Emotional Resilience Blog from The Fear Course

The latest research, realisations and thinking in the world of emotional resilience, anxiety and fear reduction from around the world.

Dealing with anxiety - important new research

Dealing with anxiety - important new research

It has been known for a long time that people suffering from anxiety process information differently compared to people who don't have anxiety. People who suffer from anxiety are much more likely to appraise a situation, even a neutral situation as a threat than people without an anxiety disorder. In effect people with anxiety disorders are invariably hyper-sensitive to situations, and are frequently searching for threat or something to worry about compared to those who don't suffer from anxiety.

This hyper sensitivity is associated with significantly increased activity in a couple of areas of the brain, particularly the older limbic parts in the centre of the brain and the prefrontal cortex, just behind our forehead. Additionally anxiety sufferers display higher and different heart rate functioning when they perceive a threat.

This new study by colleagues at my own university, the University of Oxford, and the University of Bristol, University College London (UCL) and Universitaire Vaudois in  Switzerland carried out a ground breaking series of experiments looking at the responses of a group of anxiety sufferers compared to an equal umber of non-sufferers.

What they did was present everyone (both anxiety and non-anxiety sufferer) with a set of images whilst they were in an fMRI scanner and whilst they were also monitoring their heart response.

They got the subjects to do two tasks whilst their brain activity and heart responses were being monitored and they were being presented with the images.

The first task was to do nothing but watch the images. A number of the images were considered to be threat images. In this condition they found what they expected. The anxiety sufferers responded with anxiety to each of the threat images faster and with a greater response than the non anxiety sufferers. The anxiety sufferers also frequently reacted to the non-threat images. No surprise there.

They then taught all of the people in the experiment an emotion regulation technique based on a couple of techniques we use on the Fear Breakthrough Course. These techniques, known as reappraisal techniques basically get people to see things differently.

This time, when anxiety sufferers used the emotion regulation techniques they saw the effect immediately both in the brain and with their heart responses. Not only did the techniques reduce the hyper-activity within the brain, it also had an immediate effect of reducing the heart response to the threat. What surprised the researchers was that in many cases the techniques actually reversed the effects of the anxiety induced hyper-activity.

In effect what this means is that the techniques we use not only reduce the level of anxiety at the time but have the power to reverse the effects of the anxiety and stop it happening altogether.

Reference

A Reinecke et al (2015) Effective emotion regulation strategies improve fMRI and ECG markers of psychopathology in panic disorder: implications for psychological treatment action. Translational Psychiatry (2015) 5, e673; doi:10.1038/tp.2015.160

 

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Is the music you listen to increasing your anxiety?

Is the music you listen to increasing your anxiety?

A new study from scientists in Finland and Denmark looking at the effects of music on emotional states like anxiety, neuroticism and depression has found that a significant number of us use music (whether consciously or unconsciously) to regulate or deal with our emotions. Most people prefer happy upbeat music which has been shown in past experiments to help elevate our mood. Indeed we have been using music in one of our techniques for dealing with anxiety triggers for years with stunning success.


This study however shows that people who habitually listen to sad, ‘moody' or aggressive music are significantly more likely to suffer from anxiety and neuroticism than those that don’t.


Importantly the researchers also discovered during fMRI studies that such music suppresses part of the brain that helps us regulate or change our emotions. This effect was particularly prevalent in men.


This means that sad and aggressive music not only induces anxiety but can also prevent us from getting out of anxious and down moods.

Reference

Carlson E, Saarikallio S., Toiviainen P., Bogert B., Kliuchko M., and Brattico E. (2015) Maladaptive and adaptive emotion regulation through music: a behavioral and neuroimaging study of males and females. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 9:466. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00466

 

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Can you catch anxiety from your family?

Can you catch anxiety from your family?

Can you catch anxiety from your family?

Have your parents contributed to your anxiety and fear without even knowing about it?

If you can catch anxiety from your parents and it is genetic - can you do anything about it or are you just stuck with it?

FREE Live Online Seminar

Wednesday 1st October 2014

19.00 (7pm) UK - 20.00 (8pm) CET - 14.00 (2pm) EDT - 11.00 (11am) PDT - 04.00 (4am) AEST

On the 1st October 2014 I will be holding a free live online seminar looking at what the latest research, much of it only published this year, has to tell us about whether or not anxiety is hereditary and what you can do about it.

There are only 100 places available worldwide on this free, live 'no jargon' seminar. Click Here to Book Your Place

Book your free place now

 

 

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Is Anxiety Hereditary?

Is Anxiety Hereditary?

Is Anxiety Hereditary?

FREE Live Online Seminar

Wednesday 1st October 2014

19.00 (7pm) UK - 20.00 (8pm) CET - 14.00 (2pm) EDT - 11.00 (11am) PDT - 04.00 (4am) AEST

 

On the 1st October 2014 I will be holding a free live online seminar looking at what the latest research, much of it only published this year, has to tell us about whether or not anxiety is hereditary.

There are only 200 places available worldwide on this free, live 'no jargon' seminar. Book your place now before it fills up.

 

Is Anxiety Hereditary - Free Seminar

What people have said about previous seminars:

"Brilliant seminar - Thank you"

"David has a way of putting things over that make it really interesting and understandable"

"I can't believe you provided this for free"

"I really enjoyed the webinar. Thank you"

"Wow. That was really, really interesting"

"Fascinating"

"It's amazing to have a world class university lecturer live and available to answer your questions and for free! Thank you so much"

"I just wish I could be one of your students in Oxford. They are very lucky"

"I wish my teachers had taught with such humanity, clarity and passion as David does"

Book your place now

 

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Ever Have a Fear or Anxiety and Not Known How You Got It?

