Category Archives: Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety Disorder: A Definitive Guide

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information.” Alfonso Paredes, CEO, WeVoice.  

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is one of the most common mental disorders, negatively impacting the emotional and mental well-being of roughly 40 million U.S. adults and adolescents who find themselves caught up in a densely interconnected network of fear and avoidance of social situations. As the third-largest mental health care problem in the world, SAD is culturally identifiable by the persistent fear of social and performance situations.

Social anxiety makes us feel helpless and hopeless, trapped in a vicious cycle of fear and anxiety, and restricted from living a ‘normal’ life. We feel alienated and disconnected – loners filled with uncertainty, hesitation, and trepidation. Our fear of criticism, ridicule, and rejection is so severe, that we avoid the life experiences that interconnect us with others and the world. The irony is, that we have far more to fear from our distorted perceptions than the opinions of others. Our imagination takes us to dark and lonely places.

We fear the unknown and unexplored. We obsess about upcoming events and how we will reveal our shortcomings. We experience anticipatory anxiety for weeks before a situation and anticipate the worst. We feel like we are under a microscope, and everyone is judging us negatively. We worry about what we say, how we look, and how we express ourselves. We worry about what we will say, how we will look, and how others perceive us. We feel undesirable and worthless. 

CONTACT US.

Roughly 40 million U.S. adults will experience SAD this year. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that roughly 10% of adolescents currently experience symptoms. Statistics are imperfect for LGBTQ+ persons; the Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates the community is twice as likely to contract it than their straight or gender-conforming counterparts. Statistics are fluid, however; a high percentage of persons who experience SAD refuse treatment, fail to disclose it, or choose to remain ignorant of its symptoms. 

SAD is ostensibly the most underrated, misunderstood, and misdiagnosed disorder. It is nicknamed the ‘neglected anxiety disorder’ because few therapists want or have the expertise to tackle it, and the massive number of revisions, substitutions, and changes in defining SAD result in the probability of misdiagnosis. Debilitating and chronic, SAD attacks on all fronts, negatively affecting our entire lived-body. It manifests in mental confusion, emotional instability, physical dysfunction, and spiritual malaise. Emotionally, we are depressed and lonely. In social situations, we are subject to unwarranted sweating,  trembling, hyperventilation, nausea, and muscle spasms. Mentally, our thoughts are discordant and irrational. Spiritually, we define ourselves as inadequate and insignificant. 

The commitment-to-remedy rate for those experiencing SAD is unexemplary ― reflective of symptoms that manifest perceptions of worthlessness and futility. SAD’s poor recovery rates mirror a general inability to afford treatment due to employment instability. Over 70% of us are in the lowest economic group.

SAD is a pathological form of everyday anxiety. Feeling anxious or apprehensive in certain situations is normal; most of us are nervous speaking in front of a group and anxious when visiting our dentist. The typical individual recognizes the normality of a situation and accords it with appropriate attention. We anticipate it, personalize it, dramatize it, and obsess about its negative implications. We make mountains out of molehills.

We are inordinately apprehensive others will think us incompetent, stupid, or undesirable. There is persistent anxiety and fear of social situations such as dating, interviewing for a position, answering a question in class, and dealing with authority. Often, mere functionality in perfunctory situations―eating in front of others, riding a bus, using a public restroom—can be unduly stressful. 

The fear that manifests in social situations can seem so fierce that many believe it is beyond our control, which manifests in perceptions of helplessness and hopelessness. Negative self-evaluation interferes with our desire to pursue a goal, attend school, or do anything that might precipitate our anxiety. We often anguish over things for weeks before they happen and negatively predict the outcomes. We avoid situations where there is the potential for embarrassment or ridicule. After a situation, our imagination creates false scenarios, and we obsess about our prior behavior.

The overriding fear of being found wanting manifests in our self-perspectives of inferiority and unattractiveness. We are unduly concerned we will say something that will reveal our ineptitude. We walk on eggshells, supremely conscious of our awkwardness, surrendering to the GAZE―the anxious state of mind that comes with the fear we are the center of attention. Our social interactions are often clumsy, small talk inelegant, and attempts at humor embarrassing. Our anticipation of repudiation motivates us to dismiss relationship overtures to offset any possibility of rejection. SAD is repressive and intractable, imposing self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. SAD establishes its authority through defeatist measures produced by distorted and unsound interpretations of reality that govern our perspectives of attractiveness, intelligence, and desirability. 

We are not defined by our social anxiety,
but by our character strengths, virtues, and attributes.

Maladaptive is a term created by Aaron Beck, the pioneer of cognitive-behavioral therapy. A unique characteristic of SAD, maladaptive self-beliefs are reactions or perspectives unsupported by reality. We can find ourselves in a supportive and approving environment, but SAD tells us we are unwelcome and the subject of ridicule and disparagement. SAD distorts our perception, and we adapt negatively (maladapt) to a positive situation. To analogize, if the room is sunny and welcoming, SAD tells us it is dark and unapproving. 

We circle the block endlessly before entering a situation, then end up avoiding it entirely. We try to hide in the classroom, our hearts pounding, hands sweaty, hoping we will not be asked to contribute. We lie awake at night, consumed by all the stupid things we said and did during the day. We are inordinately concerned about the visibility of our anxiety and are often preoccupied with sexual performance or arousal.

We crave companionship but shun social situations for fear others will find us unattractive or stupid. We avoid speaking in public, expressing opinions, or even fraternizing with peers. We are prone to low self-esteem and high self-criticism due to the childhood disturbance which precipitates a disruption in our natural physiological and psychological development, allowing the onset of SAD. 

Then to top it off, we consistently beat ourselves up. We blame ourselves for our lack of social skills. We feel shame for our inadequacies. We guilt ourselves when we avoid getting close to someone, terrified of rejection. We know these feelings are irrational; we know we are not responsible for our emotional dysfunction. But our social anxiety compels us to self-loath and self-destruct. How did this happen to me, we ask ourselves? It originated with our Core Beliefs.

Core beliefs are determined by our childhood physiology, heredity, environment, information input, experience, learning, and relationships.

Negative core beliefs are generated by any childhood disturbance that interferes with our optimal physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. Cumulative evidence that a toxic childhood is a primary causal factor in lifetime emotional instability has been well-established. Any number of things can generate a negative core belief. Our parents are controlling or do not provide emotional validation. Perhaps we were subject to gender bullying or a broken home. The disturbance can be real or imagined, intentional or accidental. A toddler who finds their parental quality time interrupted by a phone call can feel a sense of abandonment, which can generate core beliefs of unworthiness and insignificance. This is important when it comes to attributing blame or accountability for our SAD because of the possibility no one is responsible; certainly not the child. 

SAD senses our vulnerability and onsets in adolescence. A combination of genetic and environmental factors drives SAD. Researchers recently discovered a specific serotonin transporter gene called ‘SLC6A4’ that is strongly correlated with susceptibility to the disorder. SAD can linger in our system for years or even decades before asserting itself. 

Core beliefs remain as our belief system throughout life. They mold the unquestioned underlying themes that govern our perceptions. Even if a core belief is irrational or inaccurate, it still defines how we see the world. When we decline to question our core beliefs, we act upon them as though they are real and true.

Core beliefs are more rigid and exclusive in individuals with social anxiety because we tend to store information consistent with negative beliefs and ignore evidence that contradicts them. SAD generates a cognitive bias—a subconscious error in thinking that leads us to misinterpret information, impacting the rationality and accuracy of our perspectives and decisions. 

Negative core beliefs fall within two categories: self-oriented (I am unlovable, I am stupid) and other-oriented (You are unlovable, you are stupid). Individuals with self-oriented negative core beliefs view themselves in one of four ways: 

  • Helpless (I am weak, I am incompetent)
  • Hopeless (nothing can be done about it)
  • Undesirable (no one will like me)
  • Worthless (I don’t deserve to be happy).

These beliefs can lead to fears of intimacy and commitment, an inability to trust, debilitating anxiety, codependence, aggression, feelings of insecurity, isolation, a lack of control over life, and a resistance to new experiences.

Individuals expressing other-oriented negative core beliefs view people as demeaning, dismissive, malicious, and manipulative. We tend to blame others for our condition, avoiding personal accountability (I can’t trust anyone). This generates serious anxiety towards situations we perceive as potentially dangerous, causing us to avoid them in anticipation of harm. (A ‘situation’ is defined as the set of circumstances ̶ the facts, conditions, and incidents affecting us at a particular time in a particular place. For social anxiety disorder, situations are the places that generate discomforting anxiety or stress such that it impacts our emotional wellbeing and quality of life.)

So, we accumulate negative core beliefs due to childhood disturbance and other early-life experiences. They influence our intermediate beliefs which develop our adolescence. The onset of SAD aggravates our negative self-beliefs and images, which generate the fears and anxieties of a situation that form our automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). A corresponding intermediate confirmation of the core belief, I am undesirable, might be,  I am unattractive and fat. A corresponding irrational intermediate resolution might be, If I diet and have my nose fixed, I will be desirable

The negative cycle we are in may have convinced us that there is
something wrong with us. That is untrue. The only thing we may be
doing wrong is viewing ourselves and the world inaccurately.

Intermediate beliefs are the go-between our core beliefs and our automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). Despite similar core beliefs, we have varying intermediate beliefs; they develop by way of ousocial, cultural, and environmental experiences ― the same things that make up our personality.

Intermediate beliefs establish our attitudes, rules, and assumptions. Attitude refers to our emotions, beliefs, and behaviors. Rules are the principles or regulations that influence our behaviors. Our assumptions are what we believe to be true or real which, in SAD, are irrational and cognitively distorted. Dysfunctional assumptions caused by our negative intermediate beliefs, and consequential to our negative core beliefs, generate our ANTs. Even when we know our fears and apprehensions are irrational, their emotional impact is so great, our dysfunctional assumptions run roughshod over any healthy, rational response. 

