Anxiety and the alarm in the body

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This understanding and approach to anxiety really makes sense to me, as a long-time sufferer, and it's something I practice. There are various spiritual methods that are basically variants of this, but I think this MD and neuroscientist really articulates and nails it. (Btw, he speaks of an LSD experience that gave him the insight.)

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I might have a look later but the title, "Healing anxiety by calming alarm" is like saying "curing dryness by making wet"  It doesn't tell me anything at all.
I think his analysis is right.

You have to deal with both the thoughts and the effects in the body. This is true of all unpleasant emotions and cravings not just anxiety.

I would add that sometimes when looking for the source of emotions you have to go not just to your past but also sometimes you have to dig through layers of emotions because we can hide emotions behind other emotions when we don't want to admit the truth about something to ourselves. So the emotions you are experiencing might be hiding the real source of your discomfort that you have to dig for to fully understand your emotions.

He suggests yoga, tai chi, etc.

I have a system that I use to prepare for meditation that includes physical relaxation but also mental relaxation. It addresses the "alarm" (his term for the bodily effects) as well as quiets the mental chatter (the "matches" that keep reigniting the alarm - in the terms used in the video). It relaxes the body and mind.

My system to relax the body and the mind:
Usually when I get done with this, nothing is bothering me.

This suggests a way to dig through layers of emotions:

Anyone who is interested in Buddhist meditation and wants to take this further, see the last paragraph here:
You use the relaxing meditation to become tranquil, then you observe the mind to get insight into how it becomes disturbed and returns to tranquility. The knowledge of this accumulates over time and allows you to learn to stop making yourself suffer so much.

One thing not mentioned in the video is the effects of diet on mood. I find there is a huge effect and finding the right diet is valuable.
The first gulp from the glass of science will make you an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you - Werner Heisenberg. (More at my Blog & Website)
(This post was last modified: 2023-06-25, 03:06 PM by Jim_Smith. Edited 3 times in total.)
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When observing emotions, I find it helps to try to experience the full depth of the emotion in the mind and in the body. This involves understanding the cause / trigger for the emotion and noticing the sensations in the mind/body that accompany the emotion. The "end" of an experience of an emotion is not at the end of a period of time, the end is at the full depth. When you experience it all the way to the bottom, the emotion then begins to fade (although it might be triggered again in the future). If you don't experience it to the full depth, it lingers on in time - consciously or unconsciously.

I find it's like various bodily functions, like for example burping. At first you might notice a vague sense of unease, then if you pay attention, you feel the pressure of gas in your stomach, then you burp, and the unease passes, and you feel a sense of relief.

The experience might not exactly be pleasant, but there is that sense of relief at the end. And with it comes the knowledge that finding that bottom is the key to letting go.

With emotions this can change your attitude toward unpleasant emotions and cravings. Instead of something to avoid or push away, they become something to look for, in order to clear them away, to remove those vague (or not so vague) feelings of unease and to feel the relief that comes from experiencing them to their full depth.  When you do this, you also see that much of suffering comes not from the emotions themselves but from resisting them, rejecting them. When you stop reacting to them in that way a lot of mental anguish associated with them stops occurring.

How someone would put this into practice would depend on the specifics of the person, the emotion they are experiencing, and their particular situation at the moment. Often it just takes a few seconds to acknowledge the emotion, relax, and let go (until it is triggered again). Other times it might require full attention to dig through layers of emotions one hidden behind another. Some people with strong (traumatic) emotions might want to go through that process gradually rather than all at once. Relaxation, metta and other positive emotions produced by meditation can help counterbalance the unpleasant emotions that arise during meditation. Also it can be a mistake to dwell on an unpleasant emotion without letting go. So how to handle an emotions is a fine balance each person has to work out for themselves and their particular situation.
The first gulp from the glass of science will make you an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you - Werner Heisenberg. (More at my Blog & Website)
(This post was last modified: 2023-07-03, 05:03 AM by Jim_Smith. Edited 4 times in total.)
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I would nuance that in terms of if you're experiencing a traumatic state where there are strong emotional convictions - thought/belief-based, but that are felt (I'll be alone forever, I'm worthless, etc. etc.) The belief or thought needs to be put aside and "observed" (framed, and it helps to understand the original context it comes from), while feeling the emotion.
(This post was last modified: 2023-07-01, 02:29 PM by Ninshub.)
Eckhart Tolle's wife focuses a lot on his notion of the "pain body" (emotion accumulated and felt in the body) - and to allow to let yourself feel it fully (you have to) while observing it and keeping your "story" (as a story) and any thoughts aside (being in the moment - not thinking of the past or the future).

(This post was last modified: 2023-07-01, 02:38 PM by Ninshub. Edited 2 times in total.)
But of course there are all kinds of approaches, and I don't think anyone has the truth that fits every person and every situation or moment.
(This post was last modified: 2023-07-01, 02:47 PM by Ninshub. Edited 1 time in total.)
In the spiritual traditions, Rupert Spira also says something similar. He mentions the Vedantic approach of inquiring into the illusory "separate self" that is having this suffering, but also the Tantric (through Kashmir Shaivism) approach of allowing the emotion to reach its total intensity, with no distance whatsoever - no resistance at all.

(This post was last modified: 2023-07-01, 03:32 PM by Ninshub. Edited 2 times in total.)

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