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Anxiety January 19, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Life Balance.
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Donald-Duck-LazyIf you suffer from periodic bouts of anxiety, this article might give you some ideas to lessen its pull:

How Anxiety Warps Your Perception

An anxious mindset can change the way you view the world in profound ways.  Could a simple new treatment offer a way out of the perpetual fear?

Cognitive re-focusing allows us to retrain our brains to look for positives . . . instead of always gravitating to worst case scenarios of doom and gloom.

With practice, we learn to look for silver linings behind dark stormy clouds . . . and to dance in the rain while waiting for the calm after the storm.

We train ourselves to dive deep under the turbulence where we can float and go with the flow . . . instead of frantically flailing and thrashing about at the surface.

Aah . . . that’s better!

A quiet mind, like the surface of a still pond, provides a more accurate reflection.

Donald-DirectorRelated posts:  If some (or all) of your anxiety stems from “too much to do” and “not enough time to do it,” consider reading this recent share on Raptitude:  Why There’s Never Enough Time.  Or watch this TEDx Talk: The Habits of Highly Boring People.

Both focus on the fact that many of us have “too many choices” competing for our attention every day.

By narrowing our focus from “everything we could do” (learn Spanish, write a novel, climb Mount Everest, run a marathon, cure cancer) to “things that are priorities for us Here and Now” (watch a sunset, read a book, fix a delicious dinner) we free up time for things we enjoy.

PS:  If you haven’t gotten around to folding your laundry since 2016 (or 2015), put that mountain of clean to good use.  Here’s how:  The Unfolded Truth (Chasing Unicorns)

 

 

 

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Comments»

1. Jill Weatherholt - January 19, 2017

Great stuff here, Nancy. I have anxious moments when I think about something happening to my parents. I can’t wait to listen to The Habits of Highly Boring People. Thanks for sharing.

nrhatch - January 19, 2017

I have several mantras “at the ready” for when negative thoughts attempt to nibble away at my enjoyment of NOW:

“This too shall pass.”
“In uncertainty lies all possibility.”
“I do not wish to be afraid.”

“B~R~E~A~T~H~E. Just Breathe.”

2. Rainee - January 19, 2017

I will have to bookmark this post so as I can access the resources you have suggested Nancy. CanI also suggest a book I read last week called “Useful Belief: Because it is better than Positive Thinking, by Chris Helder. It is only a short book but has a powerful punch 🙂

nrhatch - January 19, 2017

Thanks, Rainee. I’ll check it out.

In the short term, positive thinking allows us to break free of anxiety and make better choices for “right now” . . . but it can be a crutch that throws us off balance in the long run.

3. Tippy Gnu - January 19, 2017

I really don’t have time to read all those articles, with all the other things I have to do. If I try I might go completely nuts, if I’m not there already.

nrhatch - January 19, 2017

Haha! That’s what I was thinking as I was linking!

4. Under the Oaks - January 19, 2017

I am setting this post to my favorites and will be using the links you shared! Thank you Nancy and Good Morning!

nrhatch - January 19, 2017

Morning, Pix! The article on Anxiety was very interesting ~ apparently there’s an app for that! 😀

5. L. Marie - January 19, 2017

A good reminder, Nancy. I have a terrible habit of focusing on the negative. “Whatsoever things are true or lovely.” I definitely need a mind retraining session.

nrhatch - January 19, 2017

I can imagine worst case scenarios in a flash ~ partly due to my legal training (hmmm . . . what could go wrong with this tactic, strategy, plan?) and partly due to habits formed in my younger years. But habits can be broken . . . so I often pause to ask:

“Will this thought make me happy? Help me find a solution? Improve my life?”

If not, I change the channel.

6. Ally Bean - January 19, 2017

I tend to be positive, so when I do feel anxious I pay attention to what’s going on within and around me, knowing that I’m sensing a threat that needs to be understood. Too much anxiety can do you in, but it does provide a kind of survival mechanism. Or it has for me along the way.

nrhatch - January 19, 2017

To some extent, our survival does/did depend on looking around for looming disasters ~ a hungry tiger, a jealous rival, a crazy driver, etc. That’s the good kind of anxiety.

The bad kind of anxiety is that of a perpetual nature due to the advent of TV and the Internet which bombard us day and night with too much information to effectively process . . . political fallout, natural disasters, health scares, terrorists, economic woes, etc.

Some people have a constant undercurrent of anxiety that causes adrenal overload. Too much S~T~R~E~S~S (whether real or imagined) kills us . . . causing heart disease, high blood pressure, etc.

Anything we can do to alleviate this bad type of anxiety = GOOD!

Ally Bean - January 19, 2017

Ah-ha! I like how you divide anxiety into two categories. Makes perfect sense to me. That which is out to get us versus that which we go out of our way to get. I used to be much more anxious than I am now, and wonder if it’s because I know more about how to deal with the feeling of anxiety– and less about the details on the news.

nrhatch - January 19, 2017

Perfect sum up, Ally: “That which is out to get us versus that which we go out of our way to get.”