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) are the involuntary, anxiety-provoking emotions that occur in anticipation of or reaction to a feared situation. They are unpleasant expressions of our anxieties and apprehensions―manifestations of our irrational self-beliefs about who we are and how we relate to others, the world, and the future. (I am incompetent; No one will talk to me; I’ll say or do something stupid; they’ll reject me.) They are our predetermined assumptions of what will happen in a situation. 

ANTs are the expressions of our dysfunctional assumptions and distorted beliefs about a Situation that we accept as true. For example, the Situational automatic negative thought  I am ugly and fat and no one will like me) might result from the core belief (I am undesirable), and intermediate belief (I am unattractive). This negative self-appraisal can elicit an endless feedback loop of hopelessness, worthlessness, and undesirability, leading to substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. 

ANTs are cognitively distorted emotions that can lead to maladaptive behaviors. 

Cognitive distortions are the exaggerated, or irrational thought patterns involved in the onset or perpetuation of anxiety and depression. They are thoughts that cause us to view reality inaccurately. We all engage in cognitive distortions and are usually unaware of doing so. Cognitive distortions reinforce or justify our negative thoughts and behaviors. SAF convinces us these false and inaccurate reactions are the truth of a situation. 

Cognitive distortions define the ANT. I am ugly and fat and no one will like me is a distorted and irrational statement. It is Jumping to Conclusionsassuming we know what another person is feeling and thinking, and why they act the way they do. There is also Personalization, and Labeling-Mislabeling distorting the statement. Cognitive distortions tend to blend and overlap like the symptoms and characteristics of many dysfunctions. 

SEE Thirteen Definitive Cognitive Distortions

Prevalent in social anxiety disorder, ANTs are irrational, perceptual, and self-destructive. To challenge them, we need to interrogate them to understand their structure. Why do we have these self-destructive thoughts and where did they come from? Without a clear inventory of the causes and consequences of our negative thoughts and behaviors, we do not have a chance of defeating them.

Anxiety is an abstraction; it has no power on its own.
We fuel it, giving it strength and power.

Interconnectedness

In unambiguous terms, the desire for love is at the heart of social anxiety disorder because of our inability to establish and maintain healthy relationships. Our fear of rejection makes social interconnectivity challenging. Our compunction to reject to offset the possibility of rejection is borne by our perception of undesirability. We crave companionship but shun the possibility for fear of appearing unlikeable, stupid, or annoying, which limits our potential for comradeship. Our low self-esteem and high self-criticism keep us from fraternizing with peers, and this avoidance prevents the enjoyment of being with others who share our hobbies and interests. 

Friendship. Aristotle called philia one of the most indispensable requirements of life. A healthy friendship is a bonding of individuals with mutual experiences―a platonic affection that subsists on shared experience and personal disclosure. A core symptom of SAD is the fear of revealing something that will make us appear stupid or undesirable. Even the anticipation of interaction causes physical and emotional anxiety because of our anticipation of being found wanting.

Physical/Emotional. Eros is reciprocal feelings of shared arousal between people physically attracted to each other, the fulfillment expressed by the sexual act. Our dysfunctional self-image of unlikability, coupled with fears of intimacy and rejection, challenges our ability to establish and maintain romantic relationships. Studies show that, due to our fear of intimacy and sexual incompetence, we experience less sexual satisfaction than non-anxious individuals 

Unconditional. Through the universal mandate to love thy neighbor, the concept of agape embraces unconditional love that transcends and persists regardless of circumstance. To love unequivocally, one must self-love in the same fashion, a quality challenged by our symptomatic self-disparagement and lacuna of self-esteem.

Family. The disruption in our natural human development due to childhood disturbance and subsequent onset impedes satisfaction of physiological safety and belongingness and love. As a result, familial love and protection, vital to the healthy development of the family unit is severely impacted, challenging our ability or willingness to recognize and embrace the family unit. 

Playful and Provocative: Our conflict with the provocative playfulness of ludus is evident in our fears of criticism and rejection. We do not find social interaction pleasurable, always expecting the worst. Our self-perceptions of inadequacy generally manifest in awkward and inappropriate social behavior 

Practical relationships are formed by mutual interests and goals securing a working and endurable partnership. They endure through rational behavior and expectation―a balanced and constructive quality counterintuitive to someone whose modus operandi is discordant thought and behavior. The pragmatic individual deals with relationships sensibly and realistically, conforming to typical standards of conduct. Our symptomatic fears are irrational and cognitively distorted 

There is a large body of research linking healthy relationships with positive mental and physical health outcomes. Productive associations lead us to the recognition of our value to society and motivate us toward building communities for the welfare of others. These relationships are developed through social connectedness ― a central psychological requirement for better emotional development and wellbeing. Social connectedness is strongly associated with our level of self-esteem.

Recovery is an ascent up a mountain. We never reach
the top, but the view continually gets better.

Comorbidity and Misdiagnosis

SAD is routinely comorbid with depression and substance abuse. It shares symptoms and characteristics with avoidant personality, panic, generalized anxiety, bipolar personality, obsessive-compulsive, dependent personality, histrionic personality, post-traumatic stress, and eating disorders.

Coupled with the discrepancies and disparity in SADs definition, epidemiology, assessment, and treatment, mainstream medical authorities point to the poor reliability of conventional psychiatric diagnosis. A recent Canadian study reported, that of 289 participants in sixty-seven clinics meeting DSM-IV criteria for SAD, 76.4% were misdiagnosed. The Anxiety Institute in Phoenix reports an estimated 8.2% of clients had generalized anxiety, but just 0.5% were correctly diagnosed. Experts cite the mental health community’s difficulty distinguishing the symptoms and traits of dysfunctions or identifying specific etiological risk factors due to the DSM’s failing reliability statistics. 

The DSM changes drastically from one edition to the next, while the American Psychiatric Association swears by its credibility. Criteria change with each edition, often without evidence that the new approach is better than the prior one. The abundant revisions, substitutions, and changes from one edition to the next is never universally accepted. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and researchers who specialize in or survive by funding are justifiably protective of their territory. Even under the best circumstance with a knowledgeable and caring clinician, it is difficult to get a proper diagnosis. 

But there is hope. We can learn to moderate those fears and anxieties that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. A comprehensive recovery program guides us through the process of proactive neuroplasticity to restructure our neural network from the years of negative self-beliefs to an appreciation of our value and significance. An integration of science and east-west psychologies is necessary to capture the diversity of human thought and experience in recovery. Science gives us proactive neuroplasticity and psychobiography; cognitive-behavioral self-modification and positive psychology’s optimal functioning are western-oriented; eastern practices provide the therapeutic benefits of Abhidharma psychology and the overarching truths of ethical behavior. Included are targeted approaches to help us rediscover and reinvigorate our self-esteem.

Recovery takes persistence and perseverance to endure the deliberate, repetitive input of information necessary to compensate for years of negative core and intermediate self-beliefs. However, once we begin the process, progress is exponential. It is physiologically and psychologically felt as we implement and experience the tools and techniques of recovery.

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT ESSENTIAL? ReChanneling is dedicated to researching methods to (1) alleviate symptoms of disorder and discomfort (neuroses) that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life, (2) pursue our personal goals and objectives—eliminating bad habits, self-transformation. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Affirmative Visualization

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information.” Alfonso Paredes, CEO, WeVoice.  

Affirmative Visualization is another viable tool in recovery from social anxiety and its common comorbidities, including depression and substance abuse. The neural benefits of visualization are scientifically supported through studies and the neuroscientific understanding of neuroplasticity. Like positive personal affirmations (PPAs), the graded exposure or systematic desensitization of Affirmative Visualization (some experts call it imaginal exposure) alleviates anxiety in a structured, unthreatening environment. PPAs are concise, predetermined, positive statements. Affirmative Visualizations are positive outcome scenarios that we mentally recreate by imagining or visualizing them. Both are underscored by the Laws of Learning, which explain what conditions must be present for learning (or unlearning) to occur and how to accelerate and consolidate the process through proactive neuroplasticity

< PROACTIVE NEUROPLASTICITY YOUTUBE SERIES >

Through Affirmative Visualization, we envision behaving a certain way in a realistic scenario and, through deliberate repetition, attain an authentic shift in our behavior and perspective. It is a form of proactive neuroplasticity, and all the neural benefits of that science are accrued by visualization.

As we know, our brain is in a constant mode of learning; it never stops realigning to information. It forms a million new connections for every input. Information includes experience, muscle movement, a decision, a memory, emotion, reaction, noise, tactile impression, a twitch. With each input, connections strengthen and weaken, neurons atrophy and others are born, learning replaces unlearning, energy dissipates and expands, beneficial hormones are neurally transmitted, and functions shift from one region to another. Proactively stimulating our brain with deliberate, repetitive neural information utilizing Affirmative Visualization accelerates and consolidates learning (and unlearning), producing a correlated change in thought, behavior, and perspective. These changes become habitual and spontaneous over time.

Our brain provides the same neural restructuring when we visualize doing something or when we actually do it; the same regions of our brain are stimulated. Just as our neural network cannot distinguish between toxic and productive information, it also does not distinguish whether we are physically experiencing something or imagining it.

The thalamus is the small structure within our brain located just above the stem between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain. It has extensive nerve connections to both. All information passes through the thalamus and onto the millions of participating neurons. By visualizing an idea or performance repeatedly for an extended period, we increase activity in the thalamus and our brain responds as though the idea is a real object or actually happening.

