Frontal Lobe Blog – contributor Beverly Greer, CEO, Neuro Vitality Center

We are heading into our 8th month of staying at home, social distancing, wearing masks, and listening to experts tell us what is best for us while we continue to be isolated from our friends and, in many cases, our loved ones. We expected that if we complied with the state mandates and stayed home and restricted all our activities that in a few weeks we would be able to get back to normal life. In our case this meant going to the Center, seeing our friends, working on our therapies and getting better. But here it is November and the Center remains closed to clients and there is no end in sight. California is caught up in its colored tier system that talks about schools, businesses, churches and other group activities but our Centers and other services like ours are not even on the plan until well after the 4th tier.

So what are we to do? If we have been sitting at home and waiting for the services to open up again, we need to accept that it will be a long time before we are able to live the way we did pre-COVID-19. If we really are honest, it will probably be when an effective vaccine is available, we are vaccinated and all the staff at the Centers are vaccinated. Even then, we will probably be checked at the door and asked to restrict our activities as we slowly return to a system that allows us to feel safe from either spreading or catching this virulent virus – remember viruses are stubborn. We don’t have a cure for the common cold, we vaccinate every year for the flu but it mutates and returns. Will COVID-19 evolve into COVID-20 , 21, 22? Will there be a yearly vaccine like for the flu? Will it remain as strong and dangerous or will it become more like the seasonal flu. These are all questions that we can’t answer but they direct us to understand that we need to adapt to the changes that have occurred and do the best for us to continue working on getting better and thriving.

How do we do that? First thing to realize is that if you are reading this, you have access to the internet and that is a big bonus. Take an inventory of ways you have to join others, to get therapies, to enjoy meals, to learn new skills. It may be your cell phone, your computer, the home phone, or your tablet. The first thing is to realize you don’t need to do this alone. We have a brand-new team here at NVC ready and able to assist. Give Dr. Jay Seller (760- 323- 7676) a call and tell him you are interested in getting involved. Tell him you are tired of sitting at home and are bored with watching TV all day. Tell him the kinds of things you like to do and the goals and aims you have for your health and for your well-being. Let us see what we can do together to make our lives better.

You are reading this on our new web site to give a better indication of what you can do now that the Center is not available for in person services – check out the Events page. We are working hard to develop services that will bring you together with others to support and learn form each other. We are staying active in bodies and in minds, we are doing speech therapies, group counseling, educational programs, social programs and that is just the start.

You remember we have always said that we never give up on anyone – now it is time for us to dig deep into ourselves and not give up or give in to this virus. We will continue to thrive, to help each other and to work together to be better.

Even better, our services might be covered by your insurance. Let’s get the conversation rolling. This means you caregivers too. – Contributed by Beverly Greer, CEO, Neuro Vitality Center

A Guide to Preventing (and Managing) Anxiety Attacks

Contributing writer, Sofie Letts,

Anxiety disorders come with a myriad of unpleasant symptoms, but for many, the anxiety or panic attack is the most alarming and challenging of them all. Anxiety attacks can look and feel many different ways, but they all come down to stress, fear, or other negative emotions hitting an overwhelming breaking point.

Anxiety is a common element in many broader health issues, and the Neuro Vitality Center understands how stress plays a role in overall neurological health. The good news is, there are many extremely effective ways to prevent and manage anxiety attacks. We’re going to take a look at some of the tools you can use to cope with this anxiety symptom:

Recognize The Early Signs of Anxiety

Learn How to Recognize The Early Signs
Once an anxiety attack is in full tilt, it’s much harder (but not impossible; we’ll get to that) to get out of that state. However, in the minutes leading up to an anxiety attack there are often external triggers and internal cues that can clue you in and give you time to head the attack off at the pass.

External triggers are things that happen to or around you that spike your anxiety. This could be a fight with a family member, hearing bad news, walking into a messy room – anything that might increase the intensity of unpleasant emotions. Internal cues are things like racing thoughts, increased heart rate, or feeling fidgety.

Use a journal or mood-tracking app so you can begin to recognize these cues and triggers, and then come up with a game plan. If a messy room makes you overwhelmed, work on turning your home into a calming and happy space. If you always feel overheated before a panic attack, start doing calming exercises as soon as you notice that symptom.

Develop Coping Tools
There are several anti-anxiety coping methods that are really effective at preventing anxiety attacks. These can work in the crucial moments before an anxiety attack kicks off, but they’re most effective when practiced regularly. For example, mindfulness is a great tool that’s made all the better when you do it regularly. PsychCentral recommends spending at least ten minutes being mindful every day. Remember, mindfulness isn’t just about meditation. You can mindfully go on a walk, eat dinner, do the dishes; every single moment provides an opportunity to live in the present.

It’s also good to practice de-escalation coping skills, such as mantras, journaling and rhythmic breathing, while you’re not panicked. These are great for those moments just before an anxiety attack, but it can be hard to remember how to do them. If you’re practiced, you’ll have an easier time using the skill effectively.

When Attacks Happen Even if you get very good at seeing and reacting to the warning signs of an anxiety attack, sometimes it’s going to get away from you. Once you’re in a heightened state, tools like mantras just aren’t going to cut it. This is because, during an anxiety attack, your body is in fight or flight mode. You need to address the physical aspect of the attack before you can make headway on the mental side.

One way to do this is to do a grounding exercise, such as holding an ice cube. This can wake you up to your body and help bring you into the present moment. Vigorous exercise, such as doing jumping jacks as fast as you can, can burn off some of your excess adrenaline, lowering the intensity of your body’s response.

One shockingly effective tool is to trigger the Diver’s Response. You can do so by dunking your face into a bowl of cold water, or even just by leaning face-forward into an ice pack and holding your breath for a short period of time. There’s solid science behind how this works, and Breatheology explains it can bring your emotional intensity down in a matter of seconds.

Anxiety attacks are scary and exhausting, but you can prevent and manage them with practice. You deserve a life without anxiety. We hope these tools help you discover how to achieve it.

If you need guidance or resources for managing a neurological disorder, the Neuro Vitality Center is ready to help. 760-323-7676