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How to Manage Anxiety and Fear

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  • #367325
    Anoob
    Participant

    I am basically a sensitive person and faced depression many times. Initially I thought since I am weak hence I got depression. Later I understood from my doctor due to some chemical unbalance in brain depression is coming and genes has some implication on that. However still I am uncomfortable with managing my anxiety. Say for example if I have spotted or about to do some speech or said to do some performance in future or thinking there can be some chances of those all I feel anxious, hand trembling, voice shivering and chance to skip those events.

    I read the below article by  Ilene Strauss Cohen  in this portal,
    https://dev.tinybuddha.com/blog/when-you-feel-bad-about-feeling-sad-and-anxious/

    It is really mind blowing and which helped to accept my negative feelings. Unfortunately it is not mentioned how to manage those emotions. Do you have any advice how to manage my anxiety and fear in a better way or could you please write an article for the same considering my example negative emotions?

    • This topic was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by tinybuddha.
    #367383
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Anoob:

    “Initially I thought since I am weak hence I got depression. Later I understood from my doctor due to some chemical unbalance in brain”- you brought up two possibilities regarding the origin of your depression: (1) a weakness of character and (2) a chemical imbalance in the brain. There is a third possibility as to the origin of your depression (and anxiety) and that is (3) the environmental factor: what happened in the home where you grew up.

    A baby is not born with a set brain chemistry that will continue for life. A child’s brain chemistry changes. When living in a hostile or neglectful home, the child’s brain chemistry changes, bringing about all kinds of uncomfortable and distressing symptoms. An unfavorable brain chemistry can change with a changing environment and healing.

    “if I (am) about to do some speech… I feel anxious, hand trembling, voice shivering”- when you anticipate giving a speech, chemicals in your brain, neurotransmitters, are secreted, causing other chemicals, hormones, to be secreted from glands into your blood, arriving at your muscles, causing the trembling, arriving at your voice chords, causing the shivering you mentioned.

    There is a way to train the brain and the body to react differently to the anticipation of giving a speech, and other such anxiety- provoking events. This kind of training is called, in modern psychotherapy, Mindfulness. There are Mindfulness Exercises that you can do every day that will change your brain chemistry=  lessen your anxiety and depression (if you do them consistently, day after day, month after month, no matter how you feel in any one day and if you see progress from the previous day, or week, or not).

    I looked at the article you mentioned. In part of the article it says: “Instead of  judging and getting angry with myself for feeling a certain way, I decided to be an observer of my emotions and environment. I chose to slow down and watch”-

    – meaning, when you notice your hands trembling, don’t judge yourself, don’t say to yourself things like: What is wrong with me? Other people don’t tremble before giving a speech! I am too sensitive, I am weak, I shouldn’t feel this way! Etc. Etc.

    Instead, have empathy for yourself. Say to yourself something like: my hands are trembling because I am afraid. This means I need to be kind to myself, I need to help myself. What can I do now to make it easier for me.

    It also means, that when you find yourself lost in thoughts and fear, kind of blind to what is happening around you, take a slow breath and open your eyes to the outside, look around, what do you see, what do you hear? That will take your attention away from your anxious inside -> to the outside.

    Is this helpful?

    anita

    #367387
    Peter
    Participant

    Hi Anoob

    The article you mentioned suggests that accepting ones emotions and anxieties is a first step in “managing” them. I place quotes around the word manage because its not quite what we do as manage might suggest control which suggests ego…

    The intention I think is to feel what you feel and notice what may have triggered those feelings of anxiety. Check for F.E.A.R (false evidence appearing real). Check for control. Is the anxiety triggered by something within your ability to change? is it a desire to force life into matching your expectations of how it “should be”?

    Accepting and “managing” ones anxieties and emotions require flow. The ability to allow life to flow. Attempting to Control or wish that life be otherwise is a saying “No”. and Nothing blocks flow like a No.

    The practice of detachment can help here. This is the practice where you notice your feelings and anxieties without attaching your sense of self to them are labeling them as being good or bad. Its important to remind yourself that Detachment is not Indifference. What you feel and experience matters, you matter, and your true self cannot be defined or boxed in by a experience,  emotion or label. You have experiences and emotions, You are not a experience or emotion.