Our thalamus makes no distinction between inner and outer realities. It does not distinguish whether we are imagining something or experiencing it. Thus, any idea, if contemplated long enough, will take on a semblance of reality. If we visualize a solution to a problem, the problem is systemically resolved because visualizing activates the cognitive circuits involved with our working memory.

Research reveals that visualizing an event in advance improves our mental and physical performance. When we visualize what we want to achieve, we consciously source information that will improve our performance outcomes, dramatically improving the likelihood of success in the real situation.

We can visualize mitigating anxiety and performing better, or we can envision being a more empathetic or competent individual. Our neural repatterning will help us achieve those goals. The more we visualize with clear intent, the more focused we become and the higher the probability of achieving our goal. It activates our dopaminergic-reward system, decreasing the neurotransmissions of anxiety and fear-provoking hormones, and accelerating and consolidating those that make learning more accessible. In addition, when we visualize, our brain generates alpha waves which, neuroscientists have discovered, can dramatically reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT ESSENTIAL? ReChanneling is dedicated to researching methods to (1) alleviate symptoms of disorder and discomfort (neuroses) that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life, (2) pursue our personal goals and objectives—eliminating bad habits, self-transformation. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

DRNI: Proactively Restructuring Our Neural Network

DRNI is the deliberate, repetitive input of neural information

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information. Alfonso Paredes, CEO, WeVoice.

Neuroplasticity is scientific evidence of our neural network’s constant adaptation to learning. Neuroscientists refer to the process as structural remodeling of the brain. It is what makes learning and registering new experiences possible. All information notifies our neural circuits to realign, generating a correlated change in behavior and perspective. 

What is significant is our ability to dramatically accelerate learning by consciously compelling our brain to repattern its neural circuitry. Deliberate, repetitive, neural information (DRNI) empowers us to proactively transform our thoughts and behaviors, creating healthy new mindsets, skills, and abilities. It is the most effective means of learning and unlearning.

Reactive neuroplasticity is our brain’s natural adaption to information. Information includes thought, behavior, experience, sensation, etc. Active neuroplasticity is achieved through cognitive pursuits such as engaging in social interaction, teaching, aerobics, and creating. Proactive neuroplasticity is the most effective means of learning and unlearning because the regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information accelerates and consolidates restructuring. 

Neurons do not act by themselves but through neural circuits that strengthen or weaken their connections based on electrical activity. The deliberate, repetitious, input of information impels neurons to fire repeatedly, causing them to wire together. The more repetitions, the more robust the new connection. This is called Hebbian Learning.

Hebbian Learning 

Synaptic connections consolidate when two or more neurons activate contiguously. Neural circuits are like muscles, the more repetitions, the more durable the connection. Hebb’s rule of neuroplasticity states, neurons that fire together wire together. When multiple neurons wire together, they create more pre- and post-synaptic neurons. Repeated firing strengthens and solidifies the pathways between neurons. The activity of the axon pathway is heightened, causing the synapses to accelerate the release of hormones that generate the commitment, persistence, and perseverance useful to recovery or the pursuit of personal goals and objectives.

We not only prompt our neural network to restructure by deliberately inputting information, but through repetition, we cause circuits to strengthen and realign, speeding up the process of learning and unlearning. 

Next Social Anxiety Recovery Workshops
April 28th – May 23rd and May 30th – August 1st
10 consecutive weekday evenings: 7:15-8:30 PM
Maximum 8 participants
See Anatomy of an Online Recovery Workshop

Summer
Advanced Social Anxiety Recovery Workshop
CONTACT US.

What happens when multiple neurons wire together? Every input of information, intentional or otherwise, causes a receptor neuron to fire. Each time a neuron fires, it reshapes and strengthens the axon connection and the neural bond. The more repetitions, the more neurons are impacted, creating multiple connections between receptor, sensory, and relay neurons, attracting other neurons. An increase in learning efficacy arises from the sensory neuron’s repeated and persistent stimulation of the postsynaptic cell. Postsynaptic neurons multiply, amplifying the positive or negative energy of the information.

The consequence of DRNI over a long period is obvious. Multiple firings accelerate and consolidate learning. In addition, DRNI activates long-term potentiation, which increases the strength of the nerve impulses along the connecting pathways, generating more energy. Deliberate, repetitive, neural information generates higher levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factors) proteins associated with improved cognitive functioning, mental health, and memory. 

< PROACTIVE NEUROPLASTICITY YOUTUBE SERIES >

We know how challenging it is to change, to remove ourselves from hostile environments, to break habits that interfere with our optimum functioning. We are physiologically hard-wired to resist anything that jeopardizes our status quo. Our brain’s inertia senses and repels changes, and our basal ganglia resist any modification in behavior patterns. DRNI empowers us to assume accountability for our emotional wellbeing and quality of life by proactively controlling the input of information.

Reciprocity

Neural restructuring does not happen overnight. Recovery-remission is a year or more in recovery utilizing appropriate tools and techniques. Meeting personal goals and objectives takes persistence, perseverance, and patience. Substance abuse programs recommend nurturing a plant or tropical fish during the first year before contemplating a personal relationship. The successful pursuit of any ambition varies by individual and is subject to multiple factors. However, once we begin the process of DRNI, progress is exponential. Our brain reciprocates the positivity of our efforts in abundance because every viable input of information engages millions of neurons with their own energy transmission. 

DRNI plays a crucial role in reciprocity. The chain reaction generated by a single neural receptor involves millions of neurons that amplify energy on a massive scale. The reciprocating energy from DRNI is vastly more abundant because of the repeated firing by the neuron receptor. Positive energy in, positive energy multiplied millions of times, positive energy reciprocated in abundance. 

Conversely, negative energy in, negative energy multiplied millions of times, negative energy reciprocated in abundance. 

Hormonal Neurotransmissions

Our brain does not think; it is an organic reciprocator that provides the means for us to think. Its function is the maintenance of our heartbeat, nervous system, blood flow, etc. It tells us when to breathe, stimulates thirst, and controls our weight and digestion.

Because our brain does not distinguish healthy from toxic information, the natural neurotransmission of pleasurable and motivational hormones happens whether we feed it self-destructive or constructive information. That is one of the reasons breaking a habit, keeping to a resolution, or recovering is challenging. The power of DRNI is that a regimen of positive, repetitive input can compensate for decades of irrational, self-destructive thoughts and behaviors, and provide the mental and emotional wherewithal to effectively pursue our personal goals and objectives. 

We receive neurotransmissions of GABA for relaxation, dopamine for pleasure and motivation, endorphins to elevate our mood, and serotonin for a sense of wellbeing. Acetylcholine supports our positivity, glutamate enhances our memory, and noradrenalin improves concentration. In addition, information reduces the impact of the fear and anxiety-provoking hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. When we input negative information, our brain naturally releases neurotransmitters that support that negativity. 

Conversely, every time we provide positive information, our brain releases hormones that make us feel viable and productive, subverting the negative energy channeled by the things that impede our potential. 

Utilization

Dysfunction and discomfort are conditions that can result in functional impairment and impact our quality of life. The difference is in severity. A dysfunction is a diagnosable condition that psychiatrists label a mental illness or disorder. Discomfort does not rise to the level of diagnosability but is holistically disruptive, nonetheless.

Personal goals and objectives are those things we want to change about ourselves: eliminating a bad habit or behavior, improving life satisfaction, and revitalizing self-esteem. The benefits of DRNI cannot be underestimated. The deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information significantly improves the probability of recovery. Likewise, it empowers us to pursue those personal goals and objectives that make our lives more viable and productive. 

Constructing the Information

Deliberate neural, information is structured by context, content, and intention, which determine the integrity of the information and its correlation to durability and learning efficacy. The most effective information is calculated and specific to our intention. Are we challenging the negative thoughts and behaviors of our dysfunction? Are we reaffirming the character strengths and virtues that support recovery and transformation? Are we focused on a specific challenge? What is our end goal – the personal milestone we want to achieve? Content is the actual phrasing of our intent; words have meaning.

The process is theoretically simple but challenging, due to the commitment and endurance required for the long-term, repetitive process. We do not put on tennis shorts and advance to Wimbledon without decades of practice with racket and balls; philharmonics cater to pianists who have spent years at the keyboard. DRNI requires a calculated regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural information that is not only tedious but also fails to deliver immediate tangible results, causing us to readily concede defeat and abandon hope in this era of instant gratification. Fortunately, the universal law of compensation anticipates this. The positive impact of proactive neuroplasticity is exponential due to the abundant reciprocation of positive energy and the neurotransmission of hormones that generate motivation, persistence, and perseverance. Proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI dramatically mitigates symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort and advances the pursuit of goals and objectives. 

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT ESSENTIAL? ReChanneling is dedicated to researching methods to (1) alleviate symptoms of disorder and discomfort (neuroses) that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life, (2) pursue our personal goals and objectives—eliminating a bad habit, self-transformation. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

ReChanneling: Updates and Happenings, June 2022

YouTube Series on Proactive Neuroplasticity

ReChanneling has produced the fifth YouTube installment on Proactive Neuroplasticity – Challenging Our Self-Destructive Thoughts. In this video, we focus on the trajectory of our self-destructive thoughts that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. They originate with our negative core beliefs generated by childhood disturbance and the adolescent-onset of disorder, which influence our intermediate beliefs to form our ANTs or automatic negative thoughts that underscore our situational fears and anxieties. Installment #6: Resolving Our Negative Moral Emotions will be available on July 1st. LINK

WeVoice

Dr. Mullen is currently advising WeVoice in the development of technological support systems Headquartered in Valencia, Spain, WeVoice is a program of mental health utilizing Adaptive 3D Sound Healing powered by Voice Emotion-AI.

