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Gillian Sanger

Returning to clarity when anxiety arises

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I know I've mentioned it before but I don't think I've done so in this thread. So, I wanted to mention Tara Brach's RAIN meditation as a way of helping to witness and nurture difficult emotions such as anxiety (especially now given the uncertainty of the times). Has anyone listened to this before or to another version of this type of meditation?

https://mindfulnessexercises.com/downloads/rain-of-compassion/

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Hi, Yes! RAIN is a wonderful resource, especially for the current times. Another meditation that I like, which is in a similar vein, is called "Soften, Soothe, and Allow" by Kristin Neff,  based on turning towards difficult emotions with in a kind, gentle, compassionate way.  It's a great place to start getting a feel for self compassion and cultivating it, and I've found it really helpful in times of overwhelming emotional emergencies - I'm sure everyone knows a little something about those :)

 

https://self-compassion.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/softensootheallow_cleaned.mp3

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13 minutes ago, bombabird said:

Hi, Yes! RAIN is a wonderful resource, especially for the current times. Another meditation that I like, which is in a similar vein, is called "Soften, Soothe, and Allow" by Kristin Neff,  based on turning towards difficult emotions with in a kind, gentle, compassionate way.  It's a great place to start getting a feel for self compassion and cultivating it, and I've found it really helpful in times of overwhelming emotional emergencies - I'm sure everyone knows a little something about those 🙂

 

https://self-compassion.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/softensootheallow_cleaned.mp3

Oh thank you for the recommendation! I will certainly listen to it over the coming days.

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On 9/30/2019 at 2:18 AM, Gillian Sanger said:

A lot of mindfulness-related notions and principles make a lot of sense when we're feeling balanced and, at minimum, 'okay.' But, it can be so hard to embody this knowing when anxiety or fear arises strongly. Does anyone have insights or specific practices that have proven helpful in these instances?

I'm often amazed at how simple breath awareness - even for 10 seconds!! - can greatly reduce any feelings of stress and anxiety when it's risen. However, it's sometimes difficult to even remember this simple trick!

Hi Gillian,

I have been working with Tarah Brach's RAIN technique. 

  • Recognize what is happening See it more deeply. 
  • Allow and Accept. 
  • Investigate your inner experience. 
  • Non-identification. 

I found a helpful definition of RAIN here: 

https://www.mindfulnessnorthwest.com/about-practice/8092482>

Yesterday, I was experiencing anger at something someone said that triggered a strong reaction and I was able to stay with the emotions I was experiencing by recognizing what was happening and allowing the experience. I was surprised that I was able to move to investigating the experience. I found that I was feeling a embarrassment and shame. Following this experience, I felt more balanced. 

I can't say that I am always successful at doing this. It is always a work in progress.

Regards,

Gene

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18 hours ago, Gene Williams said:

It is always a work in progress.

Absolutely! We are all learning - each moment is an opportunity to dive deeper into our habitual thought patterns and reactions. Thank you for sharing this 🙂 I love this acronym. 

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Hello to all in this thread and to those joining in! It's been a while since I've heard from some of you here. Are you well during these times? 

I just wanted to share a new blog post I've just seen is up on Mindfulness Exercises. It's related to anxiety so I thought it would be fitting to share here:

https://mindfulnessexercises.com/8-facts-about-anxiety-and-their-mindful-solutions/

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Anxiety is the reason I got into mindfulness. I totally agree. I'll suddenly become aware that I'm not taking full breaths at times. When I get like this, I grab my disc golf bag and hit the course. I work from home, so getting out and away from my desk is paramount to my mental health. 

I've also gotten back into weightlifting after a 6 month hiatus, which I'll never do again. My stress got so bad a few months ago, that I started having vertigo-like symptoms. I was dizzy anytime I was in an upright position. My hypothalamus was the culpret according to my chiro. He gave me some supplements and that really helped, but getting back into the gym and better eating habits have really helped. 

But I will say meditation has 10X'd the benefits of all those things. Incredibly powerful. 

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Thank you for sharing J.D. - and welcome to the community! Relating to what you've said, I do believe managing anxiety requires a holistic approach - community, nourishing lifestyle habits, awareness, rest, and so forth. It seems like you're covering a lot of angles in your approach!

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On 9/30/2019 at 7:18 AM, Gillian Sanger said:

A lot of mindfulness-related notions and principles make a lot of sense when we're feeling balanced and, at minimum, 'okay.' But, it can be so hard to embody this knowing when anxiety or fear arises strongly. Does anyone have insights or specific practices that have proven helpful in these instances?

I'm often amazed at how simple breath awareness - even for 10 seconds!! - can greatly reduce any feelings of stress and anxiety when it's risen. However, it's sometimes difficult to even remember this simple trick!

I find anxiety is very hard to erase with mindfulness I have no idea why its recommended as a solution, you have to get so so good at mindfulness for it to be a solution that its not very practical suggestion. 

It will work but you are asking people to become experts . No one tells you that part.  

Im sure jogging helps too but does it really or does it just take 5% off and leave you with 95%?

