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Anxiety, direct experience and mindfulness

KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest?Europe Veteran

The last few weeks I’ve been looking more at work, and I applied for a job in line with my past history. They were interested... and I got anxious. Not during the daytime, but at night, questions about this job have been plaguing me. Should I do this to prepare? Can I learn that?

The end result has been a series of almost-sleepless nights, while during the day I feel quite tranquil and have been able to meditate without problems. So I have been wondering about how this works... at what level does the worry sit? How to go about tackling being worried or anxious in this way? It seems to have something to do with caring, with how you approach the world and take it to heart.

Should I try to stop myself from caring whether I do good work? My nighttime rest is important to me, my health tends to deteriorate when I don’t sleep well or enough.

The job application process is ongoing...

Comments

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    Either you avoid activity which triggers anxiety, @Kerome, or you rise up to the challenge.
    There is a reason why you applied.
    So trust your gut and approach this move with curiosity.
    If it works, you'll be ok.
    If it does not work, you'll be ok too.
    Either possibility opens up new possibilities.
    Be ok with what is now and trust whatever comes of this.

    To me, the best anxiety cure is simply staying in the moment and allowing for things to happen.
    You could silence the thoughts that get in the way of your sleep with an "I'll think of that when it happens."
    And if it does.
    Right here and now, you can do nothing about it.
    Why lose sleep over it?

    Traveller
  • Try hypno 💤 instead of anxiety alone ...

    ShoshinKerome
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Night time brings up our anxiety and worries because of our long-held biological basis of having to be much more cautious and aware and concerned at night. Back in the really old days of humanity, when the sun set, you were at risk. From predators, from opposing tribes. Our senses are less acute and dulled by the lack of light as well as darkness causing a cascading host of hormonal changes in our bodies.

    Get off of anything electronic a couple of hours before bed. Dim all the lights that you can, and when you go to bed, do it in a cool room (cooler than you'd find comfortable in the day time) as well as covering up any and all lights, even lights from a digital clock or a blinking cell phone. It helps immensely with triggering your body's natural diurnal versus nocturnal rhythms.

    There are times my worry refuses to allow me to sleep (usually worry about a kid). So I get up and come sit in the family room and I sit in the dark, with a blanket around my shoulders and just breath. I don't really meditate, because then my thoughts really run away. But I practice pranayama, and it helps to calm my nervous system within a few minutes. Even times I was worried because I couldn't reach my college son when the city he lives in was having an emergency...I was able to sleep after pranayama. If you lay in bed thinking, then your body just starts to associate your bed with that process and it makes it even harder to sleep in the future.

    Kerome
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Thanks @karasti ... I know a bit about sleep hygiene but I can probably revisit that if it keeps up.

    And thanks for the video @lobster, I knew of Michael Sealey but wasn’t aware of this one.

  • Hope it helps @Kerome <3

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kerome it would seem that this is an ongoing problem for you, and no doubt you have 'tried' many techniques to help overcome it...

    What has been the most effective to date ?

    The reason why I'm asking is that many times one might venture into something in the hope it will fix their problem, but the ventures are more often than not short lived...Old habit patterns sneak back in...

    Worry anxiety & fear are all habit patterns...When you find something is working it's important to persevere, keep with it...

    The last time you mentioned your anxiety issue I gave you links on "Anatta"which you said was helpful...Perhaps you should re-visit "Anatta"

    It's better to work on a long term solution than a short term fix ...

    TravellerlobsterKerome
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    You’re right of course, and thank you for the kind thoughts.

    It seems to recur in waves, and I’m most vulnerable to it when half asleep. When waking up it kicks me into wakefulness, with as an end result that I’m pretty much fully awake at 4 in the morning, while I usually get up at 7.

    I’d love to have a long term solution as you say, but nothing so far has worked. Meditation, mindful examination of the roots of fear, Buddhist teachings on anatta, however I try to persuade myself that these fears are a long way away, they sometimes resurface. Sleep medication as a last resort seems to work, but that’s not a long term fix.

    Analysis doesn’t seem to help, and on the level of a conscious mind it doesn’t seem to affect me. But on the level of the emotive mind these things seem to sink in and i react to them.

  • I'm just going to chip in my 2 cents @Kerome and maybe you may be able to take something away from it.

    I'm 29 now but at around the age of 12 I started having hypochondria, literally convinced I was dying of a brain tumour or whatever it was from month to month, as it did change once I was cleared of any disease. It was torment actually, I don't wish that upon anybody.
    Then when I was around 17 I started to get social anxiety, which at one point grew in intensity throughout the coming years, at one point I stayed inside my house for 4 months, only to go out to the ATM machine 3 times at night. I even flunked out of college because of it, I just couldn't hack it. I still had hypochondria at this stage too.

