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Thread: Anxiety

  1. #1

    Anxiety

    Can anyone point me towards practices or readings other than zazen, or that complement zazen to assist in addressing anxiety, rumination, and stress?

    I practice daily zazen, but due to a problematic situation with a psychologically abusive ex and father, as well as being a single mother and trying to promote health and well-being for my daughter amidst this ... I often feel overwhelmed, caught up, and catch myself overthinking and dwelling on future or current fears.

    Iíd be grateful for any pointers as I have a history of dulling these behaviours with moderate alcohol use, and I canít/wonít go there with a youngster who needs me

    Picture of the being I am most grateful for, for your enjoyment.

    S/LH




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Hi Natahl,

    Well, we have quite a few mental health professionals, not to mention LOTS of experienced 'anxious' folk around here , so I know that there will be several good suggestions.

    But I am going to recommend lots of exercise and physical activity. Zen practice is actually a very physical activity for the monks, not just sitting around. Cleaning (of, that's another good one!) ...

    We're All In This Together (10) - Recommendation: Cleaning
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...light=cleaning

    ... gardening, lifting weights, running, all of that. The best medicine!

    Actually, in our Covid lockdown series from last year, there were some other suggestions, because we were all on edge a bit then.

    Gardening ... We're All In This Together (14) - Recommendation: Pull Weeds, Plant Seeds
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ds-Plant-Seeds

    We’re All In This Together (4) - Recommendation: Routine & Ritual
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...Routine-Ritual

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Natahl,

    Well, we have quite a few mental health professionals, not to mention LOTS of experienced 'anxious' folk around here , so I know that there will be several good suggestions.

    But I am going to recommend lots of exercise and physical activity. Zen practice is actually a very physical activity for the monks, not just sitting around. Cleaning (of, that's another good one!) ...

    We're All In This Together (10) - Recommendation: Cleaning
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...light=cleaning

    ... gardening, lifting weights, running, all of that. The best medicine!

    Actually, in our Covid lockdown series from last year, there were some other suggestions, because we were all on edge a bit then.

    Gardening ... We're All In This Together (14) - Recommendation: Pull Weeds, Plant Seeds
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ds-Plant-Seeds

    Weíre All In This Together (4) - Recommendation: Routine & Ritual
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...Routine-Ritual

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Those are very interesting suggestions as I often do feel best after pottering in the garden with my Little, or doing some farm fencing for my neighbour. As a nurse I have read about the effects of physical exercise on depression, but hadnít heard much about its applicability in anxiety. It makes sense though.

    S/LH
    Natahl


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Hi Natahl,


    A couple of years ago I suffered from burnout and I can second Jundo's advice that physical exercise works well. After a long hiatus I started practicing martial arts again (Iaido) and it had a significantly positive effect on my recovery along with hiking along the shore on a daily basis. Wishing you all the best.

    Gassho,
    Seibu
    Sattoday

  5. #5
    As a lifelong sufferer of GAD/panic disorder, I can recommend three things which have helped me:

    1) Therapy and medication (my biggest regret is suffering for so many years thinking I could "fix" myself without professional help)
    2) Exercise (walking and yoga for me) and trying to cut out processed foods as much as possible
    3) The book "Unwinding Anxiety" by Dr. Jud, and accompanying smartphone apps (see drjud.com)

    Take care of yourself, and I hope you can find some relief. Anxiety is no joke. Feel free to DM me anytime
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    As a lifelong sufferer of GAD/panic disorder, I can recommend three things which have helped me:

    1) Therapy and medication (my biggest regret is suffering for so many years thinking I could "fix" myself without professional help)
    2) Exercise (walking and yoga for me) and trying to cut out processed foods as much as possible
    3) The book "Unwinding Anxiety" by Dr. Jud, and accompanying smartphone apps (see drjud.com)

    Take care of yourself, and I hope you can find some relief. Anxiety is no joke. Feel free to DM me anytime

  7. #7
    I will just add that there is nothing at all which prevents someone who will benefit from seeking help from a qualified mental health professional for such issues. In fact, I would encourage so if someone would benefit.

    Therapy and, if the doctor approves, Zazen can go hand-in-hand.

