Thursday, February 11, 2010

Anxiety and Coping Vs. Intention, Decision, Action

I have been in a peculiar state recently.  One of the things you notice after treatment of depression is that moods that would have completely left me incapacitated turn into moods that "merely" leave me in a unproductive state.  It is frustrating, because I have responsibilities that are being throttled down, and I am getting to practically nothing done.  But people, from the outside, cannot see much evidence anything is wrong.

When I don't fully acknowledge that I am in an incapable state, I often put the cart before the horse.  Recently, that means I have been contemplating "Intention, Decision, Action" when I should have been more honestly grappling with "Anxiety and Coping Vs. Intention, Decision, Action".

It has not been taking very much to put me into the teeth of anxiety, and I waste my day with coping mechanisms, like web surfing and being an indulgent nurse-maid to my own sinus headaches.

MALIBU, CA - MAY 23: Comedian Adam Carolla and...Serendipitously, the Adam Carolla Podcast with Marc Maron ended with a very interesting segment.

There was a caller who asked the basic question of "How do you get off your ass and do what you are supposed to do?"

Adam approached the problem as "this is a skill I don't yet possess, and I will develop it by continually challenging myself".

So, using that mentality, I should apply that to "Anxiety and Coping Vs. Intention, Decision, Action".

Breaking it down a bit:

* Acceptance of the anxiety I feel - even to the point of taking time to experience the full depth of it, so that I waste no energy on a persistent draining state of fruitless avoidance.
Acceptance and commitment therapy

  • Accept your reactions and be present
  • Choose a valued direction
  • Take action
ACT commonly employs six core principles to help clients develop psychological flexibility:
  1. Cognitive de-fusion: Learning to perceive thoughts, images, emotions, and memories as what they are, not what they appear to be.
  2. Acceptance: Allowing them to come and go without struggling with them.
  3. Contact with the present moment: Awareness of the here and now, experienced with openness, interest, and receptiveness.
  4. Observing the self: Accessing a transcendent sense of self, a continuity of consciousness which is changing.
  5. Values: Discovering what is most important to one's true self.
  6. Committed action: Setting goals according to values and carrying them out responsibly.
Horses on Bianditz mountain, in Navarre, Spain...

* practicing the skill of dialing down the anxiety level

* practicing the skill of interrupting the coping habitual wasteful activities

* practicing the skill of substituting in "Intention, Decision, Action"
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