Heart Rate and Breathing.  Brain and Body Connection – NeuroQuotient®

Heart rate, the rhythm of the heartbeat, is related to breathing. Knowing how it works helps us better understand the neuroscience of behaviour and have more resources to improve our well-being. We will see how the brain and the body are connected by the autonomic nervous system and we will give our opinion on two neuroscience articles.

Two summaries that we have read in Neuroscience News serve us as a starting point for writing this article. In it we will inquire into the connection between the brain and the body. Specifically, in the relationship between the brain, heart rate and breathing. Let us remember that the purpose of NeuroQuotient®  is to have more options for well-being from the knowledge of psychobiology and behavioural neuroscience.

The post is quite long. For a faster reading, we can follow the bold subtitles.

We start by looking at what the Neuroscience News abstracts are about.

Breathing and Fear

‘Breathing in through the nose activates the amygdala, the brain centre of fear’.

The first summary is from 2016. The title: Rhythm of Breathing Affects Memory and Fear. It is based on an original publication of Christina Zelano et al in The Journal of NeuroSecience: Nasal Respiration Entrains Human Limbic Oscillations and Modulates Cognitive Function.

Individuals identified a fearful face much more quickly if it appeared to them while breathing in than when breathing out. Furthermore, they were much better able to remember an object if it was presented while inhaling. This always happened when breathing through the nose, if they breathed through the mouth the effect disappeared.

They found a marked difference in the activity of the amygdala (limbic fear centre) and the hippocampus (memory centre) between inhalation and exhalation. The activity of the amygdala and hippocampus was greater when breathing in.

So, we see that breathing, and differently when inhaling and exhaling, influences the brain and human behaviour.

Let’s leave it here for now and see the other article.

Heart rate and depression

“With depression the heart rate is higher and at night its decrease is impaired’.

The other summary is more recent. September 2020. The title: Depression Risk Detected by Measuring Heart Rate Changes.

The original source was an interview to Dr Carmen Schiweck (Goethe University, Frankfurt), about a study that was going to be presented in the Virtual Congress of European College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

They studied two groups of 16 participants. One made up of people with depression and a control group with healthy people. Their heart rates were measured for 4 days and 3 nights. The depressed participants were then given ketamine or a placebo.

They found that participants with depression had a higher heart rate (10-15 beats per minute) and less variability, as previous research indicated. Normally, the heart rate is higher during the day and lower at night; with depression it seems that this nocturnal decrease in heart rate is impaired.

After ketamine treatment they found that both the heart rate and its variability of the previously depressed patients were much closer to the values of the control group.

We are not going to go into if ketamine can be a good treatment for depression. We simply keep the idea that the rhythm of the heartbeat has a close relationship with depression. Logically, it will also have it with the depression associated neuro behaviours.

Brain and body connection

“The autonomic nervous system, and the somatic nervous system, connect the brain and the body.”

To understand what has been said so far, it is necessary that we see the connection between the brain and the body.

The brain (encephalon and spinal cord) connects to the body through the peripheral nervous system (PNS) which consists of two components: the somatic nervous system (SNS) and the autonomic or vegetative nervous system (ANS).

The somatic NS receives information from the sensory organs and controls the movements of the skeletal muscles. But, for what we are dealing with, the relationship between brain and heart rate taking into account breathing, we will stay with the ANS (autonomic nervous system). The function of the ANS is to maintain the balance of the internal environment (homeostasis) by regulating automatically, the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, excretory and thermoregulatory mechanisms.

The ANS (autonomic nervous system) has two branches, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic

‘The sympathetic branch is involved in energy expenditure and stress. The parasympathetic branch participates in the recovery of energy and rest ‘.

The sympathetic branch is mainly related to activities associated with the expenditure of energy reserves stored in the body. Thus, the effects of sympathetic activity are more evident in situations of stress, exciting or fear, producing, among other changes, an increase in blood flow to skeletal muscles, stimulation of adrenaline secretion and, with it, a heart rate increase and, also, an increase in blood sugar levels.

The parasympathetic branch is related to activities involved in increasing the energy stored in the body, such as the activity of the digestive system.

In Table 1, we have some of the performances of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the ANS. We see that while the sympathetic ANS accelerates the heart rate and dilates the bronchi, the parasympathetic NS has the opposite effect (it slows down the heart rate and makes ventilation difficult). Looking at the set of Table 1 we can understand that the sympathetic ANS is more involved in stress and energy expenditure and the parasympathetic in energy recovery and saving.

Organ Sympathetic branch parasympathetic branch
pupils dilation constriction
saliva inhibition stimulation
lungs ventilation relaxation makes ventilation difficult
heart accelerates heart rate slows the heart rate
stomach Inhibits digestion stimulates digestion
Table 1. Some actions on the organism of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the ANS.

 

Full breathing cycles

So that we can better understand what we will discuss below, it is important that we remember how to do full breathing cycles.

Both in the practice of yoga, as in meditación, as in practicing relaxation techniques, they teach us to do full breathing cycles.

Complete breathing cycles consist of the following (Fig 1 serves us as a guide):

After thoroughly expelling the air from the lungs,

  1. We breathe in slowly and deeply, taking the air through the nose and bringing it to the lower part of the lungs. We notice how the abdomen is swelling.
  2. We continue to breathe in, bringing air to the upper part of the lungs. We notice how the chest swells.
  3. We begin to exhale, now in reverse order, first removing the air from the upper part of the lungs.
  4. We continue to remove the air from the abdominal part of the lungs.
  5. We start another cycle: inhaling (abdomen, chest), exhaling (chest, abdomen).

Let’s leave it here for now, then we get back to it.

full breathing
Figure 1. Full breathing cycle. Filling the lower part of the lungs (1), the upper part (2), letting the air out of the upper part (3) and the lower part (4).

Figure 1. Complete breathing cycle. Filling the lower part of the lungs (1), the upper part (2), letting the air out of the upper part (3) and the lower part (4).

Heart rate variability is continuous, not just between day and night.

‘When breathing in the heart speeds up and when exhaling it slows down’.

In the second summary that we quoted at the beginning (depression and heart rate), they told us that in people with depression the heart rate was higher. In addition, at night the rhythm of the heartbeat tends to drop and in people with depression it does so to a lesser extent.

But, is that the heart rate is not constant, it oscillates continuously! When taking our pulse to measure our heart rate, we count the number of beats in a minute. But, in this way, we are measuring an average value! Actually, the time interval between consecutive heartbeats is not kept constant.

It happens that when breathing in the heart speeds up and when exhaling the heart rate slows down. We can test this by doing a couple of cycles of full breathing while taking our pulse with our thumb on the wrist. We will see that as we breathe in, the time interval between consecutive beats shortens. On the contrary, when the air is released, the pulsations become more spaced.

A more accurate check of how the heart rate varies with breathing.

We can check that the heart rate fluctuates with respiration with the Doc Childre HeartMath Freeze-Framer application that we have been using since 2005. (In HeartMath you will now find more current applications for smartphones).

Freeze-Framer detects the heart pulse with a sensor placed on a finger (or on the earlobe). The computer application calculates the instantaneous heart rate from the time interval between every two consecutive beats.

We have measured the instantaneous heart rate for near 4 min while doing full breath cycles. In Fig 2, we see that the heart rate has been following an almost sinusoidal curve. In each cycle, the frequency has increased as breathing in and has decreased as exhaling.

 

continous heart rate
Figure 2. Heart rate with consecutive full breathing cycles. When you breathe in, the heartbeat rhythm increases and when you exhale it decreases.

Figure 2. Heart rate with consecutive full breath cycles. When you breathe in, the rhythm of the heartbeat increases and when you exhale it decreases.

During the time of the test, the average of the peaks of the curves was 77 heartbeats per second and the valleys were 65. The average heart rate was 71 beats per second. That is, if we had divided the total beats by time in minutes, the result would have been 71 heartbeats / second.

