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Your key to keeping calm in times of crisis and uncertainty is learning how to “Be Adaptive, Not Reactive to Change”.

Enjoy the first in the “Calm Is the Cure” video series to help you achieve greater emotional and mental well-being. Get more great, free content at www.DrJayKumar.com

Stay Calm. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

Dr. Jay
Your Happiness Professor
Author of “Science of a Happy Brain”
Follow me @docjaykumar (FB, IG, LI, TW)

 

 

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Navigating change is never easy. Whether it’s a health scare, personal loss, or financial hardship, it’s natural to experience anxiety, grief, and a lack of feeling in control. But the current COVID-19 crisis is in a league of its own. The unexpected disruption to our accustomed routine can feel overwhelming and unrelenting. Worst of all, the change is hitting every part of our life—all at once.

In times of crisis and uncertainty, we can instinctively revert to our primal “Survival Brain”—the innate biological “fight-or-flight response” for seeking safety, security and stability. Our Survival Brain abhors change; it craves certitude. Thanks to our Survival Brain, we have evolved to “be adaptive” in order to solve problems in an unstable environment. But, left unchecked and rampant the Survival Brain can also make us “be reactive” under stressful and threatening situations that fuel chaos and confusion.

As students in my Chapman “Happiness” course discover, we don’t have to be imprisoned by our Survival Brain. In fact, brain science and timeless spiritual wisdom both teach us a valuable lesson: When your outside world feels out of control, learn to control your inside world. The concept of “neuroplasticity” reveals how we have the ability to rewire and retrain the brain to be more adaptive to change. Contemplative practices, such as meditation or mindful breathing, empower us to be less reactive to uncertainty. Together, science and spirituality provide solutions for coping with crisis.

Below are the 4Cs—applied strategies drawn from both science and spirituality—to help us be adaptive, not reactive in these challenging times of change and uncertainty.

The 4Cs to “Be Adaptive, Not Reactive”

COMFORT
Boost your immunity through sleep, diet, exercise, and meditation.
View your health holistically—brain, body, and being. Avoid sugar and processed foods, as they increase inflammation and suppress your immunity to disease. When feelings of anxiety or panic pops up, stop and take ten, slow, deep breaths. Science affirms that doing so will regulate your body’s “stress-response” system, strengthen your immune system, and increase resilience.

CONTRIBUTION
Sacrifices can be heroic and patriotic.
We all will be required to make sacrifices and alter our way of life. If you’re required to self-isolate or have to cancel a trip, wedding, or graduation, remember that it’s for the ultimate welfare of society. Reframe your sacrifices as altruistic acts of civic responsibility, of religious duty, and of patriotism for the greater good. If your kids are upset over scrapped vacations, birthdays, or family gatherings, call them “heroes” for their courage in understanding how their sacrifices help society.

CONNECTION
We need each other.
Times of crisis expose how we are far more interconnected and interdependent than we realize. If you’re required to implement “physical distancing,” it doesn’t equate to “social distancing and disconnecting”. Show up for one another. Message the people you care about. Check in on a long-lost friend, family members, and your elderly neighbors. Have your kids make and send a video to grandparents they can’t visit.

COMPASSION
Practice proper “emotional and mental hygiene”
Know it’s okay to acknowledge your fears, anxieties, and concerns. Your emotions are real, so honor what you feel. Practicing emotional and spiritual self-care can equally help you feel calm, centered, and in control. Listencompassionately. Practice empathy. Be gentle to yourself. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Kindness is key. Remember that fear is not the final word.

Dr. Jay Kumar is the Director of Contemplative Practices and Wellbeing at The Fish Interfaith Center. Join him every Thur. 3-4pm for his “Healthy Brain, Healthy Mind”  webinar series.

Stay Calm. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

Dr. Jay
Your Happiness Professor
Author of “Science of a Happy Brain”
Follow me @docjaykumar (FB, IG, LI, TW)

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As someone who lost a family member to suicide when I was young, I know all too well the pain and grief it leaves for those who have lost a loved one in this way. 

There’s currently another side to the tragedy of the global pandemic that we are facing—the dangerous and deadly battle that is fought within. Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide have been alarmingly on the rise in the past decade. The epidemic of suicide gripping the nation has skyrocketed in recent weeks as people grapple with financial stress, social isolation, and concerns for their health in the face of the COVID crisis.

This recent article in The Orange County Register, in which I was recently interviewed for, provides a list of crisis lines and resources for those in need. Know it’s OK not to be OK. Please reach out and seek support if you’re experiencing anxiety, grief, depression, or thoughts of self-harm.

Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and uncertainty about the future can fuel grief and suicidal thoughts, and the COVID-19 pandemic is intensifying these feelings for some people.

Depression and trauma equally impact our brain, body, and being. While medication and therapy prove beneficial for some, dealing with the additional stresses of the pandemic can overwhelm those with mental health issues. Seeking help and reaching out is the first step, but we also need to let those facing trauma and depression know that they’re not alone. 

My weekly webinar series titled “Healthy Brain, Healthy Mind,” offers advice and tools to promote emotional and mental well-being in the time of COVID-19.  Every Wednesday 3-4 pm PST, I will offer advice, Q&A, and tools  to promote emotional and mental wellbeing during COVID-19. Discover strategies to manage work, family and life while self-isolating. 

Stay Safe. Stay Strong. Stay Calm. Stay Connected.

Dr. Jay
Your Happiness Professor
Author, Science of a Happy Brain
Online Course: “Investing in Happiness”
Follow me @docjaykumar (FB, IG, LI, TW)

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More studies on the brain are advancing a powerful truth: meditation is powerful medication. Whether it’s treating anxiety, depression, addiction, or a host of other mental health issues, meditation is proven to change your brain for the better. Science now affirms what times spiritual wisdom new all along—meditation heals body, mind, and spirit.

Fear and anxiety—products of our primal “Survival Brain” can overwhelm us during a crisis. They can  strongly trigger our brain’s innate “stress-response” in many people. Our “Survival Brain” generates stress in a number of ways:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and that of your loved ones
  • Changes to our routine or disruption to our schedule
  • Anxiety over employment and income.

Left unchecked, stress can generate a host of issues, such as:

  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Addiction to alcohol, substances, or other drugs
  • Increased inflammation in the body
  • Depression, mood disorders, and panic

Meditating helps you reduce anxiety of all kinds by altering your reaction to negative feelings and threats in your life. The aim of meditation is not to push aside stress or block out negative thinking, but rather to notice those thoughts and feelings, all the while understanding that you don’t have to act on them. As you navigate the days and weeks ahead coping with stress in positive ways will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Learn more strategies and tools to achieve health and wellbeing in my recent book Science of a Happy Brain: Thriving in the Age of Anger, Anxiety & Addiction

View your health holistically—brain, body and being. Avoid sugar and processed foods, as they increase inflammation and suppress your immunity to disease. When feelings of anxiety or panic pops up, stop and take ten, slow, deep breaths. Science affirms that doing so will regulate your body’s “stress- response” system, strengthen your immune system, and increase resilience.

Yet, just as with following a proper diet and exercise, it takes time to feel results from regular meditation. With practice, meditation can help you control how you react to the stress and anxiety.

To get you started, please enjoy your Free Guided Audio Meditation for Calm by Dr. Jay to help you feel centered, focused, and relaxed.

Stay Calm. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

Dr. Jay
Your Happiness Professor
Author of “Science of a Happy Brain”
Follow me @docjaykumar (FB, IG, LI, TW)

 

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CALM IS THE CURE…for the spreading anxiety and grief we all feel in this unprecedented crisis.

As we navigate through these uncertain and tumultuous times, many are understandably struggling from the ensuing fear and anxiety generated from “Pandemic Panic”.

From the sudden, unexpected disruption to our accustomed way of life to the growing economic frenzy, I present some proven scientific strategies—based from my book Science of Happy Brain – Thriving in the Age of Anxiety, Anger and Addiction—to enhance our emotional and psychological resilience and to promote our physical immunity and societal stability. I advance strategies for us to cope with the grief and trauma.

In times of uncertainty, we instinctively revert to our primal “Survival Brain”—the innate biological “fight-or-flight response” for seeking safety, security and stability.

Thanks to our Survival Brain, we have evolved to solve problems in an unstable environment. Left unchecked, the Survival Brain fuels our despair, suspicion, and strife. Below are science-based solutions to overcome the sabotages created by our Survival Brain.

I hope you benefit from these tips that offer a “cure” to stay calm amidst chaos and find solace in times of grief.

The 4Cs for Keeping Calm in Crisis

COMFORT

  • Boost your immunity through sleep, diet, exercise, and meditation.

View your health holistically—brain, body and being. Avoid sugar and processed foods, as they increase inflammation and suppress your immunity to disease. When feelings of anxiety or panic pops up, stop and take ten, slow, deep breaths. Science affirms that doing so will regulate your body’s “stress-response” system, strengthen your immune system, and increase resilience.

  • Know it’s okay to acknowledge your fears, anxieties, and concerns.