    One of the wonders of Zazen is that it lets us sit with anxiety when anxious. For example, many times someone may become depressed or anxious, and then become even more depressed and anxious about being depressed and anxious, doubling their power! Zazen lets us treat the passing drama of the mind as just temporary, passing weather, and not fall into taking our mood so seriously. The sadness and anxiety may still be present, but we just consider them objects in the room like the table in the corner, nothing to resist, think about or be pulled into. Suddenly, some of their extra fuel is gone.

    However, if there are underlying issues that are the root cause of the depression or anxiety, Zazen may not be the most effective therapy alone, and one should talk to a doctor or mental health professional and deal with it. (I like to say that, if one has a bad tooth, one doesn't expect Zazen alone to deal with it: One goes to the dentist.) If the doctor approves, one can keep sitting Zazen too.

    Sorry to run long.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I will just add that there is nothing at all which prevents someone who will benefit from seeking help from a qualified mental health professional for such issues. In fact, I would encourage so if someone would benefit.

    Therapy and, if the doctor approves, Zazen can go hand-in-hand.

    One of the wonders of Zazen is that it lets us sit with anxiety when anxious. For example, many times someone may become depressed or anxious, and then become even more depressed and anxious about being depressed and anxious, doubling their power! Zazen lets us treat the passing drama of the mind as just temporary, passing weather, and not fall into taking our mood so seriously. The sadness and anxiety may still be present, but we just consider them objects in the room like the table in the corner, nothing to resist, think about or be pulled into. Suddenly, some of their extra fuel is gone.

    However, if there are underlying issues that are the root cause of the depression or anxiety, Zazen may not be the most effective therapy alone, and one should talk to a doctor or mental health professional and deal with it. (I like to say that, if one has a bad tooth, one doesn't expect Zazen alone to deal with it: One goes to the dentist.) If the doctor approves, one can keep sitting Zazen too.

    Sorry to run long.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Jundo always expresses this so well.



    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Natahl View Post
    Can anyone point me towards practices or readings other than zazen, or that complement zazen to assist in addressing anxiety, rumination, and stress?

    I practice daily zazen, but due to a problematic situation with a psychologically abusive ex and father, as well as being a single mother and trying to promote health and well-being for my daughter amidst this ... I often feel overwhelmed, caught up, and catch myself overthinking and dwelling on future or current fears.

    Iíd be grateful for any pointers as I have a history of dulling these behaviours with moderate alcohol use, and I canít/wonít go there with a youngster who needs me

    Picture of the being I am most grateful for, for your enjoyment.

    S/LH




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    That's a wonderful picture.

    A lot of good suggestions have been presented here. Exercise really helps a lot as it produces the right chemicals in the body which makes our lives more manageable. There are also breathing exercises which can be practised and you can message me about it if you want to know more.

    After exercise, I recommend being in the corpse posture for around 10 to 15 minutes daily. This really helps a lot. Together with all this, daily Zazen.

    Gassho,
    Sat today,
    Guish.

    Sent from my PAR-LX1M using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I will just add that there is nothing at all which prevents someone who will benefit from seeking help from a qualified mental health professional for such issues. In fact, I would encourage so if someone would benefit.

    Therapy and, if the doctor approves, Zazen can go hand-in-hand.

    One of the wonders of Zazen is that it lets us sit with anxiety when anxious. For example, many times someone may become depressed or anxious, and then become even more depressed and anxious about being depressed and anxious, doubling their power! Zazen lets us treat the passing drama of the mind as just temporary, passing weather, and not fall into taking our mood so seriously. The sadness and anxiety may still be present, but we just consider them objects in the room like the table in the corner, nothing to resist, think about or be pulled into. Suddenly, some of their extra fuel is gone.

    However, if there are underlying issues that are the root cause of the depression or anxiety, Zazen may not be the most effective therapy alone, and one should talk to a doctor or mental health professional and deal with it. (I like to say that, if one has a bad tooth, one doesn't expect Zazen alone to deal with it: One goes to the dentist.) If the doctor approves, one can keep sitting Zazen too.

    Sorry to run long.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Speaking from personal experience -- yes, zazen can do this. Can help to relieve the intensity of 'the passing drama of the mind' ......

    In addition to my regular practice, I have also practiced zazen and shikantaza to calm the storms in the mind by just sitting with it, as Jundo describes here beautifully.

    Gassho2, meian st lh

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    迷安 - Mei An - Wandering At Rest

  11. #11
    Still learning... Here are a few things from my personal experience.

