Mindfulness - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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I just stumbled on this forum and I am amazed by how many people are experiencing pretty much exactly what I am experiencing. I wish I would have known about this place sooner.

Anyway, on to the point. I would like to hear about other peoples experience with mindfulness. So if anyone is willing to share how mindfulness has or hasn't worked for them I would love to hear about it.

Personally, my therapist suggested Mindfulness as a way to deal with my SA and depression and at first I was very resistant as I am to most things it seems. But after learning about how it was an old Buddhist practice that kind of intrigued me more. Anyway, he encouraged me to buy a book "The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness" By Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn.

I have to say, the idea behind mindfulness is a very attractive one to me. I have tried all sorts of different ways to grab hold of my negative emotions and feelings like anxiety and reason my way out of them or beat them into submission. Deep down I know that they aren't based in reality yet they still persist. The book definitely gives a lot of insight into how destructive this struggle to control emotions that you can't control is. I have never been really successful in my struggles with this beast they call SA. Mindfulness as I understand it is all about not trying to control these feelings and thoughts but instead realize that all they really are is thoughts and feelings. To me it is about going with the flow and allowing emotions instead of fighting them. Fighting the negative emotion just lends them more power, causes you to brood and dwell on the crap in your life.

Anyway, I have only made it to page 87 in the book so far(I know it's not that far). But the ideas presented so far have really resonated with me. I have been trying to practice what I have read and so far I really feel as though it has helped. I am feeling a lot less numb to everything and I am now actually starting to experience life. I feel less like I am on autopilot than I did before. I feel like my life isn't passing me by as much, and I am spending a lot less time dwelling on being anxious and depressed. But I still have some terrible anxiety. Hopefully as I get Mindfulness more ingrained into my life the anxiety will lessen even more. But so far I have say it has really benefited me. I have been on and off various medications but I don't feel like anything has helped as much as Mindfulness has.

So those are my limited experience so far. What about yours? If anything else has worked well for your guys I would like to hear about that too.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 05:10 PM
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"To me it is about going with the flow and allowing emotions instead of fighting them. Fighting the negative emotion just lends them more power, causes you to brood and dwell on the crap in your life."
Aint that the truth! I think you would really love Eckhart Tolle with that above quote^

Its working great for me, I meditate many hours a day and listen to retreats and audiobooks. I really like Jon Kabbat-Zinn as far as mindfulness goes he's my favorite teacher. Also there are other meditations you can try. The one that has helped me the most is Adyashanti's meditation and meditative inquiry work. Deals with surrendering to what is in the present moment and stop resisting mentally. Also the inquiry is really really cool and helps loads with seeing through your self image / beliefs / thoughts etc.

I highly recommend you buy an mp3 player and listen to the following audiobooks / retreats in this order. The nice thing about listening to audiobooks is you enter a meditative state just listening to them. If you need the links where you can download any of these just send me a pm, in fact I'd listen to these a couple times before you really start the next leg of your journey as they will really help when things go wrong.

Eckhart Tolle - The Power of Now
Adyashanti - True meditation
Adyashanti - Five Truths about Truth
Adyashanti - Mount Madonna retreat

(Download all the Adyashanti you can! Its nice because people come up and ask him questions and have the same problems that you have as well so its almost like he's answering your own questions, I can't tell you how many times I'd have a 'problem' meditating or with 'surrendering' and the next person who would come up to ask a question would have the same question as me, truly transformative)

Adyashanti's meditation is also incredibly effective with dealing with negative situations outside of meditation. In fact take everything you learn from it and use it whenever you can, everytime you feel fear or a negative situation arises. Same with Eckhart Tolle. I had some truly incredible things happen when I used Eckhart Tolle's advice with dealing with a panic attack (he calls it transmuting the painbody)

Also check out Byron Katie who is also really good with the meditative inquiry. It really helps see through those negative beliefs and thoughts of yours.

I never dwell on the things I used to obsess about compulsively anymore. I went from feeling a 3-4 out of 10 and consumed with repetitive negative thoughts that caused a lot of suffering to feeling a 7 out of 10 on average with little social anxiety and very peaceful and calm feeling. Also for example yesterday I was so present and in the moment it was great. Lots of stuff that would have normally triggered a negative emotional reaction just didn't faze me.

Also I wrote up some on various meditations in this post if you are interested, has links to guided meditations also a Jon Kabbat Zinn one that would love

Anyways I hope this has helped and it would be real cool if we kept in touch and exchanged experiences. I'm here if you run into any problems as well, I'll try to help to the best of my ability. Just remember not all meditations will be good. Its perfectly ok to have bad meditations where nothing seems to go right (I had one just earlier today) Those are just opportunities to surrender, sometimes you will sometimes you won't, 'it is as it is'. Be kind and patient with yourself
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 07:05 PM
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ive looked into it but it didnt help me at all. meditation makes me very agitated (physically not mentally)
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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pseudonymous, yeah, in the book it says that is pretty common. I feel like that a little bit too. Personally I haven't done much of the meditation as much as I tried to be more mindful with my thinking. I try to just focus on what is going on now.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 09:09 PM
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I did mindfulness a couple of years back to help combat depression. It worked wonders for the depression but did nothing for the SA. I've come across a few other SA sufferers who've tried it and it hasn't helped the anxiety.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-05-2009, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Ezakimak View Post
Anyway, he encouraged me to buy a book "The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness" By Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn.
That is a great book! I own pretty much every book Jon Kabat-Zinn has written. His writing and research is nothing short of incredible.

Another book I found very helpful was "The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety" as it focused specifically on anxiety:
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-05-2009, 09:14 PM
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I tried mindfulness ages ago. It helped some, but I didn't keep at it.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-05-2009, 10:52 PM
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Yes I have had a lot of personal success with mindfulness. I haven't been going around touting it as the miracle cure for SA. It infact required a lot of patience and a certain willingness, of course, skepticism is always natural. I have learned a lot through meditation, and audio books and what not can definitely help guide you in the right direction. Its important to not get caught up in the "technique" of it all, because that's not what meditation is all about. In fact there really is no technique to it all in a sense, it all just kind of comes down to you learning and experience what works.

One thing that I want to point out though is that it is important to smile when you are meditating. Not a fake superficial smile, but try to make you smile genuine as possible, almost as if your smiling from within. Some days that doesn't come so naturally but give it a try and be gentle with yourself. Too many people when they start meditating have this kind of strained look on their face, just try to get away from taking it all too seriously and I guess your face will be able to display that for you. I wish you well on your journey my friend!

With Metta!
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