Updated: Sep 14
Top Tip: Melt (Anxiety with Mindfulness and Rational Thinking
Dr. Vincent E. Parr is a psychologist in private practice in Tampa. Michael Gregory, a former a Buddhist monk, directs the Mindfulness Meditation Center in Palmetto, Florida. Together, they offer this top tip for combining (rational and mindfulness methods:
"If you suffer a from a parasitic form of anxiety, attack it using a combined mindfulness and rational-thinking approach."
Start by matching your what if thinking against this anxiety equation: A = WI + Aw + ICSI, where
(A)= Anxiety, or a negative feeling of dread
(WI) = What if thinking that something very bad, dangerous, or threatening could happen to you or to someone you love
(Aw)= Awfulizing, or emotionally blowing up a real or imagined situation by defining it as awful, terrible, or horrible
(ICSI)= I can't stand it,' where you believe that you can't tolerate the unpleasant feelings.
Accept that you've concocted a future event (WI), scared yourself about this possibility (Aw), and viewed yourself as unable to stand the emotions about an event that you have no proof exists (ICSI).
How can you stop tormenting yourself with what-if-thinking?
Recognize that parasitic anxiety takes place in your mind, and allow yourself-_without struggle--to observe WI anxiety as it unfolds.
Remind yourself to remain/mindful, which is a nonreactive and nonjudgmental awareness of self and surroundings.
Accept that WI parasitic thinking is a mental projection that connects horrifying thoughts and images to anxiety, but thinking about a WI disaster doesn't validate the disaster.
Release the image of your expected disaster by allowing it to pass through your mind as an errant neuron discharge.
Shift from a passive to an active perspective. Talk to yourself in a realistic and self-assuring way, For example, 'Parasitic anxiety is fertilized by thoughts and images. This anxiety doesn't exist without the passing thoughts or images that accompany anxiety.' *
Use a coping statement to challenge both Aw and ICSI thinking. For example, 'Even if what imagined did happen, it would only be as awful as I think. I can stand-albeit unhappily--what I don't like.' (Appropriate coping statements are research-supported ways to down-regulate negative affect, such as anxiety.)"