If you suffer from chronic anxiety and worries, chances are you look at the world in ways that make it seem more dangerous than it really is. For example, you may overestimate the possibility that things will turn out badly, jump immediately to worst-case scenarios, or treat every negative thought as if it were fact. You may also discredit your own ability to handle life’s problems, assuming you’ll fall apart at the first sign of trouble. These irrational, pessimistic attitudes are known as cognitive distortions. Although cognitive distortions aren’t based on reality, they’re not easy to give up. Often, they’re part of a lifelong pattern of thinking that’s become so automatic you’re not even completely aware of it. In order to break these bad thinking habits and stop the worry and anxiety they bring, you must retrain your brain. Start by identifying the frightening thought, being as detailed as possible about what scares or worries you. Then, instead of viewing your thoughts as facts, treat them as hypotheses you’re testing out. As you examine and challenge your worries and fears, you’ll develop a more balanced perspective. Stop worry by questioning the worried thought:
– What’s the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true?
– Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
– What’s the probability that what I’m scared of will actually happen?
– If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?
– Is the thought helpful? How will worrying about it help me and how will it hurt me?
– What would I say to a friend who had this worry?
By Melinda Smith, M.A., Robert Segal, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.
I’ve had a lot of worries in my life,
most of which never happened.
We are all both good and bad, it is not an either/or position. The more honest we can be in acknowledging our dark side is the first step to claiming our imperfection. Ideally over time we can reduce our pile of internal bad. Think of yourself developmentally — through the age of 27 the dark side may be more than 50%. Then in our 30′s and 40′s we start chipping away at it through self-awareness so the bad gets smaller. (Ask anyone over 40 if they would start over again and the answer is likely to be “No.”) One of the goals in life is the ongoing process of making the bad smaller. Therefore, being able to tolerate bad feelings about yourself is crucial to learning and growth. One exercise to reduce anxiety is to make a list of all the “shoulds” you burden yourself with. This pile of “shoulds” is one of the ways you erase having any room to breathe. Sort out which are the “shoulds” you agree with. Years ago when I carpooled little kids to nursery school I would make a wrong turn on purpose and I was amazed at their anxiety. I would soothe them with how important mistakes are in life, because they seemed so insulated, as many suburban people are, from the notion that mistakes could be good. Our American culture feeds this point of view with the myth of success. Anxiety erupts it’s ugly head when we expect things to be a certain way. All our vacations should be sunny every day & we expect our lives to be stuffed full of happiness and certainty. Other cultures don’t have the same expectations. We can learn a lot from Asian culture, for example. Their idea of life is much more encompassing. Pain and setbacks are expected, not ignored. The reality of the complicatedness of life is more accurate. Happiness is understood to be a byproduct of life choices not an end goal. We could reduce our anxiety if we could pursue this frame of reference. From “Anxiety, Control & Codependency” by Rhoda Mills Sommer, L.C.S.W. http://therapyideas.net/anxiety.htm
If something bad happened
just do this 3 things.
and third accept
that it happened.
Kenneth de Guzman
Love is very aware and discerning. In fact, we are much more aware and discerning in the absence of fear. Fear limits our world view and life’s infinite possibilities. When we find ourselves in a difficult situation, fear can blind us to all the possibilities except a few versions of the old fight or flight alternatives. Inevitably when we undo the fear, we find a different way of “being” with the situation and other alternatives arise. Often we don’t have to figure it all out ahead of time. We can just trust that by showing up without the fear and being centered we will know what to do and say in the moment. It’s not that we get smarter in the absence of fear, we just regain access to the inner wisdom that was always there and was concealed by fear. Another way that fear limits us is by shutting us off from the opportunity to try new endeavors, meet new people, entertain a new point of view, challenge old beliefs, travel, experience new cultures, discover what makes our heart sing, take risks, and step outside the box. Fear also gives rise to and strengthens the ego. Ego is another tricky word that has several definitions… It is the part of our mind that judges us and others, moves toward separation versus unity, is quick to go to fear, anger, sadness, guilt, etc., spends all its time in the past or future rather than the present moment, takes a lot of things personally, anticipates the worst, never forgets a slight or embarrassing moment, sees us as victims, and on and on it goes seldom allowing us a quiet moment. The ego doesn’t trust Love. It thinks that it is us but doesn’t know the truth of who we are. It’s an illusion of who we are. The ego’s voice is not our own even thought it operates in our head. The great thing is that we don’t have to listen to it or follow it any more than we have to listen to a person who constantly lies to us and tries to mislead us. http://www.yoursecretgarden.org/Articles/20.htm
Fear is faith that
it won’t work out.
