Mind races. Unsettling worry or concern repeats itself over and over. No solution. No relief. Can’t sleep. Can’t concentrate on anything other than your SUPER WORRY
It doesn’t feel like it but your brain is doing this for your benefit – Relentlessly focus your attention on a potential (albeit imagined) threat to help you stay safe. Three parts of you brain start firing in lockstep:
- The orbital frontal cortex gives you the feeling you made a mistake or there is danger.
- It signals the cingulate gurus which generates the neurochemistry of anxiety.
- The caudate nucleus usually allows thoughts to flow from one to another, but it stops doing this.
- These 3 parts together keep person locked into worry, an obsession with something thy fear.
You may even realize that the worry is not rational, or the fear is not imminent. It’s your brain locked into a feed-back loop and won’t let you escape from the worrying thoughts.
You can rewire your SuperWorry into SuperRelief
Talk to your brain – silently or outloud:
- Thank your brain for doing what it was created to do. Don’t be mad or upset with your brain. It’s a good brain.
- However, relabel the problem as a brain problem, not an imminent threat. The real problem is not what you fear, it is the brain is getting locked into a position and isn’t moving on.
- Pick something positive or neutral to focus on instead. Ideally something pleasurable.
- Repeat this as often as necessary. It takes time for your brain to understand it doesn’t have to protect you in this way.
Here’s an example: Thank you brain. You don’t need to keep reminding me that (an earthquake will happen, someone will break into the house, I will get fired). I’m safe right this minute.
When brain focuses on something over and over, it strengthens the brain neuro-connections. When you stop the thinking the connections are weakened. Think of it like a wilderness trail – The more the trail is traveled the path gets wider and the dirt gets more and more compacted. Stop walking on the trail and it becomes overgrown, impassable and no longer used.
Use it or lose it
Any deviation from the neuro-connection path weakens it. Every time you interrupt and then stop the thought about the fear and redirect your thoughts it gets easier. The more you practice the more the neural links to the worry weaken and new positive neutral pathways are generated.
PET scans have shown that the brain pathways actually change when you perform the four steps.
Use this process for small worries, not just big ones.
Norman Dodgie, “The Brain that Changes Itself”
Jeffrey M Schwartz, “Brain Lock”