Academia.edu

Academia.edu is currently offering two ReChanneling courses: Neuroscience and Happiness: A Guide to Neuroplasticity and Positive Behavioral Change and Social Anxiety in the LGBTQ+ Community.

Guest Blog

A Canadian mental health website published Proactive Neuroplasticity and Positive Behavioral Change which we have reposted to the ReChanneling website.

Recent Posts

Affirmative Visualization
DRNI: Proactively Restructuring Our Neural Network
The Science of Positive Personal Affirmations

… and, of course, everything on the ReChanneling website is constantly updated as the program continues to evolve and flourish.

ReChanneling currently facilitates roughly 800 individuals with social anxiety disorder in our two discussion groups. Social Anxiety and Proactive Neuroplasticity and LGBTQ+ Social Anxiety Group

A third discussion group, ReChanneling: Recovery and Empowerment focuses on proactive neuroplasticity in the pursuit of goals and objectives.

Early this year, Palgrave MacMillan published Dr. Mullen’s “Broadening the Parameters of the Psychobiography. The Character Motivations of the ‘Ordinary’ Extraordinary’” in C.-E. Mayer, P. Fouche, R. van Niekerk, Psychobiographical Illustrations on Meaning and Identity in Sociocultural Contexts, Palgrave-MacMillan, 2022.  Available at Amazon and other book retailers.

You can access other publications in the Value of Psychobiography

Mullen’s ‘Enlisting Positive Psychologies to Challenge Love Within SAD’s Culture of Maladaptive Self-Beliefs’ in Springer’s Handbook of Love. Transcultural and Transdisciplinary Perspectives has been uploaded to ResearchGate and Academia.edu. Contact us to request a copy.

Matty Saven

The Science of Positive Personal Affirmations

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information. Alfonso Paredes, CEO, WeVoice.

To appreciate the importance of positive personal affirmations, we must understand the science of proactive neuroplasticity and the deliberate, repetitive input of neural information or DRNI.

Neuroplasticity is the scientific evidence of our brain’s constant adaptation to information. Without plasticity, our human brain would be incapable of learning, our body incapable of sustaining life. Research has firmly established that our neural network is a dynamic organism, constantly modifying and rebuilding to every new input of information. It is how we embrace new experiences, learn new information, and create new memories.

Scientists refer to the process of neuroplasticity as structural remodeling of the brain.

What is exciting is that we can dramatically accelerate the brain’s adaptability to new learning by deliberately compelling it to reconfigure and repattern its neural circuitry, proactively transforming our thoughts, behaviors, and perspectives, creating healthy new mindsets, skills, and abilities.

The importance of DRNI or the deliberate, repetitive, neural information of positive personal affirmations cannot be overstated: DRNI facilitates our capacity to compel proactive neuroplasticity – to personally manipulate and control our emotional wellbeing and quality of life.

The Trajectory of Neural Information

Our neural pathways are not fixed but dynamic and malleable. Every input of information causes a receptor neuron to fire, transmitting electrical energy, neuron to neuron and throughout the nervous system. Information comes in the form of sight, noises, experience, phenomena, the prick of a needle. Anything and everything that impacts us whether consciously or unconsciously. This information impacts a receptor cell which relays it to a sensory neuron. At the same time, this information is algorithmically coded into positive or negative electrical energy. The sensory neuron fires the electrical energy to a terminal or post-synaptic cell which then forwards that information throughout the neural network. More relay neurons develop, and circuits realign and strengthen causing a cellular chain reaction that engages millions of participating neurons.

Three Forms of Neuroplasticity

Reactive neuroplasticity is our brain’s natural unconscious adaption to information. Sight, noises, phenomena, and so on. Active neuroplasticity happens through cognitive pursuits such as learning, engaging in social interactions, teaching, aerobics, creating. Proactive neuroplasticity is the conscious and deliberate neural input of information. Proactive neuroplasticity is the most potent and effective means of neural restructuring because the calculated regimen of repetitive input compels our neural network to restructure. The deliberate repetition of positive personal affirmations is a very effective method of proactive neuroplasticity because the repeated input of positive information causes multiple receptor neurons to fire, dramatically accelerating and consolidating learning and unlearning. In the case of social anxiety disorder, it is the cognitive process of countering years of negative self-beliefs with positive or constructive information.

< Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series >

We drastically underestimate the significance and effectiveness of PPAs because we don’t understand the science behind them. PPAs help us focus on goals, challenge negative, self-defeating beliefs, and reprogram our subconscious minds. PPAs are brief, individually focused statements that we repeat to ourselves to describe what and who we want to be.

PPAs should be rational, reasonable, possible, unconditional, problem-focused, brief, and first-person present time. Rational because our objective is to subvert the irrationality of our negative self-beliefs.

Rational: The objective is to challenge the negative self-beliefs and image generated by dysfunction and/or life experiences.

Reasonable: Sensible; of sound judgment. The PPA I will publish my first novel is an unreasonable expectation if we choose to remain illiterate.

Possible: If goals are impossible, efforts are counter-productive and futile. I will win a Grammy is probably not a viable option for the tone-deaf.

Problem or Goal-focused: the path to an unknown destination will be inconclusive and meandering.

Unconditional: Independent of self-imposed restrictions.

First-person, present time: The past is immutable; the future indeterminate but projectable.

Brief: Direct and easily memorized.

Think of PPA’s as aspirations or self-fulfilling prophecies. Practicing positive personal affirmations is an extremely effective form of DRNI or the deliberate, repetitive input of neural information.

Neural Reciprocation

Our brain reciprocates our efforts in abundance because every viable input of information engages millions of neurons with their own energy transmission. 

Our brain is an organic reciprocator. It codes our information into negative or positive electrical energy. The energy of the information is reciprocated in abundance because a single neuron receptor will engage millions of neurons, each with its own energy transmissions, amplifying the energy on a massive scale. Multiple repetitions of positive information activate millions of neurons reciprocating positive energy in abundance. Positive energy in, positive energy reciprocated in abundance. 

Conversely, negative energy in, negative energy reciprocated in abundance. 

Hormonal Neurotransmissions

It is important to understand that our brain does not think; it provides the means for us to think along with certain intangibles like advanced consciousness. Our brain’s function is the maintenance of our heartbeat, nervous system, and blood flow. It tells us when to breathe, stimulates thirst, and controls our weight and digestion. 

Because our brain does not think, it is unable to distinguish healthy from toxic information, so the natural and constant neurotransmissions of pleasurable and motivational hormones happen whether we feed it self-destructive or constructive information.

That’s one of the reasons breaking a habit, keeping to a resolution, or achieving the desired goal is challenging and why positive informational input is crucial for recovery and self-transformation.

Of the nine hormones most impactful to our emotional wellbeing and quality of life, two have a direct bearing on our levels of stress and anxiety that interfere with recovery and our pursuit of goals and objectives.

Cortisol and adrenaline are fear and anxiety-provoking hormones. PPAs assist in decreasing their productivity. We can also alleviate the toxicity of these hormones through progressive muscle relaxation, controlled breathing, and other positive reinforcement approaches but PPAs are an effective means of alleviating the detrimental effects of cortisol and adrenaline.

The supportive hormones include GABA for relaxation, dopamine for pleasure and motivation, endorphins to elevate our mood, and serotonin for a sense of wellbeing. Acetylcholine supports our positivity, glutamate enhances our memory, and noradrenaline improves concentration. We want those rewards for positive information.

Theory posits that eleven repetitions of anything initiate the power of suggestion. Repeating a series of three PPAs 5 times, 3 times a day (which takes, roughly, two minutes) generates forty-five cellular chain reactions supporting the restructuring of our neural network.

Hebb’s Rule of Neuroplasticity

Hebb’s rule states: Neurons that fire together, wire together. In other words, the more neurons communicate with one another, the stronger the connection (Hebbian Learning). The stronger the connection, the more neural reciprocation and hormonal support. Our neural circuits are like muscles. The more repetitions, the more flexible and powerful they become. PPAs – the conscious repetition of information correlates to more robust learning and unlearning.

Diligently repeating positive personal affirmations equates to the deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information (DRNI) essential to proactive neuroplasticity. Proactive neuroplasticity through DRNI is the most potent and effective means of learning and unlearning. It increases activity in the self-processing systems of the cortex, which counteracts years of negative neural input from our automatic negative thoughts and behaviors (ANTs).

An increase in learning efficacy arises from the repeated and persistent stimulation of PPAs. This activates long-term potentiation, which increases the strength of the nerve impulses along the connecting pathways, generating more energy. BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factors are proteins that neurons need for survival. The deliberate repetitive neural input of information generates higher levels of BDNF, which is associated with improved cognitive functioning, mental health, and memory.

Constructing Our PPAs

The strongest and most effective PPAs are calculated and specific to our intention. Are we challenging the core and intermediate negative beliefs that condition our behavior and negatively impact our self-esteem and motivation? Are we focused on a specific challenge? Are we embracing our character strengths, attributes, and virtues that support recovery and transformation? What is our end goal – the personal milestone we seek to achieve? Intention and content determine the integrity of information and its correlation to the durability and learning efficacy of the neural response.

Intention: How are we expediting our objective? What is our constructive plan of attack? If our goal is to become better educated, what are we going to study? What sources of information do we utilize? How are we going to challenge misinformation? If we are challenging our ANTs, which character strength do we emphasize, and which deficits do we challenge? What is our plan to utilize these strengths or deficits? 

Content: What are the actual words that construct our neural information—the statement that addresses the context and intention of our goal? What is the best mode of delivery that will cause the receptor neuron to spark and engage the full range of positive neural responses? 

