Tag Archives: thought patterns

Practicing Mindfulness

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Something I’ve found very helpful to combat anxiety and negativity is a concept called mindfulness.   Mindfulness is acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, and then doing something to help process the emotion, thought or feeling.

I use this in several ways.  If I’m feeling resentful towards someone, I take a minute and try to figure out why this is, and then I try to change my attitude.  I read somewhere that resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.  I’ve found this to be true.  Resentment is not compatible with good mental health.

I also use this when I have an anxiety attack.   My anxiety attacks always have some sort of physical aspect, so I try to accept these physical symptoms (struggle to breathe, dizziness, coughing, whatever) and then remind myself  that 99.9% of the time they will go away if I stop panicking.   After I’m calm, I then try to determine what exactly caused the anxiety.  For example, traveling triggers anxiety in me because following my daily schedule makes me feel safe.   It is also a trigger for me because I feel as if I have to be on my best behavior because I’m seeing people I only see once or twice a year.   To combat this stressful thought pattern, I create a little mantra.  For example, something like, people’s opinions don’t define me, or changes of plan aren’t dangerous.

This concept has truly changed my life.   Mindfulness keeps my anxiety from becoming debilitating and it also helps me not dwell on negative feelings.    I have a choice about which thoughts to invite in and which ones to shut out.

All Apologies

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Image result for saying sorry clip art

‘I’m sorry’ comes out my mouth way too much.   I’m not talking about sincere apologies.  I’m talking about saying I’m sorry when I didn’t do or say anything that I need to apologize for.

For example, I say sorry when someone bumps into me, or if I almost drop something.   I even say sorry to furniture when I bump into it.

I also apologize when I think someone is going to be angry, before I’m even sure what I’m apologizing for.  It’s a sort of reflex for me, like how you put your hands in front of you when you trip.  It’s a safety net.  People get less angry if you seem like you feel bad.

The odd thing is, when I actually need to apologize for something I did, I have the hardest time.

There is something wrong with this.

Why do I feel like this need to apologize constantly? 

Maybe it’s because I bully myself.  I tell myself I’m stupid, or not good enough.  I tell myself that people are angry at me.  But, this is all my own perception.  This isn’t a definite truth.

Or maybe it’s because others often tell me I’m wrong.  I’m not a confident person, and for some reason, confident people prey on people like me.  They ‘advise’ me and tell me all the ways I’m wrong, all in my best interest, of course.  So I guess I’m used to feeling like I’m wrong.

But, I think it also comes from a desire to please. I don’t want anyone to be angry at me.  There are many angry people in the world, but taking on the blame for all their feelings is both arrogant and dysfunctional.   By saying I’m sorry, I make myself responsible, whether I am or not.  Why would I add this unnecessary burden on myself?

I don’t want to live that way.   I don’t want to be constantly apologizing for things that don’t deserve an apology.  Don’t get me wrong.  Apologizing is great, but only if you actually did something wrong.   But, you don’t need to take blame for things that aren’t your fault.

To combat this, I try to practice mindfulness, a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings and thoughts.   From here, I can see what is clearly mine to deal with and what is not.   Gradually, I notice these meaningless and disordered apologies leave my vocabulary.   And when I realize that I have done something wrong,  I try to say I’m sorry and mean it.