Psychologist shares tips on how to rewire your brain, get healthy again as society reopens

Brain wire generic Canva.png
Posted at 12:33 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 19:23:04-04

According to the CDC, four out of 10 people in the U.S. are dealing with clinical levels of anxiety and depression right now. But with COVID restrictions finally lifting, many are seeing the light.

So how do you reset your own personal expectations moving forward?

A psychologist shares tips on what we can all do to rewire our brains and get healthy again.

"The US workforce was at 50% burnout before this started. So we're emotionally exhausted. We're cynical. And we don't feel like anything makes a difference. The good news is that's entirely reversible," explains Dr. Leo Flanagan, who's a psychologist and trauma expert with over 30 years of experience.

He says when we hear the phrase "reopening," we may feel even more anxiety after a year of uncertainty.

So if you're heading back to work, try to be more empathetic and mindful of others.

"Our emotions are infectious. So one person walks into the office with a heightened level of anxiety, and in 4/100ths of a second, they start to infect people. And before you know it, everybody is anxious without necessarily understanding why," he explains.

Flanagan also recommends trying to see a more optimistic future.

"We should talk about going forward. And we should get people to vision going forward. Because visioning takes place in a part of the prefrontal cortex that unleashes your inspiration and willingness to change. And that's what we need," he said.

There are other things you can do right now to help your mental well-being including setting realistic expectations as we slowly integrate back into society.

Write down five things that went well before going to bed, as it will help rewire your brain and you'll wake up more refreshed. And put things into perspective, if things don't go your way.

"When something bad happens, you say, 'Okay, this is not going to last forever.' Second? 'I'm not going to lose everything.' And the third? 'I can do something about this.' And eventually, that becomes your automatic or what I call the 'doorbell response,'" Flanagan said.

Flanagan also recommends improving your focus by meditating, spending your time more effectively, taking one deep breath and letting it out slowly to help your body reset.

Flanagan also runs the center for resilience, and he wrote a book, "Thriving in Thin Air: Developing Resilience in Challenging Times."