Category: Anxiety

Anxiety is the body’s way of responding to being in danger. Adrenaline is rushed into our bloodstream to enable us to run away or fight.

How to have great self esteem

How to have great self esteem

John (Rainford) has mentored hundreds of individuals and businesses and helped them to succeed. He does it by releasing peoples ‘inner leadership.’ 

Often this is closed off for most people who don’t realise their own potential for success and how to access this inner leadership and freedom. 

Inner leadership is the person in you that you have either ignored because of your upbringing or it lies dormant waiting to surface and you haven’t realised it. Many entrepreneurs have woken up to their own potential and realised that they have choices they didn’t think that they had.

My definition of happiness, I tell my students is having choices. Having no choices is the definition of unhappiness.

I am amazed today that more and more youngsters feel they have little choice but to do as they are told because its in their best interest. Whenever they challenge these protocols or rules they are shouted down and told to behave normally like everyone else. The falsehood with this analogy is that no one person is the same as anyone else. We are all unique we are told, but we need to conform and be like everyone else. Breaking out of this cycle of conformity can be difficult, but if we want to have choices in life, we need to challenge these assumptions that we inherit from the condition that society places up on us. This does not mean we can wreck institutions or people that don’t agree with us, rather it can free us to be ourselves once we realise whats actually going on with ourselves and with other people.

So what is going on?

The reality is that we are all brainwashed into thinking we have no choices, everyone we speak to, parents, friends, teachers, acquaintances, people in the street. Am I advocating rebellion? No, I am advocating ‘wake up’ and smell the coffee, figure out what is going on. 

No this isn’t conspiracy theory, but it is like the Matrix (in the film) where we are all in a very structured society. This is not bad, if you don’t mind being asleep, but it can lead to misery, self doubt and low self esteem. Like, “no matter how hard I try – no matter what I do I cannot seem to make great choices.” And yet, we do all have that capacity for self realisation, waking up, and self actualisation. Self actualisation means – being the very best you can be.

We can start to wake up by saying No, to every request that is presented to us. Our friend asks us to do something or go somewhere, we automatically say YES. Our automatic responses are our worst enemy and controls the way we think and act and it is a sure way to remain asleep and some would say depressed.

I will demonstrate what I mean, try something for me. Fold your arms.

Now fold them the other way. 

Ask your self what just happened?

If you didn’t know it, you have just broken your automatic reactions. 

When you get into a shower you will always get in the same way. Everything for you is automatic. Yes I will do that favour for you. We often agree to things before we are asked to do anything. 

To be awake you need to realise that we are all automatons. We just do what everyone expects everyday, without even questioning why we are doing things, this way or that. 

I remember that when I voted in an election I always voted in a certain way, because my father had always voted in the same way. I never questioned what I was doing I was doing it all unconsciously, without giving it a second thought. Now, because I am awake, I question my choices. Am I doing the right thing? 

Now it comes back to the beginning, we don’t have a diagnosis – we just make assumptions. This is not a good way to live, being on automatic pilot means all of your prejudices and bad habits are controlling you.

The worse thing that can happen to you is lack of control and it is the seat of unhappiness. If people are telling what to do all the time, and what to think, you will never be happy – because you are acting out your life according to other peoples expectations and wishes of what you should do with your life, instead of making choices for yourself.

Having no choices means you are being controlled and if you go along with it all the time, you are going to be unhappy. 

Happiness is having choices and being in control of your own destiny.

Wake up and you can be truly happy. 

The Unseen World

The Unseen World

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

The Unseen World is a world that is hidden from many of us. It’s in plain sight

but we cannot see it. It’s like something that is in front of us but we never

noticed it before. Like, we look in a mirror and we notice something that has

always been there – but we sometimes need to take a second look.

You know the expression that people see the world through rose tinted

glasses or dark glasses? What you need to remember is that we have a

choice, even though we think we haven’t – as you will see – we do.

The Darwin Matrix process provides powerful insights into how we might be

happy as human beings. This is not a religious process, but a spiritual one. It is

designed to help people of all ages overcome anxiety, depression, suicidal

thoughts and feelings of despair. It is entirely free and is recorded and promoted

as a leadership and well being process, that builds in resilience. It has been

adapted from best practice at the worlds top Universities and learning

organisations. see awarenessproject.co.uk

Bad things happen, and we may suffer, but suffering or the degree of

suffering is choice not a destination.

This implies that our past experiences may have created who we are today,

but we don’t need to hang on to the past. This is perhaps easier said that

done, but it can be done. We can change the way we think.