Your emotions are real, so honor what you feel. Write them in your journal. Share them with others. Write, read, paint, sing, dance, play music. Practicing emotional and spiritual self-care can equally help you feel calm, centered, and in control. Remember that fear is not the final word.

CONTRIBUTION

  • Do your part. Don’t hoard.

Practice proper hygiene for your and everyone else’s health. Keep your home, car, and workplace clean and comfortable. Be mindful that everyone requires sanitizing products, food, and basic essentials for staying healthy—especially populations most vulnerable to disease. Hoarding actually denies others access to resources that increases the risk of others becoming sick and the virus spreading.

  • Sacrifices are heroic and patriotic.

We all will be required to make sacrifices and alter our way of life. If you’re required to self-isolate or have to cancel a trip, wedding, or graduation, remember that it’s for the ultimate welfare of society. Reframe your sacrifices as altruistic acts of civic duty and of patriotism for the greater good. If your kids are upset over scrapped vacations, birthdays, or family gatherings, call them “heroes” for their courage in understanding how their actions lower the risk of infection. Every single sacrifice saves society.

CONNECTION

  • We need each other.

Create and sustain community. The current crisis exposes how we are far more interconnected and interdependent than we realize. Implementing “social distancing” doesn’t equate to “social disconnecting”. Show up for one another. Message the people you care about. Check in on a long-lost friend, family members, and your elderly neighbors.  Have your kids make and send a video to grandparents they can’t visit.

  • Unplug, wisely.

While staying aware of news developments, don’t let the “pandemic panic” spread.  Embrace social media only if it inspires you with hope or connects you with those you love.  Block notifications and the constant barrage of social media that heighten your anxiety. 

COMPASSION

  • Embrace your spiritual, religious, or cultural beliefs.

Find strength and solace in traditions, texts, rituals, practices, and upcoming holidays. Pray, meditate, reflect through song, in readings, through ancestors.  Connect, even virtually, to a community that is helping people in need in your area.

  • Practice kindness. Practice gratitude. Practice hope.

There is a natural tendency in times of chaos and confusion—especially health crises—to view “the other” as a potential threat. Stand in solidarity with those most economically vulnerable and who suffer the brunt of prejudice, bigotry, or hardship. Listen compassionately. Practice empathy. Kindness is key.

Remember, you are not alone. We are all in this together. Let’s embrace this time of confusion and change as a transitional state of opportunity—a sacred gift to create, innovate, transform, and renew.

This unprecedented historical moment may provide newness in the future we never thought possible. The more we trust in our collective power to endure and persist, the more we live fully into the goodness that awaits.

Humanity has endured much worse. We will prevail.

By learning to apply the 4Cs into our lives, we no longer are hijacked by the “Survival Brain” that locks us into a state of panic, fear, and despair.

The key to halt both the spread of the pandemic and of the pandemonium produced is for everyone to advance how “Calm Is the Cure”. #CalmIsTheCure

Stay Safe. Stay Strong. Stay Calm. Stay Connected.

Dr. Jay
Your Happiness Professor
Author, Science of a Happy Brain
Online Course: “Investing in Happiness”
Follow me @docjaykumar (FB, IG, LI, TW)

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Happiness is a journey everyone takes. But it’s often easy to sabotage your happiness. Here’s a secret I want to share with you: The key to your happiness is remembering that happiness isn’t a destination, happiness is a direction. That’s precisely what I reveal in my new book “Science of a Happy Brain”. Learn more in latest video.

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Dear Happiness,
Where are you? As I look around the world, isolation and despair rule. People are suffering and finding solace in drugs and suicide. We are driving ourselves crazy as wars rage, the earth weakens and stalemates drive political and personal wedges between us. People live on 4×3 inch screens and thirst for deeper meaning. Am I more than my digitized real estate on social media? Is there a future and a place for me to feel relevant? Can you help? Read full article at WomanScape Magazine

Stay Safe. Stay Strong. Stay Calm. Stay Connected.

Dr. Jay
Your Happiness Professor
Author, Science of a Happy Brain
Online Course: “Investing in Happiness”
Follow me @docjaykumar (FB, IG, LI, TW)

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In an age of political division and social discord, it’s often easy to focus on our differences. Happiness is a journey everyone walks. Regardless of how we look, vote, pray, or love, the universal quest for happiness unites us more than divides us. The drive to seek happiness for oneself and those we love is what makes us human. It’s precisely what I reveal in my new book “Science of a Happy Brain” and share in latest video.

Dr. Jay
Your Happiness Professor

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Quote of the Week

“No external conditions are required for happiness. Happiness is who you are!” —Dr. Jay Kumar