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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Defragging the Brain; Getting Rid of Anxiety

Dear A. B.

Thank you very much for your reply. I'm waking up and the first thought I had was "I can do it", I have to constantly chant it like a mantra but feel much better and hopeful than last week. I will prevail and opt to manage my mind and thinking today at work. Thank you immensely, you have been such great support! Love and gratitude, Y__________

Dear Y___________

It may seem lot a lot of trouble in the beginning to manage your thoughts. But as you get more practice it will be second nature and automatic as your depression has become. Your brain is set up to be managed because it works by learned association. For instance, if you are going to make a cup of coffee your brain automatically clicks off what you need to get, without your having to think each thing up separately, on purpose--get a cup, get the coffee, cream and sugar if you need it, etc. You have been making coffee long enough that your brain reacts automatically to the first thought, "I want a cup of coffee," and immediately you are in the automatic offee making syndrome.

The trouble is that this kind of management works against your best interests if you have been thinking depressive or negative thoughts for a long time. There is a whole depressive and fearful syndrome that works automatically against you just like the automatic coffee syndrome works for you. And like the coffee syndrome pops up with the first thought "I want a cup of coffee," the fearful syndrome pops up with the first fearful thought, "I can't do this" or “I’m afraid.”

So in blocking the negative syndrome with “I can do it,” you are giving yourself a breather. Now you can start to build the positive syndrome for yourself, "I can do this, I'm getting better and better, I'm feeling all right, I can do my work, I'm capable, I'm confident." Then, pretty soon, this is the syndrome that will pop up automatically when you begin some task or social effort instead of the negative one. Once you have built these positive neural patterns, even if the first thought is a negative one, you can change to a positive thought and trigger the positive syndrome which you have made, to start up automatically to support you.
A. B. Curtiss

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