    1 - Anxiety is a message telling you that you are somehow harming yourself, in a way or another (often, via thoughts).
    2 - The more you try to shut down this message, the more it will scream at you.
    3 - You have to find out what you are doing that is harming yourself and stop doing it - this takes research, patience, kindness, and a will to explore difficult things. And the funny thing is that often, what is harming yourself is, in part, "trying to get rid of the anxiety". Therapy helps a lot for this as well.
    4 - You have to learn to take it "not so seriously". Sometimes it really feels completely overwhelming, but it cannot harm you in anyway. Most of its power lies in the fear we have of it.

    Mindfulness practices, movement awareness (try a feldenkrais class on anxiety, it's incredible), helps A LOT, and in a good way : it's not about shutting down the anxiety or getting rid of it, but being with your body and mind in a gentle way. And if you're anxious, what you need to learn the most is to be gentle with yourself, to soothe yourself, to listen to your body sensations in a gentle way, so that your brain can step out of "danger mode", even if only for a bit. The discovery that, in fact, a painful feeling is just a feeling and that it's not here to harm you or destroy you but to help you figure out what's wrong is kind of liberating because it helps you to stop fighting it.

    Zazen is also great to let everything go and be as it is.

    Have fun exploring and making peace with yourself !

    Uggy,

    ST LAH
    Last edited by Ugrok; 05-28-2021 at 06:57 AM.

  12. #12
    One thing to make sure is that you take some time for yourself/to unwind (something healthy ideally). I'm not a parent yet but other parents have told me this, it might seem like you're being selfish but the best analogy I've heard for it is the airplane one. If something is happening in an airplane and you need to put on the oxygen mask, you always put your own mask on before you put it on your kid. You can't help them if you're not able to breathe yourself.

    I believe Pema Chodron also wrote some books about anxiety/depression from a Buddhist perspective but I haven't read them yet so I can't speak to them if they're worth reading.


    Evan,
    Sat today, lah
    Just going through life one day at a time!

  13. #13
    When I am anxious like I was tonight, I reach out to some I love more than myself. In turn they reach back for me. I have an anxiety disorder and BD. Today I am free because of someone I love.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    ...Thought and action/ your life would never experience, (even before you were born), But he also being the Devine Cannot, He etched every moment of your existence, With His own hand... Haifiz

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    When I am anxious like I was tonight, I reach out to some I love more than myself. In turn they reach back for me. I have an anxiety disorder and BD. Today I am free because of someone I love.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  15. #15
    Wow Natahl, your little is not so little anymore! She's so beautiful!

    All good suggestions here. I am a fellow sufferer.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    She/her.
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Seibu View Post
    Hi Natahl,


    A couple of years ago I suffered from burnout and I can second Jundo's advice that physical exercise works well. After a long hiatus I started practicing martial arts again (Iaido) and it had a significantly positive effect on my recovery along with hiking along the shore on a daily basis. Wishing you all the best.

    Gassho,
    Seibu
    Sattoday
    Thank you Seibu, I appreciate the martial arts aspect especially. I practiced Judo and Kung fu earlier in my life. I may explore to see if there are any local places I can renew my practice (I live in the country so my options are often limited).

    Gassho,
    Natahl
    STLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    As a lifelong sufferer of GAD/panic disorder, I can recommend three things which have helped me:

    1) Therapy and medication (my biggest regret is suffering for so many years thinking I could "fix" myself without professional help)
    2) Exercise (walking and yoga for me) and trying to cut out processed foods as much as possible
    3) The book "Unwinding Anxiety" by Dr. Jud, and accompanying smartphone apps (see drjud.com)

    Take care of yourself, and I hope you can find some relief. Anxiety is no joke. Feel free to DM me anytime
    Kaishin,

    Thank you very much for the resources. At this time I donít feel able to access medications as my ex will potentially use that against me in court. However, I have a great online therapist from overseas that does not show up on my local health records - and I concur; professional help is invaluable.

    Gassho,
    Natahl
    STLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I will just add that there is nothing at all which prevents someone who will benefit from seeking help from a qualified mental health professional for such issues. In fact, I would encourage so if someone would benefit.

    Therapy and, if the doctor approves, Zazen can go hand-in-hand.

