Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

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Ardha
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Re: Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

Post by Ardha »

I speak based on what I heard some Buddhist teachers suggest and from having the methods of CBT and others like it fail over and over. Therapy doesn’t really work that well unless the thoughts you have about yourself are truly incorrect.

When you watch feelings in my experience they keep coming back until you deal with them. Once you deal with the root that’s it. Just watching it like clouds isn’t accurate.
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Re: Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

Post by avatamsaka3 »

Honestly, I think the constant reminders and focus on suffering, as I experienced while under the Theravada, exasperated my depression and anxiety.
I'm sorry to hear that. One of the best things you could do would be to find a living master, or at least a knowledgeable person who's compassionate. Modern therapy might help too. Best wishes.
Last edited by avatamsaka3 on Sun May 09, 2021 4:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

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Ardha wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 2:01 am I speak based on what I heard some Buddhist teachers suggest and from having the methods of CBT and others like it fail over and over. Therapy doesn’t really work that well unless the thoughts you have about yourself are truly incorrect.
"Therapy" is pretty much synonymous with CBT and Mindfulness these days, so I have no idea what you are talking about, and am guessing you don't really know what CBT is, or have an incomplete picture of it. As far as thoughts about oneself, whether one is successful, this and that, those are a fantasy based on our projection of what other people think. Watching our own behavior, saying "I shouldn't have done x", that is more concrete. I also don't know what Buddhist teachers you are talking about, or what they said.

Saying "I am this kind of person because I don't have a job", "I am unlovable because I don't have a girlfriend" (or whatever) is a self-created mirage of misery, it isn't real. People spend so much time on this nonsense way of viewing themselves.

When you watch feelings in my experience they keep coming back until you deal with them. Once you deal with the root that’s it. Just watching it like clouds isn’t accurate.
You can't "deal with feelings" anymore than you deal with weather. You can choose how to view them, and you can choose to alter your behavior a certain way, sometimes despite your feelings, and over time you can learn ways of thinking that can steer them a bit - such as in CBT or Lojong. You can't make feelings "go away" by "dealing with them" though, if this is how you have approached therapy...I'm not surprised none of it has worked. Look up the paradox of thought suppression, the same logic applies to emotions. Feelings come and go, it's what they do. Trying to imprison them is the worst strategy of all.

Feelings simply are, in the same way that weather simply is. A person can choose to get pissed at the weather when they get rained on, or they can learn to build a shelter. If the person continues yelling at the rain when they know they can build a shelter and get a better result, that is failure of a kind, or at least a kind of willful ignorance...that person just gets wetter and wetter, and more and more upset about being wet, it's a bad cycle.

However, there is always the opportunity to stop bitching at the rain and just build the shelter.
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Re: Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 1:08 am For someone who asks for advice on mental health yourself regularly, you have a questionable habit of simply nay saying anything anyone says, even when you don't seem particularly informed on the subject.
This is not unusual with depression, because a lot has to do with anticipating disappointment.
“Why should I even try? Nothing ever seems to help.” And this becomes a cycle, because one becomes impatient.

This is actually where a regular daily routine of sitting/breathing meditation is really helpful:

First, because it constantly brings you back to the present moment (you let thoughts about past any future pass by without indulging them).

Second, because as small and incremental as any change may be, it will happen and is noticeable.

Third, because there is no waiting involved. You feel the effect of meditation immediately, whether it confronts you with restlessness, or whether it gives you a feeliing of relaxation or it brings you back to your original mind, whatever, it it is immediate.

Of course, nobody is going to sit for even five minutes until they choose to. But five minute isn’t very long, either. It’s not as though one has to uproot their whole lifestyle and commit to something that they might fail at.
You can’t really fail meditation. You just keep practicing.

This is a good time to recall what the moderators have mentioned, that nobody by way of this forum is in a position to offer medical/psychological advice. Buddhism is not an alternative to, or substitute for, trained, professional counseling or medical advice. Meditation may be helpful for many people, when combined with a a treatment program. Ask your doctor.

