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[Blogathon] Your Jerkbrain is a Puppy & Coping With Anxiety

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An Exercise in Imperfect Analogies

Treat your jerkbrain like a puppy. Do you scream when your fuzzy pup pees a little on the carpet?

You just patiently take it back outside.

And it doesn’t work the first time–the damage is done, of course, and you might have to clean the carpet. But if every time he seems to be even remotely interested in the outdoors, every time he’s eaten, every time it seems he might be searching for a choice squatting spot on the shag rug, you take him outside, soon that puppy is going to be housetrained.

Look at this face. Would you yell at this face?

And that’s nice analogy for what I’d like more people to do with their uncooperative brains–treat them like puppies. Tug them back in the right direction when they loop into how everything is TERRIBLE and EVERYONE HATES YOU and ALL OF THE STRESS. (My brain at least, is an ALL CAPS WARRIOR when it comes to telling me bad things). Smile ruefully when they’re uncooperative and nudge them in the right direction over and over again.
It’s not foolproof, and it’s not easy, of course. Scare a well-trained puppy enough, and he’ll pee on the carpet, no matter how many hours of training he has.
But getting angry at yourself is self-defeating and exhausting and overwhelming. In short, everything that lowers your defenses for the next episode of Brains Being Sucky…and that’s no fun.
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Comments

  1. Johnny Au Gratin says

    I saw a bumper sticker several months ago that said “don’t believe everything you think”. Whenever some unworthy thought pops into my head, most likely from the background radiation of my flawed upbringing, I think of that message and find it helpful. Thanks for this post, I’m always on the lookout for effective ways to deal with my anxieties and cognitive biases.

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