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Gillian Sanger

Returning to clarity when anxiety arises

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My experience of anxiety as I’m sure we’ll all agree starts with thoughts which leads to the feelings. The thoughts we think are no doubt ones we’ve thought many times before and bring out an automatic sense of panic. Once the feeling is there we can’t pretend it’s not, meditation for me is the time to see the anxiety and try to work with it rather than push it away. As I do this the experience tends to soften which helps to be more aware of it outside of formal meditation. My best description of anxiety seems to be the minds obsession with future and what future outcomes will be and the need to try and control how life will pan out. Whatever method works for you is the most important.

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11 hours ago, David said:

Whatever method works for you is the most important.

Absolutely! I love everything you've said here, but want to focus on your last sentiment. My teacher during yoga teacher training said 'the best practice is the one that works.' So simple and obvious, but we often forget it. We all have different backgrounds, needs, and inclinations and therefore will benefit most from a personalized approach.

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

 My morning anx is skyhigh i dono what to try to re-shift focus to life and angage.Meds are my only crutch any other sugestions?

Hey Calm,

I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling!

With @David's comment in mind, what techniques have worked for you in the past? I personally find belly breathing so very grounding and soothing. Loving-kindness meditations, affirmations, or even mindful movement might be helpful. Do you have an inclination towards anything in particular?

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Im practicing all this but anx is high in the mornings as soon i wake up.its that feeling i cant start my day "normal"and focusing on tasks that bothers me moust.I try accept and angage but its just to strong anx symphtoms 

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27 minutes ago, Calm said:

Im practicing all this but anx is high in the mornings as soon i wake up.its that feeling i cant start my day "normal"and focusing on tasks that bothers me moust.I try accept and angage but its just to strong anx symphtoms 

Have you spoken with a mental health professional in person?

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

Yes on skype twice a week and taking meds for 6 months now.

This seems quite challenging, and I wish I had an easy answer. Sticking with your current plan, maybe try also going through a variety of different exercises (breathing, loving kindness, yoga, mindful artwork/colouring, and any other techniques), paying close attention to which ones create a positive shift in your mind. 

It could also be helpful to find a particular teacher that you resonate with. There are a list of ones with resources on Mindfulness Exercises (see link attached). Finding someone that speaks to you can be a huge help as you navigate things.

https://mindfulnessexercises.com/mindfulness-teachers/

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I have had panic attacks and know how debilitating anxiety running rampant can be.  I'm glad you are taking meds to help.  Counseling is very helpful.  Please have patience with yourself and practice loving kindness toward yourself.  It takes time to find peace.  One day you will realize you are peaceful when you are not even thinking about it.

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Sorry to hear you suffering in the mornings. I’ve started to try and do some exercises, nothing to strenuous just rotating the arms quite quickly and some side to side stretches. If you shower in the morning alternate between drying yourself slowly and quickly. This might help release some of the pent up nervous energy which anxiety can be. If you try a meditation after this you might find a more relaxed state of the awareness. 

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On 2/8/2020 at 6:13 PM, marie farmer said:

Counseling is very helpful.  Please have patience with yourself and practice loving kindness toward yourself. 

Yes I agree @marie farmer - Loving kindness practices are so so important! We don't often realize just how hard we are on ourselves. Life is challenging; self-love and acceptance is crucial as we try to navigate it.

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21 hours ago, David said:

I’ve started to try and do some exercises, nothing to strenuous just rotating the arms quite quickly and some side to side stretches.

Thanks for sharing this @David! It's a really great reminder that getting into the body is such a simple and useful tool to remember. That's one of the reasons I got into yoga.

In fact, your suggestions remind me of a yoga warm-up practice I often use which is helpful for releasing stress and tension:

Starting in Mountain Pose (feet hip distance apart, arms by the sides, chest open), the idea is to take a deep inhale as you raise the arms up and overhead... and then on the exhale, swing the arms down to ground, falling forward to come into Standing Forward Fold. Allowing a deep sigh to leave the body on the exhale/fall forward is welcomed. It can also be helpful to set an intention to release whatever thoughts no longer serve us into the earth for transformation.

Assuming there are no back/neck/spine injuries, this is a great practice to explore. I usually do it 8-10 times, slowly and mindfully.

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I also have a hard time with anxiety in the morning - I think that "intense dread" is an accurate way of describing it. This has led to me going through periods of actually not getting out of bed and falling into a habit of sleeping through the day and even missing commitments. 

A few things I've had some success with, which I think is helpful to refer to as resources, and building up a "toolbox" of resources to draw from;

Doing a few minutes of yoga - doesn't matter if I'm doing the poses correctly, just get the body moving 

Running in place for even just 30 seconds!

Standing and shaking my body to release pent up anxiety stuck in the body

My favorite --- Watching a few youtube videos of cute/funny animals which always uplifts me even for a little while - you could pick something that tends to make you laugh or smile and find a video or two to shift your mood enough to push through the anxiety wall - laughter IS the best medicine 🙂

The way I see it, anxiety is fueled immensely by ruminating and looping thoughts which then becomes a feedback loop from hell! So, we need to build up more and more resources that can cut through rumination, even if momentarily because it gives us both reprieve, hope, and increased confidence that we can navigate it more skillfully through intentional behavior change.

 

❤️

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16 hours ago, bombabird said:

So, we need to build up more and more resources that can cut through rumination, even if momentarily because it gives us both reprieve, hope, and increased confidence that we can navigate it more skillfully through intentional behavior change.

Thank you for this!!

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