REWIRE YOUR ANXIOUS BRAIN II -What NOT to do
By Lauren Janowiecki | 1/21/19
Welcome back. Last week we went over the ‘whys’ behind our brand new mental health series, and began our first of many of our “Rewire your Anxious Brain” articles. And WOW- We had such a great response! In less than a week we had over 120 different views, tons of positive feedback, and a whole lot of questions. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read. If you were not able to read the first part of this article, go check it out – REWIRE YOUR ANXIOUS BRAIN.
To give you a quick overview- the blog post tapped into the science behind anxiety- the two different parts of the brain that are the centers for our two major anxiety responses. We discovered the Neocortex and the Amygdala. Today, I want to dig a little further into the Neocortex; I want to go over how it functions and how we can (and can not) alter that process.
As we discussed last time, the Neocortex or “the thinking brain” resides in the prefrontal cortex and is the center that allows you to think of and plan the future. It allows us to create different scenarios in order for us to make the best decision in a given circumstance. When the Neocortex is working properly, we can cognitively imagine the different results of a scenario, weight the risks of the different outcomes, and therefor make logical decisions. This part of the brain tends to compute using what I refer to as “learned statistical information”. Which means you rationalize using the information and experiences you have gathered over your lifetime and can therefor logically weigh the risks before making a decision.
For example, you may look outside and see that it is snowing. Your properly working prefrontal cortex will automatically start to run through the applicable and available facts, possible outcomes, and “learned statistics”. This thought process may happen in a rapid and very basic sequence such as this example below:
It is snowing.
The snow is not sticking.
The temperature is 32 degrees.
That is technically freezing.
But it is 11:30 am.
It gets warmer the later it goes into the afternoon.
The sun is shining.
The roads are black asphalt.
Black absorbs heat.