Quieting the mind and stop reacting to the ''what ifs''

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Quieting the mind and stop reacting to the ''what ifs''

Postby Clouded » Thu Jan 01, 2015 1:33 am

I'm trying to be optimistic here and instead of telling myself that it will take me a lifetime to free myself from negative thought patterns, I tell myself that it is possible to be someone with a brighter outlook on life, at any moment, probably when I will fully grasp how to consciously react to thoughts and outside circumstances.

It's no surprise that the biggest obstacles I have in life is my crippling anxiety and low self-esteem. I have come to see my anxiety as separate from me; it's only a temporary experience, but a very unpleasant one and I desperately wish to overcome any manifestation of anxiety once and for all. I don't think I can learn to love anxiety, but I can learn to not give in to it while still welcoming it in my field of perception.

Sometimes, I find that I am way too sensitive to thoughts. Recently, I was driving and was feeling a bit anxious because I had to quickly intersect two lanes while on a highway and I was taking deep breaths to relax and my mom who was sitting next to me noticed and started talking about one of her co-workers who deals with panic attacks and well, this reminded me of my own panic disorder and guess what happened next... I had vivid visions of me running out of breath and collapsing on the steering wheel and soon our car would collide with the other nearby cars that were also moving at 100 miles per hour, and ultimately this would have led to probably our deaths and/or probably the deaths of innocent people. It felt like a long and excruciating ride; I felt paralyzed and lightheaded, I believed that I could collapse any time and had to be hyper alert to get us home safely, I saw potential danger everywhere. I think I paid way too much attention on getting enough air into my lungs and not collapsing but I kept pressing on the accelerator because I had nowhere to stop. This was triggered by what my mom told me because I was doing fine with my breathing exercises until she mentioned panic attacks. Afterwards, I told her to stop reminding me about panic attacks, especially while I'm driving.

I am disappointed at how easily I can be persuaded by my thoughts. It doesn't take much for me to experience fear for my life. Even with all this spiritual knowledge that I am ''above'' any thought/feeling/sensation and taking a low dose of sedatives doesn't take me out of my programming. I am sad that I don't have full control of what I am experiencing, I always have to endure bouts of automatic reactions of fear.
"If you want to know what your were like in the past, look at your body today. If you want to know what your body will be like in the future, look at your thoughts today." -Deepak
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Re: Quieting the mind and stop reacting to the ''what ifs''

Postby Phil2 » Thu Jan 01, 2015 1:38 pm

Clouded wrote:
I am disappointed at how easily I can be persuaded by my thoughts. It doesn't take much for me to experience fear for my life. Even with all this spiritual knowledge that I am ''above'' any thought/feeling/sensation and taking a low dose of sedatives doesn't take me out of my programming. I am sad that I don't have full control of what I am experiencing, I always have to endure bouts of automatic reactions of fear.


Clouded,

Do not judge yourself badly (remember: be impeccable with your word about yourself ... anf of course with others too :) ... this is 'what is' ... surrender to that ...

What you resist persists ...

And btw Happy New Year to you and all our friends here ...

:D
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
(Carl Jung)
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Re: Quieting the mind and stop reacting to the ''what ifs''

Postby ashley72 » Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:32 pm

Clouded,

I had a panic attack of sorts the other day, whilst driving to a type of social event I had avoided many times in the past (which was a exposure opportunity). My partner was also doing things to aggravate the situation... but that's just part of the process & adds to the challenge. I did the exposure... and ultimately won't experience as much fear the next time I encounter that type of event.

The main thing you need to remember, is the unpleasant feelings, sensations, anxious thoughts are a necessity of recovery... In the sense these triggers offer you the opportunity to learn when & where you are treating something as "dangerous".

You are still treating anxious thoughts as dangerous... a symptom of danger as danger... positive feedback loop. Next time you have an anxious thought like this driving situation is dangerous... try to perceive the anxious thought... as a reminder that thoughts aren't really dangerous... because these anxious thoughts are signalling you to be super cautious... so it's very unlikely you are going to have an accident when your being hyper vigilant or super cautious.

Remember the driving task or your mum wasn't causing the danger, it was you perceiving the anxious thought as danger that is the culprit! It maintains the adrenaline which fuels the anxiety in a positive cycle.

Next time your exposed to anxious thoughts... take a deep breath... and repeat to yourself... Ashley said that if I stop treating the very thoughts as danger... the fear will stop feeding into itself... I'm being tricked by this thought... there is absolutely nothing to fear... if I expose myself to these anxious thoughts... Without being afraid of them the fear doesn't keep feeding into itself. Keep repeating to yourself...This is merely a trick! This is not really dangerous. Once I see how the trick is working, the fear will subside.

