The "white bear effect"

Think of a white polar bear. Then give yourself a min or 2 to try harldy to not think of it ? Can u ? Well the white bear effect is like anxiety ! Why does the white bear exist?

In order for us to make sure that were not thinking about something , some part of our brain has to think about it, whitch IRONICALLY keeps the thought ALIVE.

This is especially true when were under whats called mental or congnitive LOAD mentall load just means your conscious mind is working really hard. It can come from having alot on your mind. When stressed or or anxious, trying to supress a thought is even harder then normal and so by trying to NOT think somthing makes it even more likely you wil.

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  • In cbt I learnt this

    She then told me to really concentrate on the feeling of my left big toe, I did and I swear the toe became tingling and I got a sharpe pain running through it the more I thought about it

    I was amazed!! And it proved a lot

  • The trick is to let yourself think anything and not push those thoughts or feelings away. If the white bear is your anxious thought that strikes fear (feels like a large polar bear with big teeth, chasing you and you have lead weights in your boots) , let it come and stay for however long it wants to be there. It is only a thought, albeit a scary one but completely harmless. However, rather than run away from that bear, call it's bluff by standing your ground and doing nothing further. Dont engage the bear or try to push it away. Just observe it and say to yourself "it's just anxiety playing its tricks into making me think the bear is real" and carry on with your day.

    You are right that you can't unthink something or stop thoughts popping up and cure lies in the way you deal with that thought. The thing is, sufferers get wrapped up in that thought by questioning/analysing it to death but not getting anywhere. Doing this just gives the thought more power and therefore keeps hanging around. Do the opposite by not doing anything about the thoughts/feelings. Just let the white bear be there without putting up any resistance and in time it will look more like a small white cuddly toy that has been dressed up by anxiety to make it look bigger and more fearsome than it really is. The thought will lose its power over you, you will lose interest in it and it will disappear. I had many anxious thoughts about lots of different things (GAD to give it a label) but now cannot remember most of them apart from the fact that they were all false. I probably still have the same thoughts but because they are no longer turbo charged by anxiety, I pay them no attention, are only fleeting and and no longer matter to me.

    If you want to learn more about anxiety and what it does to the mind and body and how to cure yourself, read Essential Help For Your Nerves by Dr Claire Weekes who pioneered self help treatment for anxiety sufferers. This book provided me with an understanding of anxiety in all its different forms, (panic attacks, OCD, GAD, agoraphobia, de realisation, depression - root cause for all is fear) and took away a lot of the fear and taught me how to accept the anxiety which is the cornerstone of recovery. I also recommend a website called Anxiety No More which also helped me to recover and was set up by Paul David who overcame anxiety following the same principles outlined in the book I mentioned. There are no gimmicks or quick fixes but guarantee that if you practice acceptance, you will recover. Best wishes Beevee

  • Very well said . I know that panic and anxiety is subconscious and it's like toxins needing to come out from deep serpressed trama of some sort that the mind or body could not handle or things we never could talk about so we bottled it up so later on it manifests itself threw panic and then we wonder were it comes from because to us it comes out of no were but really it has been waiting to come out .

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