Keep it Real TV Episode 38

Video by Dr. Chad Larson


In episode 38 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses: 


  • One of the biggest complaints that Dr. Larson has experienced across almost all patient groups is the experience of anxiety in his patients
  • Anxiety can range from feeling "uncomfortable" to being a completely debilitating condition
  • There are five simple changes that you can make to your daily routine to help minimize your feelings of anxiety

1: Breathing

  • Although your brain weights only about 3% of your body weight it uses as much as 25% of the oxygen that you take in. When you breathe shallowly, it affects the amount of oxygen you supply the brain which can alter its ability to function properly
  • Exercise is an excellent way to increase your oxygen intake
  • The best way to boost oxygen intake through exercise is by performing an exercise routine called "HIT" or high-intensity interval training
  • It is a type of exercise where you alternate high-intensity movements followed by periods of rest in a cycle; it is an extremely good way to increase your oxygen intake
  • You can also engage in breathing exercises like the rule of five
  • The rule of five consists of breathing in for five seconds, holding your breath for five seconds, and then breathing out for five seconds, and repeating the cycle five times
  • You can also try something called the Wim Hof breathing method
  • A more intense form of breathing exercise, it is more in the meditative realm and involves you taking about hyperventilating breaths
  • Hyperventilating for Wim Hof breathing technique involves that you take super deep breaths and then hold it for an extended period of time
  • You then repeat the cycle three or four times in a row, it takes some practice, but it really helps to supply more oxygen to the brain and body
  • To read about it more about it, check out the research done by Anthropologist Scott Carney in the book "What Doesn't Kill Us"
  • Another type of breathing exercise you can perform to increase your oxygen intake is sitting in a meditative position and taking conscious deep breaths
  • Sometimes we live too much in the past, or too much in the future
  • Meditation returns us to the here and now and allows us to live fully in the moment and allows us to breathe deeply and with intention

2: Reduce blue light exposure

  • Throughout 99% of human's existence, the only light that humans had was the sun
  • We now are capable of having light 24/7, but there is a negative effect of being exposed to too much light
  • With cell phone and computer use, people's blue light exposure is increasing
  • Blue light is the short wave light that has a stimulating effect on the brain
  • sure your waist
  • It is the type of light that you are supposed to get during the day to stimulate your brain to move around and be alert
  • If you want to reduce anxiety, reduce the amount of blue light that you expose yourself to
  • If you are looking at your phone, your computer, or any other device before bed, you are stimulating your brain and making it difficult for it to shut down to get the restorative sleep that it needs to repair and prepare for the next day
  • If you are continually not getting enough sleep, it can lead to sleep deprivation, which is a huge contributor to feelings of anxiety
  • To reduce anxiety, your brain needs to have the proper amount of restorative sleep
  • Shut off any blue light emitting device that you have two to three hours before going to sleep
  • That will foster a good circadian sleep rhythm, which is essential for brain health
  • The circadian rhythm is the way that the brain restores at night and prepares for the demands of the next day
  • As the day goes on, all the energy you had stored overnight, begins to fade, which allows you to sleep at the end of the day
  • When you mess with the circadian rhythm, it can have a profound effect on your brain’s functioning

3: Sleep

  • You have to get enough and the right kind of sleep at night for the brain to recoup and restore for the next day
  • During the night, your brain restores its balance, including things like hormones, which are a key component to feelings of anxiety

4: Nutrition

  • When you don't eat right or skip meals and then eat junk food, it causes a blood sugar spike followed by a crash
  • The blood sugar spike causes an epinephrine response, which is a stimulate, whereby the body releases a hormone called adrenaline
  • Adrenaline is responsible for the "fight or flight" response and can lead to the feelings you have when you are anxious
  • It is a biological response to not having the right nutrients or not enough of them in the system
  • So eat frequently and the right foods so that you aren't creating a blood sugar crash that sets off the epinephrine response

5: Get out in nature

  • Numerous studies have been done testing people's cortisol levels, which are a measure of stress
  • When they test levels both before they go outdoors and after, research shows that it only takes about 20-30 minutes of people being outdoors for their stress hormone levels to go down
  • Spending time in nature is an excellent way to lower anxiety
  • You also want to tone your vagus nerve
  • The vagus nerve is responsible for the parasympathetic response
  • The parasympathetic response is the exact opposite of the sympathetic response, which is also called the "flight or fight" response that causes an adrenal rush and can lead to symptoms of anxiety
  • Things like meditation, going to mass, or finding quiet times to focus inward are all a good way to foster the parasympathetic system versus the sympathetic, which can keep you feeling anxious
  • There are many little tricks that you can do on your own to reduce the anxiety that you feel
  • Try to reduce stress, get more oxygen, and let go of the past and the future to live in the here and now, to increase the oxygen that your body and brain need to function properly and to reduce feelings of anxiety



 

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