Lastly, I've been through what you've been through... and know how much it really sucks feeling so trapped by your fear-cycle. It can be very exhausting.

I just want you to know, you can get through it, no matter how much it weighs you down...it's ultimately a cognitive trick, the moment you understand the trick... it starts to unravel... and you start getting your life back the way it use to be.
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Re: Quieting the mind and stop reacting to the ''what ifs''

Postby ashley72 » Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:58 pm

Clouded,

I just reread your post for further clues.

Rather than trying to desperately overcome the anxiety (avoidance), treat the anxiety as something that is a cognitive teacher. It is teaching you how a certain cognitive trick works that causes positive feedback loops. This is how you need to redefine your problem. Write how the trick works on a piece of paper... and even pull that paper out of your pocket every time the anxiety trick is triggered.

The Anxiety Trick: Arises everytime I treat symptoms of danger as danger... These include anxious thoughts, anxious feelings, anxious sensations. The way to overcome this trick of cognition... is to expose myself to these symptoms (output cycle) and stop treating them as danger (input cycle), but merely as unpleasant and transient


I can honestly say this approach will help you recover from the anxiety trick. It takes time, particular if your acute like I was... and it sounds by your post you may have it in an acute form.
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Re: Quieting the mind and stop reacting to the ''what ifs''

Postby randomguy » Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:29 pm

clouded wrote:I am sad that I don't have full control of what I am experiencing,

I'll be frank. If that's all you want is this mere full control of what you are experiencing, then this sadness is likely in the cards for you. Loving 'what is' on the other hand embodies the absence of this conflict and freedom from the corresponding sadness related to unmet yet treasured expectations.

clouded wrote:I always have to endure bouts of automatic reactions of fear.

The relationship with fear is a big one to explore. There is awareness of the automatic reactions to fear. What is it, these reactions and what is the fear? In my experience it one day seemed all too common that fear appeared blindly obeyed by a scurrying into thought and imagination for some familiarity of experience as if closing the door on the fear. But the way to see what is true about fear is something like the opposite direction. It is to make friends with fear. It is to let is have it's way while peering with curiosity into the source of it. In this way it can be seen that fear is just another experience that comes and goes. It offers not just a patterned reaction to be realized, but the loud bell of conditioning it rings is an opportunity to discover and transcend the attachments to our dreamed up reality.
Do the yellow-rose petals
tremble and fall
at the rapid's roar?
- Basho
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Re: Quieting the mind and stop reacting to the ''what ifs''

Postby Manyana » Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:09 pm

randomguy wrote:The relationship with fear is a big one to explore. There is awareness of the automatic reactions to fear. What is it, these reactions and what is the fear? In my experience it one day seemed all too common that fear appeared blindly obeyed by a scurrying into thought and imagination for some familiarity of experience as if closing the door on the fear. But the way to see what is true about fear is something like the opposite direction. It is to make friends with fear. It is to let is have it's way while peering with curiosity into the source of it. In this way it can be seen that fear is just another experience that comes and goes. It offers not just a patterned reaction to be realized, but the loud bell of conditioning it rings is an opportunity to discover and transcend the attachments to our dreamed up reality.


Here are a couple of links that follow on from what randomguy has written about exploring and making friends with fear:

"How (and Why) to Make Fear Your Friend" http://gailbrenner.com/2009/10/make-fear-your-friend/

"Lovingly Being with Fear" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wtscQLkjfU
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Re: Quieting the mind and stop reacting to the ''what ifs''

Postby Enlightened2B » Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:23 pm

Manyana wrote:
Here are a couple of links that follow on from what randomguy has written about exploring and making friends with fear:

"How (and Why) to Make Fear Your Friend" http://gailbrenner.com/2009/10/make-fear-your-friend/


Wonderful link. Thanks for posting. I would advise this for anyone and everyone including myself. This is Shadow work. This is true opening to all that you are.
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Re: Quieting the mind and stop reacting to the ''what ifs''

Postby Clouded » Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:56 am

Thanks everyone for the advice and links, I really appreciate the time that you guys take to try to help me manage my anxiety. I feel like it's a long road ahead to overcome the anxiety trick; I am very gullible to my own thoughts and it takes me an incredible amount of energy to expose myself to situations that trigger my anxiety and accept and stay with the unpleasant feelings that come along. It all went downhill for me after experiencing my very first panic attack a couple of years ago, I feel like that's what set off my anxiety issues, it just became increasingly easy for me to be excessively worried, it's now second nature to me.
"If you want to know what your were like in the past, look at your body today. If you want to know what your body will be like in the future, look at your thoughts today." -Deepak
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