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Perfect Practise For Anxiety

RixhRixh Australia New

Hi all,
I have been experiencing anxiety for the past 12 years which was brought on by excessive drug use for a number of years. I have been practicing meditation everyday for 5 years now which although in a very very short amount of time cured my depression I was also going through, has had little to no effect on my levels of anxiety. Through my meditative path I have learned to calm the mind, become more compassionate and have become more aware of passing feelings and thoughts. I have also learned to become less attached to the physical world and on occasions reached a kind of deep state during meditation. With all this said I've been left longing to rid myself of my anxietys which was the result of my stupid decisions as an early adult. I write this looking for any particular practise anyone may know which I can use that can reduce or maybe even eliminate the anxiety altogether. I have been in constant search for an answer and am yet to find the solution within my practice.
Thankyou

Shoshinlobster

Comments

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Rixh mindfulness is for the most part the be all and end all of understanding/exploring emotions...

  • RixhRixh Australia New

    Thanks @Shoshin
    Interesting video. I do practise mindfulness quite a bit although maybe not quite enough. Im yet to recognize the benefits but as they say all good things come in time.

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited August 7

    You're welcome @Rixh ....and welcome to NewBuddhist...

    Instead of embracing anxiety ( being present with it) more often than not one tries to block or push it away and when trying to block or push it away one increase the level of anxiety...

    "The cycle of anxiety"

    "I'm anxious and I ought not be anxious, but because I'm anxious, I'm now anxious because I'm anxious"

    ~Alan Watts~

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    My experience with anxiety is that it helps to examine the roots of these feelings. Ask yourself why you are feeling anxious, and if the answer seems obvious, ask what is behind it, often these things hide behind eachother. You are looking for certain ‘root fears’ which often conceal themselves behind lesser fears, these are things such as death or being alone or becoming crippled. Good luck!

  • RixhRixh Australia New

    Thanks @Kerome,
    The answer does seem obvious most the time. You would think after years of meditation that things would have improved but I guess I just have to keep up my practice and be positive that things will improve.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited August 7

    No problem @rixh but what I would say is that traditional meditation on the breath is effective for only some things. It helps you to relax and will generally release things that are deep inside, but it won’t necessarily help resolve anxiety — it didn’t for me. The Dalai Lama does something he calls ‘analytical meditation’ for example, other people do reasoned introspection alongside meditation.

    Do you know the Albert Einstein quote, “Insanity is doing the same things over and over again but expecting different results”? I always thought it applied very well to Buddhism, sometimes you have to vary what you do.

  • RixhRixh Australia New

    I think I have heard that quote before @Kerome and it makes perfect sense. I have as of late been trying to mix up my practise with various different meditations though I have not that I can recall come across this analytical meditation you speak of. Its now on the top of my meditations to try list.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited August 7

    Maybe look to some techniques outside of meditation? I'm not very knowledgeable but maybe some form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy where you consciously reframe your inner dialogue to avoid patterns like catastrophizing, black and white thinking or several other negative thought patterns. Or some form of exposure therapy like they use for people with phobias, where the therapist will slowly expose people to small amounts of the object or situation.

    lobsterKeromeShoshinVastmind
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited August 7

    I might try some questions that aren't intended to be answered with a pat answer but are rather intended to look anew at the anxiety?

    Like: "is anxiety inside of or outside of your mind"? "Is it always the same size"? "does it change in size? And what does that mean"? "Is it always a certain body feeling?" "How do you think it would feel if it were gone?"

    I also might (if you haven't already or if you want to look again) look at if any daily habits could help out like diet and exercise. Or moderation of coffee intake.

    lobsterpersonVastmind
  • 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
    edited August 7

    @Kerome said:... Do you know the Albert Einstein quote, “Insanity is doing the same things over and over again but expecting different results”? I always thought it applied very well to Buddhism, sometimes you have to vary what you do.

    (It wasn't Einstein...

    It came much later... )

    You knew I would pick up on that, right? I mean, if anyone was ever going to, yours truly, Mrs pedant, would be the one... <3

    KeromeVastmind
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @federica said:
    (It wasn't Einstein...

    It came much later... )

    You knew I would pick up on that, right? I mean, if anyone was ever going to, yours truly, Mrs pedant, would be the one... <3

    Well spotted! I didn’t actually know that.

    federica
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Welcome to NewBuddhist

    What works for me:

    • B vitamins. I get the mega doses and break them in half. This still means I am taking 500% of the RDA.
    • Exercise and diet as @Jeffrey mentions. In particular look after your gut by focussing on probiotics. Fear and anxiety starts/is experienced/sensed/linked to gut health.
    • Reprogramming the subconscious with hypnosis. I like Michael Sealey on Youtube.

    Good luck. Hope others continue providing insights for you ...

    Bunks
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited August 7

    You may find these helpful @Rixh

    Insight into Metta (Loving kindness)

    What causes anxiety & suffering

    Antidotes for anxiety

    In a nutshell...the key is to accept what is with loving kindness <3

    lobsterVastmind
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Hi @Rixh - nice to have another Aussie on here.

    I find a mantra can work quite well too. When the mind starts spinning out of control, just a simple word or two that can bring you back to the present and perhaps even lift the spirits!

    A neutral word can work e.g. breath in, breath out. Or something that reminds you of a higher power or source e.g. Namo Amitabha Buddha.

    Best of luck!

    Shoshinlobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    I remember Ajahn Brahm telling a story about how he helped someone with anxiety. He had her bring up anxiety provoking situations in her meditation and pay attention to the body sensations, what was it like, where was it located, etc. Once she could see that he had her massage or place her or her boyfriend's hand on the spot until it lessened or released. That supposedly helped her.

