At the moment I’m reading a book called The Upward Spiral, written by Alex Korb. I haven’t finished it yet so I can’t recommend it wholeheartedly, but I am enjoying it.
In plain language Dr. Korb explains the parts of the brain that are responsible for our ability to go on the downward spiral, and in my case, that can happen pretty easily. He says that the emotional circuit in the brain is activated more quickly by pictures and events than by facts. And that people with depression have brains that are more easily activated by events than people who don’t experience depression.
I think it helps me understand why I so often feel pain so deeply. I pulled my back out a couple of weeks ago and the healing process has not been easy. I’ve taken pain meds, which don’t agree with me but are preferable to pain. Of course it is easier to believe that I’m more sensitive than others, but now I see a connection to how deeply pain affects me.
Dr. Korb goes on to explain the simple things we can do to help control our sensitivity to events and to help us to move towards an “Upward Spiral.” For instance, we know that breathing deeply helps us calm down. But did you know that deep breathing actually activates parts of the brain that cause you to calm down?
And if we become anxious, it helps to think rationally about the cause of the anxiety, which is usually subconscious. He goes on to explain the ABC’s of anxiety. A is for alarm, which those of us who live with anxiety feel more quickly. B is for belief, and we tend to think of the negative rather than the positive beliefs and biases we hold. C stands for coping, and the author has easy suggestions for that too.
Dr. Korb’s book is leading me to understand that my “wiring” causes the feelings I have, which occur more frequently than in those brains who are not prone to depression. I see that I must become more proactive about controlling these feelings.
The Upward Spiral is interesting reading, and if you choose to get a copy, let me know what you think.