My husband, Doug, reads books about pain management, fitness and motivation regularly as a way to stay current in his medical speciality of physiatry. He often encourages me to read portions or all of these books. While on the surface art and fitness/athletics are different, when you start to dig into it similarities abound. (I wrote more about this here.) When I was anticipating my mastectomy, 18 months ago, my anxiety sky-rocketed through the roof–I was truly a mess.
Doug suggested I read Chapter One of Norman Doidge’s The Brain’s Way of Healing. Doidge is a specialist on neuroplasticity, or the idea that we can change our brain maps through various exercises and activities. In Chapter One, Doidge describes a technique developed by Michael Moskowitz M.D., a psychiatrist who became a pain specialist after dealing with his own excessive chronic pain. Moskowitz’s goal was to understand how the brain gets activated by pain and how it’s possible to change the way the brain fires in response to pain, eventually eliminating it. It was designed in response to chronic, not acute pain. Doug suggested I try his technique but apply it to my anxiety.
It involves the following steps that form the acronym MIRROR.
Moskowitz said this about applying MIRROR, ‘I had to be relentless – even more relentless than the pain signal itself,’ he said. He greeted every twinge of pain with an image of his pain map shrinking, knowing that he was forcing his posterior cingulate and posterior parietal lobes to process a visual image.
I still use this to manage my anxiety. I slip into it, and know that for it to work I have to be relentless with the practice. I’m writing about this today, because I think this can be used to rewire other ways of thinking that no longer serve the soul. As a visual person, I imagine the section of my brain lighting up with anxiety shrinking and shrinking into a spit ball that I let go into the stream in our back woods where the bridge crosses it. Letting it go, and watching it flow away from me.
Today’s Quest 17 prompt is #keepdropadd by CHARLIE GILKEY . There are behaviors and practices that I need to drop so I can further the ones I want to keep and nourish the ones I want to add. I am going to apply the MIRROR technique to this to help me, knowing that I must be relentless. I offer it to you as we all move forward in love towards these days of light and loving.