March 6, 2017

Fear Not – Better Ways to Deal with Anxiety.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.

by Deepak Chopra M.D.

Modern life brings more stress than ever, and a natural reaction to stress is anxiety. It’s a multi-dimensional response that originates, physically speaking, in the lower brain, where the fight-or-flight response resides, an inheritance shared by almost all animals. The second dimension is emotional, which originates in the amygdala, part of the mid-brain, and finally the newest part of the brain, the cerebral cortex, turns anxiety into words and concepts.

I’m beginning with these basic facts about the brain to make an important point: although every dimension of anxiety causes some region of the brain to “light up,” you are the ultimate controller of your responses. In the connection between mind, body, and spirit, much of the anxiety response is open to change—once you understand how. The first principle is that spirit offers the deepest level of control over anxiety and stress. There is a level of the mind that transcends the ups and downs of daily life. In its unbroken peace and stillness, this is the place you need to reach through meditation. Having become accustomed to finding your spiritual core, you will find anxiety-packed moments much diminished in their effect.


But that’s a long-term project, and most people want to know how to deal with anxiety right this minute. There are three things I do personally, but they can be treated as one technique.

* Take several deep breaths.

* Center yourself until the edge of anxiety starts to soften.

* If you have tried these two things and still feel anxious, walk away from the stressful situation as soon as you can.


The beauty of undertaking a long-term meditation practice is that it becomes much easier to breathe, center yourself, and brush your anxiety away.


The second practice for dealing with anxiety is self-care. Stand back and take a look at how you are relating to stress in terms of your own well-being. Many people plunge into anxiety-packed moments for reasons that contradict their own health and happiness. For some it’s a matter of duty, or showing how macho they are, or not looking vulnerable. I’m not arguing against any of these motivations. But if you sit quietly and consider how high your anxiety level is throughout a typical day, you can objectively weed out the kind of encounters that you can predict in advance will push your anxiety buttons. I have in mind such things as:

* Being around stressful coworkers.

* Jumping into a crisis when you feel nervous and upset.

* Throwing yourself into a stressful situation without knowing how to handle it.

* Feeling duty-bound to take care of others.

* Bleeding emotionally into another person’s anxiety.

* Thinking that anxiety is normal and unavoidable.

If you are as kind to yourself as you are to others, you will seriously examine the damage you are doing to your inner life by welcoming needless stress and the anxiety that accompanies it. For women in particular, anxiety is associated with a positive spiritual trait: empathy. Wanting to feel what another person is feeling, many women learn early on that they will pay the price of feeling anxious. (This may be one reason why the vast majority of prescriptions for tranquilizers are written for women, although other factors, some of them unknown, enter in.) In many families children learn early on that it’s Mommy you run to when you are crying, not Daddy. In return for being the emotional heart of the family, a role many wives and mothers cherish, too much of the burden of worry comes with it.


This leads to the third practice for anxious moments, which is to find detachment while still offering empathy. In my medical practice, especially early on when many of the nursing staff were veterans of World War II or the Korean War, I observed that after seeing so much horror, these women were detached and yet incredibly good at offering comfort, care, and nurturing attention. I know this sounds like a contradiction, in part because the root words in “compassion” mean “to suffer with.” I believe in compassion that doesn’t focus on “suffering with” but on “caring for.” A caretaker who makes you believe in your healing is worth much more than someone weeping by your bedside—such has been my experience.


Detachment isn’t the same as indifference, which contains no caring. Instead, detachment is skillful caring. When I meet someone who has mastered this skill, their behavior contains the following elements:

* They don’t use someone else’s suffering in order to describe their own.

* They pay attention to practical matters first, such as quality of food and other basic needs.

* They don’t point out the good they are doing. They don’t look for credit or praise.

* They have learned how to remain calm in a crisis through repetition, practice, and experience.

* If the suffering person wails and complains, they don’t judge. They allow grief, anguish, anxiety, and every other stressful response take its natural course, while offering an example in themselves of not giving in to these responses.


Learning this kind of skillful caring doesn’t help only the people you care for—it should be applied to yourself. Fear is defeated by the part of the mind that has learned how to confront fear and emerge the victor. Anxiety is multi-dimensional, but so are you and I, which gives us the ability to acquire emotional resilience, to learn new responses, to learn from others who serve as a model, and to find the core in ourselves that fear cannot disturb.

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  1. Laura Meath Fracker


  2. Laura Meath Fracker


  3. Laura Meath Fracker


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