One thing I do is try to avoid info overload. The second is to start the day with 10-15 minutes of relaxing music while I drink my tea. That calm before the storm helps.

7. Soraia - January 19, 2017

I always tend to think about the worst case scenario when I’m under stress. Thinking over and over and over and over- to infinity. This is very useful and saving it for future use! Thanks for sharing!

nrhatch - January 19, 2017

Ruminating on anxious thoughts is a habit that many share ~ having a few practices we can use to break the habit is good.

8. Joanne Sisco - January 19, 2017

I really like the expression “A quiet mind, like the surface of a still pond, provides a more accurate reflection”.

In my previous life as a career person, we had a saying at work to reduce the stress … no one was going to die because of any decision we made – or didn’t make. It worked every time.

nrhatch - January 19, 2017

Sometimes all we need to do is shift our perspective a bit!

9. viviankirkfield - January 19, 2017

My older sister always used to complain that I had a pollyanna attitude towards life…I was ALWAYS seeing the cup half-full…the silver lining in the storm cloud. I’m still the same way and it’s an attitude that has given me joy, strength, and courage…even in the most difficult of times. Thanks, Nancy… I’ll be sharing this!

nrhatch - January 19, 2017

Pollyanna’s UNITE!

10. Behind the Story - January 20, 2017

I like the description of the attentional spotlight in How Anxiety Warps Your Perception. Without having a formal training session, it seems that we could achieve the same thing as participants in Attention Bias Modification Training do by consciously trying to focus first on the positive image. I don’t think that means ignoring the less positive or negative things around us. (I believe in moderation, although with a positive slant.)

I think of our use of the attentional spotlight as a habit. When I was spending a lot of time painting, my “spotlight” tended to focus on the artistic aspect of whatever scene was in front of me. I was very aware of light, shadows, shapes and colors. That habit is still with me.

nrhatch - January 20, 2017

Yes! That attentional spotlight changes based on our priorities and, of course, our habits ~ with training and practice, we can look at things in a different light . . . and some of the “shadows” (that were never really there) recede from view.

11. lostinliterature2017 - January 21, 2017

It’s always nice to learn new tips to combat my anxiety thanks for sharing and hope to learn more tips in the future!

nrhatch - January 21, 2017

Good luck!

12. Debra - January 26, 2017

Something occurred to me while reading this, Nancy. The recent series of storms brought so much rain that we really were driven indoors. It “felt” like I had fewer options in my day and I have absolutely loved it. I have felt ease in waking each day with a more “wait and see” approach, rather than in our perpetual sunshine feeling like I had a long list of choices. I don’t know if I’ve said this well enough to make sense, but we’ve had total disruption to our schedule since early December, and I have felt a very odd relief. I’d like to keep that going forward. Fewer choices is a freedom since I have trouble putting on my own brakes. LOL!

nrhatch - January 27, 2017

Yes!!! I get exactly what you’re saying, Deb. I love our sunny weather here in Florida but on rainy days, when options are limited, fewer choices have to be made and I’m often happier as a result.

13. andfreeyourself - January 29, 2017

Its so hard to focus when your mind is thinking a million and one thoughts but having said that…I love that you mentioned prioritise, instead of thinking so much about the future, I will try and think of the here and now, love reading this 🙂

nrhatch - January 29, 2017

Sometimes all we need to do is slow down a bit and take one thing at a time . . . without pulling the future into our view finder.

Good luck!

andfreeyourself - January 30, 2017

Thank you!1 🙂

14. Just a Girl and Her Brain - February 2, 2017

What a great post! I’m always reminding my patients (and trying to remind myself as well) that we can find whatever we look for. Our brain wants us to be happy…if it knows we’re looking for the negative, worse case scenario it will find it for us. But, if it knows we’re looking for the positive, best case scenario, it will find that for us, too. You’ll experience what you set out to find. Why not make that a fulfilling, anxiety free life!?
Excellent reminder, Nancy!

nrhatch - February 2, 2017

Thanks! You’ve summed it up in a nutshell. The more we look for the good, the faster we find it.

15. Jeffrey Pillow - February 16, 2017

While I’m not buddhist, the principles set forth in The Noble Eightfold Path, among other practices, have been a beacon of light, helping guide my way as I better understand my own anxiety and how to manage it. In addition to the article you reference here, for anyone suffering from anxiety, be it high or low, daily or periodic, look into The Noble Eightfold Path. Also, walk, daily… and meditate.

nrhatch - February 16, 2017

Good thoughts. Walking, meditating, Buddhist principles, finding something to laugh and smile about ~> all allow peace, joy, contentment and well-being to surface.

I just started reading The Book of JOY by the Dalai Lama and Desmond TuTu. You might enjoy their take on joy.


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