Clarity on our intention expressed by correct content determines the integrity of information and its correlation to the durability and learning efficacy of the neural response.

Neural restructuring does not happen overnight. Recovery and achieving personal goals and objectives take persistence, perseverance, and patience. Recovery-remission from social anxiety is a year or more in recovery utilizing appropriate tools and techniques. Substance abuse programs recommend nurturing a plant or tropical fish during the first year before contemplating a personal relationship. However, once we begin the process of PPAs, progress is exponential.

Recommendation:
Repeat your series of three PPAs 5 times.
Do this at least 3 times a day.
Modify monthly.

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT ESSENTIAL? ReChanneling is dedicated to researching methods to (1) alleviate symptoms of disorder and discomfort (neuroses) that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life, (2) pursue our personal goals and objectives—eliminating a bad habit, self-transformation. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Rechanneling Our Personal Disharmony

Everything is connected. It is the first and most foundational
law of the universe. The universal law of oneness:

Complementarity is a state or system of complementary components combined in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other. We are concerned here with the complementarity or simultaneous mutual interaction of our mind, body, spirit, and emotions. Every thought and behavior is supported by their collaboration. They work in concert.

Complementarity is further defined as the inherent cooperation of our human system components in maintaining physiological equilibrium. It is essential for sustainability-of-life, our condition, and our recovery and pursuit of goals and objectives. 

Our mind, body, spirit, and emotions collaborate in the holism of our personality. They are its gestalt – interconnected parts of the whole that cannot exist independently of the whole or the parts. Each component overlaps, influences, and is interdependent on the others, albeit one dominates until or unless superseded by another. (Spirit is defined by our mood, attitude, temperament.)

The importance of recognizing complementarity in our recovery and pursuit of goals and objectives cannot be undervalued. The simultaneous mutual interaction of our mind, body, spirit, and emotions allows us to isolate a component in disharmony and rechannel it to another. We already do this instinctively. We jog to calm troublesome thoughts. Physical pain is mitigated by mental distractions. Emotional distress diverges to a more analytical or spiritual state.

Rechanneling

Rechanneling is simply taking a healthier and more productive route. In complementarity, rechanneling is engaging one component over another. Mind to emotion, body to mind, emotion to spirit, etc. When one becomes intolerable and self-destructive, we rechannel to alleviate its toxicity. Proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral self-modification, and positive psychology rechannel negative information to healthy neural input.

Situation is the set of circumstances ̶ the facts, conditions, and incidents affecting us at a particular time in a particular place. For social anxiety disorder, the Situation is often an occasion or event. In our pursuit of goals, the Situation might be the circumstances that impede our objectives. 

Automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) are the conscious or subconscious anxiety-provoking thoughts that occur in anticipation of or reaction to Situations. ANTs are generated by our negative self-beliefs and expressed by our body, mind, spirit, and emotions They are unpleasant expressions of our fears and apprehensions. In social anxiety disorder, ANTs are irrational and self-destructive. In the pursuit of goals and objectives, they are self-defeating. 

Stressors are things that cause internal or external pressure. They are the negative self-beliefs that impact our social anxiety and pursuit of goals and objectives. Stressors generate our ANTsTriggers are situational stimuli (anticipated or actual things or occurrences that precipitate our ANTs). Situations generate our triggers. 

< Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series >

A comprehensive program of recovery or motivation addresses our stressors and ANTs through tools and techniques targeting the individual personality. But how can we alleviate them in the immediacy of a Situation, whether happenstance or anticipated? We rechannel the negatively impacted component to another. When ‘A’ is overwhelming and self-destructive, we diverge it to ‘B’, ‘C’, or ‘D’ to mitigate “A.” (Mind to emotion, body to mind, emotion to spirit, etc.)

Here are some examples of Situations and their relevant ANTs.

Networking at a crowded event, we recognize someone that could be beneficial to our career. Our ANT persuades us we will make a fool of ourselves and be subsequently rejected.

We are scheduled to make a brief presentation to our office managers, but our ANT is one of awkwardness and ineptitude. We are overwhelmed by a sense of imperfection and subordination.  

While waiting for a job interview, we begin to sweat, and our heart palpitates; we become nauseous

Distractions

How do we counter the emotions of the first example, the spiritual defeatism of the second, and the physical discomfort of the third? We rechannel them to another component utilizing prepared distractions. What is the difference between rechanneling and distractions? ReChanneling is the diverging waterway; distractions are the things that structure the ship. Rechanneling is the goal; distractions are the objectives – the methods utilized to achieve the goal.

This is complex and takes work. A comprehensive recovery or motivational program values the importance of challenging the self-destructive nature of stressors and ANTs by assisting the client in preparing individualized rechanneling tactics supported by distractions. 

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT ESSENTIAL? ReChanneling is dedicated to researching methods to (1) alleviate symptoms of disorder and discomfort (neuroses) that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life, (2) pursue our personal goals and objectives—eliminating a bad habit, self-transformation. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information.
” Alfonso Paredes, CEO, WeVoice.

Access All Videos

DEFINING PROACTIVE NEUROPLASTICITY. Research has established that our neural network is a dynamic organism, constantly adapting and rebuilding to each new input of information. Scientists refer to the process of neuroplasticity as structural remodeling of the brain. By deliberately enhancing the process, we can proactively transform our thoughts, behaviors, and perspectives, creating healthy new mindsets, skills, and abilities. All information notifies our neural pathways to restructure, generating a correlated change in behavior and perspective.

Reactive neuroplasticity is our brain’s natural adaptation to sensory information. Active neuroplasticity is neural information acquired through conscious activity, which includes all forms of deliberate learning. Proactive neuroplasticity is the conscious, intentional repatterning of our neural network utilizing tools and techniques that facilitate the process. The deliberate, repetitive, input of neural information empowers us to proactively transform our thoughts and behaviors, creating healthy new mindsets, skills, and abilities.

Proactive neuroplasticity is the process of deliberately and repetitively inputting positive information into our neural network to consolidate learning and unlearning. What is that information? How is it constructed? The objective is to ensure the information is of the highest quality to effect change. What are the best tools and techniques? What methodologies and psychological support systems are best suited to support proactive neuroplasticity – to help us unlearn the toxicity of negative self-beliefs, replacing them with healthy, positive ones.

We drastically underestimate the significance and effectiveness of PPAs because we do not understand the science behind them. PPAs are brief, individually focused statements that we repeat to ourselves to describe what and who we want to be. PPAs help us focus on goals, challenge negative, self-defeating beliefs, and reprogram our subconscious minds. Practicing positive personal affirmations is an extremely effective form of DRNI or the deliberate, repetitive input of neural information that supports proactive neuroplasticity.

In this video, we focus on the trajectory of our self-destructive thoughts that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. They originate with our negative core beliefs generated by our disorder which influence our intermediate beliefs from life experiences and form our ANTs or automatic negative thoughts that underscore our situational fears and anxieties.

UPCOMING: Resolving Our Negative Moral Emotions

7/1/2022

This series of videos will illustrate how information is algorithmically coded into positive or negative electrical energy creating the activity that modifies our neural network. How the deliberate, repetitive neural input of information, or DRNI, strengthens and solidifies the connections between neurons, dramatically accelerating and consolidating learning through synaptic neurotransmission. We will learn how the context, intention, and content of our information correlate to its effectiveness and durability.

The videos will outline how the science of neuroplasticity evolved, differentiating reactive and active from proactive neural input. They will diagram the trajectory of neural information and how it impacts the various lobes of the human brain responsible for cognitive learning. How the neural input of information, coded into electrical energy, causes a receptive neuron to fire-that-energy onto a sensory neuron which forwards the information to millions upon millions of participating neurons. They will show how this cellular chain reaction reciprocates that initial electrical energy in abundance due to the amplified neural response. Positive information–in, positive energy multiplied millions of times, positive energy reciprocated in abundance. Each neural input of information impacts millions of neurons as they restructure our neural network to a form conducive to a positive self-image. 

Subsequently, the natural hormonal neurotransmissions reward our activity with GABA for relaxation, dopamine for pleasure, endorphins for euphoria, serotonin for a sense of wellbeing as well as hormones that support our motivation, enhance our memory, and improve concentration. However, since our brain doesn’t distinguish healthy from toxic information, the neurotransmission of pleasurable and motivational hormones happens whether we feed it self-destructive or constructive information. That’s one of the reasons breaking a habit, keeping to a resolution, or achieving a desired goal is challenging and why positive informational input is crucial for recovery and self-transformation.

Contemporary wisdom disputes the effectiveness of one-size-fits-all approaches to behavioral modification, so these videos will show how the integration of science and east-west psychologies is best suited to positive modification of our thoughts and behaviors. Science gives us proactive neuroplasticity; cognitive-behavioral modification and positive psychology’s optimal functioning are western approaches; and eastern practices give us Abhidharma psychology and the overarching truths of ethical behavior. 

Our neural system has been conditioned by our core and intermediate beliefs. Dysfunction and experience negatively impact these beliefs, generating automatic negative thoughts called ANTs – that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. These individuated perspectives illustrate the need for personality-targeting to support the diversity of human thought and experience. 

The mechanics of Hebbian Learning will be defined—how the repeated and persistent proactive input of information correlates to more robust and more effective learning. Hebb’s rule states the more repetitions, the quicker and more robust the connections. Harmful behaviors are unlearned, and new ones adopted through deliberate and calculated activity. Negative core and intermediate beliefs are challenged and replaced by healthy and life-affirming ones. Videos will demonstrate how deliberate, repetitive, neural information not only alleviates the symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort but empowers us, generating the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to achieve our goals and objectives.

