A Beautiful Mess

A Sexual Abuse and Addiction Recovery Blog

Coping and Living With Anxiety

on December 2, 2010

Well let’s start with some fun and uplifting news.  Brain chemistry can be changed.  And we can do it ourselves.  It’s scientifically proven.  I’m not blowing smoke up anyone’s butt.

Let me start with also saying that the majority of this blog is material that is quoted or paraphrased from ACT Made Simple – free e-book via Google.

The mind can be a big bully.  It can play tricks on us.  It does play tricks on us.  Our mind is like a great storyteller.  It wants us to listen to it.  It wants our full attention.  And it will say whatever it needs to say to get our attention.  And while some of the stories our mind tells are true, there are times that it’s most definitely not factual.  It’s more like opinions, beliefs, attitudes, ideas, so on and so forth.  We need to learn when the stories are helpful and when they are not.  Close your eyes for 30 seconds and just listen to the stories your mind is telling you right now.

We are not our thoughts.  Thoughts do not create behaviors.  We need to retrain our brains.  Let go of the thoughts that are standing in the way of us doing what we need to do to live a rich, fulfilling and meaningful life.  Negative self talk is so destructive and I am guilty of entertaining it, but I do make a point for the most part, to dispute those thoughts.  My thoughts do manifest the reality I live in.  Sometimes we need to disconnect from our thoughts by practicing some in the moment exercises.  We must escape from our thinking mind from time to time and use our observing mind.

THOUGHTS

Pragmatism

If you go along with that thought, buy into it, and let it control you, where does that leave you?  What do you get for buying into it?  Where do you go from here?  Can you give it a go anyway, even though your mind says it won’t work?

Interested

That’s an interesting thought.

Meditative

Let your thoughts come and go like passing clouds.

Your Mind is Like…

A “don’t get killed” machine, a word machine, radio “gloom and doom”, a masterful salesman, the world’s greatest story teller, a fascist dicator, a judgment factory

Bullying Reframe

What’s it like to be pushed around by that thought/belief/idea?  Do you want it to run your life and tell you what to do all the time?

Problem Solving

You’re in pain, so your mind tries to figure out a way to stop the pain.  Your mind evolved to solve the problems.  This is its job.  It’s not defective; it’s doing what it evolved to do.  But some of those solutions are not very effective.  Your job is to assess whether your mind’s solutions are effective: do they give you a rich and full life in the long run?

Workability

If you let that thought dictate what you do, how does it work in the long run?  Does buying into it help you create a rich, full and meaningful life?

Naming the Story

If all these thoughts and feelings were put into a book or movie, titled “the something something story,” what would you call it?  Each time this story shows up, name it: “Aha, there’s the XYZ story again!”

FEELINGS

Healing Hand

Lay a hand on the part of your body where you feel this most intensely.  Imagine this is a healing hand — the hand of a loving nurse, or parent, or partner.  Send some warmth into this area — not to get rid of the feeling, but to open up around it, make room for it, hold it gently.

Normalizing

This feeling tells you that you’re a normal human being who has a heart and who cares.  This is what humans feel when there’s a gap between what we want and what we’ve got.

Compassion

Hold this feeling gently as if it’s a crying baby or a whimpering puppy.

The Choice to Feel

Suppose I could give you a choice: (a) you never get to have feelin ever again, but it means you lose all capacity to love and care, or (b) you get to love and care, but when there’s a gap between what you want and what you’ve got, feelings like this one show up.  Which do you choose?

CLARIFYING VALUES

Wealth

You inherit a fortune.  What would you do with it?  Who would be there to share those activities or appreciate the things you buy?  How would you act toward all those people who share your new life?

Character Strengths

What personal strenths and qualities do you already have?  Which new ones would you like to develop?  How would you like to apply them?

What Matters?

What do you really want?  What matters to you in the big picture?  What do you want to stand for?  Is there anything in your life right now that gives you a sense of meaning, purpose, vitality?

Missing Out

What important areas of life have you given up or missed out on for lack of willingness?

Artistic Methods

Paint, draw, or sculpt your values

Childhood Dreams

As a child, what sort of life did you imagine for your future?

There are a plethora of other dealing mechanisms for bringing out minds back down to earth, this is just a few.  I suggest visiting here to read Act Made Simple: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy e-book that facilitates and teaches the ACT method.  Retrain the brain.   Change the chemistry!  Because we can.

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