web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Anxiety: Can It Be Controlled?


Share Button

4. Recognize the “toxic ten” thoughts which keep you in a state of fear, shame and guilt. You cannot bear the discomfort of anxiety unless you figure out what tricks it uses to “kidnap” you. Although the brain is only two percent of the body’s weight, it takes about 20 percent of our energy and oxygen – and more in those who suffer from anxiety. At any given moment, some 100 million bits of information impact on the nervous system from organs including our ears, eyes and skin. Most people shift 99 percent of this information to the “junk mail” section of their brain before they are conscious of its existence. But in anxiety-ridden people, this screening apparatus is defective, allowing too much information to flood the mind. This is what causes the person to feel overexcited and overwhelmed. They must make a conscious effort to do this shifting process until it becomes automatic. For example:

Stop looking for perfection: Forget about looking perfect, making perfect food or being the perfect child/parent/teacher/worker, etc. Strive to be “high normal.” It’s not only humbling but also calming for the nerves.

Stop obsessing about what others think: People’s feelings and opinions are not in our control. We cannot attend all the social events, help everyone who asks for our help or win everyone’s approval. We cannot force anyone to give us love, understanding or respect. We cannot get anyone to stop an addiction, to become more/less religious, to be less lazy or more aware. We can do our best to be polite, kind and caring, but no power in the world can get people to change their feelings or beliefs unless they want to do so. We are all limited. People – especially the demanding types – will always be disappointed and frustrated.

Don’t confuse danger with discomfort: Life’s discomforts are not dangerous. We will experience endless physical and emotional discomforts – accidents, spills, messes or missed opportunities. Think, “If there is no true sakana (danger) or real avaira (sin), then it is trivial.” Tell yourself, “I can cope with this and find solutions.” You missed the simcha? It’s a discomfort, not a danger. Your house is not perfectly neat and clean at all times? It’s a discomfort, not a danger. Things break, get lost and get ruined? It is uncomfortable to be hungry; but it is not dangerous unless you are starving. It is uncomfortable for your relatives to dislike you, but it is not dangerous unless they are truly abusive.

Don’t second-guess God: You might think, “I momentarily lost my concentration during prayer and will suffer some terrible punishment.” Can you know that God has not forgiven you? Be responsible and conscientious, but realize that uncontrolled anxiety is an insidious form of self-torture.

Avoid “victim” thoughts: Toss thoughts such as, “I’m a victim of my moods and cravings.” “I have nothing to contribute to the world.” “Hashem is out to get me.” “No one could possibly love me.” “I’m a failure because I’m not ____ (rich, beautiful, always cheerful, good at math, organized, etc.)” “I can’t change, because my parents were….”

Avoid “what if…” scenarios: Since the future is in Hashem’s hands, refuse to torture yourself with questions such as, “What if Iran attacks?” “What if my in-laws/children don’t like me?” “What if I get fired from my job?” “What if I never get married or I get married and my spouse suddenly leaves me or becomes abusive?” “What if I lose my mind and go insane?” “What if I go to shul and no one greets me?” “What if I make a fool of myself in public?” “What if I get caught by the police and get falsely accused and imprisoned for something I never did?” “What if I don’t pass the test?”

There is no end to the possibilities which a fear-mongering amygdala can imagine.

When anxiety arises, do not try to control it. If you feel cold, you cannot will yourself to feel hot. You can only change actions, such as putting on the air conditioning or a sweater, or bear the discomfort until it passes. You cannot force yourself to love everyone, but you can be compassionate or stay away. Trying to force the anxiety away only makes it worse. You can only think “secure thoughts” or take positive actions. You can breathe calmly, clean the house, pray, sing, write, learn, go shopping, or do something else that distracts you from that pesky amygdala.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Anxiety: Can It Be Controlled?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The interior of the El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, in 2009.
Tunisian Jew Stabbed in Djerba
Latest Sections Stories
Tali Hill, a beneficiary of the Max Factor Family Foundation.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Yeshiva Day School of Las Vegas’s deans, Rabbi Moshe Katz and Rabbi Zev Goldman, present award to Educator of the Year, Rabbi Michoel Paris.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

Your husband seems to have experienced what we have described as the Ambivalent Attachment.

The goal of the crusade is to demonize and hurt Israel.

The JUMP program at Hebrew Academy was generously sponsored by Evelyn and Dr. Shmuel Katz.

More Articles from Dr. Miriam Adahan

Chaim* was admired in yeshiva for his incredible diligence. His days were consumed with learning and he could be found in the Beis Midrash almost 24/7. For him, sleep was a waste of time. Great things were forecast for his future until neighbors found him lying in the middle of the street in Geula, hallucinating that he was Moshiach. Medications stopped his racing mind but made him feel like a zombie. He became depressed and shell of his former self. His parents thought they were acting responsibly when they had him hospitalized and then put in a hostel.

Lessons-logo

Since suffering from colitis as a teen, I finally adopted a strict diet in my 30s that ended my torment. It wasn’t easy to forgo white flour, white sugar and all chemical additives, but it meant that I spend the last 40 years pretty much free of doctors, medications and illness, thank God. Thus, I was surprised when two weeks before Rosh Hashanah, I began to experience increasingly severe stomach discomfort – until I was barely able to move. Despite what I was soon to endure, it helped greatly to focus on the moment-to-moment miracles.

As a teenager, I suffered from occasional panic attacks, social anxiety, and more than the usual amount of teenage angst. In today’s drug-obsessed society, I would certainly have been given psych meds; thankfully, back then, it was expected that maturity would bring greater resilience and awareness. And so it was.

Psychologist David Richo defines love in terms of five A’s: appreciation, affection, attentiveness (listening), acceptance and allowing (as in allowing others the freedom to fulfill their own dreams). Love is the opposite of control.

The couple had barely completed their brief intake papers, which included a small handwriting sample, when, her eyes blazing with fury, the wife pounded on the small table between us and yelled, “He has to grow up! I need a husband who is a real partner, not a lazy good-for-nothing who won’t take responsibility and is totally clueless about my needs!” Her husband sat hunched in his chair, looking like a hapless cat which had somehow survived the spin cycle in a washing machine.

Kindness is such an essential Jewish trait that we are told to suspect that a cruel person is not really Jewish. The media constantly uplifts us with inspirational stories about saintly people who radiated love to their fellowman and did their utmost to avoid hurting others. Yet we are also told, “Those who are kind to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the kind” (Koheles Raba 7:16). It is not a kindness to allow ourselves to be abused, exploited or manipulated. By not taking protective action when possible, we encourage destructive behavior. The following stories are examples of naïve and trusting people who paid a heavy price for being overly “nice.”

In a paper greeted enthusiastically at the May conference of the American Psychiatric Association, in San Francisco, a new name was given to a common problem, Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder. My initial response: another excuse to drug people. However, upon thinking it over, I think that the word embittered does describe the essence of a serious problem. Many of us suffer from some degree of jealousy and bitterness about the injustices in our lives. But does that make us embittered? I would hope not. So, what characterizes embittered people? Here are some actual examples (the names have been changed):

Like medical doctors, every therapist is tormented at times with the question of the hopelessness or hopefulness of a marriage or any other relationship. Everyone is anxious to know if the “broken” spouse/child/parent/sibling can be fixed. With desperation in their voices, they ask, “Can medication, therapy or other interventions turn him/her around and stop him/her from being so depressed, anxious, addicted or angry?” How can a therapist say, “There is no hope.”?

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/health/anxiety-can-it-be-controlled/2012/08/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: