Thoughtful Insight on How to Rewire Your Anxious Brain

25 Sep

Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic & Worry, by Catherine M. Pittman PhD, ad Elizabeth M. Karle, MLIS.

We all feel it – that sense of impending doom in the pit of our stomach, an anxiety about what might happen…some feel it in a debilitating way. The authors of this book paint a very clear picture of how the brain works, why we feel anxious, and how to consciously rewire the neural pathways.  They establish the role of the amygdala, our primitive brain, in fueling the “fight, flight or freeze” response that is hardwired into our subconscious, and then explain how the newer, “thinking” part of the brain, works in connection with that. They are advocates of “teaching your amygdala through experience” – meaning you need to expose yourself (in a safe way) to the stimuli that trigger fear, and “show” your amygdala that you are not, in fact, in danger.  This exposure process creates a new neural pathway.  “Repeated exposure to a seemingly threatening situation without anything negative occurring can teach the amygdala that the situation doesn’t require a fearful response.”

They sympathetically illustrate that just because one feels the sense of fear and panic, it doesn’t mean that there is actual danger.

I found this very helpful, both on a personal basis dealing with ordinary anxiety, as well as a good structure for understanding others in my life who feel anxiety and fear on a much greater level.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject.

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