Mindful Recovery Principles and Sayings

How to Reduce Anxiety:

Here are sayings that embody Mindful Recovery principles that may help you provide support to others as well as steer your own recovery. These sayings address the insights and behaviors that lower our anxiety and promote happiness.

Our mental health is the supreme value:

This saying applies when a person struggles to prioritize their values or when competing values like being right, being recognized, being rich or being blameless compete for supremacy. Values that compete for supremacy are usually based in compensatory modes.

Judgment is the source of anger:

This saying applies when being angry is disadvantageous. Since judgment generates and sustains our anger, only a reduction of judgment will reduce our irritation.

Danger is the source of fear:

This saying applies when a person experiences anxiety or fear. The saying leads the practitioner of Mindful Recovery to question the source of the sense of danger. If we think to ourselves “I am anxious because I am neurotic” we fail to hunt down what it specifically is in our mind that we fear. We must look at our fears scientifically—that is without taking the fear personally. Mindful Exposure to the present cultivates this capacity.

Loss is the source of sadness:

This saying leads the person who feels depressed to question the source of the sadness. Since the sense of loss is at the source of depression, it leads the practitioner of Mindful Recovery to especially question what compensatory mode might have failed. We often place our hope on over-compensations. When they fail we can experience moments of despair in which hope is lost. For example, when we fail to be triumphant we can surrender into the horror of our core fear (in this case perhaps being a loser, failure or an invalid person). We must accept the losses we endured—grieve them and face injustices and move on.

Concentrate, rather than relax:

When we are having an anxiety attack or are schema reactive, relaxing is not what we need. We must concentrate to regain control over our thoughts and feelings.

Focus on the body:

When we attempt to assimilate or adjust to our anxiety we start with the physical manifestations of our fear reaction. Accepting the sensory experience reduces our agitation and allows us to better accept and adjust to the mental event. When you feel some unwarranted anxiety, take the opportunity to assimilate your fear by “getting interested” rather than getting away. Meditation will condition your mind to be able to this.

Accept the mental event:

When we are having a schema or anxiety attack, we firstly recognize that we are experiencing a mental event. We accept this fact so that we may bring our full attention to the internal source of our distress.

Expel completely; inhale mindfully:

During a full blown schema attack we expel completely to ensure a long steady inhalation. This helps to hold our focus on the body, which is the first thing we take back control of.

Engage the intellect; cool the emotions:

When we are schema reactive we observe the mental and physical event to reduce our worry and horror. Engaging the intellect means “getting interested.”

We can wait to see:

Waiting rather than reacting provides us a chance to consider our actual circumstances. Things are usually measurably better than they feel. Our unwarranted anxiety is associated with our survival instincts. This type of mental processing is done in the Limbic Area of your brain. Survival modes tend to be fast: Fight or Flight; Friend or Foe; Attack or Retreat. Waiting allows other, more appropriate, processes of the brain to kick in providing Problem Solving; Diplomacy and even Humor.

Control the body; move the muscles

As we take control of the body we regain some degree of command over our mind. Our minds can not readily do two things at the same time. Use this fact strategically. If for example you are having a panic attack in a shopping market, move more swiftly and activate your body.

We fear the distress more than the circumstances:

What we often fear is becoming fearful, rather than the circumstances that trigger us. This is good to know. We are then clear that the work lies within not without. If we fear embarrassment or fear feeling ashamed we know that we must deal with chronic defensiveness or pride. We must move beyond having aversion to our anxiety. We must have aversion to the maladjusted coping modes that sustains it.

I know that I do not know:

When we do not know, that is what we know. Intolerance to not knowing only aggravates our fears. Having to know is the fear itself.

Possible, not probable:

Because something is possible does not mean that it is probable. What is possible need not be a concern.

I am free to leave:

When worst comes to worst, we can simply leave and bear the consequences.

Nature provides what control can not give:

When we over rely on control we are in fact divesting ourselves from nature’s controls. Nature tends to provide.