The process of proactive neuroplasticity is theoretically simple but challenging, due to the commitment and endurance required for the long-term, repetitive process. We don’t put advance to Wimbledon without decades of practice with racket and balls; philharmonics cater to pianists who have spent years at the keyboard. DRNI requires a calculated regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural information that is not only tedious but also fails to deliver immediate tangible results, causing us to readily concede defeat and abandon hope in this era of instant gratification. 

Fortunately, the universal law of compensation anticipates this. The positive impact of proactive neuroplasticity is exponential due to the abundant reciprocation of positive energy and the neurotransmission of hormones that generate motivation, persistence, and perseverance. Proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI dramatically mitigates symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort and advances the pursuit of goals and objectives.  

The next video in this series will explain the crucial difference between active, reactive, and proactive neuroplasticity. It will discuss the origins of neuroplasticity and how scientists are now able to glance into the inner workings of our brain as it processes information – illustrating the dynamic and constant adaptability of our neural network. So, please subscribe to this series below, and join us as we explore this paradigmatic approach to behavioral self-modification.

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT ESSENTIAL?  ReChanneling is dedicated to researching methods to (1) alleviate symptoms of dysfunction (disorder) and discomfort (neurosis) that impact an individual’s emotional wellbeing and quality of life, (2) pursue our personal goals and objectives—eliminating a bad habit, self-transformation. Its paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Resolving Our Negative Moral Emotions

We retain an abundance of destructive information, formed by our core and intermediate beliefs ― information seemingly impervious to uprooting due to its resistant or repressive nature. A lot of this negative information is from the unresolved moral emotions of shame and guilt. These often lead to internal or external blaming, determined by who we choose to be accountable. While each is a natural response to things that negatively impact us, when left untreated, they encumber our neural network with negative energy and obstruct the process of recovery. 

Whether or not we chose to be accountable for our actions determines how we attribute blame. If we are unwilling or unable to accept responsibility, we resort to external blaming. Internal blaming is taking responsibility for things over which we either have no control or for which we have no accountability. Both are irrational and cognitively distorted attributions.

Recovery from disorders like social anxiety and depression requires restructuring our neural network – feeding it positive stimuli to counter the years of toxicity. Unresolved shame and guilt impede the flow of positive neural input unless and until we evict the bad tenants.

CONTACT US

There are three basic types of transgressions: Those inflicted on us by another, those we inflict on another, and those we inflict on ourselves. By not resolving these conflicts, we remain both victim and abuser. We are victimized by holding onto the transgression against us. We are abusers when we transgress. Our shame for either act victimizes us. Self-transgression and blaming are both abuse and victimization, neither conducive to recovery. 

There are volumes of psychological treatises on guiltshame, and blaming. The following brief overviews focus on their impact on social anxiety, depression, and comorbidities. 

Shame

Shame is the stomach-churning feeling of humiliation and distress that comes from the sense of being or doing a dishonorable, ridiculous, or immodest thing; the feeling that we are unbefitting and undesirable. A pioneer in shame study, psychologist Gershen Kaufman described the emotion as “sudden unexpected exposure coupled with blinding inner scrutiny.” Shame is painful, incapacitating, and inescapable, embracing every aspect of the human experience. It negatively impacts our psychological and physiological health, eroding our self-image and our relationships with others. We feel powerless, acutely diminished, and worthless. We want to become invisible. Failing that, we often become hostile and aggressive. 

Guilt

Shame says I am a mistake; Guilt says I made a mistake

Guilt is a psychological term for a self-conscious emotion that condemns the self while conscious of being evaluated by another person(s). Guilt is the painful awareness of having done something wrong, coupled with the innate need to correct or amend. The moral emotion of guilt causes us to self-deprecate and invites condemnation from those who witness our actions.

We feel guilt for harming another, and for being the type of person who would cause harm. We feel guilt for harming ourselves. We guilt ourselves for things over which we have no control.

Unless resolved, we carry the emotional baggage of guilt and shame throughout our lives, adding to the negative self-beliefs generated by our disorder(s). It is unhealthy and non-conducive to recovery and self-transformation. Retaining this toxicity of adds to our anxiety and depression, and can compel behavioral obsessiveness, avoidance, and other personality shortfalls that impact our self-esteem. When we hold onto these feelings, we construct our neural network with anger, hurt, and resentment. 

Symptomatically, we feel shame and guilt for our self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. These negative moral emotions are irrational. Social anxiety, like most disorders, is the result of childhood disturbance that interferes with our optimal physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. The disturbance can be real or imagined, intentional or accidental. Social anxiety sense this vulnerability and onsets in adolescence. Cumulative evidence that a toxic childhood is a primary causal factor in lifetime emotional instability has been well-established.

Both shame and guilt have their usefulness. They can be revealing, cathartic, and motivational, encouraging emotional and spiritual growth, and broadening self-awareness. That may mitigate their emotional impact, but it does not address their toxic impact on our neural network if left unresolved. They are both self-focused but highly socially relevant, supporting important interpersonal functions by, for example, encouraging adjusting or repairing valuable relationships and discouraging acts that could damage them. 

Forgiving is the only rational response. The irrational response is blaming. When we want to escape from the toxicity of our negative moral emotions, rather than rationally challenging them, we resort to blaming. 

Blaming

Blaming is the act of censuring, holding responsible, or making negative statements about ourselves, another, or a group. We condemn their action(s) as wrong, and socially or morally irresponsible. Holding ourselves or others accountable for harmful behavior is a justifiable response. Holding onto that anger is self-destructive. Cognitively distorted blaming falls under one of two categories. External blaming involves holding others accountable for our actions, rather than accepting responsibility for their consequences.  Internal blaming is taking responsibility for things over which we either have no control or for which we have no accountability. We perceive everything as our fault and feel shame and guilt when things go wrong. 

Self-blaming is a toxic form of emotional self-abuse prevalent in social anxiety disorder. We irrationally blame ourselves for our behaviors and our perceived character deficits caused by our disorder. SAD thrives on our self-denigration, self-contempt, and other hyphenated forms of self-abuse. We blame ourselves when we avoid interacting with someone out of our fear of rejection. We have something noteworthy to share in class but are afraid to raise our hands. We want to join a conversation but are afraid our nerves will expose us. Then, adding insult to injury, we beat ourselves up because our symptoms get the better of us causing us to self-characterize as stupid, incompetent, or unattractive. SAD negatively impacts our core sense of self and our ability to behave in socially constructive ways. 

Blaming becomes irrational when left unresolved; it is irrational to self-harm. The resolution is forgiveness. We cannot hope to function optimally without absolving both ourselves and others whose behaviors contributed to our negative thoughts and behavior. This willingness and ability to forgive is a necessary component of the transformative act and indispensable to recovery. By withholding forgiveness, we deny ourselves the ability to function optimally.

Our resentment and hatred are divisive to our emotional wellbeing and disharmonious to our true nature. Inner harmony is impossible unless we heal the anger within ourselves. The inability or unwillingness to forgive impedes the flow of positive thought and action necessary for recovery. Forgiving is the only way we expel the hostility. Of unresolved and irrational guilt, shame, and blame., Forgiveness is the rational response; social anxiety disorder is the epitome of irrationality. 

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the goal, forgiving the process. This forgiving, which underscores the attributes of courage, compassion, and self-reliance, is indispensable to the revival of our self-worth. 

Forgiving those who have harmed us. It is important to recognize that forgiving is not forgetting or condoning. Our noble self forgives; our pragmatic self remembers. The actions of another may seem indefensible, but forgiving them is for our wellbeing, not theirs. We forgive to promote change within ourselves and, as forgivers, we reap the rewards. 

Forgiving ourselves for harming another is accepting and releasing the guilt and shame for our actions. It’s important to recognize that transgression against another is a transgression against ourselves. Our shame and guilt can only be resolved by accepting responsibility, making direct or substitutional amends, and forgiving ourselves. The act of self-forgiveness accepts and embraces our imperfections and evidences our humanness. 

Forgiving ourselves for self-harm. Transgression against the self is self-sabotage. It belittles, undervalues, and condemns us. Self-pity, self-contempt, and other hyphenated forms of self-abuse devalue our inherent character strengths and virtues. Forgiving ourselves is challenging because our self-harm is generated by our deficit of self-esteem.

Why is it difficult to forgive?

Our anger and resentment physiologically sustain us. We have acclimated to the neurotransmissions of the hormones that reward the negativity of our unresolved moral emotions. We label our anger, righteous indignation. We persuade ourselves those who have harmed us are devastated by our hostility notwithstanding they are (1) unaware they injured us, (2) have forgotten, or (3) take no responsibility. The only person affected is us, the injured party. 

The benefits of forgiveness

Forgiving begins when we conclude that the disconnectedness, brought on by our unwillingness to confront our hostility, becomes so fundamentally discomforting that resolution is essential for emotional survival.

The act of forgiving relieves us of all that has happened before and offers a future that is unencumbered by the past, giving us room for new possibilities. The act of forgiving resolves animus and restores us to equal footing by eliminating the other’s influence. Forgiving ourselves for allowing our perception of victimization stops us from paying that victimization forward. 

In a group session, Jimmy L. claimed he couldn’t forgive his parents, their injustice was so severe. “If you knew what they’d done to me you wouldn’t ask me to forgive them.” He was unwilling to relinquish his parents’ negative hold on his psyche, much like a cancer victim refusing chemotherapy. He was mindful of the physiological ramifications of holding onto his anger and resentment, but his resistance will remain an obstacle to recovery until he is willing to forgive and let go.