The rhythm of the heart and the autonomic nervous system

‘When breathing in, the sympathetic branch of the ANS accelerates the heartbeat rate and, when exhaling the parasympathetic branch slows it down’.

But there is something even more interesting. Let’s go back to Heartmath and Doc Childre et al. Specifically to the book ‘The Hearthmath Solution’ (HarperCollins Publishers, 2000).

They tell us that when we have an almost sinusoidal heart rate curve, like the one in Figure 2, it is because the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the ANS are in balance. The sympathetic branch accelerates the frequency of the heartbeats and the parasympathetic slows them down; one after the other and so on.

We cannot fail to introduce the principle of The HeartMarth Solutions technique. They explain that the variability of the almost sinusoidal heart rate (cardiac coherence) is achieved when we are in positive emotions such as appreciation, love and care for others. When we feel emotions such as frustration, anger, etc. the heart rate goes up and down irregularly, and a broken line is recorded.

In addition, for HeartMath, cardiac coherence and being in the zone are synonymous. In NeuroQuotient® we talked in another post about being in the Zone and Flow as similar terms.

But, for this article, the most important thing is that we can achieve and train cardiac coherence by practicing conscious full breathing as well.

A summary of what was seen,

Before going to the conclusions and seeing how we can take advantage of these ideas to improve our satisfaction and well-being, it is convenient that we collect a summary of what has been discussed so far. Just as headlines:

  1. Breathing in through the nose activates the amygdala, the brain centre of fear’.
  2. “With depression the heart rate is higher and at night its decrease is impaired’.
  3. “The autonomic nervous system, and the somatic nervous system, connect the brain and the body.”
  4. ‘The sympathetic branch of ANS is involved in energy expenditure and stress.
  5. The parasympathetic branch participates in the recovery of energy and rest ‘.
  6. The heart rate increases when breathing in and decreases when breathing out.
  7. When inhaling the sympathetic branch of the ANS is more active and when exhaling the parasympathetic branch works.
Conclusions

The understanding of neuroscience provided by NeuroQuotient® allows us to comment on the following:

In previous posts (about stress or the relationship between memory and behaviour) we said that when our brain perceives a threat signal, the amygdala is activated and then the stress fast track (sympathetic ANS). In this way we are ready to face the threat (fight) or run away (flight).

Now we see (point 1, previous section) that the reverse also happens. When we breathe in, the amygdala is activated … because we activate the sympathetic ANS.

Another thing. Considering what we have seen, we must think that the sympathetic ANS is more active during the day and the parasympathetic one at night. Going to point 2 above, it is not risky to think that, with depression (and even more so with anxiety) the heart rate is higher and decreases less at night due to a lack of efficiency of the parasympathetic ANS. And, yes, also because the sympathetic ANS is more active than it should be.

How can we take advantage of what we have learned?

The most important thing is that we see that not only the unconscious brain influences the body, but by directing the breath consciously, we can influence the heart rate and our emotional state.

With full breathing we can train, for example, the balance between the sympathetic ANS and parasympathetic ANS and the cardiac coherence. This balance between the two ANS branches should come naturally, but unfortunately, it tends to be more inclined towards the sympathetic branch.

Finally, there is something else that we have not gone into, but that will help us. We have seen that the heart rate accelerates more when inhaling and in the second stage of complete breathing (when filling the upper part of the lungs with air). This reminds us that when we breathe mainly with the chest, we tend to do it faster, the sympathetic ANS is more active and the heart rate is higher. For this reason, to relax, it is important to practice abdominal breathing.

By consciously breathing we can, for example, start with a few full breaths and then focus on getting air in and out mainly from the lower lungs. That is, practicing abdominal breathing.

 

How are memory and behavior related? by NeuroQuotient®

We discuss on the relationship between memory and behavior. The NeuroQuotient® model helps us understand the most important elements and the structure of this relationship. From this, and from a personal experience, we point out possible impacts of the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic on the behavior of a baby, later on.

