Empowering Group Program Run-through part3

Learn how to comfort yourself, encourage yourself, and like yourself. This session is chock-full of POWERFUL tools for taking charge and changing your life for the better.
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Re: Empowering Group Program Run-through part3

Post by THH » Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:59 pm

That is great you are like my neighbor. It is good I do have her and she has helped me many times. Do you have a certain person that you can talk to from time to time that is a support person?
Good point too on the state of confusion not knowing what is right, just adds to our feelings of anxiety. It causes me to want to withdraw for fear I could say or do the wrong thing. I run into my rabbit hole until I feel there is no danger. When it passes I come out and be social again.

This is a very good session. 3 & 4 are always hard for me. Before I never thought of my fear of failure but it is there as well. I guess I just thought it was like failing a test or something. I didn't think of it in terms of trying something and failing. I see that this time. I am very hard on myself, no one needs to point out what I did wrong. I'm the first to notice.
Good for you on pushing forward! For me that is the only way to feel as if I accomplished something. There is honor or relaxation not sure of the word, in doing. It makes you feel good afterwards.
I caught my self thinking all morning about last week and all the things that were negative. I started to get anxious all over again. So we really do feel what we think. I got out of the house and took the dogs for a walk, made some door swags from pines, and cedar for holiday decoration. That helped me quit thinking about all the crap I was thinking on. It changed my whole perception. I made about 6 of them, and will give some away to neighbors. I felt better after doing.
P.S. I found some of my cards, but 3 is missing! I'll post what I have on the lesson I have. :D

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Re: Empowering Group Program Run-through part3

Post by THH » Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:04 pm

Glad your still with us. No worries ~ Do what you can when you can. Were all here! LOL...

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Re: Empowering Group Program Run-through part3

Post by MapleLane » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:00 pm

For better or worse you'll be getting several posts from me in a row now as a result of me only getting to the lesson today! Hope it's not overkill ;)
(I will not usually post so much in a row as I know it can be a lot to read through).

So Ninja you asked about what my experience was like when I was first learning and applying CBT concepts to my life - and w regard to changing thoughts...

I remember just before Ninja introduced me to CBT I'd had an attitude break-through. I still didn't like where my life was at and it was like something clicked in my brain that I would rely on myself to make changes in myself.
All the sudden I understood that things I had been relying on to give me the answers or the cure were TOOLS and I was the answer.
(I also had the perfect example in my grandfather - who I care for very much - of exactly where I did NOT want to be w anxiety and depression. I may expand more on that later).

It was wonderful fortune that Ninja and I were introduced to each other soon after as while I had some new understanding and resolve, I really didn't have great tools.
Last edited by MapleLane on Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Empowering Group Program Run-through part3

Post by MapleLane » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:03 pm

As to the CBT specifically it was like Ninja handed me keys to unlock my brain with.
There was something in Ninja that led me to trust him, and so trusting Ninja's recommendation for CBT I learned concepts with an open, non-defensive mind. Not all of it is stuff I would have wanted to hear but I knew it may well be true. Sometimes I thought hard about it. Sometimes I just let it percolate in my mind.

There were 3 big concepts in that CBT book for me.

1) The Cognitive Distortions: Recognizing the negative and untrue sort of thinking in my head and realizing what I did to myself when I allowed it.
This thought replacement made a massive difference for my depression.
It was unfamiliar to me and took a bit of work. But my mind was so hungry for it that I just latched on to the positivity and truth I found in the replacement statements I created.
(After listening to Lesson 3 I think that's along the lines of what Lucinda means about the mind becoming addicted to positive thought habits just like it can be addicted to negative thought habits).

Interestingly I had found it easier to apply to the depression than to the anxiety. My depression dramatically lessened but the anxiety only somewhat so.
I am finding that going through this program and looking at thought replacement again in the framework of an anxiety and panic focused view is REALLY helpful to applying it to my anxiety. The first two lessons helped build a good foundation for it.

