Major health and economical concerns have startlingly impacted our reality due to the COVID-19 issue. We are being stretched to live with uncertainty and unanswered questions.

A viral pandemic is not something most people, if anyone, would have expected or planned for, but we are being forced to face this situation head on.

This is requiring us to dig deeper within ourselves to uncover resources, resiliency, courage, creativity and problem solving skills, like never before.

It’s not easy to step up our ‘cognitive game’ on demand, especially when under stress. However, knowing what I know about the brain and neuroscience, I’m confident that we can not only effectively meet this challenge; we can overcome it and be better than before.

You are the director of your energy and information flow after all.

Gifted with the innate power of neuro-plasticity, your brain is equipped to change and rewire itself. However, since most of us usually live in repetitive daily routines and habits, we simply replay and reuse the same neural networks constantly.

These well-worn pathways become stronger, easier and faster.  Thus, the idea of creating new, initially awkward, and more energy demanding pathways becomes less and less appealing. So we procrastinate or avoid doing things differently.

This pandemic situation, however, is one of those rare opportunities when our regular habits and routines have shifted, and in many cases turned upside down for a long enough period of time that we are literally being forced to create new pathways – whether we like it or not.

Let’s do it strategically and in support of our well-being. 

Humans by nature are highly resilient, and when push comes to shove, most people will rise to the occasion and valiantly meet a challenge that is put on their path.

There are common stressors that impact us all, like dehydration, malnutrition, lack of sleep, etc.   There are stressors that are unique to an individual’s personality and their life path, such as learning a particular skill, unfamiliar social settings, or activities that echo past experiences where the person was left feeling embarrassed or unsafe. Other examples include workplace issues like starting a new job, role or promotion, or dealing with social situations at school, like making new friends, writing a test or dealing with a bully.

Right now, we ALL have a common stressor:  managing our personal and professional lives during this pandemic situation and overcoming it as swiftly as possible.

In order to be our most effective, powerful, and confident selves, we must be functioning from a whole brain state. This means accessing and optimizing as much of our cognitive abilities and resources as possible, at any given time.

Unfortunately, during periods of stress, we usually downshift into a disconnected and imbalanced state, where our dominant brain hemisphere takes over and we react from a place of survival neural chemicals and limited thinking.

For brief moments a stress state is fine, but it’s not healthy to quarantine ourselves there! (Pun intended)

Your system is meant to work as a unified team.

Regardless of what the stressor is, using Brain Fitness techniques and skills is a natural and effective way to reduce stress and anxiety by re-establishing and strengthening the Body-Mind connection that is compromised when we are thrown off balance.

Here are 3 simple steps you can apply to any stressor in your life, for immediate and long term benefit.

1.Notice how you are feeling  (Thoughts, Emotions, Sensations)

Give your stress/anxiety a rating out of 1-10 (10 being high). By starting with the act of noticing, you shift into the present moment and redirect the energy and information flow in your system. This strategically activates different wiring in your brain, as you provide your system with alternatives to your default stress response.

2. Drink some water

All of the chemical actions of the brain and central nervous system are dependent on the conductivity of electrical currents between the brain and sensory organs, facilitated by water. When you are dehydrated, you cause stress on your system. Sipping water ensures that proper and optimal communication and functioning can take place. 

3. Do some Brain Activation Strategies

Stress shuts down your system. Not only do you not think as easily or clearly, you do not move as freely or as frequently. This is an issue, because the quality, frequency, type and duration of movement activity you incorporate into your daily life clears stress, builds your brain and has immediate and long term cognitive effects.

By combining awareness, hydration, and movement, you can shift your brain state and functioning. Get up and do some stretches, dance, or go for a walk on the spot or outside if you can. You can also download a multitude of Brain Fitness Strategies on my website so you have an unlimited number of options.  Now rate your stress/anxiety level out of 1-10.

After this process, make sure you take a few moments to celebrate big or small changes. This will increase your “happy” brain chemicals and give you the motivation to continue to sculpt your Fit Brain & Fit Life!