Tackling Anxiety with Buddhism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Tackling Anxiety with Buddhism

Post by mozarttt » Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:38 am

Hi all!

I have been practising meditation (anapanasati and vipassana) everyday for the past few weeks.
Recently I have a new job I am starting and want to know if practising these two forms of meditation and mindfulness in my everyday life is mostly what I can do to ensure that I eventually reduce my anxiety.

Is there anything more I can be doing?


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Re: Tackling Anxiety with Buddhism

Post by Ben » Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:45 am

Its a good long term strategy, definitely.
However, for those who suffer anxiety to the point that it is having a pronounced negative impact on their lives - then I recommend a consultation with a doctor or therapist. Sometimes, when one is experiencing acute mental conditions such as anxiety and depression - one may also require medical or therapeutic assistance.
kind regards,

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Tackling Anxiety with Buddhism

Post by chownah » Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:45 am

I agree with Ben completely and would like to add that it is also important to get enough sleep and exercise and to eat healthful foods.....being lax in any of these areas can produce unnecessary stress and anxiety.

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Re: Tackling Anxiety with Buddhism

Post by Anagarika » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:49 pm

Ben and Chowna have great advice. I can add that it has been said that without a good meditation teacher with you, and without a clinician or therapist involved, some meditation practices can even aggravate anxiety. It's not that meditation is harmful in any way, but if you don't have a good teacher to instruct and guide, meditation can amplify anxious thoughts and feelings, and when these arise, it's important to have a strategy for dealing with them in the meditative process. The analogy might be that some people get very sleepy in meditation, and need instruction on how not to veer into snoozing on the cushion and toppling over.:) It's just points of strategy that a good teacher can help with. I was reading an article yesterday about the intersection of Buddhist psychology with western cognitive behavioral therapy and other modalities. One point of the article is that good clinical approaches to anxiety, in tandem with good meditation approaches to anxiety, bring the best results. The two can work together to elevate the enormous benefits of meditation. Eventually, the clinical interventions become unnecessary, leaving the meditation, trained and properly cultivated, as the practice on the path forward.

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Re: Tackling Anxiety with Buddhism

Post by Jhana4 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:02 pm

chownah wrote:mozarttt,
I agree with Ben completely and would like to add that it is also important to get enough sleep and exercise and to eat healthful foods.....being lax in any of these areas can produce unnecessary stress and anxiety.
A friend of mine has been a psychotherapist for 30 years. She insists that her new anxiety patients eliminate/reduce their caffiene intake. She has told me adamantly, it drops anxiety levels, to an noticeable degree ( reported by her patients ) very quickly.

Depending how much you are used to it may not practicle while you already feel anxious to go cold turkey. Small doses of caffiene can be enouh to hold off withdrawal symptoms but not enough to contribute to being anxious. Green tea is very good in that regard. Friends of mine who needed respites from coffee compulsions had good resutls with using green tea to scare back on their caffiene without getting strong withdrawal symptoms.

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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