Im getting pretty disgruntled by the advice circling in "humanities culture "

Edited by Abby
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On 3/29/2020 at 12:43 PM, Gillian Sanger said:

I know I've mentioned it before but I don't think I've done so in this thread. So, I wanted to mention Tara Brach's RAIN meditation as a way of helping to witness and nurture difficult emotions such as anxiety (especially now given the uncertainty of the times). Has anyone listened to this before or to another version of this type of meditation?

https://mindfulnessexercises.com/downloads/rain-of-compassion/

I like your combination of mindfulness and a breath its a x2 help and its something you can do quite easily in a live situation with other people. 

 

My tip for you is expand your rib cage to its maximum* on an in breath there's a forced  relaxation effect that happens every time, it might not be enough but it is something and its reliable 

 

 

 

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Hi Abby,

Is Mindful Meditation is for everyone? No, it is for all who want it. Learning the Positive outcomes of it will illustrate over time; it is not a Cure-all either. When appropriate, it could also be utilized as an adjunct to Therapy as well; based on my experience as a former Clinical Therapist. In another post to you I recommended the following link to Tara Brach:

          https://www.tarabrach.com/guided-meditations/

Edited by Rick @ FinestCoaching
Adding the link.
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16 hours ago, Abby said:

I find anxiety is very hard to erase with mindfulness I have no idea why its recommended as a solution, you have to get so so good at mindfulness for it to be a solution that its not very practical suggestion. 

It will work but you are asking people to become experts . No one tells you that part.  

Im sure jogging helps too but does it really or does it just take 5% off and leave you with 95%?

Im getting pretty disgruntled by the advice circling in "humanities culture "

Hi Abby,

Thank you for your honesty. I can sense your frustration with the practice and I understand it if you have heard or felt that mindfulness is meant to be a solution or a means of erasing anxiety.

The truth is that mindfulness does not erase anxiety - or any other difficult emotion for that matter. It helps us to shift our relationship to it, to sit with it, to be with it. Because this is not easy to do, the benefits of mindfulness can take some time to experience. And, as Rick mentioned, it may not be the best approach for everyone. Each human being needs something different to help them navigate life, and this can also change from moment to moment, year to year. All in all, I find a holistic approach has worked best for me. I personally have practiced mindfulness, others forms of meditation, yoga, psychotherapy, hypnosis, journaling, and breathwork (and I'm sure other techniques) to help me navigate feelings of depression and anxiety over the years. Have you found any other types of practices or therapeutic modalities helpful for you?

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I've recently become aware that there is a subtle yet pervasive hum of anxiety within me these days and weeks. Something in me feels unsettled and it is proving difficult to find that sense of inner ease. One thing, however, that has been immensely helpful for me recently is cultivating community - coming together with others who are open-hearted and open-minded, sharing thoughts and feelings without the fear of being judged. 

Societal waters feel choppy these days and I am very grateful for all friends new and old who have helped me to anchor myself during these times. How is everyone else doing these days? What has been helping you to ground yourself... to anchor... if you've also been feeling uneasy?

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Hi Gillian and everyone on this thread. I had been worrying and feeling burdened by the state of the planet and the blocks to progress here in the United States. I took stock and withdrew from the nightly newscasts and cable channels. I read a brief synopsis on the internet in the morning and that is it. I am "taking refuge" as advocated especially by Tara Brach. My refuge is in the Loving Kindness Meditation. To me it is a prayer and I pray it often throughout each day. My way of doing that is to address the words to "all that is".  May all that is be filled with loving kindness. May all that is be safe and protected. May all that is be protected from inner and outer harm. May all that is be healthy. May all that is be happy. May all that is live with ease. I can't really describe the sense of relief it gives me to pray this prayer. I recognize it is my way of "doing something" about all the things I care about.  I also have done my own version of RAIN. That has brought some real benefit. I have reappraised my life and relationships. I recognize now the good I did and do and where I failed/fail. I can now live  better with both. When thinking of those who can't see getting a vaccination as a service to all others on planet earth, I say the loving kindness prayer. To Mitch McConnell and those others who oppose any good plan to promote equality and care in America, I say the loving kindness prayer. This is my refuge. I have worked on forgiving those who have caused me hurt or injury. I am making progress. Letting go of anger and hurt is not easy but brings out the energy I used to use to feel those feelings. I am following Rick Hanson's guidance to  soak in the goodness I feel whenever I feel it. He encourages us to let it grow and expand and it is getting easier. That has led me to recognize and be filled with gratitude for everything good that has happened and is happening in my own life and the lives of others.  I enjoy this focus on the good. For me, it is empowering and uplifting. I only spend time with friends who feel grateful as well. I try to share positivity with all those I encounter daily in public by greeting them warmly and wishing them a good day or helping in some simple way. Every simple act seems well received and doing them helps me. At this hour of my life, I have decided that this is what I can do to make life better. Daniel

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Lovely to hear from you Daniel. Thank you for sharing all of this. I am very glad to hear that loving kindness practice has been of great support for you - and withdrawing from the news a bit more. I have stepped away from Instagram for half a year as a way of supporting my wellbeing and reconnecting with inner peace (easier some days than others). I long for deep, honest, open-minded conversation, something that Instagram just does not have the capacity to provide. I'm grateful for connections with new people who I can be my authentic self with and with whom to share those rich dialogues that I long for - those that truly nourish me and remind me I'm supported and connected.

The weight of the world is indeed a lot to carry. I feel it, too. I am sending loving prayers your way, Daniel. 💗

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