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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Restless Mind: Typical Strategies for Denying Stress

“Identifying the Escape and Avoidance Strategies of Your Restless Mind” is an exercise from the book In This Moment: Five Steps to Transcending Stress Using Mindfulness and Neuroscience.

The following are excerpts from the longer descriptions in the book, and are posted here with permission from New Harbinger Publications

Photo by from Pexels 

A note to teachers: As with any of the other activities that involve self-disclosure, please be very careful in explaining to the students how personal information will be shared, and do not require them to share anything they’re uncomfortable with.

Most people have a preferred tactic to avoid painful stress reactions.
 The busy bee stays busy all the time, with activities that are rather simple and require minimal awareness, like mopping floors or waxing the car.
The busybody diverts attention away from personal stress by over-focusing on someone else, often trying to control the other person’s behavior.
The butterfly finds it difficult to focus on any one thing, starting activities then quickly moving on to others.
The numbster will use any means necessary to numb out the effects of stress, drinking excessively, using drugs, overeating, gambling, cutting, or sleeping the day away.
The ostrich ignores stress by not allowing any thoughts about it to creep into awareness, and often changes the subject away from distressing topics.
The rationalizer uses denial to explain away problems or minimize their seriousness.
The stoic bottles up strong emotions, seeing them as a sign of weakness.
The twiddler’s hands, arms, legs, or feet are usually in continuous motion. Anxious moments might include tapping a foot, twiddling fingers, mindlessly handling an object, or other small, repetitive behaviors.
The worrier escapes stress by worrying about anything and everything other than the stressful situation.

The point isn’t to compare yourself to others or to take a judgmental approach. Just notice which of these strategies apply to you, then write about them in your journal.
Becoming aware of avoiding a stressful emotion is often the first step in learning how to do something different.

Adapted from In This Moment: Five Steps to Transcending Stress Using Mindfulness and Neuroscience by Kirk D. Strosahl, PhD and Patricia J. Robinson, PhD © New Harbinger Publications, 2015. Reprinted with permission. 

related posts:

How Mindful am I? (quiz)

7 Ways Our Thoughts Deceive Us