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT ESSENTIAL? ReChanneling is dedicated to researching methods to (1) alleviate symptoms of disorder and discomfort (neuroses) that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life, (2) pursue our personal goals and objectives—eliminating a bad habit, self-transformation. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Constructing Our Neural Information

DRNI—the deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information expedites proactive neuroplasticityThe most constructive information is calculated and specific to our intention. Are we challenging the core and intermediate negative beliefs that condition our behavior and motivation? Are we focused on a specific challenge? Are we embracing our character strengths and virtues that support recovery and transformation? What is our end goal – the personal milestone we seek to achieve? Intention and content determine the integrity of information and its correlation to the durability and learning efficacy of the neural response.

CONTACT US

Intention: How are we expediting our objective? What is our constructive plan of attack? If our goal is to become better educated, what are we going to study, and what sources of information do we utilize? How are we going to challenge misinformation? If we are challenging our ANTs, which character strength do we emphasize, and which deficits do we challenge?

Content: What are the actual words that construct our neural information—the statement that addresses the intention of our goal? What is the best mode of delivery that will cause the receptor neuron to spark and engage the full range of positive neural responses? 

Examples:

Intention: Emphasize our assets; challenge our deficits. ContentI am trustworthyI am regaining my confidence.

Intention. To stop smoking. Content: I have the disciplineI will stop smoking

Let us focus on one of the most misunderstood and underappreciated techniques utilized for the intention-driven content of the information at the core of DRNI. 

Positive Personal Affirmations (PPAs)

We underestimate the significance and effectiveness of positive personal affirmations because we do not comprehend or value the science behind them. PPAs are an astoundingly effective means of positive self-modification. PPAs are sensible reflections of our aspirations—brief, subjective statements that challenge our defeatist self-beliefs by emphasizing our character strengths, abilities, and accomplishments. Productive PPAs are rational, reasonable, possible, unconditional, goal-focused, brief, and first-person present time. 

Rational: Our objective is to subvert the irrationality of our negative self-beliefs. It is illogical to cause ourselves harm. Irrationality is self-destructive because it subverts the truth.

Reasonable: Of sound judgment; sensible. I will publish my first novel is an unreasonable expectation if we choose to remain illiterate.

Possible: If our goals are impossible, our efforts are counter-productive and futile. I will win a Grammy is not a viable option for the tone-deaf.

Unconditional: Placing limitations on our commitment by using words like maybe, might, and perhaps is our unconscious avoidance of accountability. Saying I might do something essentially means we may or may not do something depending upon our mood or disposition. How comfortable are we when someone says, I might consider paying you for your work?

Goal-focused: If we do not know our destination, our path will be unfocused and meandering.

First-person, present time: The past is immutable, the future indeterminate. Our actions can only happen in the present. 

Brevity: Direct and easily memorized.

Diligently repeating positive personal affirmations accelerates and consolidates learning and unlearning. It increases activity in the self-processing systems of the cortex, which counteracts years of negative neural input. It decreases the fear and anxiety hormones of cortisol and adrenaline while transmitting pleasurable chemicals and hormones that generate the incentive to endure the tedious, repetitive input of information.  

The reciprocating energy from repetitive PPAs is abundant due to the amplified neural response. Positive energy in, positive energy multiplied millions of times, positive energy reciprocated in abundance. Each neural input of information can impact millions of neurons as they restructure our neural network to a form conducive to a positive self-image. 

Many psychologists recommend delivering PPAs in front of a mirror. Our reflection is a distraction, however, which devalues the integrity of the process. We can deliver our PPAs while showering, cooking, or walking. Inputting our PPAs before sleep is an excellent option.

Examples of Positive Personal Affirmations:

  • I am successful
  • I am confident
  • I deserve to be loved
  • I am powerful
  • I am a good person
  • I am motivated
  • I am unique
  • All I need is within me
  • I am strong
  • I am focused and determined
  • I am not defined by my past
  • I am in charge of my life
  • I have the power to change
  • I determine my future

Affirmative Visualization

There are multiple psychological approaches to Visualization. Covert Conditioning focuses on eliminating a bad habit by imaginary repetition of the behavior, e.g., smoking or shoplifting. Covert Sensitization and Covert Extinction encourage repeated confrontation of our fears and apprehensions. In Covert Modeling, we choose a positive role model to visually emulate (like what we might incorporate into our Persona).

Both PPAs and visualization meet the Laws of Learning criteria that describe what conditions must be present for learning (or unlearning) to occur.

The brain is in a constant mode of learning; it never stops realigning to information. It forms a million new connections for each input. Information includes experience, muscle movement, a decision, a memory, emotion, reaction, noise, tactile impressions, a twitch. With each input, connections strengthen and weaken, neurons atrophy/others are born, learning replaces unlearning, energy dissipates and expands, and functions shift from one region to another. Proactively stimulating our brain with deliberate, repetitive neural information via PPAs and Affirmative Visualization accelerates and consolidates learning (and unlearning), producing a correlated change in thought, behavior, and perspective. These changes become habitual and spontaneous over time.  

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Our brain creates the same neural restructuring when we visualize doing something or when we verbalize it; we stimulate the same regions of the brain. Just as our neural network does not distinguish between rational and toxic information, it also does not distinguish whether we are physically experiencing something or imagining it. 

The thalamus is the small structure within the brain located just above the brain stem between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain and has extensive nerve connections to both. All information passes through the thalamus and is relayed to other parts of the brain. By visualizing an idea or performance repeatedly for an extended period, we increase activity in the thalamus and our brain begins to respond as though the idea was a real object or actually happening.

The thalamus makes no distinction between inner and outer realities. It does not distinguish whether we are imagining something or experiencing it. Thus, any idea, if contemplated long enough, will take on a semblance of reality. If we visualize a possible solution to a problem, the problem is more easily resolved because it specifically activates cognitive circuits involved with working memory.

We can visualize mitigating our anxiety and performing better, or we can envision being a more empathetic person. In either case, our neural repatterning will help us achieve those goals. The more we visualize with a clear intent the more focused we become and the higher the probability of achieving our goal. We activate our dopaminergic-reward system, decreasing the anxiety and fear-provoking hormones while transmitting those that make learning more accessible. In addition, when we visualize, our brain generates alpha waves which, neuroscientists have discovered, also reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

Mindfulness (comprehension and acceptance)

Accepting scientific validity to the enormous benefits of PPAs makes it easier to endure the tedious, calculated regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural information. The process is simple in theory but challenging due to the commitment and endurance required for the long-term process. We do not put on tennis shorts and advance to Wimbledon without decades of practice with racket and balls; philharmonics cater to pianists who have spent time at the keyboard. We can possess all the required tools, but they need to come out of the shed. Not only is DRNI repetitious and tedious, but it also fails to deliver immediate tangible results, causing us to readily concede defeat and abandon hope in this era of instant gratification. PPAs are one of the most effective means of replacing or overcoming the years of negative self-beliefs expressed in our ANTs. They dramatically accelerate and consolidate learning (and unlearning). If the science is not clear or we doubt the evidence, we must resolve these concerns; proactive neuroplasticity is the foundation of our recovery and our pursuit of goals and objectives. 

Recommendation. Create three viable (rational, reasonable, possible, unconditional, goal-focused, brief, and first-person present time). Repeat them aloud five times, a minimum of three times daily (or any variation that achieves the same results). This process consumes less than three minutes of our time; the positive impact on our neural network is immeasurable. Visualize sparking the fuse that propels the firework’s shell into the night sky where it explodes in a dazzling and powerful array of colors and lights, enhanced by the whistles, bangs, and staccato pops of celebration. Thus our neural receptor sparks the electrical transmission through its neural pathway, engaging millions upon millions of participating neurons in a positive cellular chain reaction.

The Power of the Word

We all carry an abundance of justifiable reasons for our anxiety to commit, among them physiological aversion, negative self-image, and the prejudice of our peers. We express this reticence in our automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). There are categories of words that impede recovery and the pursuit of goals and objectives. Pressure, conditional, and negative absolute words are unconscious evidence of our resistance to commitment and accountability.

Pressure words like should and would equivocate our commitment. I should start my diet essentially means maybe I will and maybe I won’t. It allows us to change our minds, procrastinate, and fail. It unbinds us to action. We are either on a diet or will be on a diet. The pressure comes from the guilt of having done nothing (I should’ve done that). 

I shouldn’t drink at the office party. I will not drink at the office party. 

Negative Absolute Words. The adverse impact of won’t, can’t, and never is obvious. Our objective in recovery or self-development is to replace our ingrained ANTs with positive, affirming, productive ones. Hate is an extremely destructive sentiment. (I hate doing the dishes.) Do we really, or do we just dislike doing the dishes? Hate is an emotion; dislike is a feeling. Feelings quickly dissipate while emotions metastasize within us.

I won’t enjoy that lecture. I will learn from that lecture. (Which one offers the probability we will attend?)

Conditional words such as possibly, maybe, might add ambiguity to our commitment. We either did it, are doing it, or will do it. Qualifying or conditional words are pre-justifications for our failures. (I might have won if only … )

I might begin my diet tomorrow. I will start my diet tomorrow.

Pressure Words

  • should, should’ve
  • would, would’ve
  • must
  • have to, got to
  • ought to

Negative Absolutes

  • won’t
  • can’t
  • never
  • impossible
  • every time

Conditional Words

  • possiby
  • maybe
  • could, might
  • perhaps
  • sometime

These words are self-fulfilling prophecies of our inaction. It is important to become mindful of our emotional dependency on these self-destructive words and eliminate them from our thoughts and vocabulary. 

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT ESSENTIAL? ReChanneling is dedicated to researching methods to (1) alleviate symptoms of disorder and discomfort (neuroses) that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life, (2) pursue our personal goals and objectives—eliminating bad habits; self-transformation. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Challenging Our Self-Destructive Thoughts

To fully comprehend the most effective means of challenging our self-destructive thoughts we need to set a couple of definitions. 