    One of the wonders of Zazen is that it lets us sit with anxiety when anxious. For example, many times someone may become depressed or anxious, and then become even more depressed and anxious about being depressed and anxious, doubling their power! Zazen lets us treat the passing drama of the mind as just temporary, passing weather, and not fall into taking our mood so seriously. The sadness and anxiety may still be present, but we just consider them objects in the room like the table in the corner, nothing to resist, think about or be pulled into. Suddenly, some of their extra fuel is gone.

    However, if there are underlying issues that are the root cause of the depression or anxiety, Zazen may not be the most effective therapy alone, and one should talk to a doctor or mental health professional and deal with it. (I like to say that, if one has a bad tooth, one doesn't expect Zazen alone to deal with it: One goes to the dentist.) If the doctor approves, one can keep sitting Zazen too.

    Sorry to run long.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Thank you Jundo.

    My resources are limited due to geography, finances and not being able to provide any cause for my ex to question my ability as a parent ... but I have found a great online therapist that cannot be tracked.

    Zazen is of great help to me, and I always feel best when I have succeeded in carving out time for it amongst being a full time mother. Even the shortest snatches have benefit.

    Gassho,
    Natahl
    STLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Ugrok View Post
    Still learning... Here are a few things from my personal experience.

    1 - Anxiety is a message telling you that you are somehow harming yourself, in a way or another (often, via thoughts).
    2 - The more you try to shut down this message, the more it will scream at you.
    3 - You have to find out what you are doing that is harming yourself and stop doing it - this takes research, patience, kindness, and a will to explore difficult things. And the funny thing is that often, what is harming yourself is, in part, "trying to get rid of the anxiety". Therapy helps a lot for this as well.
    4 - You have to learn to take it "not so seriously". Sometimes it really feels completely overwhelming, but it cannot harm you in anyway. Most of its power lies in the fear we have of it.

    Mindfulness practices, movement awareness (try a feldenkrais class on anxiety, it's incredible), helps A LOT, and in a good way : it's not about shutting down the anxiety or getting rid of it, but being with your body and mind in a gentle way. And if you're anxious, what you need to learn the most is to be gentle with yourself, to soothe yourself, to listen to your body sensations in a gentle way, so that your brain can step out of "danger mode", even if only for a bit. The discovery that, in fact, a painful feeling is just a feeling and that it's not here to harm you or destroy you but to help you figure out what's wrong is kind of liberating because it helps you to stop fighting it.

    Zazen is also great to let everything go and be as it is.

    Have fun exploring and making peace with yourself !

    Uggy,

    ST LAH
    Thank you for the resources and alternative way of looking at the experience/message of anxiety. Much of mine is situational as I navigate separation and coparenting with a high-conflict and historically abusive ex.

    So ... often I know the message of my anxiety ... it is telling me I am not safe, that he is not safe ... what I am trying to learn to do is accept that fact and learn to live with it better, as I cannot be free of him because we share a child.

    Gassho,
    Natahl
    STLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by gaurdianaq View Post
    One thing to make sure is that you take some time for yourself/to unwind (something healthy ideally). I'm not a parent yet but other parents have told me this, it might seem like you're being selfish but the best analogy I've heard for it is the airplane one. If something is happening in an airplane and you need to put on the oxygen mask, you always put your own mask on before you put it on your kid. You can't help them if you're not able to breathe yourself.

    I believe Pema Chodron also wrote some books about anxiety/depression from a Buddhist perspective but I haven't read them yet so I can't speak to them if they're worth reading.


    Evan,
    Sat today, lah
    Yes, taking care of oneself as a parent is essential. As someone with no support I have to find this in small, brief ways ... a soothing cup of tea, a moment of quiet in the shower, the smell of a winter rose in the garden ... but Iím never truly able to have that ďme timeĒ so many parents prescribe themselves

    I find Pemaís teachings very accessible snd have read and listened to many of her works. I donít recall any specifically relating to mental health, so Iíll go searching.

    Gassho,
    Natahl
    STLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    When I am anxious like I was tonight, I reach out to some I love more than myself. In turn they reach back for me. I have an anxiety disorder and BD. Today I am free because of someone I love.
    Gassho
    sat/ lah
    Tai Shi


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Tai Shi, this is beautiful and I very much relate.

    Gassho,
    Natahl
    STLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Wow Natahl, your little is not so little anymore! She's so beautiful!

    All good suggestions here. I am a fellow sufferer.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    Jakuden, she has really grown, hasnít she? Iím constantly, moment by moment, surprised by it!

    Gassho,
    Natahl
    STLAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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