Sister Mary Tricky
Only in the past two decades has depression in children been taken very seriously. Before puberty, boys and girls are equally likely to develop depressive disorders. After age 14, however, females are twice as likely as males to have major depression or dysthymia. The risk of developing bipolar disorder remains approximately equal for males and females throughout adolescence and adulthood. Research has revealed that depression is occurring earlier in life today than in past decades. In addition, research has shown that early onset depression often persists, recurs, and continues into adulthood, and that depression in youth may also predict more severe illness in adult life. Depression in young people frequently co-occurs with other mental disorders, most commonly anxiety, disruptive behavior, or substance abuse disorders, as well as with other serious illnesses such as diabetes. The depressed younger child may say he is sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that the parent may die. The depressed older child may sulk, get into trouble at school, be negative, grouchy, and feel misunderstood. Among both children and adolescents, depressive disorders confer an increased risk for illness and interpersonal and psychosocial difficulties that persist long after the depressive episode is resolved; in adolescents there is also an increased risk for substance abuse and suicidal behavior. Unfortunately, these disorders often go unrecognized by families and physicians alike. Signs of depressive disorders in young people are often viewed as normal mood swings typical of a particular developmental stage. In addition, health care professionals may be reluctant to prematurely “label” a young person with a mental illness diagnosis. However, early diagnosis and treatment of depressive disorders are critical to healthy emotional, social, and behavioral development. https://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/resources/men-and-depression.aspx
Depression exist without you knowing it,
even denying it. It is not an illusion.
You don’t even know you’re in it.
It takes awhile before you realize it.
If you deny it, it means you’re still in there
or else you won’t talk about your misery
and the dramas in your life.
Ann Marie Aguilar
The consequences of being fear-based or operating from fear are extremely varied and insidious. One consequence is that we tend to become narcissistic. When we’re caught in fear of being negatively impacted physically, financially, or psychologically we automatically divert our focus from others or the environment and bring it into ourselves. Obviously if our survival seems to be at stake we may not much care if we pollute or do something that has a negative impact on others. But even when the situation isn’t that extreme, we tend to draw our focus inward and ignore the impacts on others or the environment. We can also be drawn into a victim-like stance where we see ourselves as being unfairly taken advantage of or impacted by other people or circumstances . It’s been said that victimhood is the biggest addiction operating in our country today. It’s not coincidental that fear is operating so pervasively. When we’re fearful it is easier to view the world as being against us. We tend to look for things to go wrong and can feel very disempowered when they apparently do so. When we come from fear, anger, guilt sadness, etc. the result is that we become a source of negative energy. This energy can repel other people or draw a response in kind which adds more fuel to the victim fire as we experience even more loss and negativity. We may look for people who are willing to commiserate with us rather than support us in moving to a more positive place. When we come from fear we tend to be more judgmental and critical of those people and situations we fear. If we fear something, we want to make it wrong. Judgment can become a mode of seeing everyone and everything outside of us. I’m talking about being judgmental, not about exercising “good judgment” in the sense of making wise assessments leading to good decisions. Being judgmental is rampant and creates a lot of unnecessary separation and ill feelings. Love doesn’t judge. Fear does. Being judgmental is another epidemic in the modern world. When anything “bad” happens it almost seems more important to find someone to blame and judge than to do something creative and positive. http://www.yoursecretgarden.org/Articles/20.htm
Too many of us
are not living
because we are
living our fears.
When we make an important negative decision about ourselves, it is painful. We make the decision – for example ‘I’m not good enough’. This is a huge decision, a complete rejection of self. Then the conscious mind looks at it and goes ‘argh!! That’s awful! I can’t live with that! I’ll put it away!’ And shoves it out of harm’s way, into the sub-conscious mind. It remains in the subconscious… where it delicately blinks away as a ‘truth’. Our lives reflect that ‘truth’. However, we are not aware that it is true for us, because we have rejected it and shoved it into a dark hole. The way to clear a belief is simply to go into the dark cupboard, pull out the belief, Bring it into awareness, and say, yes! This has been true for me. I acknowledge it and surrender to it. In this instant, as we embrace it, the belief’s power magically goes ‘ping!’ and it is no longer true for us. We are merely bringing it into the light and acknowledging it so that it can be changed. The only good thing about the ‘I’m not good enough’ belief is that it is incredibly motivating! People with the belief often have highly developed talents in diverse areas, from trying to ‘prove they are good enough’. By Jelila /Angela Torrington http://www.baliadvertiser.biz/articles/spiritual/2005/feeling.html
Once you become self-conscious,
there is no end to it;
once you start to doubt,
there is no room for anything else.
