The Science of Suffering

A great article that discusses the possibility that historic trauma and anxiety changes brain structure and can be inherited, predisposing the next generation to have more problems.

Recently I’ve been really noticing how anxious my mother is. I suppose it has come to the forefront because I’ve been really working on it all year in my own practices in meditation. She mentioned before that she must have gotten it from her own parents.

My feelings in interacting with her with regards to the article is that the opposite is also true - that meditative practices can change the structures in the brain. And I find this to be much more satisfying an option than pursuing drugs to combat the changes in the brain.

In discussing her anxiety, I tried to come up with a series of steps to follow. And this isn’t just for her - I want to come up with a program for anyone, because I personally know how debilitating anxiety can be - you get stuck in well worn roads of thought for so long you don’t even realize that what you’re doing is abnormal. Here’s a run down of what I suggested:

  1. Record. In recording we understand the paths we take and just how abnormal they are. We also distance ourselves from the anxiety.
  2. Practice specific techniques regularly - relaxation through Vipassana noting technique, physical relaxation, tantric transformative energy technique, the modulating future expectations technique, etc.
  3. Practice the techniques daily, using a tiny habit formation, making small in-roads like any habit
  4. Push the practice by bringing up anxiety and quelling it

Now this isn’t the final form of a complete practice. There are still a lot of questions - should you practice recording just an hour a day? Because it is quite difficult to do this all the time. How do you best habituate a trigger-response - that is, a continual habit?

I believe that the answers will come through experimenting with any continual habit. So I am quite excited to try something not as personal and central to my being as emotional control. Like posture or something totally random. But it is a seed for a program to remove incessant anxiety.