Anxiety, Embodied: The Biology of “Mental” Illness

Anxiety is not a choice. It’s not a characterological weakness. It’s a kink in your biological software. Sadly, the mood-as-a-choice crowd has been growing in the last decade or two, making it worse. Now, not only do you stutter in a crowd, have difficulty making eye contact, or find your obsessive thoughts getting in the way of rational decision-making, but you understand these to be signs of failure on your part. The shame, then, of being incompetent, unfriendly and untrustworthy, stupid, and my favorite absurdity, “attention-seeking,” makes it almost impossible for you to simply work with your physical self to heal it, because even admitting your anxiety is embarrassing. Once you can get past your shame however, and simply allow yourself with guidance to gently, compassionately step into your anxious body, you have the power to bring flow to the log-jam of chronic anxiety. Continue Reading Anxiety, Embodied: The Biology of “Mental” Illness

Trauma 101: Meditation

Meditation is a discipline. Sometimes, it gets to me. In this video, in which I am upstaged by my dogs, I give a little taste both of the effort I put towards sitting, and how easy it is for me to get distracted from focusing on the present. What is important for all of us to wrap our minds around is that, if you’re expecting your brain to cooperate and stop thinking, you will not succeed. You will get frustrated, and you will give up on an intervention that is free and requires no travel, taking 15-20 minutes out of your day. Continue Reading Trauma 101: Meditation

Strengthen Your Brain, Strengthen Your Resolve

Bill Moyers did a fascinating series on healing, and one interview he did has really stuck with me. A man had had a stroke, taking out much of the emotional part of the brain. While the higher parts of the brain, including the frontal lobe we explored last week, remained  untouched, the man was left… Continue Reading Strengthen Your Brain, Strengthen Your Resolve

The Mechanics of Will: the Neuroscience Behind Successful Resolutions

You know that gesture that, in moments of shock and overwhelm, we humans worldwide do to soothe ourselves? Hand to forehead! Try it now. Soothing, isn’t it? In so doing, we intuitively embrace and protect a vital part of our brain, one that governs among many, many things, our will itself. Oh, not the passion,… Continue Reading The Mechanics of Will: the Neuroscience Behind Successful Resolutions