    Bunks
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited August 7

    Hello Rixh

    I think Meditation is less about changing some part of you that you are presently unable to accept (being anxious) and is more about discovering how to accept this state of anxiousness with compassion, love and wisdom.
    The premise of Buddhist meditation is about understanding how the 4NT and 8FP applies to all parts of us. The degree to which we will suffer will always depend on the degree to which we cling to, reject or ignore.... anything.

    I am just a bit of a one trick zen pony but....

    other folks within this tradition that have anxiety as a major issue have approached it as a question of the harmonization of body and mind. This means when we notice our mind based perceptions have dominated over and have obscured our other sense perceptions of sight, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling, we intentionally return an equaling amount of attention back to all the dampened sense perceptions to balance out that inequality.
    The same applies to the body perceptions that can dominate when our mind sense gate inputs are obscured.

    Here it becomes experientially apparent that while anxiety may or may not continue to re-visit, it need only do so within a meditative practice as a representative fraction of our being and not as an overwhelming entirety of our experience.

    Kudos to you for already having managed to persevere through anxiety with a daily practice for last 5 years.

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited August 8

    Bearing in mind @Rixh, anxiety is in a sense a habit pattern, and there is something that triggers the body & mind to habitually respond...

    All dharmas ("phenomena") arise in dependence upon other dharmas: "if this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist"

    Bunks
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    I think I had a similar problem with anxiety and depression - meditation may have blunted the depression but, if anything, made the anxiety worse - a burning in the gut that only intensified on sitting.

    What worked for me was a number of techniques taken from the practices of energy healing, specifically from the book: Energy Healing - the Essentials of Self-Care, by Ann Marie Chiasson, MD.

    Some of these are guided meditations on the body - circular breathing, for example, while others incorporate physical exercises such as toe-tapping while lying flat on the floor. There are an awful lot of them, so it pays to be selective about using them.

    I highly recommend this book. It did me a lot of good within a couple of weeks and sort of bypassed or tunneled under and past the anxiety so that it seemed afterwards to be behind me instead of on top of me and mauling me like an angry bear.

    lobsterpersonShoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    There I was very early morning walking in London, using my extreme social distancing when someone came up behind me. Instant anxiety. Which I felt in my stomach instantly ... until I realised it was my own shadow :3

    So I take it you know what it feels like when anxiety arises? Can you also generate peace and calm at will? Hope so. Others have useful suggestions such as mantra and healing visualisations.

    Here are my calmings.

    • Metta/Love blitz that anxiety bad boy ...
    • Tense that stomach to feel your strength
    • Physical practice eg. Walking meditation, prostrations, 'salutations to the sun' from yoga, a punch bag with a picture of Donald Trump on it ... well OK I don't do the last one but martial artists train out their fear/anxiety responses ...

    Hope something resonates ... <3

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Perfect Practise For Anxiety

    This video is (in a sense) the neuroscience behind the Dharma approach to overcoming anxiety

    Bearing in mind ...

    "He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears."

    ~Michel de Montaigne~

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I also might (if you haven't already or if you want to look again) look at if any daily habits could help out like diet and exercise. Or moderation of coffee intake.

    Anxiety/fear is the root of anger issues. It is why looking at and retraining the body arisings/awareness is so important as @Jeffrey mentions. It is easier to calm a sensation than a mind running awry with negative emotion arisings.

    http://philabuddhist.org/?p=685

    Bunks
  • RixhRixh Australia New

    Thanks Friend's,
    So many great answers. Today I started doing some yoga again which I hadn't done for about 6 months. Hopefully I achieve some positive results. Maybe I just need to settle back into my anxiety instead of dwelling on it and regretting my stupid decisions as a youth. I'm always thinking of what life would be like without my anxiety. Maybe it's time to just accept it's there and with time possibly things can improve.

    JeffreyShoshinFosdicklobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I find hatha yoga and deity diet help a lot. Many people with anxiety use up their b vitamins too quick.

    Too many useless things get me stressed. Online shopping, mobile phones, DJ Trump, the wrong hat etc ...

    Eat into calm ...
    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-b-foods#section9

  • marcitkomarcitko Explorer
    edited August 23

    I feel for you @Rixh, my fellow anxiety sufferer. I know how it sucks.

    I have not rid myself of it completely, and am still looking for remedies, but have found the following helpful:

    • Doing introspective or mindfulness exercises, ditch the label "anxiety" to the best of your ability. In truth, it's not "anxiety", which is just a word people toss around meaning different things to different people, it's actually a bunch of sensations. If you hold on to the label, the mind will create second and third level problems out of it, making things worse. For instance, you might berate yourself harshly for having these sensations, think that having these sensations makes you a weak person, wonder what will happen if it gets worse etc.

    Instead, hone in on the actual-factual sensations in the body. What, exactly, do you feel? Where? For how long? Does it come and go or is it permanent? Invent questions that make you get a clearer and more precise view of the sensations. You might be, as I was, surprised to find out that the actual-factual sensations are way, way easier to tolerate than the stuff our minds spin about it. There's even a bit of fun to it, "hey, there's a weird sensation in my left leg, ain't that interesting?" :)

    • I received a funky suggestion from a friend, to try to see precisely how the negative offending sensations are different from similar positive ones. For instance, it appears that anxiety has a lot in common with excitement in its positive form. For me this is still a work in progress, but I can see much commonality and it definitely makes it feel less bad.

    I'm off to read the whole thread now ,maybe should have done that first :)

    JeffreyhowlobsterShoshin
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