If your mind were a diesel engine, anxiety would be the leaded gas that was accidentally poured in and responsible for all the burps and stutters.
Even more so than depression, I think, anxiety is the big disabler in my life, with a capital D. That is why I try to nip my anxiety in its early symptoms. That doesn’t always happen, of course, but here are some techniques I try, and seem to work for me. Who knows, maybe they’ll work for you too!
1. Recognize the reptilian brain.
My therapist friend Elvira Aletta gives a brilliant neuropsychology lesson in one of her posts where she explains the two parts of our brain: the primitive part containing the amygdala — which is responsible for generating and processing our fear and other primal emotions — and our frontal lobes: the neo-cortex or the newest part of our brain, which is sophisticated, educated, and is able to apply a bit of logic to the message of raw fear that our reptilian brain generates.
Why is this helpful? When I feel that knot in my stomach that comes with a message that I am unloved by the world, I try to envision a Harvard professor, or some intellectual creature whacking a reptile on the head with the a book, saying something like “Would you just evolve, you overly dramatic creature?”
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