Anxiety problems

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Anxiety problems

Post by Supermoon7 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:53 pm

When I was in my early twenties, I began to experience what might be called low self-esteem. On one hand, I was very enthusiastic and confident about what I was trying to achieve at that time, but I was simultaneously feeling anxious, unhappy, self-critical, viewing myself negatively, thinking that others saw me as deluded, as a failure, with unrealistic dreams, and that I was unattractive, with receding hair, and that nobody really believed in me in ways I believed in myself. I began to develop feelings of social anxiety, even slight panic attacks. When, in a bar or restaurant with friends, and I tried to drink from a glass or a cup, my hand would slightly shake. Worse than that, is that I would get a kind of trembling in my neck and head. The thought that this was noticeable, and that people could see I had a problem, was a kind of vicious cycle, in that the idea that other people were looking at me, judging me, wondering what was going on, made me feel worse. Sometimes I would get this feeling when not trying to drink, but just when making conversation with people. I think that one of the subconscious strategies I developed in order to counteract this, was to tense my neck muscles. Right now my life is full of work pressure, stress, relationship problems, and so. My work requires me to sit many hours each day at a computer. All of these things combined, are giving me constant connect tension and neck pains. I still have those feelings that I had when I was in my early twenties. I still feel like people look at me, and judge me, and are maybe thinking negative things about me. I still have to drink a pint of beer before going to get my hair cut, just to be able to sit and “relax” without my head shaking. Otherwise, I might be ok for a few moments, but then a thought will cross my mind that someone is watching, and thinking something about me, and it is like spasm in my neck and head. I still live with a strange combination of ambition, enthusiasm and confidence, as well as negativity, doubt, thinking that others believe I am worthless.

Recently, I took up yoga, hoping that this would help. For years I have tried meditation, but I find it very difficult to maintain a daily practice. Please can anyone give me any advice on a type of meditation, perhaps analytical meditation, that will help me resolve this strange conflict, and dissolve these strange negative feelings that make me feel so bad. Right now it is very difficult to make progress with anything and face some big challenges, and overcome relationship problems, when feeling so lost in anxiety and stress. I never used to drink coffee, but over the past three or four years I have developed a habit of drinking two or three mugs of coffee each morning. I have become somewhat addicted, and really enjoying my work over morning coffee. But I'm wondering how this coffee is affecting the rest of my day. I feel like it is a necessary drug that will help me get through my current workload during this year of extraordinary pressure. At the same time I'm wondering if I should or how I can give it up.

Any thoughts or suggestions on these problems would be helpful. Thanks.

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Re: Anxiety problems

Post by Losal Samten » Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:18 pm

Bimala or Agar-35 medicine should ease some of the symptoms. What type of yoga have you taken up? Additionally what school of Buddhism do you follow if any?
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
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Re: Anxiety problems

Post by Jesse » Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:25 pm

I can sympathize, I've always had anxiety. I know what you mean about the ticks.. I used to get so anxious I would start laughing for no reason. It's horrible. You can really only approach anxiety from a few ways, because it's not really a choice.. learn and practice relaxation techniques, or take medications to help. (or both.)

One medicine that really helps me is propranolol, it's a high blood pressure medication that's used off-label for stage-fright. It helps with the physical parts of anxiety, so it can help with the anxiety ticks etc.

Meditation can help, but really it does take alot of practice for it to be useful in daily life. Anxiety sort of acts like a run-away train, so you have to start practicing relaxation techniques before it has a chance to 'pick up momentum', if that makes sense.

If your going to hang out with friends etc, meditate before you leave.. if you have a method you use to calm down (focusing on the breath for example.) start practicing it before the anxiety starts, not after. These things help a bit.
“Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one's desires, but by the removal of desire” – Epictetus

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Re: Anxiety problems

Post by Paul » Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:37 pm

I have had a similar thing and after a long time managed to get out of it thanks to my teachers' advice.

My advice is:
*Meditate as much as you can in a very relaxed, open way. Don't over-concentrate. Analytical meditation will not help.
*Spend as much time as you can on the four thoughts - they put everything in perspective
*Cultivate the four immeasurables as often as you can in as many situations as you can. Genuine warmth & compassion towards others for no real reason will fix your system quickly and stop the self-examination that causes so much of this. Equanimity will stop you being so bothered by personal difficulties.
*Very deliberately stop caring about things so much. Be as loose and carefree as possible. If you find yourself being concerned about whatever someone thinks about you, laugh it off and put no more thought into it. Just don't give a f*ck - if you find yourself being concerned about something, just remember that your job is to not give a f*ck.
*Enjoy nice films, books, and get outdoors into the country.
*Prostrations and Vajrasattva are very helpful and work rapidly.
*Coffee is a terrible idea, as are things like smoking weed.

