We all know the feeling. Your heart starts racing, your palms get sweaty, and you become fearful or full of worry. That’s anxiety talking. It’s prevalent, and everyone is bound to experience it at one time or another. And seeking mental health aid is more common than you think.
It’s reported that nearly 18% of individuals in the United States experience an anxiety disorder every year.
But what if you could train your brain to deal with anxiety, causing you to feel better much more quickly? There are methods that you can use yourself, where ever you are, to help train your brain.
What is Brain Training?
Brain training is defined as “a program of regular activities purported to maintain or improve one’s cognitive abilities.” The process has been studied for nearly a century, and exercises are focused on training your brain to do one specific task. What this means is that the methods you use to cope with anxiety will not be the same ones you use to help memorize answers for a test.
Where Does Anxiety Come From?
Anxiety comes from a variety of factors, including genetics, chemical imbalances in the brain, and past experiences. It comes on when your mindset is overcome with worry or fear and is connected to the ancient fight-or-flight response.
The fight-or-flight response is an evolutionary development. It dates back thousands of years to when people had to be always conscious of potential threats and originated as a survival technique. It’s ingrained in the sympathetic nervous system. What this means is that anxiety is a natural part of human life.
However, you can train your brain to cope with the feeling.
Brain Training for Anxiety
Professionals have identified brain training techniques to deal with anxiety. They are widely used, and many people report excellent success after trying them.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is one brain training technique that is shown to help with anxiety. It’s shown to help those who struggle with PTSD, OCD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and more. The technique is based on the concept that you must counteract each negative or irrational thought with an opposing positive view.
For example: Counteract the thought, “All these people will laugh at me,” with a thought such as, “Nobody will laugh at me.”
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
REBT is another brain training technique that therapists often teach patients. It’s similar to CBT in the fact that it enables you to recognize irrational thoughts and counteract them with a new set of beliefs. It’s been shown to help those affected by stress, OCD, and panic disorder.
For example: Counteract the thought “I’m going to die,” common in those who struggle with panic disorder, with something like, “I am not dying right now, and nothing bad has happened yet.”
You can find a helpful REBT worksheet to guide you through the process here.
Brain Training is a Long-Term Process
Brain training must be done continuously. Training your brain is the same as training to run a marathon. You wouldn’t expect to run miles overnight, after having never tried before. It can take months to develop the process in your brain fully, but it can have GR8 results.