    On a practical side. Like you the idea of talking in front of people, given a speech or some such terrified me. In my case its mostly F.E.A.R  and being afraid of appearing stupid and incapable which points to an attachment to ego. I joined a Toastmasters session and learned that if I was prepared I could do manage and even enjoy it. Thus I would add a step to “managing” our anxieties as  finding a safe place to practice. I would also recommend taking a ballroom dance class as a place to practice.

    All the best

     

     

    #367401
    Anoob
    Participant

    Thanks Anita for your valuable response. I have tried mindful meditation (simply focusing on breath) for more than a year and it doesn’t make any change to my behavior. Then I was started Yoga continued for 2 months , but it got stopped since I got some sleep disorder.

    #367402
    Anoob
    Participant

    Thank you peter for precious response. I am sorry , I was not able to understand it well managing does not mean controlling. I have to accept my emotions as it is , however I  need to mange my response to them. Also I doubt how can practice detachment  for an event really we are involving. I am comfortable with a new crowd , but worries with familiar crowd. I think I really worries about the judgment of people who are known to me.

    #367407
    Peter
    Participant

    Hi Anoob

    Your correct, managing does not mean control, though managing can become an tool of control. And your right the practice of healthy detachment (boundaries)  can be difficult to develop let alone put into practice in the moment. But that’s why its a practice.

    Your on the right track wanting to find a better way to respond to your emotions rather then react to them. Be kind to yourself as you work towards that goal. As you learn better do better. What more can we ask of ourselves or others.

    I wish you well

    #367412
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Anoob:

    You are welcome. You wrote that you “tried mindful meditation (simply focusing on breath) for more than a year and it doesn’t make any change to my behavior”- try a different mindful meditation. You can try Mark Williams series of mindful meditations, I believe they are still available online, free of charge. Read about Mindfulness from different sources: there are books on the matter, magazines and online, including on under BLOG above, on this page.

    You wrote that you “started Yoga .. for 2 months, but it got stopped since I got some sleep disorder”- I don’t understand, why did you stop yoga and what kind of yoga was it (?)

    And you wrote in your third post: “I am comfortable with a new crowd, but worry with familiar crowd. I think I really worry about the judgment of people who are known to me”-

    – your parents are people who are familiar and known to you. Did any one of your parents, or both, judged you a lot, when you were a child?

    anita

    #367439
    Anoob
    Participant

    Thanks Peter and Anita.

    Anita,

    I had a good childhood with my family, friends and relatives; nobody judged me a lot. I am basically somewhat sensitive like my mother, however I was not aware about that till  I read a book named “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Dr. Elaine Aron last year. I am not saying that book is not completely fit to me. Also I was struggling if any negative emotion triggered me, then there was a talk in mind imagining somebody in opposite side and countering with them. In that aspect the article by Ilene Strauss Cohen helped me to accept my negative emotions too  and which reduced my internal conflicts much better. Now the real issue is to manage my negative emotions. As you mentioned in your previous comment “don’t judge yourself. Instead, have empathy for yourself. Say to yourself something like: my hands are trembling because I am afraid. This means I need to be kind to myself, I need to help myself. What can I do now to make it easier for me.” is very good point. Now the question is how I can help myself to make it easier instead of thinking how to hide this from others?

    Today I have restarted my yoga in the morning. Below are the list of asanas I am doing after the Pranayama (6 min)

    I) Pawanmuktasana (5 times)
    1. Padanguli Naman (toe bending)
    2. Goolf Naman (ankle bending)
    3. Goolf Chakra (ankle rotation)
    4. Goolf Ghooman (ankle crank)
    5. Janu Naman (knee bending)
    6. Janu Chakra (knee crank)
    7. Shroni Chakra (hip rotation)
    8. Pooma Titali Asana (full butterfly)
    9. Mushtika Bandhana (hand clenching)
    10. Kehuni Chakra (elbow rotation)
    11. Skandha Chakra (shoulder socket rotation) Stage I
    12. Greeva Sanchalana (neck movements)
    13. Padotthanasana (raised legs pose) – 10 times
    14. Supta Pawanmuktasana (leg lock pose)
    II) Shashankasana (pose of the moon or hare pose)
    III) Tadasana (palm tree pose)

    #367452
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Anoob:

    I hope you go about the asanas slowly, mindfully.

