Bracing for bad news, avoid anxiety & panic

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old_fool
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24 Mar 2011, 4:00 am

Dear all,



I have learned about myself that I tend to react too emotionally to bad news, especially when I expect some kind of outcome. Like, I apply for something, or take an exam or such. Or just need to know the reaction of a person to me or something I did. If the outcome is negative (application rejected, exam failed, negative reaction) I get overly anxious and panicky. It's a kind of an anxiety attack which I have a hard time to control, and it is, obviously very unpleasant.

But I guess there must be a way to avoid this sort of reaction, since at least in this case one can anticipate bad (or good) news. I try very hard to have low expectation, but that tactic doesn't work with me.

Any advice?



old_fool
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24 Mar 2011, 5:06 pm

Thought I'd bump this - I still hope someone may have a good tip.



Moog
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24 Mar 2011, 5:11 pm

Don't brace, let it pass through you. One way is setting up a collision, the other, a flowing through


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old_fool
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24 Mar 2011, 5:36 pm

Moog wrote:
Don't brace, let it pass through you. One way is setting up a collision, the other, a flowing through
I've done that when I was younger, but it left me crushed. I'd end up feeling miserable and unable to physically react in a meaningful way. I'm sure this works for some people, but for me, I need to have some sort of active stance or thinking going on.



Moog
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24 Mar 2011, 5:57 pm

old_fool wrote:
Moog wrote:
Don't brace, let it pass through you. One way is setting up a collision, the other, a flowing through
I've done that when I was younger, but it left me crushed. I'd end up feeling miserable and unable to physically react in a meaningful way. I'm sure this works for some people, but for me, I need to have some sort of active stance or thinking going on.


Okay, that makes sense. What I would do is actively observe my physical/emotional/mental states and see what you can do to loosen any negativity hanging around... for example... mental... observing the thoughts running in your head, and perhaps acting in some way to mitigate anything detrimental occurring there. Focus on positive self talk rather than negative. Emotional/physical... literally loosening any tension that accumulates in the body. Check the breath, bring it down to a less stressful speed through a relaxation technique. Things like that.

May you be happy.


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glider18
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24 Mar 2011, 6:09 pm

Moog wrote:
old_fool wrote:
Moog wrote:
Don't brace, let it pass through you. One way is setting up a collision, the other, a flowing through
I've done that when I was younger, but it left me crushed. I'd end up feeling miserable and unable to physically react in a meaningful way. I'm sure this works for some people, but for me, I need to have some sort of active stance or thinking going on.


Okay, that makes sense. What I would do is actively observe my physical/emotional/mental states and see what you can do to loosen any negativity hanging around... for example... mental... observing the thoughts running in your head, and perhaps acting in some way to mitigate anything detrimental occurring there. Focus on positive self talk rather than negative. Emotional/physical... literally loosening any tension that accumulates in the body. Check the breath, bring it down to a less stressful speed through a relaxation technique. Things like that.

May you be happy.


Moog's advice is excellent. I tend to get anxiety too, and that is advice I can use too. A lot of times I have to find a quiet place in the house to try to relax and perhaps work on some writing or computer games.


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24 Mar 2011, 6:44 pm

This will sound trite, but you do your best and then let it go. If you don't win, you don't. You may want to schedule a little reward (a favorite food, a special DVD, that sort of thing) that you give yourself for having taken the risk, whether or not you reach the goal. It will be something to look forward to.

If you find yourself feeling extremely upset anyway, it may help to turn your attention to something over which you have control. I'll do yardwork or clean out the garage, which takes the edge off my anxiety while making my life at least look more orderly.



old_fool
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24 Mar 2011, 7:53 pm

Moog wrote:
old_fool wrote:
Moog wrote:
Don't brace, let it pass through you. One way is setting up a collision, the other, a flowing through
I've done that when I was younger, but it left me crushed. I'd end up feeling miserable and unable to physically react in a meaningful way. I'm sure this works for some people, but for me, I need to have some sort of active stance or thinking going on.


Okay, that makes sense. What I would do is actively observe my physical/emotional/mental states and see what you can do to loosen any negativity hanging around... for example... mental... observing the thoughts running in your head, and perhaps acting in some way to mitigate anything detrimental occurring there. Focus on positive self talk rather than negative. Emotional/physical... literally loosening any tension that accumulates in the body. Check the breath, bring it down to a less stressful speed through a relaxation technique. Things like that.

May you be happy.


Thanks - this I will try. I'll do my best to catch the negative thoughts whirling around in my head. I think if I bring those to my awareness, that's already half the job done.

