ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – A cognitive neuroscientist is on a mission to improve physical and mental health. Dr. Sara Mednick claimed that Americans live on 10 percent battery, and the pandemic has only further exhausted the internal engines. Her new book – “The Power of the Downstate” – hopes to offer solutions that mimic the restorative properties of sleep while awake.
Dr. Mednick is an award-winning professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of California, Irvine, and a part-time resident of Tivoli, NY. She believes that the results of her scientific research are needed now more than ever.
The Biden administration announced that the United States is facing an unprecedented mental health crisis, stating that two out of five adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. Dr. Mednick said it agrees; the pandemic has only increased stress because it has forced people to consistently re-establish daily habits.
“Suddenly all our schedules left. The rhythm we had before the pandemic was lost. We had to create new rhythms, and it’s actually incredibly stressful for our brains and our bodies, ”said Dr. Mednick. “We are real rhythmic animals, always looking for habits to form. And when you have to create them out of thin air, it’s actually very stressful.”
Dr. Mednick explained that when the mind searches for routine, it keeps the body in a fight-or-flight stress response for long periods – invented as “Upstates” in her book.
“Upstates require energy, focus, action and the mobilization of mental and physical resources,” said Dr. Mednick. “Downstates rejuvenate your body and mind at the cellular level, giving your heart, brain and metabolism peace of mind.”
She argued that it is crucial for our health, well-being and cognitive longevity that we learn to bring ourselves back to “Downstate.”
Her book reveals various science-driven strategies for recharging your internal batteries in “Downstate.” Dr. Mednick said it all starts with creating a routine. She suggested starting small; Make an effort to get to bed at the same time every night or commit to devoting only five minutes a day to deep breathing.
“It’s really going to send a message that even if everything out there seems a little out of your control, then you’re okay. At this moment you are okay, ”said Dr. Mednick. “And I think that’s something we all need.”