I have an anxious mind. I’m not anxious all of the time, but in certain circumstances and for particular reasons, my anxiety levels rise above those of most people.
I have been this way for as long as I can remember, but I’m coming round to the idea that this anxious feeling is not something I have to live with for the rest of my life. I now believe that it is possible for me to change the way my mind responds to given situations and reduce, perhaps even completely alleviate, my mental and physical agitation.
I am writing this post to give you, the person reading this, hope for the future. I want you to experience this same belief in your ability to change your mind so as to tackle your anxiety issues.
My belief has come about thanks to the understanding I am gaining from reading a book about nueroplasticity – in other words, the ability for the brain to rewire itself, to form new neural connections which allow it to respond differently to the world outside and in.
I won’t bore you with all the details, but it seems plain to me that through the use of particular exercises, the brain can change in such ways as to shift its bias away from the potentially threatening or stressful and towards the non-threatening and calm.
More essential reading on anxiety (article continues below):
- High-Functioning Anxiety Is More Than You Think It Is
- 6 Powerful Affirmations To Combat Stress And Anxiety
The science has been developing for a number of years and there have been recent attempts to take it and turn it into effective exercises for the everyday person.
With this in mind, I am going to try and use one or more of the following programs on a regular basis to alter the way that my brain perceives potentially anxiety-inducing situations:
The Angry/Happy Faces Game: this is a free online game that I first became aware of when watching an episode of BBC Horizon in which the presenter, Michael Mosley, used it to try and reduce his stress levels (somewhat successfully). It essentially asks you to find and select the one happy face among a grid of unhappy or angry faces. It is also available as an IOS app.
The Mood Mint App: this is similar to the above in that it shows you a selection of faces and asks you to pick the happy one, but there are also other games that can aid in focusing the brain on the positive rather than the negative.
The Personal Zen App: this app requires you to follow a smiling, animated sprite around your phone screen while ignoring the angry sprite face. It is available on IOS.
All three options have some scientific research behind them and while they should not be used as the sole treatment for more serious cases of anxiety, they are offered as a way for the average person to reduce their general levels of anxiety and stress.
I am excited at the prospect of a research-led game that has the ability to rewire your brain for your benefit.
I hope to give you an update at some point in the future, but for now, I’d encourage you to try one or more of the above (two are free, one is paid) and see if they help.
Whatever triggers your anxious mind, I want to give you a real sense of opportunity and empowerment with this article. I want you to be able to envisage a future where your anxiety is less severe, to the point that it no longer bothers you or prevents you from doing certain things.
I wish you well on your journey and encourage you to leave a comment below if and when you have results to report!