We have all experienced a year filled with social, emotional, mental and physical trauma — from political drama, social unrest and natural disasters to the widespread pandemic, which has caused unprecedented disruption, isolation, grief and loss due to the drastic changes to daily routines and ways of life that usually bring comfort and a feeling of stability. And, we have come to accept this as our new normal, much to the detriment of our wellness and health.
According to neuroscience expert Patrick Porter, PhD, many of us take this trauma in stride; however, acknowledging and managing this stress is imperative, especially for health in the new year. "Even if you don't feel it now, the traumatic events of 2020 take a serious toll on your mind, as well as your body. Your emotional well-being plays a major role in your ability to maintain good physical health," says Dr. Porter, who has devoted his career to researching the brain, mental wellness and cognitive functioning. According to Dr. Porter, if not dealt with properly, emotional stress can trigger a host of health problems. The physical response involves your immune system, your heart and blood vessels, and how certain glands in your body secrete hormones.
"New Year's is a time when people renew focus on health and wellness. This year, our focus needs to be on combating the mental and physical consequences of prolonged stress. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to deactivate the body's stress response," says Dr. Porter. Simply being mindful of your emotions is the first step. Actively observing your own thoughts and feelings helps you better understand where the stress is coming from so you can manage it more effectively. Mindfulness activities like meditating, journaling and braintapping can help. Making sleep a priority is also key. Our bodies and brains repair themselves during our sleep cycles. When the quality or quantity of our sleep is poor, we miss out on the restoration process. We are less focused and less resilient, and we have fewer internal resources for managing stress and anxiety. Remember, a little mindfulness and self-care go a long way. Carving out time for self-care prevents burnout and will make for a happier healthier New Year.
About Patrick K. Porter, PhD
Patrick K. Porter, PhD, is an award-winning author and speaker who has devoted his career to neuroscience and brainwave entrainment. As the creator of BrainTap®, Dr. Porter has emerged as a leader in the digital health and wellness field. BrainTap's digital tools and mind development apps use creative visualization and relaxation, biohacking techniques that have made tremendous advances in helping mental, physical and emotional health issues. BrainTap has been praised for helping people relieve symptoms associated with stress, insomnia, pain, and much more. For more information, visit www.braintap.com.