This girl suffers from anxiety- officially diagnosed and everything. Does it sound like I’m bragging? Cause I am not. At all. It is nothing but a hurdle in my life that I would wish on no one. That being said- it is not unsurmountable. All it takes is a little determination, commitment, and dedication to conquer anxiety.
I’ve recently discovered one of the most beneficial tools for me just over two months ago. This tool targets the toxic thoughts that can replay over and over in my mind which creates and aggravates my anxiety. My toxic thoughts usually center around unworthiness and failure.
Okay, so this tool is the 21 Day Brain Detox developed by cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf who specializes in metacognitive and cognitive neuropsychology (and please don’t ask me what all that means beyond it’s about the way the brain works).
Detox programs appear to be all the rage right now- but these programs primarily deal with the physical body and what foods you feed it. You painstakingly track and stay aware of everything you put into your body to achieve all sorts of different outcomes.
This detox program is very similar. With a biblical perspective as the foundation, Dr. Leaf walks you through how to transform the way you think and respond to those thoughts. You pick one major toxic thought you struggle with to work through in your 21 days. You carefully go through a ten-minute routine each day (which I did in the car every morning right before work). Then you work to be aware of every time that toxic thought comes up throughout the day.
You then counteract that thought with a healthy thought and maybe even something tangible (like a little neck stretch, some deep breathing, or just physically writing down the positive thought).
my own experience…
was a particularly powerful one that I thought I would walk you through. Dr. Leaf encourages you to keep going and be constantly working on the different toxic thoughts that present themselves. So in my first 21 days- I started with this toxic thought that I would never be pain-free and headache free again- that I would always struggle with this pain. If you remember last I had a health scare at the ER that started this whole battle with muscle spasms and headaches.
It was a debilitating thought that would keep me up at night and could ruin several days in a row as I fought with this panic and fear over never healing and even having to go back to the ER.
For twenty-one days I went through a short meditation clearing my mind for the day and focusing on healthy thoughts of healing and strength. Then any moment I felt that thought of permanent, demoralizing pain creep in I stop and took a breath. Then I would stretch out my neck and shoulders while I reminded myself that I can heal and grow stronger.
It doesn’t magically take away the pain. It does take away those moments of paralyzing fear I would experience when I would get another headache. Removing that fear and stress would help the muscles in my neck and shoulders relax… which helped keep reduce the pain and the headaches.
I cannot tell you the freedom I felt at the end of the 21 days to be able to feel the stress and tension leave my body when I would have a muscle spasm flare up. The muscle spasm relaxed so much faster and I have been able to gain back so much more peace of mind and time.
Now- the program does cost $29. It offers a web friendly website that you can save to your phone home screen to access it really quickly. There are videos for each day that are wonderfully encouraging (Dr. Leaf has a super interesting accent as well).
I found that to be an incredible deal for how much it has helped me. This has been one of the absolute most beneficial programs I have worked through. I highly recommend trying it out- it is totally worth the price tag.