Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rewire Your Brain

I'm reading the coolest book.  It's called "Rewire Your Brain."  A couple of years ago I read a similar book entitled "The Anxious Brain." But because it had anxious in the title, I would fidget and fuss every single time I got any where near reading it.  So there it sat, full of all sorts of great information.

Along came the new book and I just loved the utility and directness of the title so much that I just dove right in.  I'm actually listening to it on my iPod.

Dr. Arden goes into detail about what parts of the brain are firing during things like addictive episodes, depression, anxiety, fear or what I like to call "Monday."  He states emphatically that basically anybody who sits around feeling like crap should get up, do 15 push ups, put on some up tempo club music, grab a glow stick, some tennis shoes, their favorite cologne and run down the street screaming to themselves that they're crazy to think like that.  He also favors desensitizing oneself to offending stimuli or what I like to call "my house."

Anyway, all kidding aside, if you have thought patterns that are getting in your way, I recommend this book. It's a bit heavy on acronyms and brain anatomy but nothing you can't handle.

I always have a rubber band around my bicep for my hair--it's actually a head band.  Now, whenever I have a ridiculous and anxiety provoking thought,  I'll snap it.  It doesn't hurt just sort of stings.  Dr. Arden didn't really mention that in his book--not yet anyway.  That's just my personal little add-on.   With horses and dogs it's an e-collar---who'm I kidding?! It's a shock collar.  Anyway, for ridiculous equine behavior such as striking, it can be really helpful.  I know this because in 2005, I had a really horse-aggressive little gelding.  We all believed he had a Napoleonic complex brought on by having been bullied as a yearling.  But that was probably anthropomorphizing.  Anyway, he was a total ass to this 22 year old rope horse out in the pasture--his only pasture mate, in fact.  He'd been the same with every other horse he'd been around as well. So the behavior was exceedingly antisocial and needed to be dealt with because I was not going to be able to take him to any other farm to live.  The boarding facility was for sale.   My trainer at the time, Peggy, borrowed an e-collar from a friend.  We put it on him and turned him out in the pen with the other guy.

He started immediately in on poor old Rusty.  I felt so bad.  But the minute he went up on his hind legs to strike (with some ferocity, I might add) Peggy hit the switch.  What happened next was simultaneously hilarious, disturbing and incredibly effective.  Now there's only enough juice to shock them the way we get shocked by static electricity in the winter when we shuffle around in our socks.

So mid-air Marty the Paint gelding had the meanest look on his face and was poised to exact his pound of flesh from Rusty when, all of a sudden, his neck kinked a bit to the side and he got very wide-eyed and screeched out.  It was the look of a school yard bully when the older brother of his pray shows up with a gang.  And down on his hooves he plopped.   He shook his head somewhat bewildered and thought a second. You could almost hear "Hmm, what the hell just happened?"  When he came back to his senses, he looked at old Rusty and thought longer this time.  He started to move in Rusty's general direction again with the ears pinned back and bam! Peggy hit the switch on a lighter setting. Squeal, ears went forward, head shook,  hmm... The third time he went to look at Rusty, his ears went back for a second and then snapped forward.   It took only those two small zaps and he never touched that horse again.

So, I thought I'd try to employ the technique.   The problem is that I leaned over to Peggy the first time she hit that button as I laughed and asked her "Is it wrong that I sort of enjoyed that? Wait. Don't answer that."

As I wrote that and laughed, I also snapped the rubber band and started singing Pink's "Raise Your Glass."

Now I'm sure I'll be cured in no time.
Where's my glow stick?

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