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Let Go of Fear by Stopping the Stories in Your Head

“The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life.” ~Eckhart Tolle

For a very long time fear has controlled me. It has paralyzed me, kept me living in desperate situations, and stopped me from living the life of my dreams.

It has only been with age and the practice of mindfulness these last few years that I have come to recognize the fear within me, having finally begun the process of facing it.

By facing fear, I don’t mean that I’ve started base-jumping, purposely trapped myself in elevators, or allowed tarantulas to climb all over my body.

I mean that I’ve sat in meditation, watched the fears arise, and rather than react to them or allow them to become part of the stories that make up my life, I’ve observed them in my mind from a distance.

I’ve felt how they’ve manifested in my body, and I’ve moved into that physical discomfort in order to pay attention to fear in a way I’ve never allowed myself to do before.

When I think about the compulsive and addictive activities that have kept me stuck in a place of fear in the past, they all come from stories that play through my head everyday. For example:

Shopping: I shop to feel better about myself. I believe that the pair of celebrity-endorsed high heels I’ve just bought will make me glamorous enough to fit in with the goddesses I see around me and therefore help me feel accepted.

Interestingly, I don’t feel bad about myself unless I’m comparing myself to others. Therefore, in the comparing, I’m looking at others who have what I don’t have and, as a result, fear that I’m unstylish, lacking in physical appeal, or not beautiful enough.

Overeating: When the new pair of high heels I’ve been wearing to work everyday go unnoticed, start to slowly destroy my feet, and still haven’t prompted an invite to the “right” parties, I give up and start to search the fridge.

I discover a tub of ice-cream or pack of cookies that may not make me more beautiful or accepted, but help me to fill my stomach up and create a fullness in the exact place that fear is beginning to dig a deeper and deeper hole inside of me.

Television: When that sick feeling deep down in my stomach starts rising again, but this time from a mix of cookies and cream and a base of fear, I sit in the comfiest chair I can find and reach for the remote control.

Rather than listen to the personal derision that I’ve switched to repeat in my mind, I watch re-runs of my favorite reality show. I can then cheer the reality star on as I would a friend. Or, I can sit and degrade them to make myself feel better by utilizing the meanest thoughts I have going through my head, now targeted towards them.

Surfing: I would love to say that after this fear based self-pity and hatred party I would choose to hit the shore with my trusty long board to work off that ice-cream, but unless that board comes with a qwerty keyboard, I’m more inclined to stay at home.

Only after watching other people live their busy lives does it actually register that I should reach out and connect with my friends.

And having destroyed my feet in high heels, eaten an entire quart of ice-cream all by myself, and vegged out in front of the TV in my PJs, I hardly feel like getting dolled up to go out for some face to face time. Therefore, the next best source of connection is my new best friend—the Internet.

After returning a few pokes, commenting on a couple of friend’s pictures, and then checking my homepage incessantly to see if anyone online has responded to my posts, the night drags on.

I continually stare at a glowing screen as the minutes tick by, unable to disconnect myself from the cyber world and face the fear of being alone with my self-pity and self-hatred.

Reality check time

Can you believe that this entire fear-based cycle of self-pity and hatred grew from a simple comparison of what I was wearing to those around me? Unbelievable right? Not really.

Having observed my mind, I’ve come to understand that a good amount of my daily fear-based suffering starts by making comparisons and then creating stories in my head.

Encouragingly, I am not unique in what I do. However, it is unfortunate to realize that many people who suffer in the same way I do will never learn how to curb their own suffering. They will never give themselves the time to sit, reflect, and watch what comes up in their minds without becoming involved in the stories.

If you would like to take more control over your mind and your suffering, the best practices I know are meditation and mindfulness.

1. First, accept that in order to become more mindful, we must recognize that we are solely responsible for the thoughts our minds produce. While we can’t stop our minds completely, we can take control over them and create moments of peace for ourselves.

2. Second, when thoughts or fear arise, try to do the following as soon as you are aware of what’s taking place in your mind and body:

  • Stop
  • Take a long, deep breath in and out. In your mind say “in” as you breathe in and “out” as you breathe out in order to ground yourself in the present moment.
  • Then, feel the ground beneath your feet. Notice the way your clothes feel against your skin, the wind against your face, the sun on your cheeks. Listen to the birds singing, the rain falling around you, or the ticking of a nearby clock.

All this will ground you in the present moment. Even if thoughts want to drag you away with them, coming back to recognize the breath will give you the control you need to prevent this from happening.

Follow these steps until you feel that the thought or storyline in your mind has moved on, or until you feel that the pull of your thought or fear has dissipated slightly.

At this point, you can return to whatever you were doing, and hopefully you will have prevented yourself from suffering in that moment.

Unfortunately, these steps are by no means a quick fix in saving you from the suffering we all encounter every day. In fact, at first it will take all your energy and resolve not to react to what your mind and ego are doing.

It’s also quite possible that even once you’ve covered these steps, you will still get lost in your thoughts and fears by comparing yourself to others.

Whether you do this or not isn’t the point. The point is that you’ve finally managed to sit back and look at your thoughts and fear. Once you have done this, you’ve begun the process of taking back control of your mind and your life.

No doubt, occasionally you’ll also stop and find yourself right in the middle of buying something you don’t really need or switching on the TV without thinking about what you’re doing.

But, as long as you notice you’re mid-way through handing your credit card to the lovely sales person at the cash register, then you’re on your way to conquering your mind.

The more you practice, the better you will get. The key to all this is not giving up.

I’m not saying you’ll be able to climb to the top of the Burj Al Khalifa on your next trip to Dubai or take a shower with eight beady spider eyes hanging out on the shower head above you.

But you will be able to stop the stories in your head instead of feeling a pull to distract yourself from all the pain they cause you.

So why not give it a shot. Can it really hurt? Well it might, but it’ll hurt for all the right reasons.


Photo by stockerre

Avatar of Angela Gunn

About Angela Gunn

Angela Gunn is an award-winning writer based in Savannah, GA who specializes in screenwriting, online and print media. She completed her second novel for NaNoWriMo 2012 and is currently working on a children’s book, which will be published in 2013. Her writing and contact information can be found at angegunn.com.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Sharlene

    This is great, I am definately trying it out. I remember this morning at school I was really stressed because I thought about how much I have to study for the exams coming up next week. I have fears of failing it and I had a nightmare about it too. 2011 hasn’t been a great year for me, I’m stressing badly and my chest was very uneasy last few days ago. I am only 17 years old. Thank you for this post.

  • Isaiah

    Great Post. I recognized that quote from Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” and I’ve tried to live my life by this model since I’ve finished it. It was shocking for me when I realized how often I let myself leave the present moment and go on a wild goose chase of thoughts. In my opinion mindfulness is the most important factor to inner peace.