A dear friend of mine confessed that she had been sexually molested by a

priest when she was very young. I wasn’t probing into her private life – she

just felt she could trust me. Though the experience was a bad one and it had

affected her deeply the real issue was that she felt was that it affected her

ability to have relationships – but she didn’t know how. The obvious immediate

reaction you could understand – was that she didn’t trust men for a long time.

She also believed that her first choice in marriage was a bad one, in that she

had sought a relationship which compounded her feelings of insecurity rather

than released her. He was abusive and what made the situation a lot worse

was that he abused her daughter. They are no longer married.

The reason I mention this episode was that it illustrates a keen point – that we

are indeed a product of our past experience – but we do not need to be

possessed or controlled by those bad experiences. If we allow these bad

experiences to dictate how we behave and make choices then we are at the

mercy of those events. This is a choice. You may say that in the whirlwind of

the traumas she experienced that she wasn’t in a position to make choices

and there is some truth in that. However, if she understand what is going on

around her – she might realise that she always had a choice but felt she

didn’t. The priest would have used his influence of trust to abuse her. As a

young girl she would be encouraged to be in a world where saying “Yes” to

please someone is the norm.

This is an important starting point on our journey of self realisation. Learning

how to say “No” –

No is the most powerful word in the English language. It is also where respect

begins. My own children were always encouraged to say No – not as a defiant

stance, rather as a means of giving them the right to have a choice. All of my

children have this right, even today and they all are grown up.

You may disagree with this approach – but actually, it does not incur

disrespect – but exactly the opposite. As a means of building self-esteem the

ability to choose has always been an empowering aspect of personal

development. It’s when we don’t think we have a choice that things can come

off the rails.

Can we change the way we think? Why would be want to?

In the case of my dear friend if she had more choices and could have said

No, certainly with her marriage choice, you could argue that she may have

been better prepared to make choices that created less problems in her life.

The relationship with her daughter was deeply affected as you might imagine.

Wouldn’t it have been better if she knew that she had choices in the first place

– rather than going with the ‘yes’ flow?

Neuroscience research has proved that the brain has plasticity – in that it can

change the way it thinks. New programmes can be created including new

ways of thinking – this is an exciting revelation that we will come back to later.

First of all let’s examine something fundamental with our brains.

The brain is a purely predictive device. Anxiety kicks in when things happen

that we have no control over (or we may think we have no control).

We cross the road, it is empty, we feel safe to cross. We cross, we are not

anxious. All good. When we are children we develop according to the whim of

our parents who are the guardians of our safety. We trust them implicitly to

keep us safe. In the real world they might make mistakes, but we still trust

them. We don’t question their authority. I remember a time when I nearly

choked on a fatty piece of bacon – although it was traumatic and I nearly died

my father insisted that I eat the fatty bacon a second time. To this day I

cannot eat fatty bacon without throwing up. My brain predicts that this can

cause my death so – it acts to protect me. We are all subject to these primeval

urges of self protection and prediction, that is what helps us to avoid

situations where we might feel threatened. On the other hand – when things

get complex and are traumatic, the brain can play tricks on us – we can be

drawn into those situations.

One can seek anxiety in the world even though one may fear it. This may go

against the accepted wisdom of the psychiatrists and doctors, but how then

can we explain people accepting back or even wanting or gravitating to

abusive relationships?

The brain is indeed a complicated beast and my contention is that by

understanding why we behave the way we do – is the way we can release

ourselves from the constraints of our own thinking. We are in effect in a

prison of our own making, and it is only by understanding that fact – that we

can free ourselves from our own internal baggage. The baggage that wears

us down and plants doubts in our minds and makes us impotent – we cannot

move forward and we cannot move backwards. It’s only by knowing where we

are and peering into a future that we can predict that we can have some

measure of happiness.

Anxiety then is caused by not being able to predict the outcome, worse still is

anticipating a danger – that our brain wants us to avoid.

However, as real as the anxiety or fear may be – if we can find the key to

unlocking that fear – why wouldn’t we use it?

We all know about causality – that one thing can cause another right?

However think for a moment – maybe there is a different truth we should

explore? What if the trauma (which exists in the past) controls our future?

Surely we may be affected by it – but we can control its influence if we so

wish, otherwise we are always at the mercy of what life throws at us! Again,

this is a choice, not a destination.

Nothing is determined by abuse or trauma, only our interpretation of what it

may mean to us. I am reminded of Kelda Wood, a great woman athlete who

had an accident that crippled her chances of horse-riding in the olympics – did

her world collapse? She chose not to have the path of being a victim of

circumstances, she chose instead to be an athlete in rowing. When she just

failed to qualify, she set up a charity to help other young people who had

suffered similar disappointments – and rowed the Atlantic to raise money for

her charity. Sometimes the negative experiences when interpreted in a

positive way can give our lives meaning.

