It happens in the brain when you have negative thoughts.
But you can do something about it.
The anxiety expert Klaus Bernhardt has developed a new therapeutic approach for the elimination of anxiety disorders. In his book, he explains how anxiety works and which simple tips can be used to combat it.
There are people who, after an isolated panic attack, have started to ponder what that might have been. Maybe a sick heart, a brain tumor or some other bad disease?
Full of fear and worry, they went to the emergency room of a hospital to be examined. From there they were usually sent home with the advice that it was probably “only” a panic attack and that everything was physically fine.
More on the subject: That’s what it really means when I say “I’m scared”.
This is hard for most to believe, after all, they could feel exactly that something was wrong in their body. So the brooding continues. Doctors are repeatedly consulted in order to find “the trigger” through further examinations.
Negative thoughts change the brain
Exactly this behaviour, however, ensures that a unique experience can develop into recurring panic attacks.
Regular worried thinking coupled with strong negative emotions is proven to change the structures of our brain.
Within a few weeks or even days, the fear of fear thus becomes a completely automatic thought pattern that is deeply anchored in the head via synaptic connections. How is this possible?
If you think something, then you can remember this thought afterwards. It must have been stored somehow in your brain. But now we don’t have a hard disk in our head that we can write to, just like a computer does. Rather, we store thoughts biologically, in the form of synapses.
Every single one of your thoughts creates neuronal connections in your head, exactly in the second in which you think this thought.
This discovery was honoured with the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2000 and has contributed significantly to the development of new, more effective methods for the elimination of anxiety.
The scientist to whom we owe this knowledge is Professor Dr. Eric Kandel, and he is one of the most important brain researchers of our time.
Professor Dr. Kandel could clearly prove that all our thoughts and impressions are stored in our brain in the form of synaptic connections.
On the way on the motorway of fear
The stronger the emotions that underlie these thoughts, whether positive or negative, the more powerful these neuronal networks become in our heads.
Frequent negative thinking creates the neurobiological basis, so to speak, for panic attacks to develop at all.
Who thinks thus long enough negatively, builds its brain inevitably a data highway in the direction of bad feelings and fear. In the direction of joy and lightness, on the other hand, there is often only a narrow dirt road left.
Patients often ask me why fear occurs when they come to rest. In the evening on the sofa, on holiday or even during a routine task such as a long, boring motorway trip.
The answer is actually quite simple: the human brain reacts not only under stress, but also during rest periods in a very automatic way in the way it has been networked by the majority.
To make matters worse, our head always wants something to do.
As long as we are intensively busy, with a telephone conversation for example, a tricky task or even if we have great time pressure, then our conscious mind has enough to do and we are largely free of fear and worry.
But as soon as peace returns, we begin to ponder. Our brain now seeks employment as quickly as possible. And where does it get it faster – from the thick data highway of negative thinking and fear or from the narrow path of joy and lightness?
Right, about the data highway.
Unused knowledge is lost, thus also the positive thoughts.
It is actually much easier for your head to create fear at the moment than a sense of serenity because of its formed networks.
The way you think constantly networks your brain. Day after day several 100,000 connections are created in your head, in which what you thought during this time is stored.Thoughts, which you often repeat, become more and more present, while the access to thoughts, which you have not dealt with for a long time, is neuronally reduced.