Continue reading “How are memory and behavior related? by NeuroQuotient®”

Being More Assertive with Neuroscience. Threat or Fear System

How can we be more assertive with neuroscience? Assertiveness is in average point between aggressiveness and passivity. The brain’s threat (or fear) System when mismanaged causes us to distance from this balance point. We will see, however, that we have resources in our brain that help us to be more assertive.

We will start with the concept of assertiveness. Then we will approach it from the point of view of the neuroscience. What happens in the brain that hinders us to be assertive? How can we take advantage of the fundamentals of neuroscience that we learn with NeuroQuotient to be more assertive?

Continue reading “Being More Assertive with Neuroscience. Threat or Fear System”

Hebb’s rule with an analogy. Psychology and neuroscience

Hebb’s rule or Hebb’s law or Hebbian theory is fundamental to understand the relationship between psychology and neuroscience. To approach it we will go back to the original work of Donald O. Hebb and, later on, we will explain it through an analogy that will facilitate our understanding.

Linking psychology and neuroscience thanks to Donald O. Hebb

To talk about psychology and neuroscience, with the purpose of explaining behaviour through its cerebral foundations, we need to go back to Donald O. Hebb.

Donald Hebb is the creator of the most mentioned ‘principle’ in psychobiology, or behavioural neuroscience.From the so-called Hebb’s law, or Hebb’s rule of the Hebbian learning (Hebb learning rule).We will see it through an analogy by the end of this post.

Before, it’s worth remembering that with  NeuroQuotient , starting from the cerebral basis of behaviour, we have a tool that makes accessible the relationship between psychology and neuroscience.In this way, we can apply neuroscience to the development of people in a practical and efficient way.

But, practicality, efficiency and accessibility, does not mean superficiality. For this reason, before going into the analogy it is worthwhile to visit the origins. To Donald Olding Hebb. In the same way that, when dealing with the model behind the DISC tool, we went to the original approach of William Moulton Marston.

Donald O. Hebb and his contribution

Donald Olding Hebb (1904-1985) was a Canadian psychologist pioneer of neuropsychology (of the study of the relationship between psychology and neuroscience).

His most important contribution is condensed in the book, The Organization of Behavior: A Neuropsychological Theory , John Willey and Sons (1949).

The book ‘The Organization of Behavior’ gives us a theory about behaviour, based on the physiology of the nervous system. It makes an important attempt to find the common between neurological and psychological conceptions.

Hebb says to us: “One objective of this book is to present a theory of behaviour for the consideration of psychologists. But another objective is to pursue a common basis with anatomists, physiologists and neurologists (now, we could group them as neuroscientists).We show how psychological theory is related to their problems and, at the same time, make them contribute to this theory ”

He adds, too, that “the problem of understanding behaviour is to understand the total action of the nervous system, and vice versa.”

In his purpose to build bridges between psychology and neuroscience (incipient then), in 1944 he came in contact with Rafael Lorente de Nó (a Spanish researcher, a disciple of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, based in the USA).Hebb based part of his theory on the works on the ‘sensory loops of Lorente de Nó’.

The Hebb’s principle or Hebb’s rule

Hebb says that “when the axon of a cell A is close enough to excite a B cell and takes part on its activation in a repetitive and persistent way, some type of growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells, so that increases the efficiency of cell A in the activation of B “.

‘neurons that fire together wire together’

It is customary to be summarized as “neurons that fire together wire together”.That is, the simultaneous activation of nearby neurons leads to an increase in the strength of synaptic connection between them.

It is important to note that the neurons must be previously connected, sufficiently close to one another, so that the synapse can be reinforced.

At early 1970s, LTP (long term potentiation) was discovered, which confirmed Hebb’s theory.It was demonstrated that morphological changes take place, splitting into the receptor dendrites of the hippocampus, which reinforce the synaptic connection.

In short, Hebb’s principle is fundamental for the relationship between psychology and neuroscience, since it provides a general framework for relating learning and behaviour with neural networks.

The analogy. At last!

