Netflix has a special documentary streaming titled The Mind Explained. It’s done by Vox, so it has the same skimming-the-surface-feel to it that most things Vox has. Basically, yet another quick explainer.
And while I question some of the statements and conclusions—I don’t think it’s possible to talk about the mind with regard to depression and anxiety and not have people have conflicting opinions—there are some interesting moments.
The moment I want to mention here is in the episode on Mindfulness. For some reason, this has become quite the loaded word because so much gets projected onto it and so many freeloaders with their own agendas so easily co-opt it.
I’ve written on the scam of self-helpers in the writing world, but there is a much larger world of scammers in the world of Mindfulness and they can be hard to tease out when one is looking for information and some help.
For me, as a cancer survivor who goes for routine cancer screenings that cause a lot of stress, I’ve used Mindfulness concepts to keep my thinking mind in the present and away from the disaster planning what ifs that are the root of fear and anxiety. And there is and can be a lot of anxiety.
One method I use when I wake in the not with an anxious mind is to say that right now is not the time to solve/resolve the issue my mind is ruminating on. I tell myself that this is the time to rest and sleep and that my body needs this. The time to worry over and try to solve or resolve the ruminating thought will be the next day. And to be good at that, I need my sleep and a clear mind.
It works, most of the time with a couple other tricks.
And then in this episode on Mindfulness a Buddhist monk—Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche—said that he still suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. But that he has a strategy that includes welcoming the panic and anxiety.
As he said, “Hello Panic, welcome.”
One must go deeper on this line, but just rolling it around in my head while doing a deep breathing exercise felt like a new, wonderful tool.
So, why write this on a blog dedicated to the writing life?
The writing life is filled with fear and anxiety. We constantly must overcome it to succeed, even in many cases just to get ourselves in the seat writing.