YOUR MINDSET MATTERS: How being in "Yes Mind" can be a game changer for you!
My main goal for this podcast is to create a new approach for handling Anxiety and other difficult emotions and sensations. During today’s podcast I am talking about being in YES mind, NO mind and MAYBE mind and what that all means in relation to how we approach anxiety and other emotions. We will conclude with a short mindfulness meditation to help you take on some of the mindfulness skills discussed today. Some may have heard me speak about this idea of YES NO and MAYBE, but during this podcast I am going into greater detail and discuss why this concept is so important when you live with anxiety, depression or other similar struggles such as eating disorders and BFRB’s. In order to make this easy to understand, lets pretend you have been asked to present at the annual conference for the industry you work in and you are terrified of public speaking. You can insert your own story into this story (Contamination OCD and you have to go to the hospital for a family member, for example) You have 3 OPTIONS: You could say YES:
- PRO to saying YES: You might meet new people or make new connections in your industry, it looks excellent on your resume, and MOST importantly, you are not letting anxiety make your decisions.
- CON: You have to prepare, and have to manage and tolerate your anticipatory anxiety until the event occurs and the emotions related to worrying how it will go
You could say NO:
- PRO: You get the relief of not adding this challenge to your plate.
- While that is a pretty sizable PRO, given that anticipatory anxiety can be hard to manage, try to stay open minded about the fact that saying no gives your short term comfort, but leads to longer term discomforts.
- CON: You miss out on a huge opportunity to build your public speaking skills and your reputation in your industry. Colleagues might stop asking you to these events and not give you these opportunities in the future.
- Biggest CON is that Anxiety wins. Anxiety makes your decisions.
You could say Maybe:
- We end up spending the entire time mentally ruminating
- You go back and forth, with no real relief from your emotions and feelings and no real success.
- Its Repetitious and exhausting.
For those of you who have heard this concept before, or for those of you who are guessing, I am hoping that we can agree that of all the choices, MAYBE is the most dangerous. For those who thought Maybe was a good choice, lets take a closer look at each option.
- When dealing with emotions such as fear, anger, sadness or physical discomfort, even pain, when we choose NO or to be in “No Mind”, we push away our feelings as if this will allow us to move away from the “problem". The problem isn't the conference. The problem is that we are saying NO to the conference
- There is little mental rumination or review about the decision and if this was the correct decision.
- While saying no to going to the conference might seem harmless (no one needs to know), it is an avoidant behavior (one that is quite problematic when you have disorders like OCD, or Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, Anorexia or other eating disorders), it saves you from having to face your fears or other emotions or sensations. The biggest problem is that your emotions make your decisions and before you know it, the emotion has won. Fear or sadness or anger or even guilt and shame decides where you go, who you meet and prevents you from having many wonderful experiences.
Saying MAYBE is SUPER problematic because it gives you ample opportunity to go BACK AND FORTH and back and forth on the pros and cons of the decision. While some may argue that this is a good thing, it is not for those with anxiety. I like to call this back and forth, “MAYBE mind”. Maybe mind is
- exhausting, time consuming and doesn’t encourage the skill of positive self-assurance (E.g. “I can do this”).
- leaves us spending the entire week going over the pros and cons of saying YES to going to the party and the pros and Cons of saying NO to going to the party.
- The truth is, when it comes to anxiety, the pros and cons are often the same, no matter what the feared event or situation is.
- As mentioned above, the pros of saying “yes” are that you get to live your life, experience more and not let fear make your decisions. The cons are that you having to be willing to experience anxiety. The pros of saying no is that you DON’T have to feel anxiety for the short term, but the con is that you sided with fear and let fear make your decisions (log term consequence).
If you are wondering how this applies to you, lets take a closer look at Yes mind and see how it can help you manage fear, pain, or other uncomfortable sensations. To use the example, saying Yes to speaking at the conference allows you to commit to a life where anxiety doesn’t make your decisions. Being in “yes mind” doesn’t mean you just say yes to all events that scare you. It is you saying YES to anxiety in general. It is an offering to let anxiety come with you on your journey. It is the commitment to welcoming fear, which is a human experience, into our days and lots getting side tracked with its presence. Being in “Yes Mind” is a mindset. It moves us closer to acceptance of our discomfort and improves our ability to just be in our experience, without fighting it, resenting it or pushing it onto other people. Why is acceptance and willingness important?
- Studies suggest that accepting your discomfort will actually reduce your perceived discomfort.
- Some studies have even concluded that when studying patients with severe pain, the acceptance of pain resulted in reports of lower pain than those who were medicated for pain. While these studies are very complex with many complex components, the point is, acceptance works!
- When we accepted fear, we use our energy appropriately and productively, instead of wasting energy going over and over how terrible things are (or might be). PS: Remember, this is “maybe mind”.
So, lets try to catch ourselves in NO mind and MAYBE mind. Lets try to stay in YES mind as much as we can, OK?