What can be discussed here is the ‘Buddhist approach’ (there are many) to dealing with conflicting thoughts and emotions and mental turbulence in general.
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Re: Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

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PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 4:49 am
This is not unusual with depression, because a lot has to do with anticipating disappointment.
“Why should I even try? Nothing ever seems to help.” And this becomes a cycle, because one becomes impatient.
This is true, what's called "attributional style" has a lot to do with how people approach depression. An example would be the way that people in the midst of a depression will often assume everything that goes wrong is attributable to them, or on the opposite end - that nothing is. As you say, it's a cycle, but somewhere in there there is a decision to be made about how to approach things, however brief the opportunity.
This is actually where a regular daily routine of sitting/breathing meditation is really helpful:

First, because it constantly brings you back to the present moment (you let thoughts about past any future pass by without indulging them).

Second, because as small and incremental as any change may be, it will happen and is noticeable.
For sure. Meditation is actually clinically proven at this point to be helpful for mild and moderate anxiety and depression. Even just the down-regulation of the nervous system is enough to help some people. In my professional life I would use very simple breathing exercises ("box breathing", other stuff people could remember) and they proved really popular - even as basic triage for upsetting events, like "do this when you are upset for five minutes".
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 4:49 am This is a good time to recall what the moderators have mentioned, that nobody by way of this forum is in a position to offer medical/psychological advice. Buddhism is not an alternative to, or substitute for, trained, professional counseling or medical advice. Meditation may be helpful for many people, when combined with a a treatment program. Ask your doctor.

What can be discussed here is the ‘Buddhist approach’ (there are many) to dealing with conflicting thoughts and emotions and mental turbulence in general.
Yes, for sure, obviously we are not here acting as therapeutic professionals, the forum cannot in any way substitute for professional help.
May the eyes of living beings be gladdened by skies made splendid by clouds
that lightnings garland, while on earth below, the peacocks dance with joy as
showers of rain, falling gently, approach.

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Re: Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

Post by muni »

Professional help combined with Dharma would be of course great.
It could as well be there is a psychosomatic problem. Perhaps a check?

Never forget that all these are impermanent and so are passing, even this is not so experienced right now. Pessimistic or optimistic feelings have not exactly an owner, they pass, alas we believe they are truth. That we shouldn't. They are like visiting waves.

Professional help is not for all that easy. It could be there is even no money for such, or a reason like a not helpful experience with such. Therefore I appreciate it so much fellows listen and be there for each other, for those with anxiety and such feelings. It is too easy to say just go to seek help man, and send a sad fellow alone on its path, away.

Perhaps, in a moment the mind is little more calm, see behind the feelings and thoughts, or see where they arise in spaciousness of our mind. If this could a moment, they lose power.

Or such anxiety and feelings can be seen like children needing care, embrace them with the spaciousness of mind.

May meditation be possible and Bodhicitta embrace you. If meditation is not right now possible, please don't worry. Do something other what can help to relax.


:hug:
All appearances are understood as being dharmakaya. We perceive everything in its natural purity, and there is nothing we can call impure.

“Within the sky-like empty mind, habitual tendencies and disturbing emotions are just like clouds and mist. When they appear, they appear within the expanse of empty mind. When they remain, they remain within the expanse of empty mind. And when they dissolve, they dissolve in that same expanse of empty mind.” Guru Rinpoche
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Re: Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

Post by muni »

First, because it constantly brings you back to the present moment (you let thoughts about past any future pass by without indulging them).

Second, because as small and incremental as any change may be, it will happen and is noticeable.

Third, because there is no waiting involved. You feel the effect of meditation immediately, whether it confronts you with restlessness, or whether it gives you a feeliing of relaxation or it brings you back to your original mind, whatever, it it is immediate.
All appearances are understood as being dharmakaya. We perceive everything in its natural purity, and there is nothing we can call impure.

“Within the sky-like empty mind, habitual tendencies and disturbing emotions are just like clouds and mist. When they appear, they appear within the expanse of empty mind. When they remain, they remain within the expanse of empty mind. And when they dissolve, they dissolve in that same expanse of empty mind.” Guru Rinpoche
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Re: Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

Post by Ardha »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 5:15 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 4:49 am
This is not unusual with depression, because a lot has to do with anticipating disappointment.
“Why should I even try? Nothing ever seems to help.” And this becomes a cycle, because one becomes impatient.
This is true, what's called "attributional style" has a lot to do with how people approach depression. An example would be the way that people in the midst of a depression will often assume everything that goes wrong is attributable to them, or on the opposite end - that nothing is. As you say, it's a cycle, but somewhere in there there is a decision to be made about how to approach things, however brief the opportunity.
This is actually where a regular daily routine of sitting/breathing meditation is really helpful:

First, because it constantly brings you back to the present moment (you let thoughts about past any future pass by without indulging them).

