Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

Intrusive Thoughts and PTSD

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Intrusive thoughts were unknown to me until my trauma exploded one day during a family crisis.

It is like thoughts, emotionally terrifying thoughts, triggering thoughts, arriving at a rate similar to a gatlin gun firing.

My fight or flight mechanism would fire violently 15 times a day, because of these nasty thoughts, paralyzing me.

That cortisol dumped would light my solar plexus up enough to scare the hell out of me. That jolt was terrifying and intense, powerful in fact.

It sure felt like I was facing an imminent threat.

Now, healed, or much improved, the intrusive thoughts are still alive.

My nervous system is my friend now and does not fire unless a real threat appears.

This has given me the ability to discount, not letting these intrusive thoughts get an audience.

Without an audience thoughts wither and fade.

I use other focus tools when these thoughts arrive.

I touch my thumb with each finger, saying release, release, release, release, release.

My senses take over, sight gets total awareness first, then I listen intently, searching out sounds in an order of loudest first. Finding the lowest decibel sound in the room gives me a goal to focus on.

I feel my skin, register the temperature, then smell for any aromas.

Another tool is reciting my affirmation out loud, In this moment, right now, I feel my body overflowing with Kindness, Aprroval, and Safety.

When negative thoughts arrive, replace them with our focus tools, be prepared, practice when things are calm.

Thoughts needs attention to live.

Thinking is the opposite of what we should do when negativity or trauma arrives.

Extra credit: https://ptsdawayout.com/2018/05/24/this-is-known-as-dysregulated-arousal/

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Does wanting to be Happy take daily work, action?

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Ask anyone, Do you want to be happy. Of course. the overwhelming response will be an enthusiastic yes.

Next ask, What does happiness look like to you? That answer will be incorrect 95% of the time. True happiness is very elusive, hidden to us.

What are the physical and mental actions you take everyday to be happy?

Not many actions taken, the usual response.

Remember, one definition of happiness is being in harmony with our inner nature.

If I want to be in better shape, a plan is developed.

The way I eat changes, daily exercise routines are formulated.

I may research, inform myself better, raising my chances at success.

Matthew Ricard in “Happiness” says our goal in life is to be “Happy”.

I wholeheartedly endorse this view.

Happiness has nothing to do with chasing pleasure, or getting hooked on dopamine.

If happiness is harmony with our inner nature, what actions help me with my inner nature?

Affirmations, meditating, practicing awareness, entering a mundane task, letting negativity go, etc., are a few actions available.

Happiness is surrounded by gratitude, giving and humility!

Just wanting to be happy does not work.

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A few prerequisites for happiness

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First, we must have a worthy self image, a healthy ego. We must love (approve of) ourselves to be truly happy.

Our awareness must be focused in the present moment. Happiness does not exist in our memories or future predictions.

Desires and needs must be in perspective. To many needs or constant desire eliminates our chance for happiness.

Worry, doubt, Dissociation, fear etc. must be at a minimal.

When my PTSD was active and strong, being happy was impossible. Fear and anxiety stole much more than just my happiness.

If we have a disorder, we must take action or happiness will never visit us.

Happiness must be earned in spite of all the challenges we all face.

Happiness does not arrive easily or with half effort.

I believe we all can find happiness with practice.

It will look entirely different for some.

Extra credit: https://ptsdawayout.com/2017/03/14/ricard-happiness-2/

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Happiness seems elusive for most of us!

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Growing up being happy did not seem to be our goal. Being raised Catholic, I had responsibility to the church and God.

My parents demanded proper behavior at home, school and in public. Somehow out of this indoctrination and proper behavior, happiness would be attained.

Well that never worked out. I studied hard, accomplished a college degree, added seven years as a professional baseball player, before a successful working career, but lasting happiness was a complete stranger.

Now I knew possessions, accomplishments, power or approval were not connected with true happiness.

Happiness is hidden, in some of the simplest thing we do.

