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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bad Thoughts Make the World Seem like a Bad Place

Dear AB


Part of the issue for me is, although I know it must be true that thoughts are not reality. I sometimes still accept them as such. (Even though I REALLY don’t want to!) I still allow them to threaten me. They pop up, I say STOP, I move on to another thought, they come back, I stop them, they repeat. They leave this yucky feeling in their wake.

That these thoughts are there at all makes the world seem a bad place, it seems almost evil in a way. We can't have been put here to suffer...?


There is no way we can prevent suffering in our lives. The good news and the bad news is that suffering is the only way we grow and nurture our strength of spirit. But we are never completely helpless when suffering turns into unmitigated anxiety. A good way to counteract the anxiety caused by our suffering is to use the four step program that Dr. Claire Weekes advised for people to get out of anxiety. Suffering does tend to cause us a lot of anxiety.

(If there has been no particular downturn for you, be sure to have yourself checked out by practitioner of homeopathic or Chinese medicine. Sometimes your body chemistry can be better balanced by use of natural supplements, or even a change of diet. Many people have found great relief by changing to a non-gluten or non-dairy diet.)

Here are Dr. Weekes's Four Steps to curing anxiety.


The first step would be to notice that you are suffering, not just from the downturn or tragedy in your life, but from your anxiety about that downturn; or from anxiety that comes from you know not where. It's best to learn to notice the first stages of anxiety because it is easier to nip it in the bud rather than let it escalate into a full-blown panic attack.

The second step would be to focus on your anxiety in an accepting way. Oh, yes I know this, it will not overpower me. It is just my own feeling. This takes practice so, at first, just your intention to accept may be as far as you can go even if you can’t accept it all right at that moment.

I used these steps myself when I was diagnosed with PTSD after a taking a drug for a back injury. I only took it for 3 weeks so my heart goes out to those who suffer with high-intensity anxiety. The acceptance step is necessary because even the intention to accept will help over-ride the fearful thought that the anxiety is going to get worse which continues to power up the stress chemical factory in your brain. Accepting is an activity of the neocortex which, if employed long enough, can indirectly influence the subcortex into calming down. Here, too, you go back and forth from trying to accept to fearful thoughts of “Oh no, not again.


The third step is to kind of float on top of your anxiety. Almost like you are on a cloud looking down at your pain. The pain is still there but you can insist upon yourself floating on top of it, like a forceful wave pulling you into some action or distracting possibility (like a book or a movie.) that draws you out of your pain. The pain is still there but it is more removed from you--at a distance which gives you some breathing room.


Remind yourself that whatever caused this anxiety took some time to develop an insistent habit pattern in your brain. A new habit pattern of accepting and moving away from anxiety will take some time to develop.

Float on top of your stressful thoughts to thoughts about the beauty of the earth, the trees, the sky, the stars at night. Anything to turn your thoughts from self-focused to outer-directed while time passes.

A. B. Curtiss

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