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Dec 08, 2018 22:18:04

Break up with breaking news anxiety.

by @kp PATRON | 444 words | 🐣 | 36💌


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Here’s some NON breaking news about the mind, it loves to wander.

The feature in Twitter called “Threads” fascinates me because when left unguarded our mind tends to think exactly like that. Like a string of thoughts one leading to another and often times going nowhere. Perhaps a better word would be “spiral” for this phenomenon but let’s discuss that on a different day.

There isn’t inherently good or bad with thought spirals but once you hit a “sour-tasting” thought in that chain of thoughts, it tends to invoke an age-old human emotion and suddenly now you are anxious.

I’m sure you have experienced this before in one way or the other. If you watch the news for even 10 minutes, a flurry of strong emotions can come hitting you. “Why are people acting the way they are, why are people killing each other, why are they hating on each other and being jerks to each other? What has become to us? Why are people finding new ways to distance one from the other and sling mud at each other? And there goes the spiral on and on. It’s all breaking news which has increasingly become a welcoming trap door ready to trigger fear and anxiety in you.

People think the internet is wild. True. But want to know what’s wilder? Your own mind.

It can create mental threads, crazy spirals and tangle itself in complex thoughts even on the most peaceful days even without the internet, if left unguarded.

What’s to remember is that when you are usually tangled in a web of thoughts, you are outside of your direct experience of life. Wild things are happening around the world (not to be forgotten!) and yes they may be factual too yet you have to realize they are out of your reality.

What’s real is your direct experience in the present moment. Right here. Right now. Everything else is your mental self-talk. The narrative we tell ourselves about us and about the world.

How do we fix this anxiety?

Catch yourself when you drift away, drop your thoughts and bring yourself back to your present. It can be rather annoying always trying to watch your mind slip but it gets better with practice.

Mindfulness is processing your present through the lens of non-judgmental awareness. Nothing more.

Cory Muscara, one of my favorite meditation teachers who’s quite famous on the app “Simple Habit” once shared an amazing haiku to help explain how much additional baggage we add to our direct experience.

The old pond
A frog jumps in

That’s it. That’s the reality of your present experience, stay in that. Everything else is commentary.

  • 1

    @kp I agree with you it is so important to recognize your thoughts and realize that you have the power to control them. Without actively managing your thoughts, you can quickly spiral into areas that are unproductive or harmful. I refer to the news as "noise" because that is what it is. The evening news is the LAST thing someone should watch before going to sleep. Isn't that interesting how those nightly broadcasts are on at those times?

    Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | Dec 09, 2018 16:23:54
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      @kp @brandonwilson Thanks for the comment Brandon. You are not far off with your reference to news as noise. I've noticed my stress in the last year has gone way way down ever since I stopped watching/reading about news in the night.

      KP avatar KP | Dec 09, 2018 21:43:20
  • 1

    @kp as a news junkie, this is helpful! I spend so much time worrying about the state of our world, that I'm neglecting the time I have at hand to do something about it. the poem puts it succinctly and nicely.

    Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | Dec 09, 2018 00:40:22
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      @kp @vickenstein
      "If it bleeds it Leads."
      The business plan for all news orgs.
      Avoid "news" at all costs.
      The mind you save will be your own.

      Mark Armstrong avatar Mark Armstrong | Dec 09, 2018 13:29:19
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      @markarmstrong what an interesting quote that can feel very true in this sensationalist age. I know I definitely need to moderate my consumption habits!

      Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | Dec 09, 2018 16:13:08
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      @kp @vickenstein @vickenstein
      It's a hard habit to break (just like cocaine).
      That's how they made it. They want everyone anxious & depressed to sell their Pharma to willing buyers. RESIST!

      Mark Armstrong avatar Mark Armstrong | Dec 09, 2018 19:06:40
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      @kp @vickenstein Ha, it's a process. We all definitely could use more mindfulness as we consume these endless bits of "breaking news".

      KP avatar KP | Dec 09, 2018 21:44:32
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      @kp @vickenstein @markarmstrong 100%, couldn't agree with you more.

      KP avatar KP | Dec 09, 2018 21:44:55
    • 1

      @kp @vickenstein @vickenstein
      It's not easy to stop. They made it that way.

      Mark Armstrong avatar Mark Armstrong | Dec 10, 2018 04:59:47
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