Second, because as small and incremental as any change may be, it will happen and is noticeable.
For sure. Meditation is actually clinically proven at this point to be helpful for mild and moderate anxiety and depression. Even just the down-regulation of the nervous system is enough to help some people. In my professional life I would use very simple breathing exercises ("box breathing", other stuff people could remember) and they proved really popular - even as basic triage for upsetting events, like "do this when you are upset for five minutes".
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 4:49 am This is a good time to recall what the moderators have mentioned, that nobody by way of this forum is in a position to offer medical/psychological advice. Buddhism is not an alternative to, or substitute for, trained, professional counseling or medical advice. Meditation may be helpful for many people, when combined with a a treatment program. Ask your doctor.

What can be discussed here is the ‘Buddhist approach’ (there are many) to dealing with conflicting thoughts and emotions and mental turbulence in general.
Yes, for sure, obviously we are not here acting as therapeutic professionals, the forum cannot in any way substitute for professional help.
That's not what depression is. It's not "everything is my fault". It's rather a fog, well not really that either. In a sense it's a clarity about the human condition when the positive bias is removed. Once sees the futility of life for what it really is and how all of our usually defenses against it fall away. Sort of wiping away illusion.
You can't "deal with feelings" anymore than you deal with weather. You can choose how to view them, and you can choose to alter your behavior a certain way, sometimes despite your feelings, and over time you can learn ways of thinking that can steer them a bit - such as in CBT or Lojong. You can't make feelings "go away" by "dealing with them" though, if this is how you have approached therapy...I'm not surprised none of it has worked. Look up the paradox of thought suppression, the same logic applies to emotions. Feelings come and go, it's what they do. Trying to imprison them is the worst strategy of all.

Feelings simply are, in the same way that weather simply is. A person can choose to get pissed at the weather when they get rained on, or they can learn to build a shelter. If the person continues yelling at the rain when they know they can build a shelter and get a better result, that is failure of a kind, or at least a kind of willful ignorance...that person just gets wetter and wetter, and more and more upset about being wet, it's a bad cycle.
You actually can deal with feelings because they aren't the weather. You can remove them with enough training in some instances. But in both cases you don't have a choice since free will is an illusion. But dealing with feelings is how they go away, pretty much every therapist knows that. IF you avoid them and don't address them they keep coming back. Just letting them drift is akin to letting trash float on the surface of a pond. It will keep coming until you deal with it. They don't just come and go, there is a source event or trait causing them.

Feelings are not "simply are" there is a reason for them. Same with the weather. To some degree we have altered the weather but feelings are more manageable. Imprisoning feelings works too, as emotional repression is a myth developed by people that has no basis in psychology.

Got slightly off track but my point with CBT is that it's lying to yourself.
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Re: Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

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muni wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 11:35 am
First, because it constantly brings you back to the present moment (you let thoughts about past any future pass by without indulging them).

Second, because as small and incremental as any change may be, it will happen and is noticeable.

Third, because there is no waiting involved. You feel the effect of meditation immediately, whether it confronts you with restlessness, or whether it gives you a feeliing of relaxation or it brings you back to your original mind, whatever, it it is immediate.
This is anecdotal. Most thoughts that bug people are about the present, usually the way their lives are at the moment. Often people are trying to escape the now in addition to the past and future. The present can be as much a hell as anything else. You also don't really feel the effect of meditation immediately, if at all in some cases.
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Re: Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

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Ardha wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 8:55 pm
That's not what depression is. It's not "everything is my fault". It's rather a fog, well not really that either. In a sense it's a clarity about the human condition when the positive bias is removed. Once sees the futility of life for what it really is and how all of our usually defenses against it fall away. Sort of wiping away illusion.
Firstly, I have actual clinical experience and education, in addition to personal experience here. I know what depression is and isn't from a number of angles.

In a sense you are right though, in fact this is what some Buddhist teachers say about depression - that it is actually a kind of clarity, I don't disagree. This is a valuable insight to have, and it can be the first step to real healing or some sort of transformation of one's mental state.

