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Fear response, explained

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I've put this info in chat sometimes as needed, but I'll put it in here also.

What we repeatedly think about and where we focus our attention is what we neurologically become, within our neuro networks in our brains(see a picture of a mass of webs to get a visual). Thoughts are basically neuro-chemical responses or activity (by-products)in the brain based on these webs.

We act unconsciously most of the time because after neural networks become hardwired over time, we become less conscious of their activity. Most often, it only takes one thought, or one small stimulus from the environment, to initiate a programmed set of responses and behaviors in our neuro networks, or webs. The fear response or adrenaline secretion, for our purposes here, but same can be applied to sadness response or happiness response, etc. Do you put some thought in before you respond to an emotional situation? No.. because of these pre-programmed set of responses you have created, and probably took years to develop them.. or some probably only minutes.

By paying attention to fear(or any emotion) on a daily basis, we are wiring ourselves neurologically to develop a more acute awareness of fear (or any emotion) perception, because the related brain circuits become more enriched. Your own personal attention has that much of an effect on you.

With each negative or scary thought, statement or belief, or dream, a dose of adrenaline is secreted - a normal reaction to threat that can never lead to death or disease - When you tell your brain something is scary and life-threatening, it believes you, and becomes sensitized to it and instructs your NORMAL bodily reactions to fear to begin.

Threatening thoughts... "Normal" people dismiss them, phobics buy into them as possible truths or indications of hidden evil desires which creates our anxiety. Don't believe everything your brain is trying to tell you. You create the "what if's" .. you can challenge them also.

The good news to all of this is that it CAN be changed, reversed... by UNwiring your brain to become less sensitized to the perceived threat. Repeatedly reinforcing the scary thought or belief makes the wiring stronger... so therefore by not reinforcing the scary thought using various coping methods (saving those for other threads here) you are then weakening the wiring and becoming less sensitized to the perceived threat.

So.. next time you feel those familiar symptoms of anxiety coming on... ask yourself, what am I thinking about or what was I thinking about (and look closely at that). And don't say "nothing" because you know we're always thinking of something, however slight or quick. These things do not, in fact, come from out of nowhere. The brain is a thinking machine, afterall.

Hope this helps.


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Hey LLaura, thanks for the post. Good information there, its always nice to be able to understand how and why your mind works. Especially in the case of people with anxiety. I always wonder myself why my mind has to be my enemy instead of my friend, and then I always read up on information like what you have posted to help me understand how I have gotten to my current mental state.

You start to go into coping methods to not reinforce a scary thought. I have only had one technique really work for me, but I know there are others. Would you mind telling me what coping strategies have worked for you? Take care- Allen

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