Thursday, 8 August 2019
Highly anxious people have an enlarged amygdala, this is the part of your brain that is responsible for perception and regulating emptions as well as other primitive functions. Most importantly is drives your fight or flight function – the amygdala’s role is to warn you of things that may possibly be important to your survival. Now imagine you’re triggered by every little thing, because you’re amygdala is so over active everything is a possible threat to your safety, even though it’s not. It’s a very exhausting state to be in. Never cried because even though you received a non-threatening email, it made you feel attacked. I have. Anxious people get emotional at all kinds of things, because they’re always kind of on that tipping point where that one thing is just too much. High anxiety for me leaves me exhausted, physically and emotionally and that leads to me sleeping, but not sleeping because it’s really difficult when you’re in an anxious state to sleep, which leads to me spending time in bed, not sleeping, but not doing anything, becoming more anxious about things that need to be done, and then more tired. You can see this lovely little spiral starts occurring.
When I feel myself getting into this specific situation I start by regulating my sleep habits, always wake up and go to bed at the same time. Sleep is driven by an internal body clock, it needs consistency. Now this is not likely to be enough, but it’s a start. Good bed time habits, no blue light an 1 – 2 hrs before bed. Warming up your body 2hours before bed, either in a bath or through exercise. This is a natural indication to the body it’s time for sleep. Speaking of exercise. EXERCISE! Studies link anxiety and dopamine levels in the amygdala, increasing dopamine levels through exercise can help. Sleep impacts on dopamine levels if you’re not getting enough sleep you need to boost dopamine through other avenues. Add sunshine to your life, sunshine will regulate your melatonin and internal body clock assisting with sleep and increases your number of dopamine receptors. Human contact triggers dopamine too, hugging, shaking hands, getting a massage – physical touch is such an important part of well-being. And finally, I start every day with small, attainable goals. We just like achieving things, simply achievement trains the brain propelling behaviour to more achievements.