Situation is the set of circumstances ̶ the facts, conditions, and incidents affecting us at a particular time in a particular place. For social anxiety disorder, Situations are the places that generate discomforting anxiety or stress such that it impacts our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. Examples range from restaurants and the classroom to job interviews and social events.

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)

ANTs are the involuntary, anxiety-provoking emotions or images that occur in anticipation of or reaction to the Situation. They are unpleasant expressions of our fears and apprehensions – manifestations of our irrational self-beliefs about who we are and how we relate to others, the world, and the future. (I am incompetent; No one will talk to me; I’ll say or do something stupid; I’ll be rejected.)They are our predetermined assumptions of what will happen in a Situation. 

ANTs are the expressions of our dysfunctional assumptions and distorted beliefs about a Situation that we accept as true. For example, the Situational automatic negative thought ( I am ugly and fat and no one will like me ) might result from the core belief ( I am undesirable ), and intermediate belief ( I am unattractive ). This negative self-appraisal can elicit an endless feedback loop of hopelessness, worthlessness, and undesirability, leading to substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. 

ANTs are cognitively distorted and supported by maladaptive behaviors. 

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Cognitive distortions are exaggerated or irrational thought patterns involved in the onset or perpetuation of anxiety and depression. They are thoughts that cause us to perceive reality inaccurately. We all engage in cognitive distortions and are usually unaware of doing so. Cognitive distortions reinforce or justify our negative thinking and behaviors. We convince ourselves these false and inaccurate thoughts and reactions are the truth of any situation. 

Cognitive distortions define the ANT. I am ugly and fat and no one will like me is a distorted and irrational statement. It is Jumping to Conclusionsassuming that we know what another person is feeling and thinking, and why they act the way they do. There is also Emotional Reasoning, Labeling/Mislabeling, and Personalization distorting the statement. Cognitive distortions tend to blend and overlap much like the symptoms and characteristics of most dysfunctions. 

Maladaptive behaviors mean we adapt to Situations badly or wrongly. In psychology, experts present two forms of behavior – adaptive and maladaptive. Adaptive behavior is behavior that is positive and functional. Maladaptive behaviors are dysfunctional behaviors uniquely characteristic of social anxiety disorder. They distort our perception and we ‘adapt’ negatively (maladapt) to a positive Situation. To analogize, if the room is sunny and welcoming, SAD tells us it is dark and unapproving. 

More About ANTs

Prevalent in social anxiety disorder, ANTs are irrational, perceptual, and self-destructive. To challenge them, we need to interrogate them to understand their structure. Why do we have these self-destructive thoughts and where did they come from? Without a clear inventory of the causes and consequences of our negative thoughts and behaviors, we do not have a chance of defeating them.

They originate with our Core Beliefs.

Core Beliefs

Core beliefs are determined by our childhood physiology, heredity, environment, information input, experience, learning, and relationships.

Negative core beliefs are generated by any childhood disturbance that interferes with our optimal physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. Cumulative evidence that a toxic childhood is a primary causal factor in lifetime emotional instability has been well-established. Any number of things can generate a negative core belief. Our parents are controlling or do not provide emotional validation. We are subjected to bullying or a broken home. The disturbance can be real or imagined, intentional or accidental, A toddler whose quality time with a parent is interrupted by a phone call can feel a sense of abandonment, which can generate core beliefs of unworthiness or insignificance. This is important when it comes to attributing blame or accountability for our social anxiety disorder because of the possibility no one is responsible; certainly not the child. 

Social anxiety disorder senses our vulnerability and onsets at adolescence. A combination of genetic and environmental factors drive social anxiety disorder. Researchers recently discovered a specific serotonin transporter gene called “SLC6A4” that is strongly correlated with susceptibility to the disorder, but we are still not clear why some of us are impacted and not others. 

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Core beliefs remain as our belief system throughout life. They mold the unquestioned underlying themes that govern our perceptions. Even if a core belief is irrational or inaccurate, it still defines how we see the world. When we decline to question our core beliefs, we act upon them as though they are real and true.

Core beliefs are more rigid and exclusive in individuals with social anxiety because we tend to store information consistent with negative beliefs and ignore evidence that contradicts them. Social anxiety disorder generates a cognitive bias—a subconscious error in thinking that leads us to misinterpret information, impacting the rationality and accuracy of our perspectives and decisions. 

Negative core beliefs fall within two categories: self-oriented (I am unlovable, I am stupid) and other-oriented (You are unlovable, you are stupid). Individuals with self-oriented negative core beliefs view themselves in one of four ways: 

  • Helpless (I am weak, I am incompetent)
  • Hopeless (nothing can be done about it)
  • Unlovable (no one will Ike me)
  • Worthless (I don’t deserve to be happy).

These beliefs can lead to fears of intimacy and commitment, an inability to trust, debilitating anxiety, codependence, aggression, feelings of insecurity, isolation, a lack of control over life, and a resistance to new experiences.

People with other-oriented negative core beliefs view people as demeaning, dismissive, malicious, and manipulative. We tend to blame others for our condition, avoiding personal accountability (I can’t trust anyone). This generates serious anxiety towards Situations we perceive as potentially dangerous, causing us to avoid them in anticipation of harm.

So, we accumulate negative core beliefs due to childhood disturbance and other early-life experiences. They heavily influence our intermediate beliefs which are developing our adolescence. These beliefs are negatively aggravated by the onset of social anxiety disorder, which generates our negative self-beliefs and image, which generate our fears and anxieties of a Situation, which generate our automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). A corresponding intermediate confirmation of the core belief,  I am undesirable might be,  I am unattractive and fat. A corresponding intermediate resolution might be, If I diet and have my nose fixed, I will be desirable

Intermediate Beliefs

Intermediate beliefs are the go-between our core beliefs and our automatic negative thoughts and image. Despite similar core beliefs, we have different intermediate beliefs because they are developed by our social, cultural, and environmental experiences – the same things that make up our personality.

Intermediate beliefs establish our attitudes, rules, and assumptions. Attitude refers to our emotions, beliefs, and behaviors. Rules are the principles or regulations that influence our behaviors. Our assumptions are what we believe to be true or real which, in social anxiety disorder, are irrational and cognitively distorted. Dysfunctional assumptions caused by our negative intermediate beliefs, and consequential to our negative core beliefs, generate our ANTs (automatic negative thoughts). Even when we know our fears and apprehensions are irrational, their emotional impact is so great, that our dysfunctional assumptions run roughshod over any healthy, rational response. 

How do we challenge our self-destructive thoughts?

Challenging and moderating our self-destructive thoughts is a process of revelation, evaluation, and implementation. ReChanneling has established Nine Steps to Moderate our Fear(s) of a Situation:

  1. Identify the Feared Situation
  2. Identify the Associated Fear(s)
  3. Unmask the Corresponding ANT(s)
  4. Examine and Analyze Our Fear(s) and Corresponding ANT(s)
  5. Generate Rational Responses
  6. Reconstruct Our Thought Patterns
  7. Create a Plan to Challenge Our Feared Situation(s).
  8. Practice the Plan in Non-Threatening Simulated Situations (including Affirmative Visualization)
  9. Expose Ourselves to the Feared Situation(s)

Identify the Feared Situation(s). Where are we when we feel anxious or fearful and what activities are involved (what are we thinking, what might we be doing)? Who and what do we avoid because of these insecure feelings? 

Identify the Associated Fear(s). One way to identify our anxiety is to ask ourselves the following: What is problematic for me in the Situation? How do I feel (physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually)? What is my specific concern or worry? What is the worst thing that could happen to me? What do I imagine might happen to me?

Unmask the Corresponding ANT(s). Determine how we express our anxiety? What are our involuntary emotional expressions or images?

Examine and Analyze Our Fear(s) and Corresponding ANT(s). Examine and analyze the origins and trajectory of self-beliefs underlying our fears and anxieties while rationally addressing their veracity.

Generate Rational Responses. Recognize and accept the cognitive distortions and irrationality of our fears and ANTs and create rational responses.

Reconstruct Our Thought Patterns. Through proactive neuroplasticity and supporting psychological approaches, restructure our neural network by changing our thought patterns.

Create a Plan to Challenge Our Feared Situation(s), Utilizing the appropriate tools and techniques to challenge our fears and ANTs, develop a comprehensive plan to challenge the feared Situation.

Practice the Plan in Non-Threatening Simulated Situations. Strengthen our rational responses by repeatedly implementing the Plan in practiced exercises including role-play and other workshop interactivities. Practice Affirmative Visualization.

Expose Ourselves to the Feared Situation. This should only transpire after a suitable period of graded exposure to facilitate the reconstruction of our neural network and a familiarity with the prescribed tools and techniques.

Converting ANTs to ARTs 

The process of proactive neuroplasticity is theoretically simple but challenging, due to the commitment and endurance required for the long-term, repetitive process. We do not put on tennis shorts and advance to Wimbledon without decades of practice with racket and balls; philharmonics cater to pianists who have spent years at the keyboard. Neural restructuring requires a calculated regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural information that is not only tedious but also fails to deliver immediate tangible results, causing us to readily concede defeat and abandon hope in this era of instant gratification. However, once we initiate the process begin the process utilizing the tools and techniques provided by a comprehensive recovery program, progress is exponential.

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT ESSENTIAL? ReChanneling is dedicated to researching methods to (1) alleviate symptoms of disorder and discomfort (neuroses) that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life, (2) pursue our personal goals and objectives—eliminating a bad habit, self-transformation. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.