  • Angela Gunn

    Hi Isaiah!
    It’s so interesting how wrapped up and drawn in we are by our minds. I can fully understand what you mean. Just remember that it doesn’t matter how many times you find yourself chasing your thoughts. As long as at some point you find yourself doing it and recognize this pattern of your mind then you’re already doing the practice!
    Good luck with your mindfulness practice. I hope it helps to bring you peace.
    Namaste

  • Angela Gunn

    Hi Sharlene
    I’m so glad that my post helped you. Sorry to hear that 2011 hasn’t been a great year for you so far and that you’ve been feeling stressed about your exams. I really hope that my advice helps you to deal with your stress and do well. Another piece of advice from Eckhart Tolle that always gives me peace of mind is remembering that right in this present moment everything is fine. If I’m breathing and can feel my feet firmly on the ground then everything is fine.
    Good luck and Namaste

  • Pingback: Day 14 – Overcoming and Dealing with Fear – UPDATED! « A Year Of Living Wisely

  • Jennifer

    I’m reading this and thinking “Oh my goodness, this lady has been looking through my windows all weekend!” Lol. Thank you, I’ve struggled with fear for a long time. I will definately try to be more mindful and calm down.

  • Angela Gunn

    Hi Jennifer!
    That’s hilarious because I feel the exact same way when I read anything Lori writes! It’s a great unifier when you realize you’re not alone in your feelings and thoughts. I hope your path to conquering your fear gets better!
    Namaste

  • Lyn

    Thanks so much for this post. I can identify with all of the same distractions and spiraling thoughts about how to measure up. My struggle is to overcome my fears and move forward. I can easily become paralyzed because I really want great things. I will start practicing the mindfulness techniques and start to become familiar with letting it pass through. It seems I always find what I need on tiny buddha!

  • Angela Gunn

    Hi Lyn
    Thanks for your comments. I’m glad you could identify and that the techniques may help you! I feel the same way. It’s funny how the posts on Tiny Buddha always come into my inbox at exactly the right time!
    Namaste

  • Apex Business

    As I was reading, I was also thinking… man… does she know me. Lol! That is me day in and day out- trying to figure out what was stopping me from moving ( in any direction). I have been just sitting and staring. I feel like I am gazing out of a window most of the time looking at myself, watching tv, surfing the net, shopping, eating and etc…..I know and knew that I needed to start the process of mindful thinking and meditation. Like everything it is one step at a time. I WILL BEGIN THE PROCESS. I HAVE TO,,,,,Thank you again for posting this information……

  • Angela Gunn

    No problem! Glad it helped :D

  • Tdube

    I only read just the beginning and can completely relate to what you are saying. I am relieved to see that others feel this way too. I can’t wait to read the rest of the post! Thank you!!

  • Chad

    Dear Angela,

    Thanks so much for your post. I am so happy that tinybuddha is part of my virtual sangha.

  • http://bobbiejanegardner.com bobbie

    Thanks for sharing! So honest! I definitely do the Internet browsing and shopping when down in the dumps.

  • PaulinaO.

    This is very inspiring and filled with things I have thought to myself. Thank you for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Angela!

    It’s amazing how one simple reaction, can affect so much of your life! I’m glad you’ve learned to cope with these reactions, that everyone feels…however, when you build that strength and self confidence enough to make good decisions in the face of a less than desirable reaction, then that really grows and proves character!

    Thanks for your insight!

    Please check out my podcast on Self Talk http://bit.ly/g0Ib3B

  • http://kate-is-pre.posterous.com Kate

    This reminds me of a favorite quote by Marianne Williamson. I have it stuck on my fridge as a reminder.
    “Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called ‘All The Things That Could Go Wrong’”

  • http://www.perfectlyawfulusa.blogspot.com The Writing Goddess

    I blogged about fear a little while ago (http://perfectlyawfulusa.blogspot.com/2010/11/that-nasty-four-letter-word-beginning.html) I know for myself, it’s very easy to go for the quick fix. Shop, binge, drink, or otherwise use something to wash away that uncomfortable feeling, but I am trying to learn the “Nightmare in My Closet” approach – to face the fear, maybe even get into bed with it. It definitely becomes less scary and intimidating then!

  • Kzp1

    This as been by far the most moving and powerful daily email I have gotten from Tiny Buddha. I am so happy that I have come across this email. Seriously, you have put my thoughts and actions and the reasons for my actions in plain words. Thank you for the mirror! I Have Started the Control. It makes it less overwhelming to know that I am not the only one who has had the same LONG pointless feeling days. Thank you SO MUCH!!! This devotion has made my day and possibly my future.

  • http://twitter.com/smiling_heart Jen Saunders

    I love this, Angela :) I can totally relate to everything you say. And you helped me realise that all of my worries, anxiety and fears tend to stem from the moment I unconsciously compare myself to others, or start a story in my head about what others might think, say, or do. Time to focus more on what I think, say and do!

    Thank you :)

  • Angela Gunn

    Exactly! :D

  • Angela Gunn

    Wow! I’m glad it was so helpful! I also love it when I find a mirror for myself that helps me not only to see myself more clearly but also to find a way to move forward with that knowledge.
    Namaste

  • Angela Gunn

    Thanks Mike! I’ll check that out!

  • Angela Gunn

    Me too! If it weren’t for my virtual sangha I’d be lost. So great we have this ability to connect with each other online :D

  • Yamini

    I really liked this post. This happens to me all the time. I do things I dont want to do just to escape the fear in my head or to make myself feel better. Thank you for trying to provide a solution to get out of thus cycle..

  • http://twitter.com/30vanquish Matt R

    Thanks for reminding me that a lot of fear and pain comes from comparing myself to others. Every single person has their own battle/struggle, so there’s no point to compare.

  • Angela Gunn

    Don’t we all! I hope this solution works for you!

  • Angela Gunn

    Exactly! Good luck in trying to break the cycle!

  • http://profiles.google.com/rpcollins Ryan Collins

    great words. thank you.

  • Pingback: Letting Go Of Fear By Stopping The Stories in Your Head | Truth Is Scary

  • http://twitter.com/fredtracy Fred Tracy

    Woohoo! I love this post. I’m a huge fan of Eckhart Tolle and The Power of Now, it changed my life. I do the same exact thing now when fears arise. I just watch them and how they affect my body, and I let them pass.

