Neuroscientist and Professor of Psychology and Neural Sciences at New York University, Wendy Suzuki, shared on CNBC the six exercises she practices daily to develop mental strength, deal with anxiety and stress, and build resilience, which is the ability to adapt. in adverse situations with a positive balance.
For Suzuki, author of the book “Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion,” the most powerful way to deal with anxiety is to constantly work to build resilience and mental strength, as if it were muscles in a gym. This not only fills us with tools to deal with difficult emotions and situations, but we also learn to appreciate the experience and learnings from our own mistakes.
Here we share the six exercises that the neuroscientist practices every day:
1. Visualize positive results
Pick a time of day to think about the things that worry you, whether it’s something as important as your child’s health, a job change or an economic issue, or any other minor issue. When you bring them to mind, visualize the best possible result, so good that you surprise yourself. Doing this exercise daily, according to the expert, helps build the ‘muscle’ of always expecting positive results and even opens your mind to countless possibilities in every situation you face.
2. Turn anxiety into progress
As Suzuki explains in his book, anxiety doesn’t always have to be bad and we can often use it to our advantage. If the main emotion that generates your anxiety is anger, use it to propel you, motivate you and remember what is important; if it is fear, take the opportunity to take your decisions more seriously and reflectively, and you may find opportunities for change; Sadness can help you change your environment and review your priorities, and worry serves as a driving force to review your plans and goals.
3. Try something new
Trying new things has a beneficial effect on our body and our brain. If you don’t like to go out a lot or you are not a very sociable person to sign up for activities with other people, the current facilities that the internet offers us will be great for you.
You do not have to do a strenuous physical training or perform an activity that is too complex, as long as it is something different and takes you a little out of your comfort zone, you will have already won.
When we are under a lot of stress or anxiety, one of the most effective antidotes is to reinforce the feeling that we are not alone. For that, it is important to stay connected with family and friends, and try to foster positive relationships.
“When we suffer loss or other forms of distress, it is natural to withdraw. We even see this type of behavior in animals that are in mourning. However, you also have the power to pull yourself into the loving embrace of those who can help you take care of you.” explains the expert.
5. Positive reminders
At the beginning and end of your day, share positive messages with yourself. If you feel bad, insecure, sad or anxious about something, think about what someone you love would say to you who always sees the good in you. You can think or say out loud positive things about your physique, your abilities, your work.
6. Immerse yourself in nature
Spending time in nature has very positive effects on our brain and our mental health, and this is not only proven by the well-being we feel when we do it, but scientific studies have shown it.
To enjoy these benefits, you don’t need to climb a mountain or go on a strenuous hike in a remote forest. Any environment with natural vegetation or a quiet park full of trees will work well. Take the opportunity to breathe, relax, disconnect; becoming aware of your surroundings through the senses – smells, sounds, sights – acts as a kind of energy restoration.