A few years ago I attended a day workshop on Anxiety Management. I left the house telling my partner “I’ll be back by 11.30am – I know all about anxiety management.”
BUT I was very wrong.
It completely changed the way I view anxiety and treatments that work.
That day I learnt that anxiety has been only half treated in the last 50 years, hence why we have many more therapists but more and more anxiety. Medication is not useful, but neither is traditional psychology. Up until this education session, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Desensitisation were my most used therapies for anxiety management.
But that day I learnt all about the Meerkat Brain! This is the part of the brain called the amygdala. Its about the size of an almond in the middle of your brain and reacts to perceived danger by activating the flight or fight mechanism. It was the moment I decided to call it “the meerkat brain” and started to imagine meerkats running amok up there. That was the day Brucee was born (Brucee_Adelaide on Instagram) and he and his Mob have been used by me and the Team to treat anxiety.
Traditional Therapy works on the Cerebral Cortex, the top of the brain that works on rational thinking. But have the words “just breathe, you’re okay” ever worked with someone having a panic attack? NEVER! Why? Because the Meerkat Brain (the Amygdala) doesn’t do rational – it does Fear! By the stage you are having a panic attack, the meerkat mob in your brain are armed to the teeth with AK47’s, grenades and a few flame throwers or they are running for their life.
So how do we calm the meerkats in our brain? They don’t like drugs or alcohol, but they do like meditation, nature, fun, tai chi. They need to be calm and relaxed as do you before you encounter danger.
I have a multitude of clients carrying meerkats around Adelaide from a 10-year-old who takes her Meerkat to school, a 45-year-old truck driver who carries him in his back pack and a 69-year-old man who has them in the garden (and who recently emailed me and told me he was having an 11 Meerkat Day but was trying to relax them into sleep).
You always need one Meerkat in your brain, maybe even 2 some days but never 11 unless you are in the middle of a natural disaster or a war.
The Paragon PsychConnect Meerkat Anxiety Therapy is a 10-week group program aimed at teaching you these skills and applying them to real life situations for lasting change. For more information ring us or send us an email.
Often this is the first thing people see when they come to our rooms – The Meerkat Mob. Watch this space as people are asking us where they can buy their own life-like Meerkats 😊