    “If I (am) about to do some speech or said to do some performance in future or thinking there can be some chances of those all I feel anxious, hand trembling, voice shivering… I really worry about the judgment of people who are known to me…  Now the question is how I can help myself to make it easier instead of thinking how to hide this from others?”-

    It may help if you tell the people you know, the people you are about to speak to, that you feel anxious and that when you feel anxious, your hands tremble and your voice shiver.

    Tell that to them at the beginning of a speech, in as casual a manner as you can muster, with a smile. Tell them that you are letting them know of this because you are hoping to be less anxious, knowing that they know, and not trying to hide it from them.

    anita

    #367476
    Anoob
    Participant

    Thanks Anita for your suggestion. I am sorry I feel it is not fit for me since it may badly affect my self esteem in long run. Normally peoples belongs to different types, I can explain my true feelings to those who are close to me; there may be chance of sympathize or make fun of me by others since they are in other world. It can adversely affect my confidence. I wish if you could suggest another way to manage my anxiety in a constructive manner internally will be helpful.

    #367481
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Anoob:

    I understand. Let’s see.. you wrote earlier: “The real issue is to manage my negative emotions”, “I need to manage my response to them”.

    You gave an example of a negative emotion: anxiety,  and your response to it: hand trembling, voice shivering, skipping events (“for example if I (am) about to do some speech or .. some performance in future.. all I feel anxious, hand trembling, voice shivering and chance to skip those events”).

    The word emotion can be looked at as Energy-in-motion (e-motion). Emotion is a state of motion, of  movement. A happy emotion causes the motion of smiling, laughing, jumping (in children), etc. An angry emotion causes the motion of face tensing, hands closing into fists, fighting, etc. A fearful emotion causes the motion of running away. An anxious emotion causes the motions you described: hand trembling, voice shivering and skipping events (similar to running away from the events).

    What causes our muscles to move, so to create the motions I mentioned, are chemicals in our brains and bodies. When you are anticipating an event where you are to speak to a group of people, such chemicals are automatically released, and those chemicals bring about the motions and that very uncomfortable subjective feeling inside. When your brain/ body is in the chemical habit of responding the way it does, to the events you mentioned, there is no way to command the body to stop it!

    The ways to change your anxiety when facing such events takes long-term strategies. The improvement is gradual and slow and it takes a lot of patience and time.

    Wikipedia, in its entry on Anxiety, under Treatment, reads: “The first step in the management of a person with anxiety symptoms involves evaluating the possible presence of an underlying medical cause.. Anxiety symptoms may mask an organic disease”- suggesting having a medical checkup.

    It continues: “Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective for anxiety disorders and is a first line treatment. CBT appears to be equally effective when carried out via the internet.

    “Psychopharmacological treatment can be used in parallel to CBT or can be used alone… First-line drugs are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. Benzodiazepines are not recommended for routine use.”

    In addition to the above suggestions (medical checkup, CBT, and possibly medications), regular exercise is recommended by almost everyone for the relief and management of anxiety, as long as the exercise is not excessive. A fast walk of 30 minutes twice a day, or when particularly anxious can do wonders. Plus it is good for your physical health otherwise.

    Also recommended everywhere is slower, deeper breathing exercises, meditation, more sleep, healthy nutrition, and eliminating or reducing smoking, alcohol use, and caffeine.

    Like I wrote before, there is no way to command the brain/ body: don’t feel this way! Don’t respond this way! It takes a multidisciplinary, long-term approach. You can make a plan for yourself including a number of the strategies I listed above. For example, you can choose to (1) exercise daily, (2) improve your nutrition daily, (3) continue your breathing exercises, (4) yoga and (5) try CBT.

