QUOTES & WISDOM
TOP OF THE MIND
QUOTES & WISDOMfrom the Top of the Mind
QUOTES & WISDOM
Top of the Mind
Nancy Perovic, RN, BSN
University Of Chicago Hospitals, Chicago, IL
Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.
COVID-19 The What, Why, & How To Stay Safe & Sane
Those of you who have read my books or seen me present know that I like to look at life in terms of how the brain processes information. I call my philosophy “Life from the Top of the Mind” because it is all about being able to access the clear, confident, creative part of the brain (the neocortex, or upper 80% of the brain) regardless of the situation.
Today, this degree of influence is especially challenging because we are all dealing with the effects of COVID-19. The news, as well as, the measures we are having to take to defeat this virus can easily trigger feelings of stress, frustration, anxiety, and depression. Therefore, I suggest that we look at the area of life over which we have the most influence (how our brain processes information) to learn more about the what, the why, and the how.
The “what” speaks to the tendency to find ourselves having thoughts and emotions that only make a challenging situation worse. In other words, when external stimuli such as the news and the fact that our lives have been disrupted trigger negative emotions, such as, stress and anxiety, this often tends to make the original trigger seem more threatening. Unfortunately, this triggers another, often more intense round of negative thoughts and emotions, and we can find ourselves trapped in an ever-escalating cycle.
Understanding the “why” behind this, however, can provide a path forward and a way for us to break the cycle. This is where neuroscience and my “Life from the Top of the Mind” philosophy can be helpful. In other words, if we can understand that our negative thoughts and emotions are actually the result of our middle brain (the limbic system) interpreting a situation as dangerous and throwing us into the part of the brain that is designed to deal with danger (the lower brain, or brainstem), then this clarity can be helpful in knowing what to do.
Of course, many might say, “But this IS a dangerous situation! I mean…people are dying!” and certainly this is true. However, it’s not a situation where we need to react without thinking to stay safe. In fact, we need to have access to our best clarity, confidence, and creativity to deal with the current reality.
This is where really understanding the true “why” can be helpful. In other words, if reacting quickly, without thinking is what is we need to deal with COVID-19, then, yes, trusting this lower brain reaction would be a good idea. However, given that what we need today is the ability to access our clearest thoughts and most purposeful behaviors in order to be safe, then seeing our negative thoughts and emotions as simply data being sent to the wrong part of the brain, can be one step in keeping us from getting caught in an ever-escalating cycle.
The “how” speaks to a behavioral model I have developed that is designed to allow individuals to shift from the reactive brain to the purposeful brain and actually change the chemical make-up of the body from the stress chemicals of adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol to the upper brain chemicals of serotonin and endorphins.
To help you remember this, I have created a model which spells B.R.A.I.N., and I take viewers through each step of the model in this YouTube video “COVID-19 The What, Why, & How to Stay Safe & Sane (https://youtu.be/wx-vScGBH7Y).
In addition, I tie my last two YouTube videos, “How to Stay Safe Using Awareness Vs. Worry” (https://youtu.be/r9iyZf3LA9c) and “Using Neuroscience to Strengthen Your Immune System” (https://youtu.be/d7IrjH6PMCs) together with this current video to give you the trifecta for dealing with the current reality in a way that allows you to have as much influence as possible in your life and the lives of others.
Therefore, if you would like to understand the what, the why, and the how with respect to dealing with the reality that COVID-19 has brought to our lives, I suggest that you take a few minutes to watch these three short videos, because each will give you a piece of the puzzle.
Of course, this is what I teach. I have created models for how to access our best, regardless of the situation, by accessing a specific part of the brain, and how to stay in this clear, confident, creative brain, regardless of the situation.
Therefore, if you feel that you or yours could use information such as this, I suggest that you give me a shout. Until we understand what we can do to influence our experience of life by understanding the neuroscience behind what we think and feel, why this is the case, and how to have more influence over these aspects of life, we will be forever at the mercy of things in life that are beyond our control.
~ All the best, Dr. Bill