Automatic response, is the first level of conscious awareness that we need to

understand and in some cases overcome.

Anger – what is it.

An emotional outburst based on an automatic response, Someone cuts us up

at a roundabout. A bad driver nearly hits us. Maybe someone just stood on

your foot? Whatever it may be, our first reaction may be one of anger, to

somehow hit back. If we are at the mercy of an automatic emotional response

then we cannot hope to control the forces that exert themselves upon us. If

we were a small sailing ship in an ocean of waves, we would just be bobbing

around. We would quite literally be at the mercy of waves, the weather and

and the winds.

What if we could resist the urge to hit back? what if we could control our

automatic feedback? Are not these responses the stuff of leaders?

If someone at a roundabout upsets us and we still angry 3 hours later and we

started quarrelling with our loved ones, you may well ask who is in control??

You – or the person who cut you up at the roundabout?

This is what I mean by an automatic response. Instinctively, your heart might

pound at the time, your face may grow the colour of crimson. However, with

some physiological input you might control these automatic responses.

Fold your arms for a moment, then unfold them. Now fold them again but with

the other arm on top. Something strange has just happened. You have just

undone your automatic response. You have overridden your programming,

just for a moment. Habits and programming are built up over many years –

and we can choose (if we so wish) to undo them. So it is the same with

plasticity in the mind – we can choose to override the programme, indeed we

can override the negative thoughts if we so wish it. How you may ask??

Well, there is an exciting process called EMDR which is an abbreviation for

Eye Movement Desensitising and Reprocessing. It’s a method that has been

hailed a breakthrough in trauma the world over. It began in the United States

by a therapist named Shapiro. She noticed after a recent upset, that when

she walked in the park, she had a habit of looking right to left, then left to

right. The eye movement she noticed after a few minutes reduced her trauma

and her feelings of unease.

Something in the brain was able to process in a good way the feelings of

trauma, she just had to focus on the upset. Subsequently she found that any

stimulation right to left, whether it was a vibration or a sound would trigger

similar processing that would alleviate the trauma. The key is to focus on the

trauma. Floods of tears are followed by an enormous sense of relief. Rape

victims have particularly found this helpful. This is well documented.

Similar to EMDR is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). The idea is to

focus on the block or upset and to tap on the temples and other key areas of

the face such as just below the eyes on the cheek bones. The point here is

that the Health community resisted EMDR for many years. Then enterprising

bosses in the Health profession decided they could make money out of it, so

they legislated to make it difficult for anyone to access these techniques. The

technology consisted of a light bar about 3 foot long containing LEDs that

moved from left to right. Fortunately it is used more and more by cognitive

therapists and the like, though with anything new it is still resisted despite its

effectiveness.

A word about tone of voice.

One can always tell when someone is angry, but what if we could control that

anger and speak in a calm voice? If we have the control – we would like to

have – we could raise our voice like an actor does. Perhaps to create an

effect. Likewise when we speak to a loved one, we will use soft tones. If we

thought about how we speak and adjusted the way we speak – we would be

exercising powerful physiological control which calms ourselves and even our

adversary.

Why do emotions play such an important part in our evolution? We know

through brain scans that the amygdala region lights up when we are

emotionally aroused, but it is also true that many other parts of our brain are

ignited. Neuroscience helps us to understand that with 300 billion neurons

representing many more billions of options at our disposal – the brain is a

complex predictive organism. Neuroscientists believe that these emotional

states spring up when we feel threatened or aroused, they lay down paths

which are not literal or visual but work in a more intrinsic way to co-ordinate

our thinking so that our standing, stature or wellbeing is maintained. Status is

an important element in our emotional and social states, so that whatever is

decided at a subconscious level is supporting our social and survival status.

Neuro-plasticity is one aspect that we should all take comfort from, it means

we can reform our pathways in our subconscious. Neuro-genetics, an equally

younger science, however, means we can create new neurons – which is a

much more exciting possibility. Simply it means, we are capable of almost

anything and we don’t have to accept our past experiences as being the total

measure of our accomplishments or limitations.

Take for example, depression or symptoms of anxiety – we do not have to

accept them as inevitable consequences of previous trauma. They are not

hard wired, but soft wired and we can override these pathways. This does not

mean to say it is an easy task, but with co-ordinated efforts which can be as

abstract as listening to music, drawing or dancing, it is possible. As part of a

reprogramming exercise connected to the apparent blocks, we can alleviate

these symptoms. Bearing in mind they can re-appear as neural pathways if

the triggers are sufficiently strong enough to manifest themselves, again.