    I used to get angry or afraid for days at a time over something.. now I’ve got it down to about 19 seconds. ;)

  • Joe Rapisarda

    Good content. I like your examples of how you conquered fear in your own life. I too have used this technique to conquer fear in my own life. I learned that the only thing we really have to fear is fear itself. That is because, as Eckhart Tolle teaches, there is only this moment that we can do anything about. The past is already done and the future is not here yet. Worrying about either of them is a waste of time. The only time worth spending your energy on is right now. This is the time you can use your thoughts, words, and actions to make a different in your life through the Law of Attraction.
    When I faced fear in my life in areas such as relationship, finances, career, and health, I found that FEAR itself was draining my energy away from me. Once I accepted my current reality as only my temporary reality, I was then free to change my thoughts from fear-based to more positive thoughts that motivated me to create the reality I desired rather than the reality I was experiencing. In other words, when I left fear go, my thoughts and emotions changed from being helpless to being empowered and in control of my own future.
    I also agree that meditation is a great tool for strengthening the mental and emotional minds. This strength is necessary to release fear and choose to instead think of positive things in your life. Its important for all of us to remember that our thoughts are things and we create our own reality based on the thoughts we think.

    Joe Rapisarda
    http://focusandfeel.blogspot.com
    Facebook: Joe Rapisarda’s Spiritual Awakening Page

  • http://rockyourvibe.com.au/spiritual-gifts.php Kristy

    Thanks so much for this post – it really helped me to take a look at some of the distractions I put in the way of my own mindfulness! xx

  • Angela Gunn

    Nice! 19 secs is impressive! Glad you liked the post.

  • Angela Gunn

    Very true Joe. Thanks for posting this!
    Namaste

  • Yong Lean Huat

    Watch the fear and see how it grows.If you can find where it starts then you will know where to end it.

  • Bonitarhill

    You just described my days for the last eight months. I have been in therapy and am on meds for depression. Your post made more sense to me than anything I have been told or learned in all these months of therapy. I have been interested in Buddhism since I read “If the Buddha Got Stuck.” After reading your blog I am inspired to make the trip down to my local temple and begin the journey to mindfulness. I don’t know if I can do this alone,but I am sure there will be help at the center. Thank you!

  • Vineeta Makhija

    Whn I started reading it, I felt tht sm1 has written my thoughts, my personal fight wd myself, my trouble wd my own fears n life experiences.. really I go thru ths a lot.. the main cause of all sch thoughts are boredom.. my problem is Whn i staet dng it my mind says its too boring, or it says u won’t b able to do it.. n unfortunately ths negative feeling wins..bt to try n keep fighting is wat we can do.. thts life… I hop I succeed n the negative feeling in me gets dissolved or it realises tht I shd b nice to Vineeta n bcums my best buddy n help me being positive n fearless..:)
    Om Sai!!!!

  • Vineeta Makhija

    Whn I started reading it, I felt tht sm1 has written my thoughts, my personal fight wd myself, my trouble wd my own fears n life experiences.. really I go thru ths a lot.. the main cause of all sch thoughts are boredom.. my problem is Whn i staet dng it my mind says its too boring, or it says u won’t b able to do it.. n unfortunately ths negative feeling wins..bt to try n keep fighting is wat we can do.. thts life… I hop I succeed n the negative feeling in me gets dissolved or it realises tht I shd b nice to Vineeta n bcums my best buddy n help me being positive n fearless..:)
    Om Sai!!!!

  • Angela Gunn

    Wow! That is very inspiring. I’m glad my post was so helpful to you. If you ever want to get in touch and talk about things more please don’t hesitate to get in contact via my blog. I’d love to know how your journey progresses. Sounds like you are taking a very brave step on your path! Good luck and namaste!

  • Angela Gunn

    Vineeta, it’s a difficult journey and your negative feelings with always try to deter your fight against these problems. What always gives me hope is that it’s not about getting rid of our problems necessarily, but simply taking the step to do so. That first step is all you need no matter how small it is. Even if in your next step you give up because your mind says it’s too boring. 1 step forward is better than no step at all. I wish you luck on your journey!
    Namaste

  • http://www.onewomanbeing.com Jennifer E.

    Awesome. Hits me right where I am & reminds me where I want to be. Checking out Angela’s new blog already!

  • http://www.onewomanbeing.com Jennifer E.

    So true but I sure fall into it a lot lately. Comparing myself to others is one reason I often consider getting off Facebook.

    I really do want to break the cycle. I went to a party last night and was reeling for hours from the way I felt like someone was treating me, trying to figure out why or what I may have done. Ugh. I know what I tell others in these situation…that it may not be about me at all, that other people are usually thinking about themselves (just like me :P), that what truly only matters is what I think of me, and finally – the kicker, but so true – that what other people think of me is really none of my business. But gosh, when it happens to me and I’m in a vulnerable place like I was last night, all that wisdom flies out the window and I can spend hours obsessing.

    Thanks for the post and for introducing me to the “750 words” blog via your “A Year of Living Wisely” blog. I’m all up in there :)! Jennifer

  • http://profiles.google.com/edvogel56 Ed Vogel

    Thank you for your post! My practice benefits immensely from reading about “how to do it.”

  • http://www.wiseatwork.net Susie Amundson

    Angela.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post as you humorously wove together our crazy and less-than-self-compassionate thinking and behaviors as most people have experienced. Certainly me!

    Fear really does come up in so many ways in our lives from a place of mild anxiety to raging panic attacks and then secondarily, manifests in strange and unique ways.

    Last year, when I was confronted with a life-threatening disease (yes, an aggressive form of cancer) I had to address those deepest demons. What I found out is that the best way to meet them was to lean forward gently and compassionately toward them and allow the feelings to pass. I don’t need to act out from them but just be grateful for my basic goodness and pure essence.

    It’s that messaging (taking control of our mind that you shared) that we want to shore up in our lives.

    Thanks for writing such a delightful post.
    Susie

  • caro1001

    Thank you I started reading this article and realized that this is me I didn’t rrealize that this is what I have been doing until now thank you for your insight it’s time for me to make our changes

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  • http://twitter.com/Jessi1126 Jessica

    Great post! Thank you for this. It describes me to a T!

  • Joe Rapisarda

    Thanks Angela! I would love to get in contact with you. I love meeting new friends who are on the spiritual journey. If you need to contact me you can reach me on my blog or Facebook page listed on my original post.

  • Joe Rapisarda

    Hi Angela, I signed up for your blog. Where can I find this Zencast? On itunes? I would like to see what you talking about in your profile. I didn’t see you on Facebook. If you want to connect you can visit my facebook page at Joe Rapisarda’s – Spiritual Awakening Page or at my blog at http://www.focusandfeel.blogspot.com Keep in touch. It’s great to grow the circle of spiritual friends.

  • Joe Rapisarda

    Hi Angela, I signed up for your blog. Where can I find this zencast?

