Carolyn Thomas has done it again – written a post that I am compelled to steal. She has single-handedly turned me from a law-abiding citizen to a “blogging” thief. (use a British accent to reap the full benefit on my play on words).
Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been my focus as a therapist for many, many years. I stopped trying to figure out if clients had been weaned too early as enfants when I first read brain research on obsessive compulsive disorders and how thinking literally changes the brain’s neurochemical activity thereby diminishing anxiety & depression in mood disorders. (whew! that was a long sentence).
Research continues to show that cognitive behavioral therapy along with exercise (which also activates certain neurochemical) is better or as good as medication . . . and cheaper in the long run. Read! Here’s something even cheaper than therapy and you already have the know-how and tools.
Carolyn’s article hits a home run. There’s not much I would change. I’m even brazen enough to steal her title. Carolyn has so many jewels that, without an accomplice, I can’t haul all of them over here all at once. So here’s an excerpt from her post: (Read the entire post, it’s worth it, by clicking on Carolyn’s title below)
P.S. Max would have changed the title to “The most OVER-USED word in my world”
by Carolyn Thomas
Any form of negative rumination – for example, worrying about your health – can stimulate the release of destructive neurochemicals. Waldman and Newberg [researchers] explain:
“If we were to put you into an fMRI scanner – a huge donut-shaped magnet that can take a video of the neural changes happening in your brain – and flash the word “NO” for less than one second, you’d see a sudden release of dozens of stress-producing hormones and neurotransmitters. These chemicals immediately interrupt the normal functioning of your brain, impairing logic, reason, language processing, and communication.
“In fact, just seeing a list of negative words for a few seconds will make a highly anxious or depressed person feel worse, and the more you ruminate on them, the more you can actually damage key structures that regulate your memory, feelings, and emotions.
“You’ll disrupt your sleep, your appetite, and your ability to experience long-term happiness and satisfaction.”
“These findings are distressing for those of us who are living with a chronic diagnosis like heart disease that can involve quite a bit of day-to-day serious rumination about one’s health”
“But Ohio researchers warn that there’s apparently an intrinsic problem here: the brain barely responds to our positive words and thoughts; they found that even with simple examples (such as showing research subjects pictures of flowers vs pictures of snakes), we tend to react to the scary snakes but barely register a reaction to those nice flowers.** That’s why, they suggest, we need to bulk up on those positives to outweigh the negatives.”
“Finally, Waldman and Newberg remind us of the findings of Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, (one of the founders of the field of Positive Psychology) and others whose work suggests that we need to generate 3-5 positive thoughts and feelings for each expression of negativity. They add:
“Our advice: choose your words wisely and speak them slowly. This will allow you to interrupt the brain’s propensity to be negative, and as recent research has shown, the mere repetition of positive words will turn on specific genes that lower your physical and emotional stress.”’
(She already knows I’m giving you the keys to her vault – she never locks it anyway, she has a very trusting heart . . .)