Learning How Not To Be AfraidI kind of wondered, on-and-off, if I was just pissing my money down the toilet. Though, in recent weeks, it's become apparent that a lot of things have been changing internally. I still have my not great days, but I can see a marked decrease in reactivity.
ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2008) — Why do some people have the ability to remain calm and relaxed even in the most stressful situations? New experiments in mice by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers are providing insight into how the brain changes when the animals learn to feel safe and secure in situations that would normally make them anxious.
HHMI investigator Eric R. Kandel and Daniela D. Pollak conducted experiments in which they conditioned mice to feel safe in stressful situations. Their experiments showed that the mice developed a conditioned inhibition of fear, which Kandel calls "learned safety."
The behavioral changes observed in the mice squelched anxiety as effectively as antidepressant drugs such as Prozac, said Kandel, who is at Columbia University. "It's a little bit like psychotherapy," he noted. "This shows that behavioral intervention works."
Two types of fear, instinctive and learned, have deep evolutionary roots and are essential for survival. But in some people, pathological forms of learned fear can lead to debilitating anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress syndrome, or depression. Learned safety, on the other hand, reduces chronic stress, one of the hallmarks of depression and other psychopathologies. "The ability to identify, develop, and exploit conditions of safety and security is central to survival and mental health," said Kandel, "but little is known of the neurobiology of these processes."
There rest is here.