The Healing Mechanism of CART:
According to memory reconsolidation theory, the process of healing happens when we activate a preferred experience and a non-preferred experience at the same time. When this happens, we bring both preferred experiences in prefrontal cortex online and the trigger memory located in the amygdala into working memory. After it is in working memory, the brain has to figure out where to put it. If the preferred experience (using the prefrontal cortex) is lit up, then it can put all that is in working memory (both the preferred experience and the trigger memory) into the prefrontal cortex. Basically, it moves it from the fight/flight/freeze part of the brain to the more evolved part of the brain that is capable of love, art, logic, etc.
If you just light up a preferred experience by itself, then the grooves in that part of the brain get a little deeper and you feel a little better. Meditation, enjoying nature, dancing, and doing things that feel good are helpful, but they don’t rewire the part of our brain that stores our triggers for anxiety. They just provide a preferred experience and leave those triggers intact.
If you just light up the amygdala and thought loop in your head about the threat, then that groove in your brain gets a little deeper and you feel more anxiety. If you keep doing this, your anxiety will get worse. Also, each time you do this, it makes it so you are more prone to doing this. Basically, your anxiety will get worse. You are accidently training your brain to be more anxious. We only want the Amygdala to be firing when we are actually under threat. And we want it to calm down within a few minutes afterwards so our more complex and resourced part of our brain can handle imperfect dilemmas.
When we light both the preferred experience and the anxiety trigger up at the same time, we create an opportunity for our brain to rewire which part of our brain handles the same dilemma.