    I looked for you on Facebook but couldn’t find a page for you. I can be reached on my facebook page at Joe Rapisarda’s – Spiritual Awakening Page or my blog at focusandfeel.blogspot.com

  • Angela Gunn

    Glad I could help. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in this crazy things our minds do :D

  • Angela Gunn

    You’re welcome Susie! Thank you for sharing your story here! I’m glad that your practice helped you in dealing with cancer. I also hope you are doing well and continue to do so. I definitely feel that one of the great gifts of life is to learn how to deal and control our minds so we can eleviate our own suffering.
    Namaste!

  • http://www.mirecho.com Jason

    This has happened to me so often. Thank you.

  • ale

    these word hit home, and i’ve just realized i’ve been crying while readind them.
    thank you so, so much angela.

  • Angela Gunn

    You’re welcome so, so much! I’m glad my words resonated with you!
    Namaste

  • Pingback: Day 43 1/2 – The things I want to do that scare me shitless… « A Year Of Living Wisely

  • Nostalgic

    Thank you for this post. I tend to fear the future, as do most people. It is very important to ground yourself and focus on the present, and recognize that what you do in the present is what is important for that moment contributes to your future, and you are the controller.

    I am very young, 21 years young, but I have had a couple debilitating experiences with love and heartbreak that have definitely left a mental scar. I fear the topic, the feeling, and the future of finding and keeping a healthy relationship. Such fear, I’ve realized, has really kept me from being fully happy and enjoying my youth. It is true that our thoughts can spiral out of control and get the best of us. I know I do it, and half the situations I play out in my head are absurd and extremely pessimistic.

    I plan on using these tips when losing myself in the past. They seem very helpful and grounding. I’m always for a little spiritual evolving :) Nostalgia isn’t as good as good as the present moment!

  • Angela Gunn

    Glad it resonated with you! Good luck living in the present moment and stopping that fear from controlling your life :D
    Namaste

  • Barbara

    Is this a modern way try to telling me, that shopping, eating, television and surfing is evil and created from the devil himself???

  • Angela Gunn

    Well, I don’t believe in the devil – only mara. But, they aren’t evil unless you are doing them mindlessly. Anything done mindfully, skillfully and in balance is fine. It’s simply in the practice. I have been doing them mindlessly and they have therefore caused me suffering because my life has been out of balance. This is my experience. Hopefully it isn’t yours!
    Namaste

  • http://bestsalesprinciples.info Stefanie Ream-Blackham

    I’m admit. I’m a TV escapee. When something does (or could) go wrong, I tend to escape into television show marathons and away from feeling my fears. At the end of the marathon, I feel worse. I’m finding that ,as you said in your post, dealing with the problem is not so bad. It’s nice to know that I’m not feeling alone on this journey with my fear.
    Thank you for your encouraging post

  • Angela Gunn

    Glad it helped :D

  • Anonymous

    I’m coming out of a long sleep of job-identity, constant spending, and other forms of instant gratification and false security. I’ve been defining myself through financial and material comforts because of all the loss and change that has upset everything so much that that’s all that was left to cling to. I’m learning to just let go and trust the process. So many wonderful things have happened from these changes that I don’t know why I still feel so stubborn, but it’s improving. It’s been a rough ride as I actively regurgitate all the garbage beliefs and detach one layer of illusory security after another.

    No matter how hard it is, and how much anxiety and insomnia it’s causing, I wouldn’t trade this time for anything in the world. :) I have had moments of peace that I hadn’t seen in years, right in the middle of the day, without anything having to happen first to qualify them as appropriate, nor to qualify me as deserving. They happen when I let them.

    I was about to walk out the door for a semi-planned purchase last night when I suddenly found myself frozen in place before the door. My mind was racing about the purchase. I was conflicted about a purchase! I hadn’t felt that since…2004? I was reasoning that I would use the thing daily and would get tons of value out of it, but that my life would also exist fine without it. The lack of clarity in my decision making, which is usually so present and driven, scared me. I then couldn’t figure out if I was afraid of spending (putting myself at risk of undoing the growth and progress I had made about detachment) or afraid of not spending (don’t want to communicate to the universe that I am without enough money).

    I had NEVER in my life been caught between a thought process of abundance vs enrichment surrounding a purchase or not. I then felt nauseated that I had actually wound myself into such a spot over something as virtual and meaningless as money. Yes, the experience of money is wonderful, but it’s not self-defining so…WTF?

    I went out anyway to refill a prescription but came home without buying any planned items that I already have the money saved up for. I felt odd. Off balance. Maybe even a bit confused.

    I feel like I’ve forgotten how to know when it’s ok to buy things that aren’t home/food/health related, because that means I never need to buy anything more than rent, utilities and food ever again LOL! I need an iPod touch for addresses and stuff though! I can’t just start hand-writing addresses from the address book in the computer? It would be so time saving to just sync and go. *pout* And yet, despite the money being saved, excited anticipation built-up, and good reasons list made, I froze at the door. Unbelievable! 2 months ago I would have bought two and given one away! Now I’m struggling? Who am I becoming and how the hell did it change so fast? :)

  • techibabe

    Great stuff on Tiny Buddha. I read it everyday. Keep it up

  • Angela Gunn

    Interesting! I have had these situations myself, although I go through them in periods rather than all the time. It’s like they say though – see the purchase and then go away and think about it. If you still remember that you want it then go back and get it if you have the money. If you forget about it then it was simply a want of the moment that’s not worth spending money on.
    These are really interesting things you are dealing with just now and the questions should help you figure out who you are becoming even if you don’t have any answers.
    Thanks for sharing your story!
    Namaste

  • Anonymous

    Yup! It was a two part purchase of alarm clock radio and iPod. I don’t feel good about the iPod, but feel good about the radio part so I *JUST* got that today with peace and a smile. I can wait for the iPod. :)

    Thanks for reading! Namaste!

  • Lori

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I can now see an end to the cycle. 

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  • Samantha

    I am usually quite a rational person. I went into my current relationship with confidence and a rational mind. Although nothing is certain, I felt a great deal of content that this man was head over heels for me and the only thought I was playing with was ‘do I have the same strong feelings for him?’ He often showed concern about ‘us’, a strong interest in me, loving feelings. When he told me I meant ‘everything in the world to him’, I had no doubt in my mind that he truly meant it. As time went on, my feelings developed and we simply had a great time together. We’ve been together for a year and for the last six months of our relationship I haven’t been myself. I’ve been needy, irrational, negative, fearful. That confidence I once had went away and I want it back so dearly. We argue a lot and I have trust issues with him, which I think have developed from the crap in my head that I create. Everyday he tells me he loves me but it just doesnt feel the same. Everyday I’m dealing with these ‘what if’ scenarios in my head (in regards to him, his feelings and us) so I act out and ask him for reassurance. I realize how bothersome and annoying this is but all I want is that certainty which I know I may never have because there is no absolute guaranty that he loves me like he says he does. He’s brought up moving in together and reassures me that he wants to be with me for a long time but I immediately don’t believe it but want to. Any advice?

