DEALING WITH ANXIETY

As with most emotional disorders, the symptom is not the problem.

It is good for our brains to constantly watch for danger in seemingly trivial circumstances. Danger does not announce itself loudly!

However, usually, most of us analyze the danger and, if it is nothing, turn it off even before our frontal lobes are aware of the concern. The problem in anxiety disorders is that the switches that turn off these unreasonable concerns, are not functioning. The switches have all the connections that they need but not enough serotonin to do their job. Why?

We spend our serotonin, faster than we can replace it, in three ways. 1.Circling on things that we can do nothing about, 2.making things bigger than they are in order to motivate (awfullize) and 3. stuffing or procrastinating and suppressing. This non-functiong switch, then allows useless worries to linger which hypertrophies the part of the brain given to that worry and starts to recruit neighboring areas of the brain to join in.

(Basic Rule: what you focus on-you focus on. As a man thinketh so is he!)

One must enhance serotonin by decreasing the above three errors, and possibly taking medications. Medications serve as a “walking cast” for the broken switches but the goal is to change our spending habits. Second one must start to shrink the worry wort part of the cortex by: noticing myself doing it, assure my “habit brain” that it is OK to drop the worry, figure out what ordinary part of life the worry was going to keep me from grabbing. Then focus on seeing the importance of it and grabbing that with gusto, with all your might. (If you “yes but” and justify the worry you are doomed! You may say, “I know that worry is foolish, but” and this tells the brain’s reaction governor, “pretend we want to quit but don’t actually quit!”

Worry dies slowly so get support and accountability or you will give up. Refocus because it is healthy and life affirming, not because you get instant relief.

I call it arthritis of the mind. If one gives into arthritis it gets worse if one takes meds and fights it one continues to function.

3 thoughts on “DEALING WITH ANXIETY

  1. I have started trauma therapy, and my primary therapist is starting to work with me on a anxiety program, to work on deregulation, etc.I find your article so helpful, Being a why person, it gives me insight, into what is taking place with me.no blamed thought that I should be able to control the flow of the anxiety with the disorder.your wisdom provides a reason and a action plan or strategies to work with. Thank you for sharing your experience, and wisdom, but more importantly sharing the biblical plan to wellness,

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  2. Thanks Dr. Bell for these reminders.

    What if I feel anxious but don’t know why? What if I’m so used to feeling anxious that it feels “normal”?

    A lot of time I don’t realize I’m feeling anxious unless I intentionally stop and ask myself how I’m doing. “Not being anxious” feels less familiar to me.

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    1. wow, someone is reading my new blog site! I guess that I need to check it out more and be available.You are very perceptive. Even with panic attacks, they tend to be attached to worrying about then next one–anticipatory worry–and it all blends in together into constant anxiety. The way the brain is built–what you focus on you will focus on more as that part of the brain gets larger and even recruits neighboring brain areas into focusing on the same thing. Then the worry dumps out adrenaline and cortisol which keep the muscles tight and the stomach cramping, which causes inflamed gut and loose stools; which gets rid of the bacteria that make replacement serotonin; which keeps us from turning of our worries. We don’t sleep well so don’t manufacture the serotonin well. We use up whatever serotonin that we have trying to calm down the worries we have. Our worry brain gets foggy on problem solving and sharp on problem listing. Someone suggest a step in the right direction and we instantly say, “yes but that won’t work because”. Worried people worry most about change and giving up worry would be a change. Or we think that we have to be strong enough to do the changing.
      The good news is that we can don’t have to make any progress in picturing and resting in God’s grace in order to have God’s grace. We don’t have to instantly remember and apply His truth but remember that ANY step in the right direction is a miracle and should be celebrated! When we agree with God that worry is useless and makes no sense and thank Him for grace to indulge a little less and cast a little more on Him. (He does care for you) then we start slowly and become more comfortable with that change. Eventually we revel in resting in Him and wonder why we clung to our old ways.

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