70 years after the Hebb’s theory, the relationship between psychology and neuroscience is out of the question.It is very clear that behaviour originates in the brain and is based on neural networks or patterns.

Let’s see now how we can explain Hebb’s principle through an analogy.

The grooves on a hill that get deeper as more water flows down them, help us visualize Hebb’s principle and its relation to behaviour.

Imagine a small artificial hill of earth (Fig. 1).

In it there are some small grooves (Fig. 1. left) that would be equivalent to the pre-existing inactive synapses.

When it rains with repetition and persistence, some of these grooves become deeper and the water descends mainly through them (Fig. 1. right). Similarly, some pre-existing synaptic connections when activated, with their use, become stronger. The assembly of several strongly connected neurons becomes the basis of a learning or habit.

psychology and neuroscience
Fig1 Some of the small furrows on the left, with rain, with use, become large furrows where the water goes down.

In the Neuroquotient context, we call neuro-behaviours to the habits, learnings or, better, behaviour patterns: brain connections that give rise to a complex behavior (doing, thinking and feeling) that is repeated more likely and easier.

When we conduct ourselves (thinking, doing, feeling) in a certain way, the underlying neuronal connections are activated and reinforced.   In this way, the frequency and intensity of the corresponding behaviour increases.

Thus, the behaviour is based on some powerful neuronal connections, for this reason it is difficult to change it.Coming back to the analogy, the deeper the grooves are, the more likely it is that water descends through them.

If the neuro-behaviours bring us little or no satisfaction, if they limit us, it is worth changing them

It is very good of having brain patterns that guide our complex behaviour; our way of thinking and feeling.Without them we would have to start from scratch every day.

But, is it, always, ok?Well, it depends on the results (satisfaction) that are derived from our behaviour. It depends on where it goes to stop the water from the grooves.

Remember that the neuroquotient tool helps us to become aware of when it is worthwhile to insist on the groove, or if it is worth changing. We become more aware of our Efficiencies (neuro-behaviours with satisfactory results) and Limitations (patterns that do not contribute to our satisfaction).

And yes, of course, when a neuro behaviour is limiting us, then it is worth changing it

Is it possible to do it?  And if is it possible, how?

But, this we will deal with in some post in the future.

Stress management. Learn how not to increase stress from the neuroscience

Stress management. Learn how not to increase stress from the neuroscience

In this post we will see strategies from the neuroscience for stress management. Depending on how we focus our thought and attention from the prefrontal cortex, PFC, we may increase our stress. We will understand in what situations it happens. But, the GABA neurons in the amygdala can help us to calm the fear and the consequent stress. We will learn to take advantage of it to improve our quality of life.

In the previous article, we started to see the neuroscience of stress. After that, we have little doubt that it is better not to increase stress than just trying to decrease it.

High stress negatively affects our quality of life. But, often, we become aware of the need to manage stress when it is already very high and has become distress, chronic stress or anxiety. Or when it is difficult to reduce it and/or when there are other collateral damages such as gastric ulcers, heart problems, etc.

In this post we will first go deeper into the neuroscience of stress seen from NeuroQuotient®. This will allow us to design strategies for stress management, especially to avoid increasing it. We will also see things that, in general, we are not aware we can do better about.

Stress, seen from neuroscience, is the response to cues of threat or fear. But, in humans, these threats may be only in our mind or intensified with it.

Let’s first to review some concepts of stress neuroscience that we have already discussed in the previous post. It is convenient that we keep them in mind so that we can better understand the stress management strategies.

First. Behind the stress is, mainly, the threat or fear system.

In this system work together perception (through the senses), the amygdala (limbic center of fear) and memory (hippocampus). If the memory indicates that the perceived cue is a danger, then it time to flight (if the threat is too great) or fighting (if it is possible to cope it successfully). If exposure to the threat lasts for a certain time (mora than 10 min), cortisol begins to act, which can have significant negative side effects.