Detach danger from distress and reduce fear:

When we feel terror and make the distinction between dangerous probabilities and distressful feelings, we are often comforted. We become clear that we indeed feel distressed; however we also see that there is no imminent danger.

Doing what you hate and fear is the death of fear:

The idea of doing what we fear is often seen as an unbearable reality. Doing what we fear puts an end to that notion.

Feelings and sensations rise and fall as long as we don’t attach danger to them:

This is a one of the favorite sayings of the Recovery Inc. self-help fellowship. When we decide that our distressful feelings are indications of danger, we become more upset. Distressful feelings and sensations come and go. We must let them be, rather than become reactive.

Anticipate the good or don’t anticipate at all.

Mindfulness teaches us to interrupt compensatory coping modes that seek to “know” what is not knowable. We interrupt worrying by radically accepting our feelings of insecurity. There are indeed no guarantees. This is our experience and we accept it completely. Meditation teaches us to let go of our preoccupations with the future. We can learn to remain HERE in the present moment. Practice—Practice--Practice

Choose the secure thought over the insecure thought:

Maladjusted schemas are like Internal Pessimists and Critics. The maladjusted schemas always choose the insecure thought. They are bias to negativity and are not realistic. Since beliefs tend to be self-fulfilling, we might as well choose the secure thought.

Give thanks and you’re not without:

Our beliefs tend to be self-fulfilling, thus the sense of gratitude releases the possibility of supply. On the other hand, the belief in deprivation finds lack.

Busy the imagination and it will not run away with you:

When we are schema reactive, we need to take back command of our mind by putting it to work.

We are not responsible for our original reaction, but accountable for the choices that follow:

In our early Recovery we recognize that we must tolerate our schemas being triggered from time to time. This is only natural because schemas attach to memory. What we initially hope to do is to not become reactive. However, we are not always successful. Reactive behavior is always costly. It becomes measurable more costly when we choose to continue to act out through the maladjusted schemas. The maladjusted coping modes are like addictions; we must break them.

We desire to be exceptional, but fear being less than average:

When we use the compensatory coping mode Being Outstanding, we are actually entertaining the idea we are making up for being less than average. Thus, we are caught between feeling outstanding or feeling inferior. We must practice being neither outstanding nor inferior to regain peace of mind and self-command.

We can anticipate and plan:

If we know what triggers our anxiety we can practice mindful exposure and prepare ourselves for eventual real-life exposure. Practice Mindful Exposures regularly and strategically.

We have no direct control over the outer environment, but we have control over our inner environment which we trust influences the outer world:

We have very limited direct control of objective events and other people. However, we have a measurable degree of control over the way we think about the world. When we change our thinking by following the Way of Mindful Recovery, we change our relationship to the world.

The decision to stand one’s symptoms reduces their effect and reinforces confidence:

When we observe schema and remain non-reactive, we weaken their ability to determine our reality. Mediation is the non-judgmental observation of schemas—both adaptive ones and non-adaptive ones.

Humor is our best friend:

Our compensatory modes of thinking and behaving devil us by sustaining and aggravating our schema. Interrupting these deviling mental habits can eventually be funny. Once we get some mastery over them we can begin to laugh at them.

I commend myself that I may reinforce resolved and determined action:

Knowing what we have done right is as critical as knowing what we have done wrong. When we succeed in being non-reactive to a triggered schema, we need to validate our success so we reinforce the skills and attitude that carried us.

Neither one way nor the other need apply at all:

Compensatory modes of coping form brittle ways of being. We are winners or losers, superior or inferior, nobility or peasants, right or wrong. Mindful Recovery has revealed that the way to happiness is to be neither.

The capacity to tolerate our emotional wounds is the measure of our mental health:

When we are emotionally wounded, these wounds remain just as our memory remains. When we Radically Accept our emotional wounds they no longer form as symptoms.