As for relaxation, I think I might actually try running. When I get these anxiety attacks, I am pretty sure I have a surplus of adrenaline dumped in my bloodstream, and the best thing to use it up would be by some vigorous physical activity.



old_fool
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24 Mar 2011, 7:56 pm

the_curmudge wrote:
This will sound trite, but you do your best and then let it go. If you don't win, you don't. You may want to schedule a little reward (a favorite food, a special DVD, that sort of thing) that you give yourself for having taken the risk, whether or not you reach the goal. It will be something to look forward to.
It doesn't sound trite at all. It sounds very wise. I think I really should learn to be more forgiving towards myself and accepting of whatever may be. It's somehow analogous to when religious people say "leave it in the hands of God/Jesus". I am not religious, but I understand the logic and how this is actually beneficial.



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24 Mar 2011, 9:20 pm

old_fool wrote:
Moog wrote:
old_fool wrote:
Moog wrote:
Don't brace, let it pass through you. One way is setting up a collision, the other, a flowing through
I've done that when I was younger, but it left me crushed. I'd end up feeling miserable and unable to physically react in a meaningful way. I'm sure this works for some people, but for me, I need to have some sort of active stance or thinking going on.


Okay, that makes sense. What I would do is actively observe my physical/emotional/mental states and see what you can do to loosen any negativity hanging around... for example... mental... observing the thoughts running in your head, and perhaps acting in some way to mitigate anything detrimental occurring there. Focus on positive self talk rather than negative. Emotional/physical... literally loosening any tension that accumulates in the body. Check the breath, bring it down to a less stressful speed through a relaxation technique. Things like that.

May you be happy.


Thanks - this I will try. I'll do my best to catch the negative thoughts whirling around in my head. I think if I bring those to my awareness, that's already half the job done.


Your welcome. I'm glad my post was coherent enough to make sense, I'm sure I could put these things into better language. :lol:

Often awareness alone is enough to spark a solution. Without awareness it's hard to do anything constructive at all.

Quote:
As for relaxation, I think I might actually try running. When I get these anxiety attacks, I am pretty sure I have a surplus of adrenaline dumped in my bloodstream, and the best thing to use it up would be by some vigorous physical activity.


Yes, I used to do that too. Just burn it off. That's the old fight or flight thing in action. The human organism isn't designed to sit there stewing in their own adrenalin... that adrenaline is supposed to fuel action!


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aFiendishThingy
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25 Mar 2011, 12:40 am

Quote:
Okay, that makes sense. What I would do is actively observe my physical/emotional/mental states and see what you can do to loosen any negativity hanging around... for example... mental... observing the thoughts running in your head, and perhaps acting in some way to mitigate anything detrimental occurring there. Focus on positive self talk rather than negative. Emotional/physical... literally loosening any tension that accumulates in the body. Check the breath, bring it down to a less stressful speed through a relaxation technique. Things like that.


This kind of thing is very helpful for frequent bouts of depression as well. I've lost touch with that ability recently, though... I guess I just get more easily worn down during the periods in which these bouts of depression occur several times a day, as has happened for the last few months. The part of my mind which I set to actively observing is pulled into the depression as well, and I just start feeling ashamed and disgusted by my own mind and its inferiority. Then, I get so preoccupied with tearing myself down that I forget I'm supposed to be doing the observing in the first place. :roll: I just need to try harder, I guess.



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25 Mar 2011, 5:55 am

aFiendishThingy wrote:
Quote:
Okay, that makes sense. What I would do is actively observe my physical/emotional/mental states and see what you can do to loosen any negativity hanging around... for example... mental... observing the thoughts running in your head, and perhaps acting in some way to mitigate anything detrimental occurring there. Focus on positive self talk rather than negative. Emotional/physical... literally loosening any tension that accumulates in the body. Check the breath, bring it down to a less stressful speed through a relaxation technique. Things like that.


This kind of thing is very helpful for frequent bouts of depression as well. I've lost touch with that ability recently, though... I guess I just get more easily worn down during the periods in which these bouts of depression occur several times a day, as has happened for the last few months. The part of my mind which I set to actively observing is pulled into the depression as well, and I just start feeling ashamed and disgusted by my own mind and its inferiority. Then, I get so preoccupied with tearing myself down that I forget I'm supposed to be doing the observing in the first place. :roll: I just need to try harder, I guess.


The system I advocate has several branches that lead to wellness, and one of those branches is 'equanimity' which means acceptance of what is. It's very important that you observe what is going on in yourself so you can make better choices. It's also important that you don't get too upset with yourself because you aren't as good or smart or wise or whatever as you think you should be. The point is to get better, not to already be better, otherwise we wouldn't need to do anything. We would simply exist as already perfected beings. :)

I drew a picture that might help: http://recollection.posterous.com/meditator-diagram

And I've always liked that old cliche about 'working smarter, not harder'


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old_fool
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25 Mar 2011, 10:06 am

Moog wrote:
old_fool wrote:
Moog wrote:

Okay, that makes sense. What I would do is actively observe my physical/emotional/mental states and see what you can do to loosen any negativity hanging around... for example... mental... observing the thoughts running in your head, and perhaps acting in some way to mitigate anything detrimental occurring there. Focus on positive self talk rather than negative. Emotional/physical... literally loosening any tension that accumulates in the body. Check the breath, bring it down to a less stressful speed through a relaxation technique. Things like that.

