Neuroscientist’s guide to giving your mind a ‘spring clean’

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Article in RTE shares some tips for dealing with your emotions and clearing your mind during challenging times

2020 has been a challenging time for everyone because change is unsettling and being cut off from other people and our normal routines can be stressful.

But there is a potential upside too. When everything changes, we can’t rely on routine and habit anymore. And while that can make us anxious, it also gives us an opportunity to have a bit of a tidy up – maybe even a spring clean – of the huge cluster of emotions, thoughts and behavioral habits that make us who we are. 

Yes, what we feel and think can be habits just as much as biting your nails is. And the good news from that is, you can change them – and there’s no better opportunity than when all your old habits are in flux because of covid chaos. 

In this article, I’ll give a few examples of how to tidy up your mental furniture by applying the science of the mind and brain to everyday challenges. 

Anger and arguments
Being thrown together with family, partners or roommates at home 24 hours a day can be a strain for many relationships. So, what happens in our brains when we are getting angry? What happens when we can’t control our temper and say something we shouldn’t – like when we are having an argument with a partner? 

It’s a horrible feeling but emotions have a way of hijacking us and shoving aside the rational me.

Here’s what’s happening in the brain when anger overtakes us: The amygdala deep in the brain ramps up to a high level, pushing the brain into emergency response mode and disrupting the functioning of the frontal lobes of the brain where rationality, forethought and inhibition normally keep us out of trouble. 

Full article available on RTE: Neuroscientist’s guide to giving your mind a ‘spring clean’

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