However, for this to be so then one has to let go of the personal narrative around "I am worthless" or similar reification of one's "inherent" traits, because a truly clear view of one's actions done and undone has nothing to do with "I am", it has to do with circumstances, behaviors and conduct, etc. In other words, true clarity requires a lack of these "I am X" sort of value judgements, and is much more practical. this is exactly what various CBT therapies are designed to do.

So for instance, a depressed person might say "I am worthless because I've never had a romantic partner". The part of that statement to be questioned or disputed is the "I am worthless part", not the second part.

The second part is just obvious, and if true, perhaps this person can figures out "I have never had a romantic partner because I am scared of intimacy, I need to become braver". They can only do this if they can let go of the "I am worthless" part, which has to do with beliefs and schema that one uses to interpret the world, often distorted ones.
You actually can deal with feelings because they aren't the weather. You can remove them with enough training in some instances. But in both cases you don't have a choice since free will is an illusion. But dealing with feelings is how they go away, pretty much every therapist knows that. IF you avoid them and don't address them they keep coming back. Just letting them drift is akin to letting trash float on the surface of a pond. It will keep coming until you deal with it. They don't just come and go, there is a source event or trait causing them.
No, you actually just don't know your subject matter much at all. Like I said, I have clinical training and experience in this stuff. We aren't talking about avoiding emotions at all, rather being willing to feel them and let them be with less judgement, and perhaps a sense of curiosity. This is a clinically proven strategy.
Feelings are not "simply are" there is a reason for them. Same with the weather. To some degree we have altered the weather but feelings are more manageable. Imprisoning feelings works too, as emotional repression is a myth developed by people that has no basis in psychology.

Got slightly off track but my point with CBT is that it's lying to yourself.
The 'reason' for feelings typically has to do how people think about and react (i.e. behave) in their circumstances, including narratives they have about self and other, which are often based on distortions of reality. More generally speaking, emotional states that people experience have to do with their circumstances, thinking, and the way they interpret the world. This combined with a predisposition to certain types of thinking and interpretation (temperament) is a reasonable conventional explanation for emotions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schema_(p ... reting%20c

This again is what both CBT and Buddhism deal with, in different ways.

Can you give a more specific critique of CBT please, if you are going to make these claims? Similarly, since apparently you claim to have some expertise here about what "any Therapist knows", how exactly do the theoretical Therapists in your claim "deal with emotions", and where do the emotions go once they are dealt with?
Ardha wrote:This is anecdotal. Most thoughts that bug people are about the present, usually the way their lives are at the moment. Often people are trying to escape the now in addition to the past and future. The present can be as much a hell as anything else.
Um, everything you've written in this entire thread is anecdotal, not sure why that's a criticism you'd throw out there.

Thoughts that bug people about the present are directly connected to worries about the future and ruminations about the past, this is self-evident, because that's what "thinking about present circumstances" means - thinking about how present circumstances relate to past decisions and future possibilities.
Ardha wrote:. You also don't really feel the effect of meditation immediately, if at all in some cases.
If this is so, then you have had really poor instruction, if you've learned meditation in a clinical environment. There are very simple ways (mostly breathing exercises) to down-regulate the nervous system and get immediate lessening of some types of symptoms, it's not mysterious how it works either, people just have to be willing to do it. Of course this is not the same as anything long term at all. The biggest block for most people is that their attitudes cause them to filter everything into being useless before they really try it.

So, what meditation have you actually tried for mental health, and who taught it to you?
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that lightnings garland, while on earth below, the peacocks dance with joy as
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Re: Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

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Re: Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

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tonysharp wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 12:13 am I struggle with depression and anxiety. As far as I can tell, both stem from my pessimism. I often overthink the pain in the world, and reflect on the life, eventual death, and separation of myself and those close to me. Which practices can be utilized to control these obstructive feelings? Or how can one see pain without being overwhelmed by it?

Your responses would be appreciated.
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Re: Practices to Control Pessimistic Feelings

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Ok, seems like the OP has gotten the best responses they are going to, and the thread is wrapped up.
May the eyes of living beings be gladdened by skies made splendid by clouds
that lightnings garland, while on earth below, the peacocks dance with joy as
showers of rain, falling gently, approach.

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