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Talk To Me About Anxiety

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    #16
    My experience is similar to what others have posted here. This past winter I was motivated to try the "Unwinding Anxiety" app which was developed by Dr. Judson Brewer (also wrote a book with the same title). Through learning that program I came away with some really amazing insights. For instance, the premise of his theory is that anxiety and the ways we cope with it are essentially habit loops... some people use substances, screen time, or worry as a distraction to cope with unpleasant feelings of anxiety. Unfortunately these behaviors fuel the fire and only increase our anxious feelings. By being present with our feelings and accepting them with kindness we can actually process the experience. Some huge eye-openers for me were:

    * Anxiety doesn't have to necessarily be based on a thought or something in the world specifically triggering it. Sometimes our bodies just feel anxiety symptoms and our brain starts generating negative thoughts based on our body sensations
    * Worry is a habit and like any habit, we can choose to step away from it and try something different. This involves asking ourselves if we really want to worry anymore, and if our worry is helping us feel less anxious. To that question, typically the answer is no . We can tell ourselves that we don't want to worry anymore and then try focusing on other things like being aware of our bodies or what's going on around us (open awareness).

    I have good days and bad days but at a basic level, if I can just become aware that I have anxiety and that I might fall into one of these habits (worry, screen time, alcohol), it's the first step towards disconnecting with the anxiety itself and letting it move on.

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      #17
      Thanks for your insights all of you!

      I don't have anything on the topic I want to share at this point. But I do know what it's like to feel anxious of course, just nothing in particular that I can write down in just a few sentences comes to mind. It's a complicated matter.

      However, reading your posts is truly interesting and some suggestions seem very wise! So I'm definitely following this thread!

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        #18
        I've never had much problems with anxiety, tbh, although I have a bit of a drug/alcohol career behind me. That was because of a general feeling of displacement and not-belonging, and not anxiety. Anxiety is not really something I'm all too familiar with. So I don't know if I can contribute much, aside from the things that I think might be the reasons, or could have helped me.
        I've always been somewhat fatalistic and whatever happened, I accepted and made the best out of it. I believe that I always have at least a bit of control over what's happening, even if it's just the way I deal with a problem or think about it. That knowledge of being in control, even if it's a flimsy one, gives me strength.
        I've never owned a smartphone and only have known for a very short time of what they are capable of. Maybe holding the whole internet in your hand is just too much information always ready to look at for most humans. I'm glad I never had one, although I'm not sure if it would have changed anything. I always thought that most of that side of the internet and the news are generally uninteresting compared to the real world around me. I usually don't spend more than one hour on the internet. I also don't watch/read the news. I believe that the most important ones will reach you one way or the other.
        I move a lot. I try to be outside as much as I can. I've never been very happy when I lived in cities. Now that I live in a rural area, I feel much calmer and more content. Maybe cities aren't the best environment for humans, idk.
        I believe life and the world itself don't make sense. It helps with dealing with the absurdities of life.
        Me and my partner are very fond of spending long nights discussing conspiracy theories, either paranormal or social/political. Most of them ridiculous. But whenever bizarre things happen, they somehow make you scoff at them, because you either anticipated worse, or it doesn't seem so far out there. It's mostly a hobby, though. Maybe spending good time in good company and talking a lot helps. Although, looking at a problem and working to find a solution, however small and signifcant, already does alot.
        Personally, if I would give very generally advice from my own experience, I would say cutting out internet and news as much as possible, moving a lot, spending as much time outside as possible and finding a spot that makes you comfortable would help.

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          #19
          lofivelcro important insights on coping strategies. Thank you!

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            #20
            anything can trigger anxiety especially if you have tramatic experiences with things. For me I get anxious on tests so had to have extra time on them i also get anxious in car rides especially when on long drives and people go 20 miles or over the speed limit thats the hardest one for me to cope with because reading and knitting can only do so much during a car ride. i also get anxious if i get overwhelmed which is not as easy to cope with but if i recognize im overwhelemed i can stop the anxiety with either knitting, reading, watching tv or even excersising.

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              #21
              DustyQOTF you're quite right that there are many more environmental triggers for anxiety than we can ever prepare for. That's why it is important to develop personal coping strategies, like you have.