  • http://ayearoflivingwisely.wordpress.com/ Angela Gunn

    Well, I’m hardly a relationship expert, but I’ll do my best :)
    I guess the question to ask yourself first is why you are having doubts. What action took place that caused you to start doubting? If you can hone in when, why and how this doubting first started then you have a place to begin figuring out why you have been feeling this way.
    I also think it’s important for you to tell your partner how you are feeling and why. Be careful not to be accusatory, but approach it matter-of-factly and explain that you want him to understand what is going on with you because you love him and want your relationship to move forward. 
    If he is as wonderful as you describe him, then he should be willing to listen and talk your problems through with you. Everyone has fears, but it’s important that you can voice them if your relationship is to survive. If he doesn’t listen or gets upset and hurt then I think your feelings of mistrust may be trying to tell you something that you haven’t wanted to listen to or think about up until now.
    Ultimately, your partner can tell you a million times a day that they love you and want to be with you, but if you don’t feel worthy of receiving that love and acceptance then there is nothing they can do or say to persuade you. Take a look at whether you love yourself enough to let someone else love you. If there’s any physical tightening when it comes to thinking about loving yourself or allowing another to love you just as you are then this could be the reason you are feeling mistrust. A lot of times when we can’t accept ourselves as we are (warts and all) we project that lack of acceptance onto our partners and in the process our mind tells us stories that cause us to thwart that relationship so that we end it before our partner can end it with us.

    I hope that is helpful and that you can figure it out! Good luck and namaste!
    Thanks for commenting.

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  • AJ

    Hugs, Angela :=)

  • Moonlightbirch

    Thank you.

  • gooseberry

    Thanks :)

  • Warrior6889

    Angela
    I read and read about letting go of negative thoughts. It all makes sense and the negative as well as positive attract like. However I have such a deep internal negative tape in my head, sometimes unconscious. It then makes my chest anxious nd nervous. I find it so hard to think positive because my my mind is so used to focusing on the few bad things in me as opposed to the many more positive things I do or have. Help

  • Brandee

    One thing I love about Tiny Buddha is how easy it is to find a post that speaks to my very situation at the moment.  Today, it was this post–although listed nine months ago, it popped up on my screen as soon as I visited the site.

    This is the story of my life right now, and I am currently making the effort to halt the endless cycle of negativity that is keeping me from reaching my goals.  Even adding this comment is something I wouldn’t–couldn’t–have done six months ago, due to all of the voices telling me how stupid I would sound.  It gives me hope that I’m not alone in this feeling and that we’re all working to overcome these damaging patterns.

    Thanks again for sharing–I intend to get back on the path towards true peace of mind.

  • Cmcneel

    I have done exactly that for along time. Because I’ve gained weight and I’m not the star of the room anymore, I watch every women who goes by and blame the guy I’m seeing for looking at them. I feel so stupid right now. So silly. Thanks for the exercise to help take my mind off of the bull…..!

  • http://ayearoflivingwisely.wordpress.com/ Angela

    Please don’t feel stupid or silly. Just note that your mind is doing this because it has been trained to think this way. Then note that you can make a choice whether to believe it or not. Then hopefully you can just note that you did it and move on. Everyone does this. You are no different. The great thing is we have a choice whether to stick with this thinking or move on. Good luck in practicing. I hope it works out for you. Thanks for commenting :)

  • http://ayearoflivingwisely.wordpress.com/ Angela

    That’s so great. I truly believe that you get the Dharma you need when you need it! I’m glad you found this article helpful, even though like you said it was posted 9 months ago. I’m glad to hear you have made a change in your life that is making you feel so much better. I wish you all the best in your journey. Long may it continue to bring you happiness and peace of mind! :)

  • http://ayearoflivingwisely.wordpress.com/ Angela

    Hugs back AJ :)

  • http://ayearoflivingwisely.wordpress.com/ Angela

    I totally understand. This is natural. Think about how long it has taken you to learn these negative thought patterns. Were you expecting to change them overnight? We always strive for a quick fix – to make the pain go away. Nothing is that simple unfortunately. As long as it took you to learn these patterns is as long as it will take to unlearn them. However, if you see the light at the end of the tunnel then you will find the strength and courage it takes to keep facing those thoughts and choosing not to buy into them everyday. It won’t be easy. Many times you will fail. But failing isn’t the problem if you’re willing to try again. The only problem is buying into the failure and believing nothing will ever change or get better. Change is inevitable. Stay brave. Keep noting those bad thoughts and remembering that they are not who you are, but simply thoughts passing through your mind.
    Good luck in your practice, but remember…it’s just that – practice. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to practice!
    Namaste :)

  • http://ayearoflivingwisely.wordpress.com/ Angela

    Hi Joe,
    Sorry it took me so long to reply! You can find Zencast at http://www.zencast.org.
    Thanks!

  • http://ayearoflivingwisely.wordpress.com/ Angela

    You are welcome! Glad it helped. And I know how you feel about parties. Definitely a difficult social situation. Just keep practicing and things will improve!

  • p13

    Hi i just came across your blog! this article had really hit home for me, i’m studying at university and im weeks away from graduating but fear has been stopping me from doing my work, ive been seeing a therapist for the past 6 months to help me find my identity which i feel i lost or that i still need to find, i just wanted to say thank you, i really appreciate you sharing your knowledge:) 

  • Angela Gunn

     You are welcome. I glad my article helped! Good luck at university. It’s a time of great learning and change. Embrace as much as you can and also go easy on yourself. It’s never easy making a change and university is definitely a big change. All the best!

  • Shivalaksh

    Hi, I just came across this post – and it is incredibly useful!
    I too, face a lot of fear & get limited/constrained by it…

    I did try to meditate – and i do meditate, but only for about 1-3 minutes and then fear steps in…what if there are bad beings or ghosts that try to attack me while i meditate? and things like that, which make me snap out of my meditation; is there anything i can do to prevent this?

  • ariellabaston

    I would come to a decision about my beliefs:

    1-Does free will exist? If so, can I not choose to not be bothered by ghosts?

    2-Ask myself why I assume ghosts have ill intent, and if they’re a mix of good ghosts or bad ghosts, why do I assume I would only be visited by the bad ones?

    Besides that, meditation is a practice. You just keep recentering on your breathing and/or focal point no matter how many times you get distracted or fearful. Go right back to meditating every time and keep letting go of the distraction. 

