Anxiety Busters

I have a traumatic brain injury (TBI), although on the condition’s scale, mild in comparison. I can still walk and talk — it only affects my ability to think clearly and retain memories. Sometimes putting sentences together and coordination of motor skills get challenging, but very infrequently. Still, it’s a cross I have to bear.

I refused to be on medicine for it (as it makes you sleepy and I’m already on medicine for my BP and anxiety). I do take Fish Oil, which is helpful. My neurologist told me to keep exercising my brain: read intriguing books, do crossword puzzles (okay, I prefer Sudoku), write, speak more than just regular conversation (I do advocate speaking frequently), be creative, etc.

However, I also can have overwhelming anxiety. I have run the gauntlet on the things used to “fidget.” I have used fidget rings, fidget spinners, twirling pens on my fingers (I’m quite good). Fidget items, with some experts calling them “brain breaks, can help quite a bit with anxiety as long as they are satisfying to the user. I have always played with Rubik’s cubes, but it wasn’t until recently that I have been using the solving of the puzzles as both a brain exercising item and a soothing object. In fact, I collect Rubik’s Cubes and similar-type puzzles. I try to stick to Rubik’s puzzles, but some of the more intriguing puzzles are made by other companies. What can I say? I’m a purist! I had one originally when they came out in the 80’s and have been hooked since!

For those wanting to start utilizing Rubik’s Cubes, I recommend starting with either the Rubik’s Edge (pictured above) or a Rubik’s Cube 2x2x2. Basically start with the least challenge level, working upwards as you are successful. The act of solving it really fires the neurons in your brain which facilitates new growth, as well as causing the secretion of dopamine and serotonin which are pleasure chemicals in your brain. The satisfaction of solving something that many won’t even attempt (and claim they “can’t”), is an awesome feeling.

The nice thing, since I am a woman, I can fit said puzzles in my purse. I get it out while I am waiting on my turn in an appointment, while I’m on the phone at work, and when I really am on the verge of a panic attack. It’s my go-to and very portable.

Also, Rubiks.com has a downloadable certificate that you can print, once you officially solve it. Another certificate can be obtained, once you teach it to 15 other people, who successfully solve it. Honestly, I’m going to start working on that!

Holy self-soothing, Batman!

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