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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Freedom from Your Anxious Mind

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Oct 21st 2009

emotional freedomPart of the key to mental health that many people have been saying for quite some time is this move into wholeness and acceptance. Think about it, if we were able to drop our anxieties over our imperfections and just accept them, what would be left?

Some people answer this by saying, "I spend all my time being anxious, so I'd probably worry about what to do?" Ofcourse this thought would arise from someone's mind that is habitually conditioned to view life through this anxious lens. But if we were able to drop the lens entirely, have you ever thought about what is behind it?

Imagine seeing it this way. That lens is one of two things. It is either a biological wiring handed down by your family or a part of yourself that many years ago had to be vigilant in some way to avoid some sort of upcoming stress or pain.

If it is there because it helped us out while we were kids, then we can acknowledge that its intentions are good, but that this strategy is not working anymore and is causing more pain. This strategy implies a greater sense of kindness and compassion for ourselves rather than "hating" this anxious lens which only pours that energy into us and fuels more anxiety.

With the advent of neuroscientists telling us that the brain has been found to have plasticity, or we have the ability to rewire our brain, we can begin to notice this lens for what it is and choose to redirect our attention to seeing other perspectives.

Simple, but not easy! It may just be a life practice, but a worthwhile one.

Begin to try it out today.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interactions provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Response - Chris - Oct 28th 2009

I agree strongly with the fact that more people need to "get a life" and put down the Blackberry/shut off the soap operas, etc, but I know from personal experience that exercise is not necessarily a cure-all. I am an experienced runner who also struggles with anxiety and depression, and although running does provide some mood elevation, the anxiety (ironically) sometimes fuels my motivation. But it never makes it go away. I start thinking about everything that distresses me, become anxious, and then turn to my daily running routine to cope. I suppose it all depends on the person's level of anxiety and the causes for it.

Exercise - Cathy - Oct 22nd 2009

A lot of anxiety would disappear if people got out and got some exercise and let go of some of the electronic devices.  They have no life and identify so much with TV characters and such and begin to think that those people are "real" and those situations are "real" and they cannot possibly duplicate such in their own lives.  If you have a real life, anxiety would disappear - it fills in for the emptiness.

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