  • Alex

    Others have Ipad/Ipod, reading e-mails and chatting while travelling by train and happy with it. I am happy without it, becouse I really dont need that feel to be wired. The same with Facebook, TV, those are artificially created needs (or time fillers in order to not face own troubles) you can live without and be more happier, have more energy. Even worse is that there are way too many who want to keep You dependant, unsatisfied, always on the hunt for quick-satisfaction-through-consumtion. People dont understand that those “trends” and stereotypes are fake created images in order to manipulate mass. TIme to think – for WHOM its useful that I would do so? Does the way how I do, makes ME happier? And all becomes clear that all which is related to “shining in someone others eyes” makes unlucky.
     Its also just time to let go that respect dependancy — dont mind others opinions if they dont care what You think about them. It must work symmetrically.

    About Angela Gunn itself… as said this is NOT a quick fix for the problem itself. Thats just the beginning, not the solution itself. THe problem is STILL there and waiting to be solved, and not this way.

  • Alex

    But thats not the whole solution. Thats just seeing the problem itself and not letting to be drawned in “replacement activities”. The problem is still there.

  • david webb

    That was cool I just happened to run into your webpage,For the past 3 yrs I have been on this journey looking to finally be at peace w/myself. I got to discover that all this fear all this self doubt and insecurities stem from just growing up from hearing things and going through things. I’ve held my self back sooo bad for sooo many yrs cause of fear and just not believing in myself,I could definitely keep going w/this lol. Anyway it was a good post,  not only did I enjoy it but I also related and got a tool out of it as well .
    Thank You,
    Dave

    P.S. If you got some more good advice and tools please let me know.

  • Lhoop

    I am able to see the journey our thought take us when left unchecked. I see how fear manipulates our motivation. What if the fear is based on something more substantial such as not knowing if I will have enough food to eat tomorrow. How does one overcome that kind of fear, a fear that is survival based?

  • http://www.facebook.com/kathy.mer.3 Kathy Mer

    Just found this post from Angela and see that u replied only 4 hours ago. I am trying to deal with my fears and insecurities. It’s been going on for years. I’d like to compare notes with you on overcoming this debilitating event. My thought never shut off and the only thing I can think right now is conversing with somebody who can understand what happens when unhealthy thoughts take over.

  • beautifull social anxiety guy

    ugly on the outside, ugly on the inside. this was certainly a ‘self’ help guide – a self help for you. i’ll carry on watching tv ‘withotu thinking what i’m doing’. i’m a very good looking ale with social anxiety because of ugly people like who unnaturally unconciosuly give off bad vibes of jealousy which i haven’t even realised until recently. no surprise when i read how much you wallow in your own measurement of self worth as you relate your feelings to stupid physicaliteis like looks or something – what when you have good looks by surgery you’ll start to feel safe in self pity by comparing some other trait. comparing is denying the raw nervousness of being around another person adn the positiveity or negativity that person exudes to you. the energy you gain from their fear types towards you.

  • beautifull social anxiety guy

    seeing you have the same surname as me after i wrote that made me feel a bit more sympathetic with you and a bit bad. sorry.

  • Paula, WI

    I just took a look at myself from inside your article. I am my only block from happiness. I’ve been trying to be something I thought would make others need and respect me. Now I need to stop the comparisons and believe in me. I’m ready to take that chance.

  • Angela

    That’s great Paula! I’m glad you found it so helpful. Good luck on your journey!

  • Angela

    hi Shivalaksh,
    Meditation is tough, for sure. Those thoughts will try anything to get you off the cushion. I myself fail at meditation daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. What I have been taught is that you just have to keep working at it, watching your thoughts, noting them and not reacting. The more you practice, the better you get, the more your mind tries to stop you from meditating. Faith seems to be the key. Don’t give up if you find it useful! Good luck :)

  • Angela

    Thanks for your comment Alex. I guess for me the problem has often been thinking there is a solution to fix things, when ultimately I just needed to accept life the way it was. But everyone has a different experience and this may be where we diverge when it comes to the next step. Great to hear your feedback though.

  • Angela

    Hi David,

    I’m glad to hear you found this so useful. This website is full of great tools that we can all use. I myself learned a lot from other contributors, which is what inspired me to write this post. Good luck on your journey to find peace. I’m rooting for you :)

  • Angela

    Interesting point Lhoop. I guess I’m fortunate in my circumstances that I have not had to deal with that kind of survival based fear very often in my own lifetime, so I don’t have an answer for you. I think that would make another great post, however, and I’d love to see if there were any correlations. Thanks for your comment!

  • Angela

    Hi Kathy

    I hope you found someone to share your experiences with. Have you ever tried meditation to help you work with your thoughts? I’ve found it to be helpful although I haven’t ended up sticking with it for consistent periods of time. It’s something to look into anyway. Good luck!

  • Angela

    Absolutely, I totally agree with your points. I don’t deny that these aspects of myself are the more negative parts of my personality. However, this is exactly why I wanted to be honest in my writing. I’m not ashamed of them because they are a part of me and I have suffered greatly from them. However, I have found tools that have helped me work with the negative aspects of my personality and hope that writing about them here will enable others not to suffer in the way I did. Thanks for your comments.

  • Angela

    That’s okay. You’re entitled to your feelings. I’m sorry my writing didn’t connect with you more and that my last name was what triggered you to look more clearly at what you wrote, but I thank you for your honest reaction and like I said below I think you are right in what you said, but my intention was not to write it to gain sympathy for what I had been through. I simply wanted to be honest about the negative parts of my personality and share what has helped me work with them so they do not take over my thoughts and life.
    Thanks for commenting again.

  • http://twitter.com/GwynMinerva Minerva Gwyn

    Great post! It’s so true! Since I’ve started questioning my thoughts and acting despite my fears, I’ve been feeling a lot better. I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to stop and take a deep breath, as you’ve suggested, when I’m having another “fear attack”, but I’ll sure try. :)

  • Depressed

    I have episodes every once in a while where my mind runs through scenarios and stories that usually end with me curled up in the fetal position sobbing. The scenarios terrify me, would terrify anyone- being rejected by everyone I care about, being trapped in the degenerative spiral of sickness that took my mother’s mind and then her body, waking up one day and realizing I’m pathetic. Then the insults start. So this method might just help me fight off this depression. Thank you.

  • Angela

    That sounds really tough ‘Depressed’. I hope this method does help you to find some relief.

  • Angela

    That’s great Minerva! Glad it has helped you. Good luck :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/tyler.malak.1 Tyler Malak

    Great read! Getting in touch with your mind is going to intensify your feelings. The feelings you will find: worry, stress, scared, insecureness.. All the feelings that will make you think your mind is a “bad” thing. Why are we having those feelings? Job, life, school, etc. they were always there you just never truly felt them. So, be prepared when your getting in touch with your mind/inner self, when you’re pushing that energy to life it is easy to get afraid and shut it off. Which is what happens when anyone gets in touch with their mind because it intensifies everything. Instead of shutting it off try keeping it going and grab ahold of yourself! There’s a lot more to life than you think.