Ever Have a Fear or Anxiety and Not Known How You Got It?

Do you have, or have ever had a fear or anxiety and not known how you ended up with it?

On Wednesday 3rd September 2014 I will be running a free live online seminar at:

19.00 / 7pm BST - UK time (20.00/8pm CET (Paris) - 14.00/2pm EDT (New York) - 11.00/11am PDT (Los Angeles))

entitled:

How We Catch Fear And Anxiety And What To Do About It

I will be sharing the very latest research with you on how we catch fear and anxiety and what you can do to deal with it.

There will also be time for questions and answers after the seminar.

As many of you know I lecture at a number of universities including Oxford, however don't worry; The seminar will be 100% jargon free and easily understandable.

I can only fit 200 people on this live seminar and once its full, I'm afraid that's it.

So if you want to book a place Click Here. It's totally free.

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The Top 10 Fears / Anxieties And How Long It Takes To Treat Them

The Top 10 Fears / Anxieties And How Long It Takes To Treat Them

Every year I do an audit of the anxieties and fears we treat and how long it took to treat them. There are five numbers to look at.

  1. Frequency - the number of people presenting with a particular fear or anxiety.
  2. Control average - The average time (in days) it took to get the fear or anxiety to level 3 (0 = no feelings of anxiety or fear. 10 = Maximum anxiety and fear feelings). Level 3 is a definition of the disorder being under control by the individual. Most people present to us at levels 8-10.
  3. Control range - How long in days (quickest to longest) it took to get the disorder to get to level 3 (see notes above).
  4. Discharge average - the average time (in days) it took individuals to feel they had the fear or anxiety under control enough to discharge themselves from the programme. Usually at level 0.
  5. Discharge range - How long in days (quickest to longest) it took to get the disorder under complete control (to get to level 0 or 1) and to discharge themselves or leave the programme having been successfully treated.
Anxiety / Fear   Frequency 

 Control Av 

 Control Rng   Discharge Av   Discharge Rng 
1. General Anxiety Disorder 403 12 4 - 21 16 11 - 33
2. Social Anxiety Disorders * 368 9 3 - 16 16 13 - 21
3. Fear of Rejection 360 10 7 - 14 16 12 - 22
4. Fear of Failure 337 11 7 - 20 17 14 - 31
5. Fear of Meetings 324 9 5 - 17 15 7 - 20
6. Panic or Anxiety Attacks 211 7 2 - 9 10 6 - 19
7. Public Speaking Anxieties 209 8 5 - 16 15 7 - 19
8. Agoraphobia 194 7 3 - 22 19 8 - 34
9. Sexual Performance Anxieties  162 14 7 - 30 23 11 - 38
10. Fear of Flying 131 9 7 - 18 16 12 - 19

 

*Social anxiety disorders (SAD) include fears and anxieties around being in social situations, meeting people, dating, having to talk to people unexpectedly, going to gatherings etc.

Notes:

  1. The top three fears and anxieties tend (but not always) to be versions of a fear of rejection.
  2. When I started conducting therapeutic interventions the presence I was surprised about the predominance of a fear of meetings. At first I assumed a fear of meetings was a subset of public speaking anxieties, however over the years I have come to recognise both the prevalence of this disorder and its grounding in a fear of rejection, social anxieties and public speaking issues.
  3. The treatment times are only for the period until the disorder is brought down to levels 0 (no anxiety) or 1 (aware of a minor heightened sense of arousal) this does not include the confidence and assertiveness phases of the programme. I firmly believe that to just treat an anxiety or fear is not enough as it leaves the client susceptible to forming similar fears and anxieties at a later date. To prevent this I usually include a confidence and assertiveness skills course to prevent this occurring.

 

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Episode 12 of the Emotional Resilience Podcast

Episode 12 of the Emotional Resilience Podcast

 Here is episode 12:

 Download this episode (right click and save)

Download at itunes

For all the notes and references from this podcast go to Podcasts.

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This weeks Emotional Resilience Podcast. Episode No. 11

This weeks Emotional Resilience Podcast. Episode No. 11

In this weeks episode I will be looking at Happiness. Yes this whole episode is about the latest research and thinking on how to be and what makes us happy!

1. Does Happiness Lead to Success?

2. What makes us happy?

3. How much of our happiness is actually down to personality or the situation we find ourselves in?

4. Emotional Resilience: You are what you focus on.

And this weeks phobia of the week -Pteronophobia

 

Download this episode (right click and save)

Download the emotional resilience podcast on itunes

Full episode notes, images and references are available here

 

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This weeks Emotional Resilience Podcast. Episode No. 10

This weeks Emotional Resilience Podcast. Episode No. 10

 

Download this episode (right click and save)

 

iTunes-PodCast-Logo

 

 

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This weeks Emotional Resilience Podcast. Episode No. 9

This weeks Emotional Resilience Podcast. Episode No. 9

 

Download this episode (right click and save)

Download it from itunes

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This weeks Emotional Resilience Podcast

This weeks Emotional Resilience Podcast

Download this episode (right click and save)

Itunes podcast link https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/calm-composed-confident/id847626776

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This weeks Emotional Resilience Podcast

This weeks Emotional Resilience Podcast

Download this episode (right click and save)

Connect with iTunes - click here

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This week's Emotional Resilience Podcast Episode 6

This week's Emotional Resilience Podcast Episode 6

 

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This week's Emotional Resilience Podcast.

This week's Emotional Resilience Podcast.

 

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This week's podcast

This week's podcast

Episode 4 of my 'Calm, composed and confident' podcast is now available from iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/calm-composed-confident/id847626776?mt=2

or

Podbean http://fearcourse.podbean.com/2014/04/13/calm-composed-and-confident-episode-4/

Enjoy.

Dave

 

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