But, human animals, with the PFC (prefrontal cortex), we can direct attention, imagine or remember. So the threat signals do not necessarily have to come from a direct perception of the senses. Obviously, depending on how we use the PFC, the result regarding stress management can be very different. That is, in the neuroscience of stress, the PFC is fundamental.

From NeuroQuotient® we use to say that sometimes we imagine lions where there are none and, probably, never there will be. Or that, in our mind, we turn mice into lions.

NeuroQuotient® turns neuroscience into something practical, in this case the neuroscience of stress.

But, also, with our thought, from the PFC, we can modify the meaning of the threat cues and, thanks to the GABA neurons, stop the activation of the amygdala and stress.

But, in the previous post we left pending the key of the neuroscience of stress to avoid increasing it. The prefrontal cortex also intervenes in it.

We said, that between the basolateral amygdala (the one that receives the danger signal) and the central amygdala (the one that triggers the fight or flight), there are cells (neurons) interspersed (CIT).

These CITs are neurons of the GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitter. With its activation they slow down the central amygdala and stress is not started, since GABA is the main modulating neurotransmitter.

How are they activated? Well, with a message from the PFC saying, this signal, which seemed a danger, is a false alarm.

These days, post summer solstice days, some children still have firecrackers left. It is common to walk down the street and get scared. The hard noise triggers the amygdala, but soon we slow it down thinking something like:

‘Wow, it was just a firecracker’. That’s how we calm down.

Another quite common way to stop the amygdala and the consequent stress is to use tranquilizers and sleeping pills. Normally benzodiazepines. Diazepam (valium), alprazolam (tranquimazin), lorazepam (orfidal), etc. The benzodiazepines are ‘agonists’ of GABA, that is, they act in the same way in the receptors of the central amygdala.

We do not consider it advisable. Benzodiazepines create addiction. In addition, there are also GABA cells in the reward system, so they not only inhibit fear, but also the will to live.

Caffeine acts like noradrenaline (norepinephrine), helps wake up, but also activates the stress system.

Nor did we see in the previous post that norepinephrine intervenes in the start-up of stress. In connection with the amygdala – and from the locus coeruleus – noradrenaline activates the sympathetic nervous system and slows the parasympathetic nervous system.

Prior to adrenaline (epinephrine), which acts primarily in the body, noradrenaline is activated in the brain. An excess of noradrenaline involves brain stress.

In this review of stress neuroscience, we point it out now for two reasons:

First, because it is very important to maintain the balance between the two branches (sympathetic and parasympathetic) of the autonomic nervous system. We’ll see when we talk about how to reduce stress.

And second, even more pertinent, because in the noradrenaline receptors, and in the same way as she does, one of the most daily ‘wake-up’ acts: caffeine.

I remember a person who, to activate himself in the morning, and during the day, use to take several coffees. Then, to brake at night, he resorted to sleeping pills. Well, each one is responsible for himself. Maybe if this person had read this post he would have changed his stress management strategy.

Let’s see now what the main internal sources of stress are. Do you identify with any of these neuro behaviors?

Then, what can we do not increase stress, so as not to self-stress?

The first step is to become aware of how we activate or intensify the brain system of fear or threat. In many cases it has to do with how we use and focus our thinking, the PFC. We can ask ourselves the following questions:

1. Do you tend to worry (to pay attention in the future in a not positive way, paying too much attention to supposed threats)?
2. Do you have a trend to perfectionism (do you need everything to work out well)?
3. Do you want to encompass it, control it, everything, with a high level of self-demand?
4. Impatient; it’s hard to wait; Do you want it now?
5. Do you tend to see others as a threat to your interests?
6. Do you tend to ‘listen’ in negative to your bodily sensations of stress?
7. How is your daily dose of coffee?
8. How is your relationship with benzodiazepines?

By the way, if we find it difficult to identify these sources that make stress management difficult, with the NeuroQuotient® tool, we’ll find it out in 15 minutes.

Once identified our points of improvement, it is about finding alternative neuro-behaviors for these situations. Strategies arising from the understanding of the neuroscience of stress.