  • Lori

    I asked the question, “What is stopping me from…”, and I landed here. I am fearful of letting go of what is so that I can move forward. I know I’m headed for a new chapter, new adventure, new ???… the fear is holding me back. Finding this page was a blessing. Reading this post and the comments grounded me enough to at least recognize that I need to begin the process of letting go, not only of my fear, but of what is. Thank you, Angela.

  • Hamdi

    Today i realized that it is not only me who has this fear.i am 24 years old.but i lived this fear almost like 14 years,but i will try my best to do meditation.but i do not know how i will do mindfulness.
    thanks
    my email is hamisha7@live.com send me how i can make myself mindfulness

  • http://www.facebook.com/ChrisForeverYoung Chris Young

    Self destructive/addictive behaviors are so insidious, and it seems to me the key lies in recognizing them, your techniques mesh so well with things I’m discovering about myself. The song Drive by Incubus really comes to mind for me and I’m keeping it close to my heart, no longer will I “let Fear take the wheel and steer”. Thanks for posting this and all ofthe other information.. so glad to know we’re not all along, we are all the same =) Peace

  • Rhya

    Thanks Angela

  • Angela Gunn

    You’re welcome Rhya!

  • Angela

    You’re welcome Chris. Thanks for the comment and I hope fear isn’t driving you so much these days. Good luck!

  • Angela Gunn

    I’m glad you could relate to my post Hamdi. I’ll send you an email about Mindfulness. Thanks for your comment!

  • Angela Gunn

    Thanks Lori! I hope you have been able to find your path to move onto your new chapter and that you have been able to continue letting go of your fears! Good luck with everything!

  • Angela Gunn

    Great points Tyler! Hope you’re enjoying all the riches life brings! Thanks for those wise words.

  • dave415

    Fear can be destructive, not only for oneself. One most rebuild there own ruins to experience freedom in all its glory. With your beliefs in your faith love and true happiness will shine through.

  • Mo

    How I could keep my mind calm , open my heart and be positive all the time…

  • Jacob

    I enjoyed every part of this article and found it very relatable. However, I have a very strong issue with your first point in becoming mindful. You say that we should realize we are totally responsible for our thoughts. This is absolutely false, we do not have control over the majority of our thoughts (especially the unconscious ones), and I believe the key is to stop identifying yourself with these thoughts. You ARE NOT your thoughts. They do not represent you, so why should we take responsibility for them? Instead, you should be realizing how these thoughts are a product of our ego/mind, and these self deprecating thoughts are completely made up and false.

  • Angela

    Thanks for your comment, Jacob. That’s a great point of view and one I agree with. To explain, I focused on the word responsible because I wanted to point out that mindfulness is all about we choose to approach and relate to our thoughts, as you point out. I agree that we don’t have control over our thoughts and see control and responsibility as two different things. Thanks for bringing up this point though. It’s an important one.

  • Angela Gunn

    Thanks for your comment Mo. One thing that I would point out is that it’s not always possible to be positive all the time. However, if you can see your thoughts for what they are: simply thoughts then that will help us ride the positive and negative thoughts we experience every day and this can make all the difference.

  • Angela

    Thanks for your comment Dave! That’s a great point.

  • Shearos

    great article very relatable. i will add the in and out thought during the breath. it may help that bit more

  • sweety

    hi! hamdi. meditation is communicating with God. first on piece of paper write ur weaknesses like m short tempered n worry a lot .now u can associate any holy bhajan or any quote from ur religious Scripture which says anger is toxic or not good .now close u eyes n first think dat I myself is respnsible for my situation n every person Is crearion of God n m going to love everybody.repeat dis thought n many positive thoughts. u feel relaxed.u can Also drill many other positive thoughts like no anger .

  • sweety

    hi! hamdi. meditation is communicating with God. first on piece of paper write ur weaknesses like m short tempered n worry a lot .now u can associate any holy bhajan or any quote from ur religious Scripture which says anger is toxic or not good .now close u eyes n first think dat I myself is respnsible for my situation n every person Is crearion of God n m going to love everybody.repeat dis thought n many positive thoughts. u feel relaxed.u can Also drill many other positive thoughts like no anger .

  • trapstar

    the writer of this article is so hot!!!

  • plaintain1

    Hi
    Such an appropriate article. I’ve been meditating since January of this year. The technique I use is Mindfulness. And at most, I find it peaceful and relaxing but recently I’ve been ‘receiving’ thoughts about the darkness, evil etc and feel like giving it up, as it seems to be defeating the purpose of the doing the meditation. At night, I sleep with the light on. Elsewhere and some friends say that my meditation is ‘deepening’ or they say there are symptoms of Ascension. Do you feel these fears are ‘symptoms’ of? Should I give it up?

  • Susu

    I think this article was so helpful. Hearing what goes on in other peoples minds being similar to yours helps you realize that you aren’t alone. As I’ve been getting older I’ve realized my anxiety levels and fears have skyrocketed. When I was younger perhaps more fearless and didn’t care to really think as much as I do now. Also I guess after a certain number of times you get hurt of betrayed, for some people that usually increases anxiety levels and fear. One of my many fears and anxieties is basically this:

    I grew up with a narcissist mother, who really only cared about her own happiness, me and my brother were just spawns and were conceived on the crazy thought that it might keep my father around if she forced kids on him and then use us as bate during their bitter divorce. In any case, I didn’t grow up with my father. My mothers parents basically raised me and brother- yes my mom did work but mostly shipped us off to Florida every sumer away from normal childhood “playtime” with friends- we spent it with 70 year old grandparents while she went on trips to aruba with her fireman boyfriend who used to abuse me in front of my mom. Long story short, after her and her boyfriend broke up we moved to florida to be close to my grandparents, mom met another guy moved in with him remarried. Still my grandparents have been my rock. Almost like if they were not around I would have no one to turn to if something bad were to happen and I needed them- I know my mom wouldn’t be there. I feel like I owe my grandparents and need to be with them (to stay in florida until they pass away- they are now in their 90s). It’s a small town with no opportunities and I am not very happy here. My anxiety is never seeing them again with plans to move across the country. I know that once my grandparents are gone I have no one for support. The thought is scary. I definitely took notes from this article, especially:
    When thoughts or fear arise:
    Stop.
    Take a long, deep breath in and out. In your mind say “in” as you breathe in and “out” as you breathe out in order to ground yourself in the present moment.

