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For when tomorrow scares you

In this post, Dan and Casey talk to a Support Wall user who’s getting ready to have a heart procedure:

Next Steps:

  1. You wake up in a white room, with white furniture all around. There aren’t any windows, and you don’t remember how you got there. How do you feel?
  2. After your panic attack from the first question has settled, keep that answer in mind and read on:

The guys talk about how when we enter into a new scenario and don’t have full control over it, it can paralyze us with fear. When we’re hit with the unknown, the unsure, or the uncertain, we’re not fully confident in our ability to handle it. Psychologically, we fear some kind of pain down the road that can happen to us that we can’t avoid. Literally, a chemical called cortisol (the stress hormone) is being dumped into our bloodstream, and is stressing our body out telling us “Get away from whatever this is it might hurt!”

But in the video Casey and Dan first add some perspective - of course a heart procedure is something to be nervous about, but then again the doctors that are going to do the procedure have done it hundreds of times, “Just like taking out the trash!” Dan says. While we can’t possibly control the future, we can build ourselves up to be able to withstand it as we work on our courage, our patience, and our acceptance of what we can control and what we can’t.

Exercise:

  1. Think back to the white room. This exercise is from an old psychology exercise I remember from college - it’s supposed to show you how you feel about school. I think it probably can be used to show you how you feel about new experiences in general. Basically you feel disoriented, and not in control.
  2. What about losing control gives you anxiety? (And don’t feel weird here, all human beings undergo some anxiety when they don’t feel in control)
  3. Does your anxiety and worry add control to your life? Does it allow you to live longer or be stronger?
  4. Which would you rather be - someone who is preoccupied and worried about the future - or someone who is not?
  5. Think about someone you know who is not anxious about the future (or let’s just say less anxious about the future to make it easier). Describe their characteristics. How can you cultivate these characteristics in your own life?

Next Steps:

  1. Very scared. Alarmed. Violated maybe

Exercise:
2. Like I wrote above, I don’t like feeling out of control. If I’m not in control, I’m vulnerable, and if I’m vulnerable, here comes a bunch of pain (at least I believe so) because at other junctures in my life when I didn’t have my guard up I got hurt.
3. No, not really. It just stresses me out more, and ironically it probably sets me up to experience more pain than if I had a calm, confident demeanor
4. Definitely the latter
5. Dave, the executive director at HS, is definitely that calm presence I aspire to be. The main just doesn’t get anxious. And I don’t know how he’s able to do it, but he does, and it makes me want to follow him, because the dude must either a) know what’s going on, or what’s likely do happen, or b) doesn’t care, because he’ll handle it anyway. I’d like to be like that.