Hidden in the mundane, clouded by bias and thought, happiness eludes us.

Emotions lead us away from happiness. Try being angry and happy at the same time. Many emotions are connected to negative thought and judgment.

I have found peace and happiness inside mundane chores at times.

Happiness only exists in this current moment, so we need to be present first to enjoy.

Thought seems to chase away happiness for me.

There is a time to think but continuous thought like we get involved in, is destructive.

An example: I have found peace doing laundry.

My purpose: Make my grandkids look as good as possible.

How: Enter the chore completely. Each piece of clothing I pick up, receives total attention and energy. I feel like part of each piece of clothing when my focus is strong.

Time ceases, thoughts fade while a quiet calm envelopes me.

I have felt my nervous system dissipate all its anxiety and aggravation in this space.

Being totally present with laundry, has settled my being and brought a grounding, a smile to my being.

Is this a happy moment?

For me it has the correct elements.

We are Ever present while focused, observing and acting without thinking.

Happiness does occupy spaces like this.

Thoughts?

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’YOU are NOT your THOUGHTS’

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Those with PTSD, anxiety, depression or another mental disorder, live with a constant, seemingly unending flow of negative, maybe even scary thoughts.

In a strange way I honored these thoughts as reality, as true.

It was all I had ever been exposed to. The totality of my experience yielded an extremely unworthy self image (Ego).

My Mindfulness/Meditation practice helped me explore my inner world, the place these unworthy thoughts hide.

Mindfulness teaches us to observe our thoughts without judgment or influence.

Look how fixated we become when someone angers us, disrespect us, or tries to harm us.

The more I identity with with my unworthiness, the more biased and violent my response will be.

My thoughts stole forty plus years of my life, so do not underestimate there power.

Now, I have learned to let thoughts fade.

I have learned my best chance at a happy life is multiplied a 1,000,000,000,000,000 times if I can stay present, observing the now.

It is true. My life sucks if I allow trauma thoughts to percolate for any amount of time.

Any thoughts?

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Mindfulness: A road less traveled

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In America we think happiness is connected with success, accumulating degrees, power and possessions.

Being assertive, competitive, even ruthless is acceptable in business.

We practice, learning to react to challenges, desiring to overcome them.

A Midfulness practice is different.

We practice not reacting, not judging, not grasping a negatively charged emotion.

Fear, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, Rage, Loneliness, Melancholy and Annoyance are the negative emotions.

Not easy to do, when we feel disrespected or treated unfairly.

Can we observe an individual or a situation without reacting personally?

Can we refuse to waste time, thinking about how we want to react?

Can we let anger or resentment fade without acting on its emotional impulse?

We always have the ability to react when we need to.

It would be nice if we cultivated the ability to not react when we feel different.

Having a choice gives us much more influence in our lives.

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Simple, Small Actions repeated daily

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Let us apply this idea of simple, small actions daily to our mental issues.

Mental disorders are complex and confusing, cortisol and adrenaline are secreted when our fight or flight mechanism fires.

Dissociation, leaving this moment to enter the past or future lost in thought, distorts time and reality.

This is a complex mechanism, we can get lost, depressed or terrified.

Therapies can also be complex and overwhelming.

My path out was simple.

Simple actions repeated over and over everyday.

It takes believing this path will work, because healing takes time and improvement is subtle and small at first.

I faced my fears using focus on my breath to stay present, observing, not judging the scary thoughts.

It took a simple action combined with a bunch of trust and courage.

It is more beneficial to take a small action than read a 100 books or take a 100 classes.

The first question becomes, What is holding me back from taking small actions?

Yesterday hiking I played this affirmation over and over as I enjoyed the scenery:

In this moment, right now, I feel my body overflowing with Kindness, Approval and Safety.

It takes me no extra effort to hit play as I hike.

Concentrate on the activity and leave results alone.

Results or answers will not arrive cognitively, it is more intuitive, organic, through the body.

Any thoughts or ideas to add?

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