This is where the transferring of neuron information to both sides of the brain

can assist greatly in the brain self healing (EMDR and EFT).

How do we find these new neural pathways??

If we imagined that once we smoked cigarettes (I did) – we find that there are

certain triggers that induce ‘lighting up’ – such as coffee? In my case I would

wind down my car window in readiness for lighting up. Unfortunately the

trigger still worked for a while, I am conscious that it used to trigger this

response. So – if you managed to override this response, by replacing signals

(triggers) with others, then you will have the basic understanding of what

plasticity of the mind can achieve. Rather amusingly, I used to have in my car

sticks of celery and every time i wound the window down – i would put some

celery in my mouth. This was most amusing to police officers who pulled up

alongside me at traffic lights and stared – to witness me chewing a large

protrusion from my mouth.

Emotions are stronger than any rational behaviour and they are deep seated –

so the best you can do – is to encourage a new emotional or motivational

response. In the case of smoking I felt a duty to not hurt my unborn child. This

is a powerful motivation – and this is where you can plough new pathways –

because the emotional desire is there. These motivations – provided they are

powerful and not whimsical like, i gave up smoking because it made me smell

– are enough to help you to want to trigger new pathways. In the case of

depression, a strong urge to view the consequences, for example that you

may not be able to help others overcome their fears is a good motive.

One of the most powerful inducements to overcome anxiety is the feeling that

you may transfer some of your anxiety on to your children. or a loved one. In

psychology it is called transference. Many people who have suffered traumas

in their lives have a strong psychological motivation to help others in a similar

predicament – simply because it works as therapy for the individuals who take

that step. Like a samaritan may help another and become a samaritan

because they were in turn helped by a good person. In a general sense this

allows for the collective conscious to play a role in shaping our society.

So, we know the basis on which we might use plasticity of the mind to forge

new pathways. However, in order to do this – one has to take the red pill (as in

the film – the Matrix) – you cannot make a new path if you don’t know where

you are now and where you are headed. Whilst it is useful to cling on to the

past (for comfort) – this is a falsehood that can seriously damage your ability

to find your true self. – This is not a movement towards ‘change’ itself – rather

it is evolution and the growth of your own mind.

For that to happen you have to take a second look in a mirror, not at the face

staring back, but you need to look into your own mind, and reflect on who you

really are, what are your values, what makes you unique in this world. If

arrogance stairs back, or hostility or complacency, then you may be in

trouble.

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Finding you true path in life may invoke change, but it is wisdom itself that

you will acquire. Wisdom about your self. First we must take baby steps – be

willing to grow outside your comfort zone. Moving away from fear to a new

type of discomfort (not too threatening) – so you don’t have to jump out of an

aeroplane to experience a new sense of accomplishment. It could be as

simple as taking a course of learning to play a new instrument. Meditation is a

powerful way to re-align your thoughts and adopt new ones. You are in effect

asking you inner mind for help, and – provided you are not on drugs – your

mind will help you. Maybe one of your ambitions is to reduce your

dependency on drugs, this is fine too. You just need to give your brain

permission to solve these issues.

All conscious decisions emanate from the subconscious, that is your real

asset and source of power. It’s there to help you, not hinder you. You need to

work with your benevolent brain – not fight it. I don’t mean – go with the flow. I

mean listen to the silence of your thoughts and allow them to work with you.

You are not meant to be unhappy, it’s a choice, and you always have a

choice, you need to find that wisdom to open up your mind, and take charge

of your life.

We are here to learn and grow and find ourselves – that is our meaning, and

to help others to find their own path, without fear. There are many other paths

that you will have to find on your journey, paths that are healing and

benevolent. You just have to take the first step.

The Matrix described at the beginning is a mind map, it has six pathways to

self – actualisation. You first task is to discover things about yourself and what

you are thinking and then later we will ask some questions…

Anxiety is a normal state of mind when we cannot predict (or feel we cannot

predict) outcomes. Anxiety is based on our survival instincts. Cortisol is

released and this is meant to prepare us for action. The trainer (above)

represents the conscious mind, usually the prefrontal cortex. The amygdala

(the emotional part of your brain is represented by the elephant). However

much our conscious brain tries to control our emotions, the emotions play a

greater role in how we might respond. For example, if there is some

perception of danger like a lion in the vicinity then the amygdala will take

control. It is only by understanding our own motivations that we can learn to

control our automatic responses, no matter how good intentioned they may

be. We still have the emotional responses of a 2 million year old brain with no

upgrade to hand, so have to relearn how to manage our physiology, the way

we think and the parts of the brain that control us, if we are going have any

measure of calm, success or happiness.

