All of a sudden you start experiencing anxiety. It rushes up from you stomach to your chest and it is hard to breath. Now you are focused on the anxiety and nothing else matters at that moment. Except to get rid of the anxiety. You struggle with the anxiety to avoid it or push it away, but it keeps coming back. You begin to feel helpless, because nothing seems to work. This is the story I hear from people experiencing anxiety and have experienced myself. You are not alone. There is hope and freedom from the self defeating thoughts.
Fire Together Wire Together
Have you ever heard of the phrase, neurons that fire together wire together? This phrase was first coined back 1949 by a Neuropsychologist names Donald Hebb. It is the process of two neurons within our brain connecting together. The more we make the connection the stronger it becomes. Say for instance, I experience a single event in which anxiety was provoked as I was talking with someone. I didn’t know what to say or how to respond to a question and I felt embarrassed. I don’t want this to happen again so I avoid it or push it away, but it comes back again as I was talking with someone else, except the feelings came easier this time.
This is a result of a neural firing in which I experienced anxiety in prior situation. Every time I experience anxiety in those particular situations the stronger the connection it becomes. It become almost automatic even when thinking about the situation. We become so focused on the anxiety and preventing it from occurring, it ends up making our life worse. It also makes those negative connections within our brain stronger, causing us to feel a sense hopelessness.
Evidence shows that counseling will create new brain networks a term called (Neuroplasticity). Our brain continues to grow and will change over the course of our lifetime. There a variety of techniques to help with weakening those strong negative neural bonds. Along with techniques to strengthen positive neural pathways.
Physical exercise is a simple way to strengthen positive connections within our brain. Being physically active has been shown to help us feel good about ourselves. The more we exercise the stronger those connections become.
Brain exercise, such as meditation and mindfulness has been shown to reduce anxiety. When we are letting thoughts come and go they are have a less affect on our life. Also, when we are mindful of negative thoughts and when they occur, the weaker they become.
To add, when meeting with a counselor you will begin to develop new connections within your brain. This will help with becoming aware of your actions and why you do what you do. A counselor should be highlighting situations in your life and making connections to other areas of your life to assist with understanding of your self. This will allow for growth and understanding of your actions.
When this occurs you can move forward with identifying values and creating goals to assist with moving towards values. Example is: (Value) I want to be a fun loving person. That’s what I value in life. A goal to achieve this value might be to put my phone away while I am around others so I can be present. Another example is I value community. A goal to achieve is: I join a club. For people experiencing social anxiety there might be a lot of reasons preventing you from obtaining this goal. A counselor will work through those thoughts or feelings that are preventing you from achieving your goal.
If you are experiencing depression or anxiety and want help please feel free to contact me and we can discuss what you can do next.