Anxiety Support
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Amygdala

Hello all,

Does anyone know if it’s possible to retrain the brain to feel no anxiety at all around certain ‘past’ triggers? Basically whenever I see or hear certain things, I have a flash of fear to my stomach, which quickly subsides and goes back to calm. Is this me now forever? Or will my brain eventually stop the misfiring signals and regain calmness? Oddly, I can sometimes have no fear reaction at all though, it varies. I’ve been accepting my anxiety since August last year and made real good progress, I guess it’s just frustrating now when I get the odd fear flashes with no apparent danger. If it’s just a matter of time.. I can deal with that.

Thanks , Carl.

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Hi Carl , I've had severe anxiety for about a year now . Been having cbt therapy and counselling and I'm doing really well , all the mindfulness that I have learnt just kicks in automatically if I feel anxious and it's usually gone before I have a chance to think about it , I just wanna let you know the same symptoms you describe have almost gone from me now so I just want to say I expect yours will too . Keep up the good work , life can be good again that's what I keep telling myself 😊

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Hi Carl,

The answer is yes, it is possible to rewire your brain and train it not to react to current triggers of anxiety. This involves exposure therapy to neutralise the associations of anxiety triggers and situations. Get yourself the book “Rewire Your Anxious Brain” by Catherine Pittman and Elizabeth Karle. I’ve just finished it and it has helped me no end! Also calming the amygdala through mindfulness and meditation (practiced daily) as well as regular exercise which increases neural plasticity are all great additional ways to help you overcome your anxiety. I wish you well.

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this post might give you some ideas practical ideas

healthunlocked.com/couchtob...

Its unlikely that you will be able to stop the reaction entirely but you may be able to get to a point where it isn't as intrusive.

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Thank you all for your replies. I have already desensitised my Amygdala toward certain situations as the thoughts / associations / memories are now rewritten in my brain, it’s only other things that seem to be taking longer, I guess they are just rooted that bit deeper or the pathways are that much more harder to rewrite. As much as I am a firm believer in exposure therapy and mindfulness I am going to just live my life normally , taking any misfiring reactions with me and simply paying them no attention. The more calm I keep during these misfirings, the greater chance of fully overcoming them and peace will return.

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Carl87, I think your approach is really good and constructive. For those of us with anxiety disorder, it takes time to trust ourselves and be kind to ourselves and stop over analyzing every thought, feeling, etc... I think it also takes time for our brain to rewire itself and sometimes we have no idea specifically why an old thought or memory can come up. I've noticed it can be a smell, something visual, something i've read, even a non-related memory. I also think that us with anxiety disorder have in the past, tended to remember the bad and fearful things instead of the good and positive.

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Hey designguy, thanks for responding and thanks for your kind words. It really is exactly how you described. I’ve been a naturally anxious person all my life, but it never developed so bad that it actually became a disorder, in fact ... I’ve spent the last 30 years of my life not knowing what an anxiety disorder was until I started suffering myself. If I ever heard of someone suffering from an anxiety disorder, my stereotypical self would’ve probably just labelled them as born with some kind of permanent mental illness. But that is of course further from the truth than ever. It can happen to anyone , at any time. And the good news is it’s all reversible... yes it takes a hell of a long time where we literally have to let our minds and bodies heal naturally without any interference along the way, but it’s achievable. Do nothing , accept it all without searching for answers on how to get better, give up the fight of trying to solve it, there’s nothing to solve. Our brains sometimes think nice things, and sometimes weird horrible things , it’s life. We have to realise we are certainly not our thoughts and that worrying is single handedly the most useless thing we can do, as it solves nothing. We are human and our brains are designed to constantly look for challenges, just like the stomach always craves food to digest. Accept feeling shit for months and months on end until one day you will be free. And it will happen so gradually , and so slowly that one day you’ll reflect back and think , oh wow, I’ve not thought that in a long time, or felt those symptoms either. There is hope for any sufferer that our brains are capable of rewiring themselves over time. What a marvellous creation.

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You're welcome Carl87, and thanks for your great reply. I think one of the things for us to realize and remember is, that at one time, a lot of those negative thoughts had a purpose which was to protect us and mostly happened in our subconscious. When we start to become aware of them is when they no longer are helpful and contribute as fuel to our anxiety. It's like if you stand too close to the edge of a balcony our automatic thought is "OMG, I might fall and die", it's nothing but an automatic, self-protective thought. It's when our anxiety twists it and we start judging it and questioning it that it becomes a problem. For me in the past, it could have been something like "OMG, why did I think that, did it mean I wanted to jump, what if I had jumped, etc..., etc..." and then it would start spiraling and amp up the anxiety. It takes time and practice to realize what their role was and to not react to them.

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Precisely ! Sounds like to me you’ve had a classic sign of being temporarily controlled by the thought mugger! Mine started that way... getting into a fight with my thoughts because I didn’t know otherwise , I was a very scared person back then but so much stronger now and wiser. Of course , if I were at the edge of a cliff / balcony .. the what if thoughts are always bound to arise. But like you said, their merely protective based thoughts :)

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