Within all of us – there is a great and aspiring leader within. You will believe

this absolutely when you reach your own self actualisation.

How AI and neuroscience can save our children’s mental health and well being.

How AI and neuroscience can save our children’s mental health and well being.

How AI and neuroscience can save our children’s mental health and well being.

AI can be our worst enemy or our best friend, but we do have a choice. Humans have a bias towards fear induced decisions, what do I mean by that? Our brains have evolved over millions of years, but have only been hit with technology in the past hundred years or so. Our brains are still geared to preservation, sexual reproduction and just plain survival.

To paraphrase the words of the famous physicist Niels Bohr who was referring to quantum physics ‘If you are not shocked by the prospect of AI and its effect, on the human race you have not understood it.’

To make matters worse we are still governed by an outmoded system of political and religious conformity that impinges on our education and culture. AI has no bias, but only seeks truth. 

To quote Demis Hassibis of Googles Deep Mind, “Its amazing how Deep Mind teaches us that all of our conditioning takes us down the wrong paths.”

There are a number of complex factors that are creating an unparalleled movement towards individual freedom of expression versus a complete shutdown of free thinking. It is like the immovable object meeting an irresistible force. Whatever your views on this subject, one thing is certain – we are facing a tsunami of technologies that mean – we can never go back to the caveman or cavewoman of the past – we have to adjust, evolve or we die. Unfortunately as a consequence of the amount of self destruct technology such as nuclear weapons, this remains a true possibility, if mankind has a hand in creating the doomsday button. 

Here are a few examples where AI can have a health benefit to our our children’s thinking. According to the New York Times our ability to spot suicide tendencies in young people is limited by our lack of understanding or prediction of who is going to self harm. There is no certain way of assessing this outcome until now. The Crisis Text Line is a suicide prevention hotline in which people communicate through texting instead of phone calls. AI technology has analysed more than a 100 million texts. You might think that words like ‘suicide’ or ‘die’ might indicate who is the most vulnerable? In fact it is words like ‘ibuprofen’ or crying emoticons that indicate the most urgent cases, they are up to 14 times more likely to self harm or take suicidal action.

Many words are frequently used such as ‘always’ or ‘never’ or ‘anymore’ to indicate stress. There are also the tones that can help us identify vulnerable people. The use of phone texts where there is a staccato of expressions rather than a continuous flow of communication, again are also giving AI algorithms that help to identify the people most needing help. 

When we worked with counsellors at the Samaritans they had to very quickly assess the risk in the conversations they had, with this type of information they could stand a better chance of identifying those who need the most help, especially in relation to young people.

Did you know for instance that research reveals that children respond better to Avatars than humans? This presents a whole new wave of opportunities for the role of AI in education. Rather than ask yourself why this fact indicates a liking for Avatars – we perhaps should be asking why we don’t respond as well to human interaction?

AI is not a panacea for everything, but if we do not learn how to overcome our prejudices and fears we may be stuck in outdated forms of a one size fits all type of education.

I can visualise a day when we get the best out of our children by allowing them to learn at their own pace and for each child to feel free to express themselves with respect and integrity for others. Our education system can and should be customised for every individual, we should get rid of this idea of treating children like automatons that are all exactly the same. One size fits all does not work. Machine learning will be able to identify the educational needs of children – where the gaps in the learning are, so that teachers can put in the resources that the child needs to reach their own individual potential. With IoT and Cloud based technologies such as the Darwin Matrix, pupils can learn thousands of miles away – rather than seeing learning as just a school based activity.

The most exciting development that can enhance the prospect for the Darwin Matrix is the potential for AI integration for learning algorithms, whereby each student would have their own Matrix and could learn at their own individual pace.

With electronic headsets (EEG) we are moving closer to full integration of AI with IoT and the future of engaging and accessing Wikipedia for instance, or Google – just by thinking about it. Whether this is a positive or negative outcome is a debate that all of society should engage. 

Tan Le is a member of the world economic forum, she is also head of Emotiv which produces non invasive brainwave headphones. Passive control can help us to work with AI – where the project of individual experiences can be enhanced., for example – if we need to feel calm – we might have ‘suggested’ music. The ultimate customisation? Tan Le believes that our brains thrive on novelty and with a better understanding of neuroplasticity this will help us to rehabilitate or heal ourselves. Our health, wellness, cognitive skills can increase, optimising education and well being – tailoring content to suit the individual needs. 