    I have experience in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a client. My therapist at the time was a CBT therapist. Do you know anything about it? If you want to, you can read about it and let me know what you think.

    anita

     

    #367496
    Anoob
    Participant

    Thanks Anita for your detailed explanation. I am undergoing a therapy in my native. As I said  earlier I have started Yoga along with Pranayama for 12 min (breathing exercise). No other physical exercise apart from bicycle usage on weekends. I do agree managing my anxiety is a long term process. I learned self awareness last year and self acceptance this year. Those gave a great relief to me and helped to accept me as I am. Now I need to learn how I can show empathy on me for my negative emotions and manage them well. I do think it will be learned with time in almighty’s grace.

    #367509
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Anoob:

    You are welcome. I am glad that you agree that managing your anxiety is a long-term process, and I am glad to read that you learned (and are learning) self awareness and self acceptance, which has given you great relief.

    I just submitted to you a post that included a study from a website I came across. I thought I deleted all the print from the website, but seems like I didn’t and it triggered the “awaiting moderation” response. I apologize for it. The website I am referring to is about the Buddhist Four Noble Truths which I thought could be helpful to you.

    If the post does not get moderated later today, I will post again. You can post anytime, regardless.

    anita

    #367504
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Anoob:

    You are welcome. I looked up a website called learn religions. com / the four noble truths, for my own use, and I thought maybe it will benefit you as well (I don’t think it can hurt), so read the following if you want to, and stop reading whenever you so choose. Mostly paraphrased:

    “The Four Noble Truths are the foundation of Buddhism:

    1. The truth of suffering (dukkha)

    2. The truth of the cause if suffering

    3. The truth of the end of suffering

    4. The truth of the path that frees us from suffering.”

    #1, life is dukkha: dukkha means “incapable of satisfying”, or “not able to bear or withstand anything”, or “stressful”.  Even joyful/ pleasurable times in life end with dukkha because joy and pleasure always come to an end, and at that end, we crave more.

    #2, the cause of dukkha is “tanha”: tanha translated to a “thirst”, or “craving”. That craving never gets satisfied. This Truth suggests that we need to thirst less, crave less/ to be less attached to our craving.

    #3, The solution to dukkha is to lessen our craving: It’s impossible to vow to oneself: from now on, I won’t crave anything! But there is a diligent practice that over time will lessen and lessen the craving.

    #4, the details of the diligent practice that is required= “The Eightfold Path”. It includes ethical conduct and mindfulness.

    Anoob, you can think, if you want to about what is your personal tanha (your most intense thirst or craving, which is in the core of your dukkha (dissatisfaction/ stress). Let me know if any of this is speaking to you, or otherwise post again about anything you choose.

    anita
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    #367517
    anita
    Participant

    Cleaning up the above:

    Dear Anoob:

    You are welcome. I looked up a website called learn religions. com / the four noble truths, for my own use, and I thought maybe it will benefit you as well (I don’t think it can hurt), so read the following if you want to, and stop reading whenever you so choose. Mostly paraphrased:

    “The Four Noble Truths are the foundation of Buddhism:

    1. The truth of suffering (dukkha)

    2. The truth of the cause if suffering

    3. The truth of the end of suffering

    4. The truth of the path that frees us from suffering.”

    #1, life is dukkha: dukkha means “incapable of satisfying”, or “not able to bear or withstand anything”, or “stressful”.  Even joyful/ pleasurable times in life end with dukkha because joy and pleasure always come to an end, and at that end, we crave more.

    #2, the cause of dukkha is “tanha”: tanha translated to a “thirst”, or “craving”. That craving never gets satisfied. This Truth suggests that we need to thirst less, crave less/ to be less attached to our craving.

    #3, The solution to dukkha is to lessen our craving: It’s impossible to vow to oneself: from now on, I won’t crave anything! But there is a diligent practice that over time will lessen and lessen the craving.

    #4, the details of the diligent practice that is required= “The Eightfold Path”. It includes ethical conduct and mindfulness.

    Anoob, you can think, if you want to about what is your personal tanha (your most intense thirst or craving, which is in the core of your dukkha (dissatisfaction/ stress). Let me know if any of this is speaking to you, or otherwise post again about anything you choose.

    anita

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