Given that women are twice as likely to suffer with depression as men, there is a tendency – even in clinical diagnosis – to associate depression with symptoms more likely reported by women. These include sadness, hopelessness, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, loss of interest in people and activities, and suicidal thoughts. According to the STAR-D study, there are physical differences in the overall pattern of depression symptoms between men and women which may go unnoticed: Whereas both men and women may report low mood as a symptom of depression, women are more likely to gain weight while men are more likely to lose weight; women report symptoms associated with anxiety while men report symptoms associated with obsessive –compulsive disorder; women feel less energetic and men typically feel agitated; and men are more likely to develop alcohol or substance abuse in conjunction with major depression. In his cross-cultural research on depression, Jules Angst, MD found that both men and women reported stress as a cause of their depression. Whereas women cited family as the primary source of stress, men were more likely to cite work and unemployment.
- Whereas women choose to share and disclose their stress as a way of seeking help, men are far less likely to disclose stress to others. More common in men than women, depression is often reflected in stress headaches, stomach problems and chronic pain – Something missed by men as well as the people around them.
- Also more common in men is the masking of feelings with anger, irritability or changes in behavior, such as becoming controlling and, in some cases, abusive or violent. It is unlikely that a partner will move closer to support someone whose pain is hidden by angry put-downs or abuse. By Suzanne Phillips, PsyD http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/men-and-hidden-danger-depression
about as close
as you get to
THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY FEEL: Think about falling in love. Really think about it for a minute. It is exhilarating. It can make you feel so alive! It can make you smile even in your sleep. But let’s be honest: falling in love is often scary, too. It’s scary because the emotions are so intense and so overwhelming that it’s hard to sort them all out. It can be so confusing to fall in love. If you don’t understand what you feel, your natural instinct is to hide from those feelings. If you see something you don’t like, your natural instinct is to shield your eyes. If you taste something you don’t like, your instinct is to spit it out! That’s a pretty graphic example, but you get the picture. When a man is afraid of his emotions, the first thing he does is trying to hide them away in a little closet far away from his heart. Getting over this reason to hide his feelings takes time. It takes some courage, too. But he can do it with plenty of reassurance from you. The more open you are, the more likely he will eventually talk about what he feels. And once he’s talking about it, he will understand it. http://relationshipabode.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/why-men-hide-their-feelings/
Feelings are not
supposed to be logical.
Dangerous is the man
who has rationalized
Why Do People Bottle Up Their Emotions?
* They are unable to fight back in an argument situation (eg the “opponent” is more dominant or it is someone of authority that it may impact their employment).
* They think that if they show their emotions it is a sign of weakness.
* They believe it is not normal to be feeling a certain way, so try to conceal their emotions from others.
* They are afraid of what other people might think.
* They feel that they have to deal with their emotions or problems on their own because “no one else will understand”.
* A situation may have occurred that has placed someone in shock and they just don’t know how to deal with it or they just block it out because don’t fully understand it makes them feel (or don’t feel) a certain way.
* They feel they have to be “the rock” for others.
* They don’t want to be hurt so they swallow their emotions back down.
What Happens When You Pent Up Your Emotions
* You can become crabby to be around & start snapping at other people for now reason.
* You get to a stage where you have bottled up your emotions to the point you “explode” – often the victims are loved ones, friends, co-workers.
* You turn to escapism (alcohol, drugs) for short-term solutions, to avoid confronting your emotions.
* You become depressed and numb and don’t know how to get out of the situation.
* Often the pent-up emotions will manifest themselves physically in the form of diseases…
* Some people commit suicide because they see no other way out. http://marcofratelli.hubpages.com/hub/Ways-To-Release-Your-Bottled-Up-Emotions
Man is not what he thinks he is,
he is what he hides.
Love is an emotion that is probably the most talked about, thought about, written about and not to forget, fantasized about thing in the world. While some would describe love as a tender and deep affection, others would associate the feelings with sexual passion and desire. In the initial phase of a relationship, there is an overwhelming and instant attraction towards one’s love interest which slowly moves on to become a tender and beautiful relationship based on companionship and trust. And while this is the expected culmination for all relationships, there are instances when these feelings of love turn into an obsession. The manic need to possess takes over and overrides the bond of trust and companionship that a couple shares. This disorder has its foundation in the insatiable fixation of wanting to possess the target of their obsession. The emotions that are experienced when in love, like mutual respect, trust and security, are overtaken by feelings of jealousy, insecurity and resentment. This then gives way to a painful and all-consuming obsession and preoccupation with an actual or wished-for lover. This insatiable longing either to possess or be possessed by the target of their obsession, and rejection by physical or emotional unavailability of their target can result in the perpetual fixation and compulsion to obtain the person they desire. The unnerving aspect is that a person might not even be in a relationship with the object of their desire or have (recently) separated from them… By Parul Solanki http://www.buzzle.com/articles/obsessive-love-disorder.html
This isn’t a crush, it’s obsession.
You are never not in my thoughts.
Your scent carries across a room
and paralyzes me with longing.
Part of me wants to set you on fire
and hold you while the flame
consumes us both.
From “Falling Under”
by Gwen Hayes