    I tried covering this up with substances illegally and legally, and actually the legal substances did the worst damage (I abused them though)

    However in the past 2 years I have almost lost my social anxiety completely, and I have weak cases of hypochondria. I started to observe my anxiety when I was outside, so for example if I was waiting in line at the store, I saw how my anxiety grew up to a 9 or a 10, but after time it would fall somewhat. Also if I made an effort to talk to the cashier a little, I would walk out with a smile feeling I had accomplished something. The key is to observe your thoughts, see how they can be irrational in nature, and to work on being rational step by step.

    Your anxiety seems to be about the future, and mainly at night. Firstly you can only work on the future now, so whatever you do now will ripen in the future in some way. As long as you do your best with compassion and virtue, anything else that happens is beyond your power and thus not important right now. If you know what you want from your life, do what you need to do to get there, but be aware that it probably won't turn out exactly in the way you intend, that's not to say it won't work out, just very rarely things turn out like we intend perfectly.

    Also maybe you can try melatonin supplements, melatonin being a hormone naturally occurring in our brains in the evening that makes us sleepy. If you combine the supplements with no phone, computer or TV an hour before you want to sleep, you may become very sleepy easily. Other natural helpers would be valerian root and lavender.

    Lastly, do you exercise? Not only will it unleash energy during the day making you more sleepy in the evening, but if will make you feel productive and more content about yourself and life in general. Working out has actually been a huge part of why I no longer am anxious anymore.

    Hope this helps in some way shape or form, and all the best :)

    KeromeShoshinlobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    There is much to be said for accepting your sleep pattern is your own. Difficult, I know, if you're holding down a full-time job, but if you stay awake at certain hours and sleep for others - go with it. When awake, do something. Constructive, interesting, personally fulfilling, and rewarding. I knit, frankly, and have completed some projects for the coming festive period, as gifts for others....
    I'm not suggesting you knit - or there again, maybe I am. Men, knit. It's therapeutic and relaxing.
    Both of my grandfathers, my FiL and my ex-mother-in-Law's companion (after she was widowed) all knitted. (It was a 'war' thing; those in the Forces were encouraged to know how to knit and sew, because they would have to rely on their own abilities to make do and mend....)
    But if you go on YouTube, and look up men knitters, there are more than you'd imagine.
    Also, look up Kaffe Fassett...
    And why NOT get a new skill under your fingertips?
    You could also loom knit, which may be a simpler and quicker option.

    Imagine being able to put your insomnia to good purpose!

  • techietechie India Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    You’re right of course, and thank you for the kind thoughts.

    It seems to recur in waves, and I’m most vulnerable to it when half asleep. When waking up it kicks me into wakefulness, with as an end result that I’m pretty much fully awake at 4 in the morning, while I usually get up at 7.

    I’d love to have a long term solution as you say, but nothing so far has worked. Meditation, mindful examination of the roots of fear, Buddhist teachings on anatta, however I try to persuade myself that these fears are a long way away, they sometimes resurface. Sleep medication as a last resort seems to work, but that’s not a long term fix.

    Analysis doesn’t seem to help, and on the level of a conscious mind it doesn’t seem to affect me. But on the level of the emotive mind these things seem to sink in and i react to them.

    In the waking state, there is some degree of control. In deep sleep, there are no thoughts. In the half awake state, we're neither here nor there. There are thoughts and disturbances in this state but no conscious control. It's tricky.

    Kerome
  • @federica said:

    Imagine being able to put your insomnia to good purpose!

    Sounds like a plan. Better than meandering into mulled fear ...

    Knitting like any healing based on focus is a way to when ready, include a little fear/difficulty ...

    For example:

    • as your emotive thoughts are clearly unhelpful, study. Immerse yourself in thoughts that are based on inspiration and [insert preference].
    • as you 'get up' at 7am, you have three hours of practice/exercise per day. Progress should be rapid.
    • your new hand knitted meditation poncho business should be a lucrative side line ... Here is a template, note hood.

    Kerome
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I’ve found it helpful to read poetry in the morning, for some reason it seems to connect well to the realm of dreams. Certainly things are not going so badly, most of the anxiety disappears by the time I’m fully awake.

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    I have an old book called "A Year of Japanese Epigrams," which has a Japanese haiku for every day of the year.
    Each haiku is suited to the season, time of the year, flower, crop that matches that particular day.
    This daily reading and mulling over the haiku grounds me deeply in the here and now.

    HozanShoshinKerome
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I’ve found it helpful to read poetry in the morning, for some reason it seems to connect well to the realm of dreams. Certainly things are not going so badly, most of the anxiety disappears by the time I’m fully awake.

    I find it helpful to recognise anxiety as a passing mood or state of mind, like the weather of the mind. Traditionally the antidote is to develop samatha ( calm or tranquillity ). I have also found metta bhavana to be helpful, at least to the extent of not giving yourself a hard time for feeling anxious!

    lobster
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