by Patrice Magrath
Co-founder McKenney Home Care
The relationship between, food, thought and biology and how they influence overall health, especially your brain is increasingly being explored.
Margaret Wehrenberg, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and author of “The Anxious Brain” and “The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques” is one of my
favorite authors on the topic. She is an expert on the treatment of anxiety and depression, and has extensive training and expertise in the neurobiology of psychological
“The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques” gives a layman’s explanation of the neurobiology of the brain. Ms. Wehrenberg explains how the brain is wired to “protect” us, working long and hard to detect danger and make us aware of it. But if things get out of balance, the brain will “hijack” us and convince us that something is “bad” or “dangerous” when it is not.
Ms. Wehrenberg explains how the balance of systems, including neurons and neurotransmitters work together with the nervous system, the stress response system, the basal ganglia and the cortex to produce anxiety. For example, our “little red hen” (the amygdala) can convince us to believe the “sky is falling” and we will act on that basis
even if it is untrue.
With a clear understanding of what is going on in our bodies Ms. Wehrenberg teaches 10 practical techniques that can interrupt incorrect or negative messaging before it
finds its way into positions of power and control. The techniques are simple, but learning them and internalizing them takes time and practice.
The first technique is managing what you put into your body.
Limit C.A.T.S.: caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sugar and sweeteners. Each of these substances can contribute to the buildup of anxiety in your body. For example sugar can cause anxietymimicking effects in people who are hypoglycemic, the body will feed on this “imposter anxiety” and set in motion actual anxiety.
Increasing intake of nutritious food, including protein and a wide variety of vitamins is essential. What and when you eat is more important than how much you eat. A
good example is folic acid, found in green leafy vegetables, it aids production of serotonin which improves brain functioning. You need food three times per day in small amounts to ensure your brain has continuous access to nutrients. Bright colorful fruits and vegetable and healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado and fish will help you maintain a healthy brain as well.
The other nine techniques include controlling outside stimuli, breathing, meditation, replacing negative thoughts, managing anxious behavior and having an advance plan.
If anxiety is a problem for you, consider reading Margaret Wehrenberg’s techniques for healthy brain functioning and use your “Brain to change your Brain.”