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                #22
                just as a side note if you have anything like ADHD you might have a hard time going back to housework or what ever you were originally doing before getting overwhelmed or anxious. This of course is based off personal experience its also why sticking to the programs is a bit harder for me its also why i have like 10 unfinished products im working on in knitting

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                  #23
                  Originally posted by Damer View Post
                  BravoLimaPoppa3 you are, obviously, in good company. We all get anxious at some stage, the current perfect storm of conditions brought together by the pandemic, global uncertainty and personal difficulties we all face has only made it worse for all of us. You are right in that exercise and meditation help but they are not enough. We usually go to them when we are already stressed (so we are mitigating the symptoms rather than the cause). In addition, when we try to block something in our brain or 'forget it' our brain assigns resources to remembering it so it can 'forget it' (yeah, we're that weird inside our head. There is an article on this here: https://thesnipermind.com/what-covid...on-making.html - it also lays out some strategies towards coping better with anxiety.)

                  Science tells us that if we experience anxiety regularly, rewiring our brain to not experience it is next to impossible. So what we can is mitigate it, not so much by avoiding it or blocking it as by embracing it and understanding and defusing it. our sense of anxiety has evolutionary roots that helped us survive which is why it is so difficult to eradicate. At the same time, letting it take us over works against our long-term survival. Within the Darebee team we try to talk things through by externalising what we are feeling as in: "today's news is messing with my head" or "the fact that we don't know what will happen to the world by Christmas is stressing me out". Externalization is a valid psychological technique to ease the stress we feel by changing point of view. The moment we clearly articulate the problem (i.e. stress and anxiety) and its source, we cal look for solutions. Even acknowledging that there isn't one (as in knowing what the world will look like by Christmas this year, for instance) allows us to refocus our efforts to dealing with things we can actually control (like getting up in the morning and enjoying a great cup of coffee) and that allows us to better understand that what we feel is natural and since we cannot truly divine the future (in my example) we can stop worrying about that and focus on something else.

                  It is very difficult to deal with anxiety entirely alone. Because we are designed to feel it strongly, on our own, it can overwhelm us. What I would suggest is get a support group. The Hive is always an option and everyone here is automatically supportive of others even if they are not sure what to advise. The interaction certainly helps. Focus on a win or two. Set yourself small targets that will make you feel good if you achieve them. Understand that you're not alone. Right now, across different countries and culture, separated by different nationalities and languages, we all feel the same things.

                  Find joy in something. (Personally, when things get bad I play my favorite video game online for half an hour or so. It allows me to feel that I am responsible for nothing for a short time plus it helps me decompress by mentally taking me elsewhere. You can also achieve the same by turning off the lights or putting down the shutters and listening to your favorite music, watching a movie or reading a book. There is an interesting study on that here: https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-wa...-mental-health)

                  Once you are mentally recharged you always feel different about your ability to handle stress and anxiety.

                  I hope this helps a little.


                  Thank you Damer. Time to read more - the articles and for my mental health. Maybe break out Ironsworn, Starforged or the Utopia RPG and play those.

                  It's interesting because I was always told to not read when I got anxious ("Face reality", etc.) but I was always able to tell my biggest external critic "Beats drinking or doing drugs." But reading is pretty intensely strange once you think about it - holding pieces of a dead plant and intensely hallucinating.

                  Getting back to coping, I've found it's best to identify/call out the thoughts, feelings and actions as rooted in my anxiety and ask "What's powering the anxiety? What's driving it?" I don't always have an answer, but I find it helps. One thing I've found helpful of late is 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 centering. It's fairly quick and helps get me back into the moment and out of my head.

                  Anyway, thank you again.

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                    #24
                    I want to thank all of you who bravely stepped into this thread with your questions, suggestions and personal coping strategies. Anxiety and depression are not going to go away any time soon. As a matter of fact, both are the result of the complexity of our brain and the misalignment that comes from matching neurochemical brain responses that were put in place tens of thousands and, in some cases, millions of years ago to modern day stimuli that challenge us. There is, still and unfortunately, a stigma associated with anyone who feels anxious or becomes depressed. As a species we are really bad at extending kindness to others. Nevertheless, we are making progress. This thread is evidence of the fact that we are capable of behaving in ways that are accepting and supportive of others. We also benefit more from this approach. We experience better health, both in our body and brain, and have a stronger sense of hope.

                    Can we, with our efforts, make anxiety disappear? Depression melt away? Nope. But we can help by offering a connection that is deeply human to someone who feels alone, isolated, unseen and unheard. That alone is an achievement. I hope that those of you who took part in this thread and those who will come across it later, will bookmark it and consult it as necessary or share it with others when appropriate. I will close it now. Until next time Bees. Be the best you can be.

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