SAN FRANCISCO, March 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- According to new research released today by Total Brain, more than half of Americans say they are suffering from anxiety brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic; with 20 percent of those respondents citing that they are very anxious. In response, Total Brain, the neuroscience-based mental health and wellness digital platform, is offering individuals nationwide free access to its monitoring and support resources for three months. Total Brain hopes to reduce fear and negativity and increase calmness, flexibility and positivity during these trying times.
Total Brain offers an easy-to-use app to help people measure and optimize emotional and cognitive brain capacities, reduce risk of mental conditions and improve overall human performance. The app ranks your brain capacities compared to other people who share your age, gender and education level (percentile rank) and it suggests digital brain and mind training that will consolidate your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses and address your risk in the moment.
"At Total Brain, we are committed to sharing our core neuroscientific capabilities to help mitigate the mental health fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic," explained Louis Gagnon, CEO, Total Brain. "We are opening access to our mental health and wellness platform for consumers because it is needed, and it is the right thing to do. We are powerless in the face of the COVID infection, but we are not powerless when it comes to self mental health care."
According to Evian Gordon, MD, PhD, co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Total Brain, "Uncertainty is one of most intense activators of fear. Lack of control triggers the brain's fear networks and hijacks flexible decision making. This fear-rational duality underpins the contagious panic juxtaposed with exploring pragmatic solutions, that we are seeing unfold around the world."
Dr. Gordon says, "Total Brain was conceived to deepen insights into our key brain capacities and mental health and how we might optimize them. While fear is a scary brain hijack, it is also the most likely trigger for personal change. While you can't always control the source of the threat, you can control your response to it."
Here, Dr. Gordon highlights five simple ways you can put the brakes on your fear brain and enhance your calm, solution-focused brain state. You can try these exercises in Total Brain's app.
Boost your heart rate variability (HRV): Breathe at 6 breaths a minute for 3 minutes to increase your heart rate variability. This has been shown in hundreds of studies to induce calm and flexible decision making by putting a brake on your fight-flight stress system.
Meditate: When the brain is in a fear state, it switches to self-defense and protectiveness. Meditation can help switch off a cluttered mind, counter a negative fear attitude and induce calm.
Use positive affirmations and visualizations: Positivity is contagious. Saying positive statements, visualizing positive outcomes and choosing positive cues in digital training tools, will help nudge a positive brain state.
Generate effective context: Use digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) tools to help generate effective context and a realistic attitude, that will result in more effective choices rather than fear-based decisions.
Seek dopamine and endorphins: Keep seeking the small and big dopamine (brain reward) actions that give you joy. In this time of in person "social distancing", generate oxytocin (the brain's bonding chemical), by using social media constructively and connecting to the people that matter to you.
About Total Brain: Total Brain is based in San Francisco, U.S. and publicly listed in Sydney, AUS (ASX:TTB). Total Brain is a mental health and wellness monitoring and support platform that has over 750,000 registered users. Benefits for employers and payers across the United States include productivity improvement and healthcare cost reduction. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Survey Methodology: Based on a March 12 online survey conducted by Total Brain and The PARAGRAPH Project among a nationally representative general population sample of 1,000 people age 18+. The margin of error is 3.1%.