Anxiety and the Default Mode Network

How the stories we unconsciously create affect our wellbeing

What is your story? We all have deeply ingrained beliefs about who we are, and how we are affected by things that happen to us. We typically identify as this or that… man, woman, non-binary, parent, child, student, professional, successful, unsuccessful. While these identifications make us feel like we have a certain place in the world, they can also limit our experience of who we really are at a deeper, more fundamental level. Instead of perceiving ourselves in a multi-dimensional and integrated way, our experience is often reduced to thoughts and identifications. This can make us feel stuck in a story about our life that can cause anxiety and depression.

The Psychological Costs of Identification

When we over-identify with our gender, skin colour, job, political views, or role in our family and society, we can experience all kinds of negative effects. The psychological costs of identification include:

  • Identification has a fixed quality, but life is not static.
  • Identification is a conditioned response, not a conscious choice.
  • Identification causes life to be lived automatically or on autopilot, where every day seems to be the same.

In his book “Open Mind, Discriminating Mind”, Charles Tart explained the downsides of identification:



Milena Braticevic, PhD Integral Health

Milena’s work explores prevention-oriented methodologies for mental health, sustainability and wellbeing.