Where Anxiety Comes From
Anxiety sufferers who freeze up in social tend to cope by becoming aloof and distant. Theirs is a lonely life of numb survival, but they were was not always that way.
Humans first emerge into the world with in a perfect state of pure love – linked to the source until programmed to fit in with the material world.
Early Brain Development Shapes Perception
From birth, brain development is influenced by genetics, nutrition, social interaction, and experiences. Almost no new brain neurons are formed after birth. Rather, a consistent rewiring of neural connections takes place in accordance with the surrounding environment.
The brain processes information across networks of specialized nerve cells called neurons. Neurons pass messages to other neurons via connection hubs called synapses.
After birth, synapses are formed at a faster rate than at any other time. By the age of three, the brain has twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood (they get pruned down over time).
Synapses serve as links to information. The more an action or habit is repeated, the stronger the synaptic connection, thus increased memory retention.
How Trauma Affects a Child’s Brain
Trauma and negative experiences affect the early development of the brain. The structure and function of the hippocampus (responsible for learning and memory), for example, are different when compared to individuals who weren’t traumatised.
The brain shows a sustained and pervasive stress response as the child grows. Brain wave patterns change. Neurotransmitter levels adapt to these new abnormal levels. The biological changes in the brain are even more profound if the abuse was early, pervasive, or severe (source).
Fundamental brain formation: age 0-3
The neural network forms the basic wiring of the brain, and then processes sensory input from the environment to fine-tune itself.
As a child’s senses report to the brain, it stimulates neural activity. If the amount of input increases, synapses between neurons in that area will be activated more often.
Repeated use strengthens a synapse, while ones rarely used remain weak and are more likely to get pruned.
Repetition of actions or experiences etch synapses into the brain; once strengthened sufficiently, they become permanent (unless you rewire them, as this guide teaches).
This means that a child’s experiences not only determine what information enters her brain, but also influence how their brain processes information (source).
Thus the beaten child grows up to become a frightened adult, afraid of ghosts that only exist inside their heads.
Pruning: age 10-13
From ages 10 until late adolescence, the brain begins to prune down synapses. Those which have been neglected or are used infrequently are lost. Strong connections are exempt from this process.
Synapses that survive pruning remain largely stable in adulthood giving each person a unique pattern of mind, thought and emotions. It is this pattern that determines who we are, and will influence how we think and learn as adults (source).
The path to freedom from anxiety begins when one can logically trace back the incidents in their life at the roots of their anxiety.
Based on the way the human brain develops, the root causes likely happened between the ages of 0-10, and most likely before the age of three.
Put on your detective hat and work it out: what negative event first started altering your brain’s synaptic patterns? Isolate that point, work on it, and find your way past it.