You almost certainly have what's termed a rlung disorder in Tibetan medicine. Reading the following will give you a great understanding of what you need to do in general, including very simple yogic pranayama techniques: ... dicine.pdf" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;" ... ne-of-two/" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;" ... wo-of-two/" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;"" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;" ... peediness/" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;"

You can definitely sort yourself out - I am 100% certain, but you need to really practice with diligence.
Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal
the modern mind has become so limited and single-visioned that it has lost touch with normal perception - John Michell

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Re: Anxiety problems

Post by Reibeam » Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:34 pm

Hi Supermoon7,

One thing that could be helpful is to expand how your perceiving meditation practice. Having a formal daily practice is really great, but carving out the time can be difficult and if you have a lot of stresses going on around you sometimes the thought of sitting itself can amplify the problem. Practice can happen throughout the day and you don't just have to be on a cushion. like Jesse said if you catch it before it become a "runaway train" you can arrest at least part of the cause before the symptoms manifest and when you need it most may not be a time when you can do formal sitting practice. One aspect of meditation (and yoga) is awareness of one's breath and since your not only breathing when your meditating you can incorporate meditation while your breathing and do it anytime.

With that thought...For example, you said you spend a lot of time in front of a computer, during that time there are windows (no pun intended) when your thoughts will deviate from your job and from that moment of distraction the possibility of anxious thoughts might manifest, before they do you can apply awareness of your breath and diffuse any arising anxiety. This can also work at a bar or social event without drawing attention to you.

Its great that you are taking up yoga as that can be very beneficial, not only for relieving tension that has a physical presence from the result of work, like in the neck and shoulders with the various poses, but with yoga there are often different breathing techniques like Diaphragmatic Breathing (this is a good term to search) or abdominal breathing which can short circuit the Fight or Flight response and can be used anytime without the need for a specific pose (except a straight back). That combined with awareness of the four parts of the breath (inhale, pause, exhale, pause etc) in conjunction with counting is extremely beneficial for stress management. If you don't already have a yoga or meditation teacher, try to find someone because as with any technique it is essential that you get instruction from a qualified teacher.

Good luck

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Re: Anxiety problems

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:38 pm

Practicing with a mantra may be beneficial.
It's my sense that a good medicine for anxiety is renunciation, so your response to every neurotic thought and worry can be your mantra, over and over. Just keeping it going whenever you remember can be an aid to mindfulness, as well.
A mantra can be a very skillful means, and a good friend helping you get beyond rigid ideas and limitations.
You can't go wrong with "om mani padme hum," for instance.
Namo Amitābhāya

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Re: Anxiety problems

Post by Mkoll » Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:16 pm

Studying and practicing Buddhism really ameliorates life's problems, in my experience. And I'm sure many others here would say the same thing.

I'm sorry I can't think of any better advice. ;)
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Anxiety problems

Post by Soar » Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:25 pm

I had very similar things happen to me in my 20's; spasms and freaky things going on with my neck, anxiety, self-conciousness, paranoias etc. Through Qigong, Taoism, and Buddhism I really understand these things very well now so it is very possible to overcome them. Not sure how to explain it all on a forum though. Really a lot of the concepts are very simple but are best learned practically and intellectually from teachers and traditions.

And a lot of it actually doesn't go away, thats not the point, these things you describe are manifestations of how our body and energy and emotions work. Dont supress them, learn to relate to them differently. Some things are just normal epxressions of energy and some are signs that it is getting blocked and needs to work through and resolve itself somehow, either way they are a normal part of being alive. This is a good talk to watch, it should help give some context for how our minds work, and really gets to the root cause of anxiety:" onclick=";return false;
“If you propose to speak always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?”
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Re: Anxiety problems

Post by Supermoon7 » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:07 pm

Dear all,

Thank you. I’m rather overwhelmed by these responses. They are appreciated.

Mother’s Lap – where can I buy Bimala or Agar-35? I had actually thought about going to see my doctor and asking for something by prescription. I’m not sure which is the best route to take but need to do something now. As for your questions, Ashtanga yoga. I learnt to meditate at an FWBO center (I think they changed the name recently?). Then Rigpa.

Jesse, thanks. I will ask my doctor about propranolol – although I am beginning to sound like one of those TV commercials! Also, my blood pressure is fine (which surprised me), so I’m not sure if this is something I can take if I don’t have high blood pressure. Relaxation techniques. I guess you mean my normal meditations (mindfulness of breathing, and “metta bhavana” practice, as learned at an FWBO center). The problem is, I always find so many other demands on my time make me put off meditation too many times each week. I was wondering about any kind of “meditations” for lying down, going to sleep, as getting to sleep has not been easy recently. But I really must get into a daily morning practice of at least 20 minutes.