We have already realized that, in most cases, it is about avoiding or intensifying the signs of fear (not turning them into lions) that push the threat system to fight or flee, without it being necessary.

Once identified some neuro behaviors that make stress management difficult, let’s see some ideas on how to avoid increasing the stress.

Here there are some specific ideas for most of the previous points. They are referenced in the same way.

To ask ourselves, ‘what is really important’? is at the base of many of these ideas.

1. Instead of worrying, let’s decide what is important and, then take action. Don’t keep thinking about it. Excessive reflection with worry kills the action. Let’s take advantage of the energy directing it towards action to achieve what is important.

By worrying we also unleash energy, but we waste it; and we can end up somatizing stress.

And let’s try to change the focus in positive. It is as easy to think about what we are going to achieve than to imagine the opposite.

2. Perfectionism? Again, let’s decide what is important. Let’s forget the irrelevant details. Not everything needs the same level of precision. Prioritize. There are many things in which, if we fail, absolutely nothing happens. There are others, not so many, more important than it’s worth not to fail.

3. When we want to have everything under control, with high self-demand. We must bear in mind that not everything is possible at the same time. We have limited time resources, especially if we have to do it alone.

Then, once again, prioritize. Let’s organize ourselves to make better use of time. Let’s write down in the schedule when we are going to do something. Do not try to have everything in mind; in this way, we will only stress our PFC.

When we know what is important, we can deal with it and, at the same time, we stop worrying about what is not relevant.

On the other hand, regarding the non-important, we can send from the PFC (the thought and the focus) a message of tranquility to the amygdala. ‘I’m taking care of the important things. There is no reason for alarm ‘

And we continue with ideas to avoid increasing stress, following the items on the list for awareness

4. Impatience, in general, has to do with worry. We focus on the future and in a negative way. ‘The train does not come. I’ll be late’. Is it a matter of life or death that you arrive on time? If it’s so important, let’s get busy on it, let’s find an alternative to get it. If we can’t do anything, it does not make sense to worry.

5. Perceiving some other people as a threat. Often the lack of trust in someone makes us perceive them as a threat. Their simple presence or, just thinking about them, triggers our fear or threat system. And how, fortunately, it is not usual to ‘stick with others’, once again energy accumulates as stress within the body.

To avoid this, it is about changing the focus on these people. If they are important to us, of course. If they are not, then, just forget them.

Impatience with others has more to do with ‘the fight’ and with a level of demand, sometimes disproportionate. Watch out! Often, the ‘fight’ with others is also a way to get rid of stress and to avoid somatizing it.

In order not to increase stress when it has to do with the ‘fight’, there is another interesting approach. It has to do with trust and oxytocin, and it’s for more than one article. In some a way we advance it in a previous post: ’empathy to deactivate bullying’ (right at the end of the post).

6. Tendency to pay attention and interpret the body sensations in a negative way. If the symptoms are very intense, if it is serious, better go to the doctor. If not, we can pay attention to them, but without trying to interpret them or control them. And let them evolve by themselves. Our body is wise and by itself it will reach balance. This idea is partly related to the TIPI technique.

Attention! TIPI is much more than this (for more information you can inform yourself directly from its creator, Luc Nicon).

Finally, the exogenous elements. Drugs more or less

7. Regarding coffee, there is little to say. Do not abuse! Mainly, if our body is especially sensitive to caffeine.

8. If we need to take benzodiazepines, this mean that our stress level is already very high. Do not increase it, at least. And, please, not with caffeine.

Relaxing drugs cause drowsiness, counteracting it with caffeine is quite absurd. As an alternative to sleeping pills we can try something more natural, like valerian. As it smells very badly, there is no risk of addiction.

In general, for situations that are repeated and that start the amygdala and stress, it is important to change the focus and the meaning to trigger the CIT neurons as soon as possible.

Finally, please, remember that the NeuroQuotient® tool helps us understand the neuroscience of behavior. In this case the neuroscience of stress. And above all, with it we can see how our neuro behaviors help our satisfaction and well-being.