2) Do-Nothing-ism:
Although Anxiety and Panic is my primary difficulty, I struggled with depression too and this book focused mostly on depression. I recognized Do-Nothing-ism in my reaction to depression and even sometimes to stress and anxiety. And I changed it.
It shocked me that on a day I was stressed out, anxious, depressed and felt like crap and just wanted to rest, that to clean the bathroom (for example) could actually make me feel that much better!
Unknowingly I was changing subtle thoughts by my actions.
When I did even small things, thoughts and feelings of accomplishment and activity started to take the place of some of the ones of ineffectiveness and sluggishness and disengagement.

3) Compassionate Self Talk
Ninja introduced this concept to me as well. Among the things he told me was to talk to myself as if I were talking to a child.
A great idea! You would talk encouragingly to a child, building them up, perhaps helping them figure out a situation or work through their feelings, but also you would not lie to them as they can tell when you're insincere.
I have used that so much. I used it when a man was rude to me at a store, I used it when I thought I'd screwed something up, I used it when I was discouraged over a set-back in progress.
It is another form of thought replacement and a wonderful way to re-teach myself about the world and about myself, just as if I were helping a child grow in this world.
Last edited by MapleLane on Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Empowering Group Program Run-through part3

Post by MapleLane » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:05 pm

So in these ways I just keep on replacing thoughts and keep letting go of the original harmful thoughts. (Sometimes over and over).

And I keep in mind what my mom says (I don't know who this quote is attributed to)...
"You can't stop the birds from flying overhead but you can keep them from nesting in your hair."

Everyone has negative, harmful thoughts pass into their head sometimes. I have a lot!
They are my 'birds flying overhead'. Even as I improve my thought processes there will always be thoughts that pop into my head that are unwanted - that's just part of being human.
And now I better understand and practice how to keep them from 'nesting in my hair'.

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Re: Empowering Group Program Run-through part3

Post by MapleLane » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:09 pm

Honestly so much of it (for me at least - I can't speak for everyone) seems to be just DOING stuff.
Learning and applying CBT meant DOING.
Living my life in a fulfilling way meant DOING.
I think a lot. I needed to put aside the thinking and analyzing, and just DO.
I didn't have to do it perfectly. I didn't have to do it all. I could change my approach as needed as I went - as long as I just got the ball rolling and was DOING.

As I went I found there was another balance needing to be struck.
It was important to think about how things were going and what I could improve on. But if I went too far into analyzing my progress I could suck myself into the trap of over-thinking it. And that can reintroduce a lot of pressure and discouragement. It can suck the energy and even fun out of the process.

What I do to help stay clear of that trap and to keep the balance:
- Remind myself that thinking stuff over is not inherently a helpful thing to do. Thinking and analyzing is my natural response, it feels like the thing to do, it seems like the more thought put into something, the better. But just as thinking can be helpful, it can also be detrimental...
- Recognizing what is useful analyzing and what is unnecessary or damaging analyzing.
- Giving myself permission to not think about the unnecessary or unhelpful thoughts. And by giving myself permission I start to enable myself not to stress out that I'm not thinking about it!
- AND remembering that thinking only gets me so far. Turning the useful thinking into useful DOING is really what does it.

I have no idea whether this is helpful to anyone else. Different things appeal to different people.
Take it or leave it as you like :) That is the basics of my CBT and thought replacement experience so far.
Last edited by MapleLane on Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Empowering Group Program Run-through part3

Post by MapleLane » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:22 pm

Ninja: I'm impressed that you did the exercise about marking down when you had negative thoughts!
That really could take a day dedicated to the cause! Haha!
What I may do is write down some of my most common negative thoughts and also some of my most surprising negative thoughts.

THH: I also thought that was interesting about your neighbour. It reminds me how it's so good that there are people of all different types! Both my mother and my husband are very different from me. I find that paying attention to the way they interpret and approach things in life can help round out my own perspective a little. Is that sort of what you were saying about interactions with your neighbour?