    Then, feel the ground beneath your feet. Notice the way your clothes feel against your skin, the wind against your face, the sun on your cheeks. Listen to the birds singing, the rain falling around you, or the ticking of a nearby clock.

    Sorry for the long post and thank you again for a great article to help soothe other people suffering from fear.

  • Ninis

    So true!!!! I though I was alone in this fears, but I was wrong! Is so conforting at the same time to know that someone lives the same experiences and manage to overcome them! You are great!!!! I loved your article and has helped me a lot!!!
    I wan to start with proper overcome fear mediation… Could you recommend any guide, video or something that can help me meditate to overcome fear? I want to give it a try!
    Thank you so much!

  • seeker34

    Very useful article. Thanks. If only I can do that thing you’re saying about just observing negative thoughts, it’s just too difficult if not impossible

  • seeker34

    So true.

  • jay

    i am 54 years old and for the past 8 years i have been terrified of my periods

  • Angela

    Thanks Shearos, hope it is helping!

  • Angela Gunn

    Hi Plantain1

    Thanks for your comment. From what I’ve read and learned, your experiences are not uncommon. It does sound like you are going deeper, but if these experiences are causing you stress and seem unbareable, my best advice would be to seek out a meditation teacher who can work with you through this difficult period of meditation. They will no doubt have lots of great ideas to help you through. I would do that before you give it up entirely, but in the end you must do what you feel is best for you.

    Good luck!
    Angela

  • Angela

    Hi Susu,

    Thanks for your comment. I’m grateful my article helped you and can relate to what you wrote. Change is never easy and it sounds as if you feel stuck in the situation you are in but feel grateful for all you have nevertheless. It sounds like you have a great attitude and that you are making positive changes so that you live your life as fully as you can in the present moment while still making positive plans for change in the future.

    I wish you all the best in your endeavors.

    Best,
    Angela

  • Angela

    Hi Seeker34.

    Thanks for your comment. You are right, it is difficult to do these things I outlined. I think most people give up trying because the results seem impossible to achieve. However, don’t forget that perfection is not needed. Just the effort given to start is enough to being and although you may not see any results for a while, you will being to see changes. It took me a long time to see a change in my thinking and when I don’t practice I often revert to my old ways of thinking.

    Don’t give up!

    Best,
    Angela

  • Angela Gunn

    Hi Ninis,

    Thanks for your comment. I’m glad my article helped you so much. I don’t have a specific fear guide I can recommend, but I do recommend the podcasts at http://www.zencast.org. They have been very helpful to me in a variety of ways.

    Good luck overcoming fear! You can do it :)

    Best,
    Angela

  • Maya

    Wow, was this written 3 years ago, I’m glad I got to read it. I compare myself incessantly and then do all of the things you mentioned. My biggest, deepest most frightening fear though is of being alone or forgotten. Its insane because I have many friends and loving family. I try and lean in to it, but sometimes am so scared that I will fall into a black hole of depression that I frantically call my friends and try and fill my weekends up. Does anyone else experience these fears?

  • Tater

    I start my day in anxiety mode. I don’t have a moment to even think of what I am thinking and bam I am in a full anxiety attack. They physical is what starts the loop into self questioning. I have stopped a lot of foods that can elevate these feelings. I have been seeing a therapist for a couple of months now, but still keep the patterns that I am used to. I found your site yesterday and it did get me though my panic attack and settle me, I would like to know what to do when I am not having an attack to help prevent them from coming. Is there something that we mentally can do to help keep the focus on the moment and stop the drifting to the negative side of life?
    This is my third time in my life that I have faced this demon and this time is seems to be truly ingrained, the last two times I was able to find books and internet to help me though the issues, but this time not so easy. I need change but am afraid of it, I do not like time as time makes you older, I don’t visit much anymore and have a hard time going to work as I know the first hour or longer will be used in breaking the morning cycle of instant anxiety. They say to work out, but it hurts too much and in the long run causes more physical pain. Do you see me chasing my tail now? Any thoughts or advice would be great.. TY

  • Ange

    That’s a great quote. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Ange

    Hi Maya,

    I know many people who feel the same way. I think you have to do whatever you can and whatever works for you to deal with your thoughts and emotions. It’s not easy, but worth the effort. Sounds like you have a great support system to lean on. For that I’m glad! :) thanks for commenting!

  • Ange

    Hi Tater,

    That does sound like a difficult situation to be in, but it sounds like you’re doing what you can to cope with it, which is great. The only method that is tried and tested (not by me for that long) that I can suggest is meditation. Maybe you could try meditating at night so that you are relaxing your mind for sleep. Then maybe when you wake up your mind will be more rested.

    ANother thing that works for me is getting up and doing Julia Cameron’s practice of 3 morning pages. As soon as you wake up, you grab a pen and A4 paper and pour out all your thoughts onto the page (or writing for 15 minutes). It doesn’t matter if the words don’t even make sense. Basically you are emptying your mind of what has accumulated overnight so that you can enter the day fresh and with some space in your mind. it’s a practice for artists/ writes, but I honestly feel it could help everyone.

    Good luck with whatever you try. I think the main thing is you don’t give up or give in to your fear forever. Keep doing whatever you can even if it’s day to day, moment to moment. Change is inevitable!

    Thanks for your comment!

  • SweetCharlie

    cognitive behavioural therapy, look it up

  • kavin paker

    Thank you so much for writing it, as I have kept it on my “favorites” tab to read every now and then as inspiration.
    Hotel Munich

  • looking for peace

    Thank you for writing this.

    I have obsessive compulsive thoughts and some schizophrenia. The more I dwell on things and give in, the worse things get. Your technique of pulling away from what you’re doing midway and recognizing that giving into our worst fears and compulsions only help to create them is wise and something I hope to master.
    Thank you again so much for writing this.

  • Angela

    You’re welcome, looking for peace. I wish you all the best on your journey!

  • http://thepurplebliss.wordpress.com Christine Querubin

    Wow! This resonates so much with my experience. Thanks for writing this post. God bless you!

  • Melissa

    Loved this. Thank you.

    Is it normal, when first becoming aware of the stories I tell myself and realizing that worrying about the past and future are not real, to feel anxiety and shortness of breath? It’s almost as if my fear of letting go of all of my false stories creates anxiety in me. I fear not being connected to my thinking. I hold on so tightly to thoughts which are not real. I’m aware of this, but that in itself is causing me suffering. Letting go is a challenge.

  • ZenMasterMcFlash

    wow I think it’s crazy to compare yourself to others so much. Find a way to be happy in your skin and accept yourself fully(which can be a long road) and life will be so much better.

    Trying and trying all this new age hippy Buddhism stuff can be exhausting. Just love yourself,feel your feelings good or bad and life will be goooooooooooood :)