Anxiety

Counseling in a Crisis

by Gregg Krech Ten years ago, my colleague Lenn Murphy was asked to be on a crisis counseling team to assist families in the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster. Lenn had trained at the ToDo Institute and I...
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What to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

By Gregg Krech Have you ever felt overwhelmed? So much to do, yet so little time. Our stress level rises. Tension mounts. We try to step back and assess the big picture and that just creates even more stress...
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Presence of Mind

(In our Winter issue of Thirty Thousand Days we printed an essay from the book Strength in the Storm by Eknath Easwaran. Here is an excerpt from that essay) Most of us live very little in the present. If we...
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Coexisting with an Emotional Charge

A brief discussion by Linda Anderson Krech on how we can continue to handle the requirements of daily life while we are also dealing with an issue that carries a strong emotional charge. (3 min)...
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Flexibility to Adapt to Reality

Essentially, having a neurotic personality is not a bad thing. Neurotics have a desire to improve, and their wills are not weak. However, they expend much of their energy protecting themselves, and they are oversensitive. If they develop an attitude toward life that emphasizes managing outside matter instead of paying so much attention to their own feelings, then they become free from their obsession.
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A Hurricane with My Mother's Name Would Not Destroy Me

So what does gratitude have to do with any of this??? First, the hurricane stripped the veil of the ordinary from my eyes. Electricity is miraculous not ordinary. Without it, the sirloin rots, the mattress mildews, the milk curdles. Gasoline is not ordinary either. Without it, the Honda becomes an aluminum shed and the groceries must be walked home in a pull cart, a trip that turns Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia into soup.
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Stagefright

So what is a sensible strategy concerning stagefright and its corollaries? I suggest that the real problem is not these feelings in and of themselves; it is that we are letting this particular group of feelings "push us around." I mean by that: that we misplace our attention. We focus our energies on developing confidence as a speaker rather than on the effortful work of preparing the speech or rehearsing the presentation. I tell performers/speakers to pay attention to the audience. Notice if they appear to be hearing and understanding what you are saying. Handling performance anxiety is really about redirecting ones attention. It's about noticing that I feel anxious and then turning my mind and body to the act of doing the performance with full attention. It is about remembering my purpose and acting accordingly.
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Perfectionism and the Fear of Making Mistakes

Making a mistake implies humiliation; it lowers one's social status, as being right increases it and this is at the root of our concern with goodness and righteousness. We are interested in it primarily because we are interested in our own prestige and status. Once we free ourselves from our fear of being inferior and recognize our worth and dignity, we no longer fear making mistakes--and, therefore make fewer. Our educational institutions are not yet prepared to teach this new social value of the courage to be imperfect. The ability to make mistakes graciously and to accept the ensuing predicament in the same spirit as if it had occurred without our fault is essential for functioning as a free person, as an equal amongst equals.
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When It Comes to Attention, "I" am the Enemy

But it is the tragedy of psychology that it is still preoccupied with self-preoccupation. Too often it teaches us to do what we already do too well -- pay attention to ourselves. In the course of exploring our pain, our worries, our feelings and our dreams we forego the development of our more needed skill -- to notice and engage the world around us. Without practice, our muscles atrophy. So the next time you find yourself self-absorbed, take a walk. Look around you. The world is an interesting place. It might even give you something to do. If the stars are out, close your eyes. Listen. You might just hear them twinkle. That is how they get your attention.
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Anxiety as Misdirected Attention: A Case Study

...I learned two very important lessons. First, never make assumptions that because something is long-standing it is therefore complex and intractable. Secondly, working simply is the best way to start (and in this case finish).
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Wake Up and Smell the Rosemary

Before long, the hour was over. My client's anxiety had vanished. There was nothing more to say. No grand message or moral to send him off with that night. Our actions had spoken louder than all the words I had uttered previously.
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When Plans and Reality Collide: The Tale of Victoria's Garden

Although the garden that Victoria tends today holds great meaning for her and others, the process of creating it was far different from what she had envisioned. At a critical point, despite her transcendent vision and with the aid of a highly synchronistic and rather humorous outer event (the hummingbird!), she stopped long enough to see clearly what could be accomplished with the reality directly in front of her: to surrender the details of her vision, to acknowledge her gratitude for what others were trying to do for her, and to allow a bridge to form from her original idea to a more relevant one. For those to whom images speak louder than words, her garden is a treasure for Naikan reflection and Morita-style goal tending.
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An Ordinary Day at the Beach

The moment to dive was here. Accepting the feelings of fear and dread, I dove. The cold water engulfed my body as I disappeared from view. When I came to the surface, I was cold; but moment by moment, my body and mind adjusted. I did not fight the cold, there was no point. It was an uncontrollable part of life that needed to be accepted. Instead I began working with what I could control, my behavior, and just kept moving. Hannah and I splashed and dove. We were having so much fun I wasn't focused on the feelings of cold anymore. After about half an hour I realized I wasn't cold anymore; but it didn't really matter. Far more important to me was the smile on my daughter's face and the fact that I was doing what needed to be done.
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