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Re: Empowering Group Program Run-through part3

Post by MapleLane » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:44 pm

Forever Young: You mentioned being bothered by physical symptoms arising but not having feelings of anxiety first.
That happened to me recently and it totally freaked me out at first because I hadn't experienced anxiety first which would have put the physical symptoms in context.
I was having heart palpitations, feeling weak, finding it hard to breath (which I realized after a while was me starting to hyperventilate), ...in a way these are feelings I get with anxiety or panic but they each presented differently from what I was used to. And seemed to come out of the blue - no feelings of anxiety first.
I realized after an hour or so that it was a strange panic attack. I don't know why it manifested itself the way it did. For a day or two after that I dealt with similar but less intense physical feelings.
I prefer anxiety and panic that I am familiar with! Haha!

How are you doing?

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Re: Empowering Group Program Run-through part3

Post by MapleLane » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:56 pm

THH: Good for you for making a difference in your health with better eating and exercise!
Healthy eating and exercise is something I especially value because of the anxiety/panic - I wouldn't say that I have health anxiety but because of the physical nature of some of the panic I experience, I like knowing that I have taken care of myself and I use that to reason with myself that I am experiencing panic attack symptoms rather than my final hours on earth ;) haha!

So I ask myself... What's more likely? That I, a healthy person, am suddenly dying? Or that I, someone diagnosed with Panic Disorder, am just having a different sort of panic attack than I am used to?

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Re: Empowering Group Program Run-through part3

Post by Ninjafrodo2 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:25 pm

I am still struggling with my expectations on being in the moment and catching my negative thoughts but yet still i'm working hard...One thing that comes to mind as to why this is happening is that part in this lesson about giving ourselves credit for the efforts we put forth. I do put alot of effort in but at the same time there are lots of times where I don't and I can either look at the good parts or the bad parts and I think out of habit I've been looking at the bad parts and not even really notice!!! Can anybody else relate?

Facing anxiety and even stress is not easy and it's only natural to want to avoid it and to do what you can to make yourself feel soothed which is what it sounds like you are doing with your procrastination and watching tv shows and such. Its understandable and honestly because of this extra stress that I've been feeling, I have been using my older ways of coping as well and some of those include watching tv shows, numbing myself out and avoiding doing some of the work (the 6 steps mainly), when I read your response I was thinking that you're like me and that you are feeling stressed and you're doing what you can in order to take care of yourself and there is nothing wrong with trying to take care of yourself. This condition is such a painful thing and I think all of us wish we could just zap it away, that would be great but unfortunately not reality. Despite the procrastination and other avoidance behaviors, you are still posting on here, you are still making effort and that counts for something! These thigns that you ARE doing are moving you along to your goal of overcoming the anxiety.

Yeah the should thing is definately important! if you are fighting against reality (saying it should be something other then what it is), then you are resisting and keep in mind the stress response is a fight or flight!

I'd like to discover optimism and i'm sure i'll get there, it'll just take some time :)

I did do the 10 positive things and yeah it was kind of challenging until I got the ball rolling but it does feel nice to see those attributes! I think all of us can definately say that we are compassionate, understanding and considerate of the feelings of others, we can say that we all are doing what we can to make ourselves better as well! These are both really great things that need more attention as well as all the others as well.

I do have a couple of people that I can talk to although they don't always understand what I'm talking about but at least they don't judge me for it when they don't but when people do judge me or try to convince me that what i'm thinking is wrong there are many times that I go into that rabbit hole as well, its just the way I learned to cope...i go into that bewildered state and I block alot of what they are saying out and then I can't really think clearly...its not the best way to cope but it works for the most part, at least until the skills in this program become more ingrained and I'm better able to calm myself down.

Lesson 2, 3 and 4 are usually pretty hard for me and I'm the same as you with the being hard on myself, thats one thing I'm definately wanting to change! Oh and yeah just like in the tapes, I think it was Ken who said that he would think about stuff that happened in the past and he'd feel it all over again as if it was happening....the mind responds the same way whether its happening now or you're reliving or imagining it, it looks like you're seeing that but it looks like you are also seeing your power too!


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