How to Be Mindful When You’re Anxious

woman sitting on floor with cloud above her head

Good thoughts in here! Go to the source for the rest of the article…

Anxiety is not all bad. It can prompt us to take stock of our actions and life situation. It can give us a psychophysiological flick toward taking corrective, repairing action or artfully dodge oncoming peril. In these ways, a certain amount of anxious ants in our pants is helpful—it’s a major component of our in-the-moment motivation for healthy change.

The problem arises when anxiety overwhelms and blocks us. Traditional contemplative tradition refers to a pool of water (representing the mind), with anxious restlessness being the whipped up waters leading to muddiness, a lack of clear seeing to the bottom. When anxiety gets this wild inside us, we don’t see ourselves or the world accurately. We distort and react in order to stave off this internal chaos and we are hindered in our ability to relax into seeing clearly. We have a harder time focusing, and our efficiency in daily life takes a hit. Our brains juice up with the stress hormone cortisol in an ancient attempt to reduce threat, and we’re left feeling drained and depleted.

Go to the source for more: How to Be Mindful When You’re Anxious – Mindful

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Change the Channel

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The metaphor I use for dealing with unwanted thoughts is Pandora. Almost everyone is familiar with this music service; give a thumbs up to the music that you like and a thumbs down to the things you don’t like. I don’t need to ruminate about my failed marriage – when that thought comes into my mind, I can give it a thumbs down and move on to the next thought. Perhaps author Rick Hanson says it better:

Sometimes the inner practices fail you – or at least aren’t matched to the pickle you’re in. You’ve let be, let go, and let in. You sat to meditate and it was like sitting on the stove. You tried to be here now and find the lessons – and wanted to whack the person who told you to do this. You still feel awful, overwhelmed, angry, afraid, inadequate, or depressed. Now what?

Sometimes it helps to change the channel, to take some kind of action. Watch TV, eat a cupcake, ask for a hug, get out of the house, something (not harmful) to shake things up, distract yourself, tune out, burn off steam, etc.

At some point you still have to engage the mind directly and do what you can with your situation. But there is certainly a place for respite or pleasure in its own right, plus these help refuel you for challenges.

Plus, changing channels has the built-in benefit of taking initiative on your own behalf. This helps counter the natural but harmful sense of helplessness that comes from tough times, and it supports the feeling that you and your needs truly matter.

Go to the source for more: Change the Channel | Psychology Today

It may be as simple as the old Perry Como song: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”

 

No Partner, No Worries: New Study of Psychological Health

Interesting study about the benefits of marriage that may surprise you!

When adults get into their mid-fifties and beyond, how much does a romantic partner matter to their psychological well-being? Matthew Wright and Susan Brown of Bowling Green University, authors of a study (link is external) recently published online at the Journal of Marriage and Family, expected to find a hierarchy of good outcomes. They predicted that married people would enjoy the greatest psychological well-being. Cohabiters, they thought, would do next best, and daters would follow in third place. They expected unpartnered single people to be worst off, psychologically. That is not what they found.

Instead they found that for women, partnership status made no difference. Whether the women were married, cohabiting, dating, or single and unpartnered, there were no statistically significant differences in their experiences of depression, stress, or loneliness. There were some nonsignificant trends in the data, but even those were not always consistent with the authors’ predictions. For example, the women who were dating tended to experience more stress than the single women without a romantic partner.

For the men, having a romantic partner mattered more than it did for the women, but again, not exactly in the ways the authors predicted. The authors thought that the unpartnered single men would do worse than the single men who were dating on every measure, but that never happened. The men who were dating did not differ significantly from the unpartnered single men in their experiences of depression or stress or loneliness.

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The cohabiting men were predicted to do less well than the married men, but that never happened, either. The married men were more likely to report frequent depressive symptoms. They were also slightly more likely to experience stress than the cohabiting men. Marriage was also no protection against loneliness, as married men were no less lonely than cohabiting men. Cohabiting men also did well in comparison to the dating or unpartnered men on two measures of well-being: They were less likely to report frequent depressive symptoms or loneliness.

Go to the source for more: No Partner, No Worries: New Study of Psychological Health | Psychology Today

Heart check…

Before World War II, 669 children who were destined for Nazi death camps were rescued and transported to England by Sir Nicholas Winton. Years later, they came together for a touching surprise tribute to their hero. If you can watch this without weeping, you may want to check and see if you still have a heart… :-D

h/t Philip Lima

The best of #bso for the week ending 01/18/14

Click an image to enlarge…

Watching the river run…

A nice cover of the old Loggins & Messina classic feature Jim Messina and Crystal Bernard [who apparently has much more talent than she showed on Wings!]…

Here’s a bonus cut with Pete Cetera of Chicago…

Apparently the joke’s on me. Here’s what the wikipedia has to say about her: “Crystal Lynn Bernard is an American singer-songwriter and television and film actress, most widely known for her seven-year-long role on the situation comedy Wings.”