May you be happy.


Thanks - this I will try. I'll do my best to catch the negative thoughts whirling around in my head. I think if I bring those to my awareness, that's already half the job done.


Your welcome. I'm glad my post was coherent enough to make sense, I'm sure I could put these things into better language. :lol:

Often awareness alone is enough to spark a solution. Without awareness it's hard to do anything constructive at all.

Quote:
As for relaxation, I think I might actually try running. When I get these anxiety attacks, I am pretty sure I have a surplus of adrenaline dumped in my bloodstream, and the best thing to use it up would be by some vigorous physical activity.


Yes, I used to do that too. Just burn it off. That's the old fight or flight thing in action. The human organism isn't designed to sit there stewing in their own adrenalin... that adrenaline is supposed to fuel action!



Well, the moment has come and gone. It was bad news, and this is how it played out: I saw the e-mail headline, and knew it's the job interview answer. Immediately my heart rate jumped to stratospheric heights and so did my blood pressure. I think I could even feel my cheek blushing (not the good kind) and slight sweating. That's how quickly your body reacts. Then, I tried to activate my ratio, and prepared to observe my thoughts. Because of the heightened emotional state, this, of course, wasn't easy - I had to contend with a storm more than a noise. Then I opened the e-mail, saw (through a super-perfunctory reading of the text) that my application was rejected, and closed it. I leaned back on the chair and tried to get a bit of composure - and tried to follow what was going on in my mind. I couldn't really decipher anything, actually. As if the world of thoughts wasn't existing at this moment, and only the world of feelings, emotional and physical, was reigning. The very fact that I could notice this, however, must have calmed me down. I wasn't happy, but I could remember quicker than otherwise, the silver lining of not getting the job. And though the peak of almost physical pain and misery was about the same as usually, I recovered much faster.

I recovered so much that I even managed to compose a short reply with the implication hidden between the lines that "it's your loss". I know that this was perhaps not very wise, but what can you do - I am not going to cure my being on the spectrum overnight (or ever, perhaps). :D

Thanks again for your wise words and your smart follow-ups. Methinks you have a really bright mind.



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25 Mar 2011, 2:37 pm

old_fool wrote:
Moog wrote:
old_fool wrote:
Moog wrote:

Okay, that makes sense. What I would do is actively observe my physical/emotional/mental states and see what you can do to loosen any negativity hanging around... for example... mental... observing the thoughts running in your head, and perhaps acting in some way to mitigate anything detrimental occurring there. Focus on positive self talk rather than negative. Emotional/physical... literally loosening any tension that accumulates in the body. Check the breath, bring it down to a less stressful speed through a relaxation technique. Things like that.

May you be happy.


Thanks - this I will try. I'll do my best to catch the negative thoughts whirling around in my head. I think if I bring those to my awareness, that's already half the job done.


Your welcome. I'm glad my post was coherent enough to make sense, I'm sure I could put these things into better language. :lol:

Often awareness alone is enough to spark a solution. Without awareness it's hard to do anything constructive at all.

Quote:
As for relaxation, I think I might actually try running. When I get these anxiety attacks, I am pretty sure I have a surplus of adrenaline dumped in my bloodstream, and the best thing to use it up would be by some vigorous physical activity.


Yes, I used to do that too. Just burn it off. That's the old fight or flight thing in action. The human organism isn't designed to sit there stewing in their own adrenalin... that adrenaline is supposed to fuel action!



Well, the moment has come and gone. It was bad news, and this is how it played out: I saw the e-mail headline, and knew it's the job interview answer. Immediately my heart rate jumped to stratospheric heights and so did my blood pressure. I think I could even feel my cheek blushing (not the good kind) and slight sweating. That's how quickly your body reacts. Then, I tried to activate my ratio, and prepared to observe my thoughts. Because of the heightened emotional state, this, of course, wasn't easy - I had to contend with a storm more than a noise. Then I opened the e-mail, saw (through a super-perfunctory reading of the text) that my application was rejected, and closed it. I leaned back on the chair and tried to get a bit of composure - and tried to follow what was going on in my mind. I couldn't really decipher anything, actually. As if the world of thoughts wasn't existing at this moment, and only the world of feelings, emotional and physical, was reigning. The very fact that I could notice this, however, must have calmed me down. I wasn't happy, but I could remember quicker than otherwise, the silver lining of not getting the job. And though the peak of almost physical pain and misery was about the same as usually, I recovered much faster.

I recovered so much that I even managed to compose a short reply with the implication hidden between the lines that "it's your loss". I know that this was perhaps not very wise, but what can you do - I am not going to cure my being on the spectrum overnight (or ever, perhaps). :D

Thanks again for your wise words and your smart follow-ups. Methinks you have a really bright mind.


Gee thanks :oops: I've had good teachers really.

What interests me is that in observing pain rather than trying to ignore it, somehow it gets 'integrated' into the system somehow. It's curious.


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