress.

  • Social Support: Humans were made to be social. Building and maintaining strong social connections can provide a buffer against stress; seeking support from trusted friends, family, or mental health professionals can help us cope with anxiety and stress more effectively. Social interactions also stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of well-being and reduces stress.


Anxiety and stress can have severe consequences for our bodies and overall well-being. However, understanding the impact of these issues and embracing the power of neuroplasticity allows us to combat anxiety and stress effectively. By adopting mindfulness practices, restructuring our thoughts, engaging in regular physical exercise, and seeking social support, we can reshape our brains and build resilience in the face of stress. Let’ss strive to PRIORITIZE OUR MENTAL HEALTH and harness the remarkable ability of our brains to promote a life filled with calm, contentment, and well-being.


My question for you to ponder is how are you currently responding to your stress or anxiety?

  1. Do you ignore it, and keep stuffing it deep down inside?

  2. Do you put it off by saying you’re not stressed?

  3. Has it affected your personality and how you interact or react to others? Is your fuse shorter lately, or are you “too tired” to be able to deal with others?

  4. Perhaps you don’t even know what is even going on, you just know something is off?

  5. Maybe, just maybe… you have zero stress and anxiety in your life?


Not many people can say that #5 is their answer. Certainly no one I know.


So if you’re like the rest of us and chose 1 through 4 (or more than one of those questions!), I truly believe that while diamonds are a girl's best friend, they aren’t going to help you work through things like a really good therapist would. Everyone needs to speak with a therapist regularly. It shouldn’t stop there though. If you want to push through and find a way to make your experiences work for you, you need a coach that you connect with. Someone who can walk with you, helping you to reconceptualize those toxic thoughts and stories you or others have spoken over you, and help you to understand how you have the power to rewire your own brain and thought process. This is not an easy thing to do on your own; it’s why having a coach is an important part of your equation.


If I knew 10 years ago what I know now about life coaches, the power of neuroplasticity and realizing the choices I actually could have made but were blocked by my toxic thinking, I really don’t believe I would have ever gotten as sick as I have been over the past decade.


I care. I care about those I know and I care about those I haven’t even yet met. That’s why I’ve stepped out of the shadows and I’m writing these blogs, that’s why I’ve started up my own wellness company, that’s why I’ve become a wellness officer so that I can help others out there who may be suffering in silence alone, lost and afraid or unaware. You don't have to walk this walk alone! Reach out and allow someone to walk alongside you. Everyone needs a hand once in a while to pull themselves up and out of where they are or have been. It truly is amazing how your own life will change when you have an accountability partner to keep you focused.


Just over 2 years ago I found my coach who has since then walked beside me, helping me to see things and the world in a different light. Not only have I been supported by my wonderful coach but by the community that came with it. I had no idea how my life would turn around and change by simply making one smart move and reaching out and seeking a life coach. Not only has my health improved but I actually have the energy and desire to start up my own company, something I said I would NEVER do.


Never say never because when you do say NEVER, watch out because that Never is just around the bend!


Until my blog,

BE BRAVE  BE STRONG  BE KIND TO YOURSELF 

AND KEEP ON STEPPING!

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