I’m getting right to the point with this one.

The Core FOUR Sequence (C4S) mimics, in a simplistic way, the process that information takes when it is being processed through the brain. This process can help us understand anxiety and depression in a general way. I first heard of this procedural circuitry in the brain from the course “Human Behavioral Biology” by Professor Robert Sapolsky and from the book ‘A Users Guide to The Brain‘ by John Ratey M.D.

Here’s my explanation using the C4S:

Attention: Things enter into our brains through our attention. This could be anything, but for this example lets say you see a spider crawling fast on the floor.

Energy: The first place that input of information goes is to our emotional center of our brain and energy is released for you to deal with the issue. It is here also that our nervous system is activated and we label the energy that we’re feeling in our bodies with an emotion. Ok, so see a spider and could label ourselves “afraid” if you hate spiders, “joyous” if you like them or “startled” because it’s moving so fast.

Skill: The input then searches your memory to find out if we’ve dealt with something like this before and what skills do we have to deal with this situation.

Thoughts: So far we’ve collected our emotions and whatever skills we had, now we have to make a decision. So we head to the decision-making part of our brains. I’ve labeled that function, thoughts.

Whether you got a plan from your skills or not, the next stop is back down to your emotional center of your brain to give it further directives. It’s either gonna say, “Calm down. we figured it out, we just need enough energy to act” (then the nervous system activation is lessened or used) or “We didn’t find a plan and we don’t have a solution/favorable solution” (then the nervous system remains active or even increases the stress level until we find a solution).

All of this happens in a couple of seconds.

Now that you have the foundational process, let me ask you a question. If you couldn’t find a solution within a couple of hours what do you think that process is describing? Thought running and searching in your head constantly and high levels of stress? Isn’t it anxiety?

If that process continues from a few days to many weeks, where your nervous system is releasing major amounts of hormones into your blood stream (ex. cortisol, adrenaline etc) while you’re trying to find a solution but can’t, what do you think will eventually happen? What happens when you start getting these neuro-chemical imbalances and the feeling of hopelessness begins to poke its head in because of the lack of a solution? Isn’t depression at the door?

The scary thing about anxiety and depression is that you don’t have to know that it is happening for it to happen. Many people have found out that they’re depressed after they’re depressed and can’t say what brought it on. These two mental health issues have symptoms that show up when someone is dealing with them but this post isn’t about talking about symptoms but about showing the process that creates it. If you want to know some of the symptoms check out this 5-part Psychology Today article series by Leon Seltzer Ph.D.

This is a very general explanation but it highlights why increasing your awareness and developing the strength of your Core 4 Sequence can be beneficial to fighting against anxiety and depression. For one, it calls you to be aware of what is going on in your internal world.

I’m not an advocate of self-counseling but I am an advocate of self-awareness and believe that we are stronger than we believe.

What is shared here can reveal why you’re hearing certain perspectives on the social media ‘motivation/personal development’ platforms. Things like:

Be mindful
This addresses your ATTENTION. Trying to increase your ability to constantly move forward with what’s needed now.

Be positive
This addresses your ENERGY and purposefully attempting to have helpful emotions that increase your chance of finding solutions in your life. And the advice leans you towards wanting to be around those who are positive because those people bring about helpful emotions in your life.

Affirmations
This addresses your SKILLS. So when the process comes through to your skills, you have something confidence-like to promote.

Self-Talk
This addresses your THOUGHT-LIFE. What you say to yourself and the way you construct the way you talk has effects on the entire C4S.

I hope this post helped you understand yourself a bit better. #PushForward

Note: This post is not to be taken as therapeutic advice. It is meant solely for educational purposes. If you are in need of a therapist for a mental disorder you may be dealing with please Text MHA to 741741 (Mental Health America) or 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) (National Alliance On Mental Health) or 1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline).

© 2018, Ira Webbe Jr, all rights reserved

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