Our Earth can be a rough place. But you don't need me to remind you of it. The media is already full of stories about anger, deceit, and wreckage. And while we can't ignore our problems, hoping they might just go away, we do sometimes need a break from them.
To remind you that there's still plenty of goodness in this world, Bored Panda put together a new list of feel-good posts from all across the internet. Personal growth, empathetic relationships, we included everything. But if you scroll through the publication and your heart still needs more warmth, fire up our earlier renditions of wholesomeness here, here, and here.
I Don’t Need This Anymore! After 16 Surgeries To Fix A Birth Defect And Years In A Wheelchair I’ve Finally Been Cleared To Start Walking
I’m not very good at it yet, it’s painful, and can’t go far distances but I can walk! Thank you for reading - I’m very excited.
COVID has posed a threat not just to our bodies but our minds as well. But it's quite difficult to determine increases in cases of depression and anxiety because of a lack of data. However, despite these gaps, a team largely based at the University of Queensland in Australia has tried to come up with an estimate for 2020, and the numbers are devastating.
If the pandemic had not happened, the model used by the researchers suggested there would have been 193 million cases of major depressive disorder worldwide, whereas an estimated 246 million cases actually occurred, a 28 percent increase, or an added 53 million cases. For anxiety disorders, the number of cases was anticipated at 298 million, but there may have been as many as 374 million cases—a 26 percent jump, representing an additional 76 million cases.
According to clinical psychologist Seth J. Gillihan, Ph.D., anxiety can come from any situation we care about when the outcome is uncertain. "Common sources include our health, relationships, finances, work, time pressure, and social situations, among others," the creator of The CBT Deck for Anxiety, Rumination, & Worry, a set of cards that helps people to find equilibrium and focus on what they love, told Bored Panda.
"Anxiety is our mind and body's way of getting our attention and telling us to pay attention to something important. Unfortunately, anxiety is often an unwelcome and unpleasant experience because it can be so uncomfortable and even overwhelming."
Today I Got Married And No One From My Family Came To My Wedding Because It Was A Gay Wedding. Well, The Good Thing About Life Is That We Get To Choose Our Own Family
Sheryl Paul, who has an MA in Jungian Counseling and has guided thousands of people worldwide through her books, courses, private sessions, and blog, reassured Bored Panda that everyone has anxiety. "It's built-in to our biology and is part of our evolutionary survival mechanism," the author of The Wisdom of Anxiety said.
"But the most common causes of anxiety I see in modern life are among highly sensitive people who struggle with the fear of loss or death and the need for certainty. This can be triggered around parenting, money, relationships, identity, the planet — in short, the things that matter most to us. Anxiety is the psyche’s way of letting us know that we’re in danger, so it serves an essential evolutionary function. We run into trouble, however, when we misinterpret symptoms of anxiety — racing heart, shortness of breath, tight chest — as true, physical danger instead of understanding that most likely the danger is internal."
"For example, people who find their way to my work often struggle with relationship anxiety ... which causes them to spiral down a rabbit hole of trying to figure out if they're with the 'right' person. It's the wrong question and can lead to mental torture. Is there danger in intimate relationships? Absolute. But if you're with a safe partner the 'danger' is pointing to unhealed beliefs and wounds around love and intimacy which are then projected onto the current, loving partner."
According to Paul, anxiety manifests itself in other areas in a pretty similar way: "we project our inner sense of unsafety and vulnerability onto health or kids or work or money or the earth. Everything changes when we understand the concept of projection and can start to take true responsibility for what needs attention inside."
This Veterinarian Has A Comfort-Dog Assistant That Helps Sick Patients Know That Everything Will Be Alright
Enjoying A Beautiful Hike After Finding Out That There Is No More Stage 4 Colon Cancer In My Body
An 87-Year-Old Woman Called The Police Emergency Number In Florence, Italy, Saying She Was Alone And Hungry. This Was The Result
Sheryl Paul said that modern anxiety often manifests as a misguided attempt to find solid ground. An attempt to answer fundamentally unanswerable questions. "The anxious mind believes that if it can land on the 'correct' answer it can find certainty, and that certainty equals safety. The truth is that there's very little that's certain in our day-to-day lives, and certainly, the future is always uncertain," she explained.
"Everything feels even more uncertain right now because of the pandemic and the other systemic issues that have been brought to light these past couple of years, but life has always been uncertain because loss and illness and death exist. The highly sensitive person, who is the person most prone to anxiety, has known this from an early age (the most common early sign of anxiety in highly sensitive children is the fear that their parents will die)."
The good news is that these methods work. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) claims that anxiety disorders are highly treatable. But the bad news is that only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment. The approaches that have proved to be effective are therapy, medication, complementary and alternative treatment, and transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Paul, for example, teaches both on-the-spot tools and deep-dive practices for working with anxiety. "On-the-spot tools are things like Tonglen, which is the Buddhist practice of breathing into the pain or fear and breathing out the opposite. Over time, this helps us re-wire the mind’s habit of pushing away things that are uncomfortable. A significant part of breaking free from anxiety’s stronghold is learning to tolerate discomfort, which means making room for the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings as they arise."
The deep dive practices, on the other hand, hinge on growing what the counselor calls a solid and reliable inner parent or wise self "who can choose which thoughts to respond to and learn how to meet big feelings with compassion."
