In the mail yesterday I received a new counselor recommended workbook called The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety. I spent about 30 minutes today flipping through it to get an idea about the book, its principles, and its tone.
The gist of the book is similar to some work my counselor and I did earlier in the year when I wanted to get rid of some lingering anger.
The idea is this: you cannot stop having negative feelings, no matter what they are. Anger, panic, dread, depression, or PTSD will come and go, traipsing through your mind whenever the fuck they want. You cannot STOP that from happen. And frankly, why try? It’s like trying to stop a politician from lying, or the earth to stop turning….not gonna happen!
So accept it.
In reality, what we really want is a decrease in suffering from the negative emotion.
In reality, it’s how we REACT to the negative thought or emotion that makes us suffer.
Be mindful that it has arrived. Give it a name. Acknowledge that it is here. Accept that it’s here. Study it as an outsider. Then watch it leave.
I was successful with this strategy when I had anger issues. I made it okay to get angry. I stopped being embarrassed and apologizing to those that angered me (unless of course I said something inappropriate when angry). I get angry all the time now, and let it go.
I also realized from flipping through the book, that I suffer from almost constant panic attacks, especially at work. These change in intensity like the ever-changing glow of an electric stove-top. I ride from one to another.
The last time I faced this situation, I worked a mantra into my day (I am safe).
So, my game plan is to accept my panic attacks, and utilize a mantra.
It worked before.
Eventually, the very goal you were seeking comes about: a reduction of suffering. And with it personal power: the power to be yourself and be comfortable with who you are.