Neurotechnology is wide open to innovation – the therapeutic applications can be powerful and help society reach new beneficial heights that are less influenced by human fears and doubts. Technologies such as AI, Blockchain and IoT can create a new sense of consumer power that embraces integrity and compassion as a core intrinsic value, a positive evolution for humankind, as each technology empowers and democratises society as a whole.

The commercial application of brainwave technologies will help us to understand how we might understand our own thinking in a better way. At the moment we use them in focus groups to help marketers understand behavioural characteristics and their customers unconscious preferences for product likes or dislikes. It has certainly helped businesses gain a competitive edge. In Houston, Texas – we used algorithms to help find patterns in the way scientists were thinking, so that we could use their subconscious thoughts to produce aligned concepts to guide us to innovation and produce brand new patents. This is great for new technologies, as we have found, but it has a healthier prospect I believe in helping us to understand what contributes to our well being, what motivates us and how. Neuroscientist Pranav Yadav observes that all our decisions are made in the subconscious, we just need to make them conscious. This research will help in that quest for clarity and offer robust scientific scrutiny. Please get in touch, if you wish to help or would like to collaborate,

The Darwin Matrix visual process means that you only see the data that’s important to you, and you can retrieve it more easily rather than experience data overload – this can be as Adam Stafford (see Video) said “it’s an absolute goldmine for us, it’s what innovation is” The bigger picture is to create an entrepreneurial eco-system that encourages self belief and a ‘can do attitude’ in society as a whole. For more information about the benefits of the Darwin Matrix and its integration with AI and Neuroscience and Neuroplasticity please contact [email protected] We are conducting research, working with scientists and technologists using brainwave imaging to help determine algorithms that help with our education, health and well being.

See the cloud based Darwin Matrix promo video below which demonstrates the basics of the visualised modelling tool that can be accessed in real time, anywhere in the world, developed by Strawberry Fields, digital innovators and business strategists.

We are launching a website within a couple of weeks (watch this space) that is and will become a free resource to help with education, mental health and well being for people of all ages, this includes helping to create a ‘future ready workforce’ that will be able to embrace these new technologies, such as AI, IoT and Blockchain with less fear and a more informed and enlightened view rather than an apprehensive (fear induced) viewpoint. We will also offer ‘Transformational Leadership’ courses to prepare business and organisations for the 4th Industrial age. We will be postulating questions such as how will AI, Blockchain, IoT and fast 5G will affect industry and how should the workforce respond or adapt? Are these technologies a threat or could they be our salvation and free us to be creative, emotionally developed and more capable as individuals? What mental health issues could arise with the advent of these new technologies? It is an exciting time, but we must be emotionally prepared as well as intellectually. Our ‘cave brain’ is more comfortable with predictive outcomes, that is why we must prepare our minds for the challenges ahead and not leave it to chance, as Darwin said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent that survive, but the ones that are more responsive and that can manage and adapt to change.”

The ‘awareness project’ website will be comprehensive and include videos, blogs, world speakers, podcasts and eventually a forum that will be similar to the Crisis Text Line but will respond to the algorithms, so that people are not just signposted – but can get help directly through an avatar that will be able to identify the needs of vulnerable adults and children. We are actively seeking funds for this amazing project, that will be called the ‘awareness project’ – in the meantime we are launching this with our own private funds, simply because there is a genuine need for help, and because we believe as a society, we are all responsible for our children’s future mental health and well being.

If you would like to know more or get involved please contact John Rainford, Chief Executive of Strawberry Fields. +44 (0) 7940 872434

AI can be our worst enemy or our best friend, but we do have a choice. Humans have a bias towards fear induced decisions, what do I mean by that? Our brains have evolved over millions of years, but have only been hit with technology in the past hundred years or so. Our brains are still geared to preservation, sexual reproduction and just plain survival.

To paraphrase the words of the famous physicist Niels Bohr who was referring to quantum physics ‘If you are not shocked by the prospect of AI and its effect, on the human race you have not understood it.’

To make matters worse we are still governed by an outmoded system of political and religious conformity that impinges on our education and culture. AI has no bias, but only seeks truth. 

To quote Demis Hassibis of Googles Deep Mind, “Its amazing how Deep Mind teaches that all of our conditioning takes us down the wrong paths.”

There are a number of complex factors that are creating an unparalleled movement towards individual freedom of expression versus a complete shutdown of free thinking. It is like the immovable object meeting an irresistible force. Whatever your views on this subject, one thing is certain – we are facing a tsunami of technologies that mean – we can never go back to the caveman or cavewoman of the past – we have to adjust, evolve or we die. Unfortunately as a consequence of the amount of self destruct technology such as nuclear weapons, this remains a true possibility, if mankind has a hand in creating the doomsday button. . 