"Growing spiritual practices that help tap into a sense of trusting life can also be life-changing when struggling with anxiety, for anxiety’s most salient message is that life isn’t safe," Paul said.
"One of the strongest tenets of my work is that anxiety is a protector and a messenger. If we try to get rid of the symptoms too quickly, we miss the message, which is often pointing us in the direction of unhealed places inside that need attention and also an invitation to grow trust. As I often say in my work, the opposite of uncertainty isn’t certainty; it’s trust. And that’s self-trust, trust in others, and trusting in something bigger than you."
Proud Of Myself. After Months Of Severe Depression And Anxiety, Followed By A Suicide Attempt And A Hospital Stay, I’ve Worked On It In Therapy And Now Have A New Job. Wish Me Luck
It Is Going Pretty Well
Gillihan said that anxiety's power lies in its ability to affect our whole being—our body, mind, and spirit. "Our bodies will feel the tension and stress that anxiety creates, as our sympathetic nervous system turns on to prepare us for action and our hormone system releases chemicals like cortisol. Our minds feel the strain of anxious thoughts and worries about everything that could go wrong. And our spirits feel the weight of anxiety, which can be a crushing experience when it's really high," the clinical psychologist explained.
So it's important to actively fight it.
Gillihan summarizes his approach to anxiety in three stages which he collectively calls 'Think Act Be.'
"THINK means tend to anxious thoughts, and question the ones that tell us bad things are going to happen. Usually, those thoughts aren't grounded in reality. While bad things do happen at times, our fears don't come true the vast majority of the time. Notice the stories your mind is telling you, and ask yourself if there's another possibility for how things might go—including that things turn out pretty much okay."
Then there's ACT. This includes gradually facing our fears without any actual danger and stopping anxiety from controlling our actions. "Any time we avoid something that causes anxiety, we strengthen our fear [response] and make it more likely that we'll avoid it in the future. Facing our fears makes them shrink," Gillihan highlighted.
"And finally, BE means focus on the present and open to your experience exactly as it is. Anxiety is about the future, so being in the present and noticing your senses tends to decrease anxiety. Opening to your experience can also help to calm the nervous system, since you're no longer fighting to make sure things turn out okay. Just let things be as they are and be willing to give up the control that was never really yours to begin with."
As William S. Burroughs has famously said, your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.
After I Found Out My Girlfriend Was Pregnant I Signed Up To Rehab For My Addiction. Last Week I Became A Father And Picked Up My 3-Month Coin
Best week of my life.
I'd Been Giving My New Neighbor's Dogs Treats And Scratches Every Morning When I Headed Out To Work. This Is My Kitchen Window When I Woke Up On My First Day Off
Afghanistan: They Will Not Go School Without Their Sister
Before And After Beating Cancer. 2019-2020-2021
"Dumbledore's Bookshelf" Quilt; Happy With How It Turned Out
I Designed A 3D Printed Mirror Array To Propose! The Mirrors Are Angled So That Just Before Sunset, They Reflect The Sunlight To Spell "Marry Me?"
My Mum Finally Escaped An Abusive Relationship And Found Herself A Little Place. No Furniture Yet But She Just Sent Me This And I’m So Proud
A Great Heads Up
90-Year-Old Grandfather With Dementia, Hugging My 4-Year-Old Son. Grandfather Who Can't Remember Us Most Days Said "I Really Love This Kid, I'm Glad He's Here"
Whenever We Foster A Singleton Kitten, Our Dog Becomes A Foster Mama
While Walking His Dogs, A 71-Year-Old Man Had A Seizure. These Two Dogs Saved Their Owner
One of the dogs immediately sat next to the man protecting him, while the other dog went to find a passerby he could alert and bring to the scene. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
Lost 200 Pounds During Covid. Today I Completed A Half Marathon
Really, Get Her That Pony
After Years Of Tooth Pain And Hiding My Smile, I Got Dentures! They Literally Made Me Smile
Have PTSD And I Struggle With Being Outside. This Is My "I've Been Walking In The Woods 2 Days In A Row" Smile. Small Steps Forward
The Guy Who Does The Grass For My Building Left A Rectangle Of Wild Flowers So The Bees Can Use Them
Before And After: My Daughter Battling A Combination Of RSV, Rhino Enterovirus, And Bacterial Pneumonia. She Almost Died, But She’s Now Home Safe And Sound
I Ditched Going To My In-Laws So I Could Have Thanksgiving With The Stray Cat That Lives In My Garage
Ron Came To The Vet Clinic As A Stray. After A Few Weeks, He Started Making Rounds To See Patients, And Would Sit Next To Any Pet While They Were Asleep, Offering Comfort
I Am A Big Brother With Big Brothers Big Sisters. Here Is The First Day I Met My Little Brother And The Day He Served As My Best Man - 6 Years Later
My Husband And I Celebrated 10 Years Of Marriage Today
My Daughter Is Obsessed With Halloween. We Bought Her A Skeleton Costume For Her Birthday And She Insisted On Putting It On Immediately, With A Birthday Hat
10 Days Ago, Somebody Poisoned My 11-Year-Old Fluffball Leon In My Own Garden. Against All Odds, He Made It Through
He is back home recovering from caused trouble for a while longer. The vet called him a miracle; so proud of you my grumpy old kitty.