Living With Anxiety
One of the most successful treatments for anxiety that I teach my patients is the concept of pattern interrupts.
We know that the Amygdala plays a key part in our fight or flight response. We have connected a very specific reaction to a chain of events that we feel is operating on autopilot, and in a sense it is, until we do something about it.
Most of my patients have anxiety either in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. (Blood sugar also plays a part in this).
What do most of us do when this arises? We lay there resisting the thoughts, trying to fight the feelings that we know will spiral us into even more anxiety. When we run from anything, a person, a thought, an idea, even a feeling, we often trigger the exact opposite of what we want.
This is where we approach anxiety and life in a completely new light. We don’t run, we sit, or in my case, stand. When you stop and face the fear we move through the fear. I practice a form of Qigong that is called Zhan Zhuang; or “Stand like a Tree (Post).” When I become anxious I simply get up out of bed and begin my pattern interrupt, literally rewiring my attachment to fear in the brain. This concept of creating a pattern interrupt is also called, Neural Plasticity. Where, in fact, you can teach an old dog new tricks!
A pattern interrupt is simply something that rewires your response to a feeling, an action or a behaviour. Sit with yourself and write down what it is that gives you joy, what gives you gratitude for life. If it is dancing, dance. If it is yoga, stretch out and breath. Drawing? Draw. You see the picture?