Here are a few examples where AI can have a health benefit to our our children’s thinking. According to the New York Times our ability to spot suicide tendencies in young people is limited by our lack of understanding or prediction of who is going to self harm. There is no certain way of assessing this outcome until now. The Crisis Text Line is a suicide prevention hotline in which people communicate through texting instead of phone calls. AI technology has analysed more than a 100 million texts. You might think that words like suicide or die might indicate who is the most vulnerable. In fact it is words like ibuprofen or crying emoticons that indicate the most urgent cases, they are up to 14 times more likely to take suicidal action.

Many words are frequently used such as ‘always’ or ‘never’ or ‘anymore’ to indicate stress. There are also the tones that can help us identify vulnerable people. The use of phone texts where there is a staccato of expressions rather than a continuous flow of communication again are also giving AI algorithms that help to identify the people most needing help. 

When we worked with councillors at the Samaritans they had to very quickly assess the risk in the conversations they had, with this type of information they could stand a better chance of identifying those who need the most help, especially in relation to young people.

Did you know for instance that research reveals that children respond better to Avatars than humans? This presents a whole new wave of opportunities for the role of AI in education. Rather than ask yourself why this fact indicates a liking for Avatars – we perhaps should be asking why we don’t respond as well to human interaction?

Ai is not a panacea for everything, but if we do not learn how to overcome our prejudices and fears we may be stuck in outdated forms of one size fits all type of education.

I can visualise a day when we get the best out of our children by allowing them to learn at their own pace and for each child to feel free to express themselves with respect and integrity for others. Our education system can and should be customised for every individual, we should get rid of this idea of treating children like automatons that are all exactly the same. One size fits all does not work. Machine learning will be able to identify the educational needs of children – where the gaps in the learning are, so that teachers can put in the resources that the child needs to reach their own individual potential. With IoT and Cloud based technologies such as the Darwin Matrix pupils can learn thousands of miles away – rather than seeing learning as just a school based activity.

The most exciting development that can enhance the prospect for the Darwin Matrix is the potential for AI integration for learning algorithms, whereby each student would have their own Matrix and could learn at their own individual pace.

With electronic headsets (EEG) we are moving closer to full integration of AI with IoT and future of engaging and accessing Wikipedia for instance, or Google  – just by thinking about it. Whether this is a positive or negative outcome is a debate that all of society should engage. 

Tan Le is a member of the world economic forum, she is also head of Emotiv which produces non invasive brainwave headphones. Passive control can help us to work with AI – where the project of individual experiences can be enhanced., for example – if we need to feel calm – we might have ‘suggested’ music. The ultimate customisation?  Tan Le believes that our brains thrive on novelty and with a better understanding of neuroplasticity this will help us to rehabilitate or heal ourselves. Our health, wellness, cognitive skills can increase, optimising education and well being – tailoring content to suit the individual needs. 

Neurotechnology is wide open to innovation – the therapeutic applications can be powerful and help society reach new beneficial heights that are less influenced by human fears and doubts. Technologies such as AI, Blockchain and IoT can create a new sense of consumer power that embraces integrity and compassion as a core intrinsic value, a positive evolution for humankind. 

Best Explanation for Anxiety Self Help

Best Explanation for Anxiety Self Help


Anxiety is the body’s way of responding to being in danger. Adrenaline is rushed into our bloodstream to enable us to run away or fight. This happens whether the danger is real, or whether we believe the danger is there when actually there is none. It is the body’s alarm and survival mechanism. Primitive man wouldn’t have survived for long without this life-saving response. It works so well, that it often kicks in when it’s not needed – when the danger is in our heads rather than in reality. We think we’re in danger, so that’s enough to trigger the system to go, go, go!

 People who get anxious tend to get into scanning mode – where they’re constantly on the lookout for danger, hyper-alert to any of the signals, and make it more likely that the alarm system will be activated.


Anxiety Thoughts
I’m in danger right now
The worst possible scenario is going to happen
I won’t be able to cope with it

Physical Sensations – The Adrenaline Response
When there is real, or we believe there is a real, threat or danger, our bodies’ automatic survival mechanism kicks in very quickly. This helps energise us to fight or run away (‘fight or flight response’). The action urge associated with anxiety is to escape or avoid. We will therefore notice lots of physical sensations.