Hi Paul, thanks for the advice. I will look up the “four thoughts” and the ”four immeasurables”. These are new to me. As for prostrations, you mean more than just 3 a day, right? And Vajrasattva? Thanks for the URL links, I will look at those. Practicing with diligence sounds challenging, considering everything else that’s going on in life right now, lack of time, difficult relationship situation. But I will try.

‪Reibeam, Yes, you’re right. This morning, I was meditating and kept thinking about all these other things that I “should” be doing. I have this, too, when I can’t sleep at night and feel like I am wasting time going over things in my mind when I could actually be crossing some of these “to do” things off my lists. Your suggestions are helpful, thank you. I will read everything your comments and all the other comments again in the days ahead and try to understand and absorb on a deeper level.

‪duckfiasco, Thanks – I’m never sure what I should be “thinking” with mantras?

‪Mkoll, that’s inspiring to know (“Studying and practicing Buddhism really ameliorates life's problems”), thanks.

‪Soar, thanks, I agree with you about not “suppressing” these things etc. I know that when I have been free of these things, I have simply been free of them (and these things have been free of me). I’ll watch the video, thanks.

Thanks everyone.

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Re: Anxiety problems

Post by Losal Samten » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:14 pm

Supermoon7 wrote:Mother’s Lap – where can I buy Bimala or Agar-35? I had actually thought about going to see my doctor and asking for something by prescription. I’m not sure which is the best route to take but need to do something now." onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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Re: Anxiety problems

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:30 pm

I have fairly substantial anxiety problems, and have for a big chunk of my life...for me it's been a multi-faceted approach.

A TON of exercise, this is vital for me..don't know if it's cortisol levels or what but even going a day or two without a bike ride, martial arts, throwing something heavy, or similar I get a flare up. Daily Meditation practice has also been vital, so if you don't feel motivated to do that, i'd figure out what you need to feel motivated to do it. You could go out to some sangha and meet teachers, get teachings etc., and that way you are killing two birds with one stone in that you are both putting yourself in social situations, and discovering just what would motivate you into a daily practice.

I have no idea what is "correct" clinical advice on social anxiety like what you describe, but I can say that for me making myself be social, combined with sort of "triage" use of meditation techniques (Tonglen, breath following, mindfulness of thoughts, mindfulness of body) gets me through it, and i'm able to live pretty normally, i'd even say i'm on the active side socially.. despite the feeling of panic I sometimes get in social situations.

Personally, i'd also try massage, acupuncture, or similar if you have it available to you, it probably won't cure the root cause of the muscle tension, but it may break the cycle a bit of you noticing the tension, and it making you tense even more, etc.

I'd also try switching to tea for now, based on personal experience very similar to yoursm, can't hurt at any rate. I found that a decent black tea gave me just enough pep, but didn't have the jitter factor of coffee.

Naturally, this is all just subjective advice, and no substitute whatsoever for any manner of professional help, conventional or otherwise.
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Re: Anxiety problems

Post by Grigoris » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:33 pm

Instead of asking your doctor about a certain medicine, I would recommend you ask them to refer you to a good mental health specialist.

I believe that exercise would help your condition in general (including yoga). Outdoor exercise like brisk walks (initially) and jogging (once your stamina/strength is up) will do wonders.

Instead of just taking supplements, I would recommend you look at your diet in general. Several cups of coffee in one hit is like the absolute worst thing for anxiety and tension and drains the body of all sorts of vitamins and minerals (same with alcohol). Do you eat a balanced diet? Do you eat LOTS of fresh fruits and vegetables? Do you smoke as well? How is your sleep?

Martial arts are also a great way to deal with ones low self esteem. You have to find a good teacher though.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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Re: Anxiety problems

Post by Vajrasvapna » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:13 pm

Supermoon7 wrote:Any thoughts or suggestions on these problems would be helpful. Thanks.
I would recommend you learn the Systema Breathings: and Also seek a acupuncture and cupping therapist, this are wonderful ways to end ones physical tension. :twothumbsup:
"People these days use whatever little dharma they know to augment afflictive emotion, and then engender tremendous pride and conceit over it. They teach the Dharma without taming their own minds. But as with a river rock , not even a hair’s tip of benefit penetrates the other people. Even worse, incorrigible people [are attracted] to this dharma that increases conflict. When individuals who could be tamed by the Dharma encounter such incorrigible, their desire for the sacred Dharma is lost. It is not the fault of the Dharma; it is the fault of individuals." Machik Labdron prophecy.

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