Adrenaline:  Click to enlarge

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Anxiety Behaviours

  • Avoiding people or places
  • Not going out
  • Going to certain places at certain times, e.g. shopping at smaller shops, at less busy times
  • Only going with someone else
  • Escape, leave early
  • Safety Behaviours:  Go to the feared situation, but use coping behaviours to get you through, such as: holding a drink, smoking more, fiddling with clothes or handbag, avoiding eye contact with others, having an escape plan, taking medication. Safety behaviours can also help to keep your anxiety going. Whilst you depend on them to help you cope, you don’t get to find out that without them, the anxiety would reduce and go away on it’s own.

Whilst avoiding people or situations might help you feel better at that time, it doesn’t make your anxiety any better over a longer period. If you’re frightened that your anxiety will make you pass out or vomit in the supermarket aisle, you won’t find out that won’t actually happen, because you don’t go. So the belief that it will happen remains, along with the anxiety.



Vicious Cycle of Anxiety

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We all feel anxious some times. A certain amount of anxiety helps us to be more alert and focused. For example just prior to an exam, a few exam nerves have a positive effect – motivating us, helping us focus our thoughts on the job in hand, making us more alert. Too much anxiety, or constantly being anxious, is unhealthy and detrimental to our lives and relationships.
 

Vicious Cogs of Anxiety

By looking at the “cogs” that keep the central problem going, we can target and make positive changes in each of the cogs, which will at least, slow down, and at best, stop, the central problem, for example:

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Print a blank Cogs PDF and fill in the factors that keep your anxiety going


Anxiety Self Help VIDEO


Identify your triggers

What or when are the times when you are more likely to get anxious? If you can see the patterns, then maybe you can do something about those situations, and do something different.  See Overcoming Avoidance.

  • Certain places?
  • Certain people?
  • Anytime, anyplace?
  • See certain things?
  • Hear certain things?
  • Think ahead to certain situation?

DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY
If avoiding situations and using safety behaviours helps to maintain our anxiety over the long-term, then it makes sense that learning to confront it might be uncomfortable in the short-term, but will help us take control and helps us feel better over time.

Make a plan to gradually do the things you normally avoid. For instance if you normally avoid going out to big social events at work, then start with a small dinner at a restaurant where you feel more comfortable, with few close colleagues – not the annual Christmas party! Whilst it will feel uncomfortable, you will learn that you can enjoy these events, and that the anxious feeling does go away.

Make a hierarchy of fears.  If you have a fear of particular types of places (e.g. lifts), then you could start by listing different particular places (smaller, bigger lifts, taller, smaller buildings, glass walls or enclosed etc). You could start by standing next to a lift for a couple of minutes each day for a couple of weeks, then slowly build up to standing in the doorway with the doors open, then to getting in the lift without the doors closing, then to letting the doors close before opening them again, then to going up one floor etc. You can use breathing techniques or self-talk (challenging your unhelpful thoughts and repeating more realistic thoughts) to get you through these times.  See Overcoming Avoidance

FACE Fear and Avoidance – VIDEO

If you normally depend on ‘safety behaviours’ to help you cope, then list them in order of importance, then start by dropping or not doing the least important, and gradually work your way up over time.

What to do when you feel anxious 

STOPP    Pause, take a breath, don’t react automatically

THINKING DIFFERENTLY

Ask yourself

  • What am I reacting to?
  • What is it that I think is going to happen here?
  • Is this fact or opinion?
  • What’s the worst (and best) that could happen? What’s most likely to happen?
  • Am I getting things out of proportion?
  • How important is this really? How important will it be in 6 months time?
  • Am I overestimating the danger?
  • Am I underestimating my ability to cope?
  • Am I mind-reading what others might be thinking?
  • Am I believing I can predict the future?
  • Is there another way of looking at this?  What’s the helicopter view?
  • What advice would I give someone else in this situation?
  • Am I putting more pressure on myself?
  • Just because I feel bad, doesn’t mean things really are bad.
  • What do I want or need from this person or situation? What do they want or need from me? Is there a compromise?
  • What would be the consequences of responding the way I usually do?
  • Is there another way of dealing with this? What would be the most helpful and effective action to take? (for me, for the situation, for others)
  • Challenge your automatic thoughts


Visualise yourself successfully coping with the situation that you feel anxious about. See it through to a successful completion.



How to deal with the physical sensations of anxiety

Counteract the body’s adrenaline response – it’s readiness for action, by using that energy healthily. 

  • Practice calming or mindful breathing – this one act alone will help reduce the physical sensations, emotions and intensity of thoughts.
  • VisualisationColour breathing.  Breathe in blue (for calm) and breathe out red.
  • Go for a walk, run or cycle, or maybe do some gardening or housework.

There are different kinds of Anxiety Disorders, so it might be helpful to identify if one of these fits for you: