UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF PROCESS 2
Awarded 5* by the UK 'Mental Health Foundation'
DO YOU REACT TO YOUR SPIKE?
This is ALL about dealing with our temptation to become 'elevated and reactive', with our minds racing. Due to our character types, we can often have very intense thinking processes. This, combined with a need for absolute control/clarity means we can very quickly escalate into conscious and reactive mind racing, trying too hard to control it all
Stopping The Stopping
....So there is NOTHING wrong with our thinking - however, due to our yearning for clarity/perfection, or believing our thinking is wrong, we can often find ourselves taking an immediate second look at our thoughts. This is usually typified by stalling in our flow at cut-off point and head-talking what we have 'just' thought to make sense of it, or control it. This might seem pointless, but we easily get ourselves trapped in this never-ending cycle of analysing and over-controlling very normal, but often intense thoughts - so when we 'think' we have to do something to cure our thinking - it's this very over-interfering/controlling that is the PROBLEM.
How do we achieve recovery? The crux of recovery is that our mentally-led stall/seize-up is caused by us reacting to our imperfect thinking trails and we can correct this by making sure of that ONE constant that we have - flowing in our moment and allowing our breathing to continue. This is why the effect of calming is to ‘keep going’ and continue our breathing when we feel tempted to stall/analyse. This means we will stay in flow even when we are tempted by any spike due to stress and then stop that flow. From this aspect, it is not like the advice from many well-meaning therapies to blow out or deliberately breathe as this can become tiresome and in fact just replicates forcing unnatural behaviour, which is what panic is. Instead, it is just maintaining our normal flow, where we don't shallow breathe with that ''oh no'' at cut-off and just carry on calmly breathing as we would do normally.
Importantly – as per the ‘calming on the go’ reference earlier in the book – we only have to focus on keeping our breathing when we feel tempted to stop it.
As per Chapter 4's depiction of the 'deflating' feeling we have when we release that tension to continue breathing, this happens because we 'exhale' and allow our natural breathing to continue rather than holding onto it. That is the key to recovery as we falsely force ourselves to stop breathing when we try to analyse/rectify/explain/control our thoughts gone by.
Understanding the processes at work is vital along with knowing that 'when' we are tempted to stall in our flow, we have to ignite that continuous response where mind leads body and we continue to breathe in the rhythm of the moment.
If you would like to take this further, The Mind Works is available on the 'Get Book' page (206 pages in length), Paperback £11.49, TMW Ebook £5 (can also be purchased on Amazon in Kindle format). There are more set situations/tests and Advice Columns along with more sufferers' success stories as they start to get to grips with this affliction.
Articles deal with depression and anxiety and how this starts to disappear as our negative and tense energy output drops - with 'less trying' to force extended retrospective control spurred on by that spike, that protective cut-off which stands out when we are stressed.
Nov 15 2017 Hi Will just as a final reminder for myself - you talk about 'breaking' into that secondary head-talking and I totally get that but just need to know how this will resolve the stresses I dont seem to be able to rid myself of. Yes, I can see what Im doing now, but still feel stressed?
Hi Jenny, yes this is the chicken and egg question that I get asked so often. However, do you think that everyone's life is without stress? No, not at all, so what I'm on about is quite simply that we only have to keep that stress momentary. Yes, we may feel on edge and yes, we can all go through bad times, but flow is the only place to be and because we like control we 'then' cross the line into conscious head-talking to 'over'-resolve those stresses - we stary out of our flow. I think if you look at the MORD diagram you will again see how this all fits in as it's the head-talk that is the catalyst for destructive and obsessive controlling.
15 Oct 17 Hi Will just a quick question re calming as I get confused. Are you saying we try to force calming and that's why it isn't calming?
Hi Dan, yes exactly that - even with calming, we can panic and 'stressfully' try too hard to achieve it - evidenced by the fact that we head talkit for absolute control (see M.O.R.D pt 3 - the Panic Scramble and M.O.R.D pt 4 - Obsessive Controlling - both head-talking entities). The first thing we have to understand is that our stress is further implicated by analysing/head-talking it. The main thing we have to achieve is to stop that discomfort ensuing by calming to relae that temptation - this just becomes more of an awareness than a head-talk - a 'not do' as explained - in whatever way we can and continuing with flow to reduce the stress (see below).
15 Aug 17 Hi Will I really think Im over the worst of this now and after suffering on and off for 20 years that, for me takes some doing! I know exactly what you mean about deadwood as it's been so long since Ive felt I can cope but this is giving me such confidence now. The main message I would give to anyone is stick with this - you 'may' think you're going over the edge when you feel so anxious but if you stick at calming you will stay the right side of that edge. I used to feel so guilty for feeling so stressed for what I deemed so trivial and can now see how that all played such a big part in my demise. Looking forward now rather than backwards! Mel
9 June 2017 Hi Will,
So I've been doing so much better. I'm now sleeping through full nights with no sleeping tablets etc I just totally saw it as me creating the fear. My anxiety is so much lower than before. I have high moments during each day but just let them be. I have a weird thing at the moment, I still feel detached (although not as strongly) but the attention is always on me and on the odd moment it isnt it makes me spike when I realise it. I feel so much more normal but my mind is freaking that this is the best it gets. I keep reminding myself that its just anxiety as I wouldn't even be thinking about myself all the time if it wasnt but wondered if this was a normal phase and if I just have to let this be too? Its definitely a weird one lol!!
Thanks for all your help...I'm definitely recovering faster this time
12/11/16 Hi Will I have energy!! I can't thankyou enough, I feel like I have always been close to understanding this but it never occurred to me that I was still tensing when I thought I was recovering! A magnificant piece of work and surely a mainstay in our understanding going forward. My Doctor, though he tried, just threw whatever he could at me, with the best of intentions no doubt, but without any real understanding of what I was going through. Gemma
4/7/16 Hi Will I just read your book and the COPAST theory is really inspiring. I totally get that we get caught in a trap which ends up as perfection trying to cure perfection. Much indebted Zak
30/9/13 - Hi Will and thanks for this - in a way it's kind of weird that I feel the pressure is off now - so many times you think that medication has to be the only answer and you end up almost thinking it is a waste of time trying to figure it for yourself. Of course it isn't easy but when you realise your life really 'is' so much in your grasp - it leaves me with so much more confidence and when you explain it like this, it just makes me so much more determined to 'take part' in my recovery. I also see now that whilst we definitely have a tendency to lurch from crisis to crisis, we can realise our calmer more positive state, by relying on our flow and sticking with it. Thanks for being there! Regards Jane
Tues 14/5/13 Hi Will, my name is J from Australia and I received your e-book last year. Since then I have been on a slow but mostly successful journey to being healed. I can not thank you enough for your work and help. Honestly, you are a miracle worker. I just wanted to say thankyou and keep up the fantastic work. I was also wondering if you have ever considered expanding your work to this part of the world. These are only thoughts on my behalf, as I myself am now passionate about this cause and would also like to help people in this tough situation. Would u consider planning seminars in Australia for example or maybe having a representative in this part of the world. Just asking mate, and I am in no way mentioning this for monetary reasons. You have changed my life for the better and I would love to help spread your cause in Australia if you have ever considered this. Many thanks again J
''The panic is the problem. I know now I cannot panic anymore ... it's ingrained''- Nick Watts (back cover testimony).
On Sun 10/04/11 6:31 PM , Toby sent: (see also Book Reviews for further)..
Hi Will, I hope all is great with you. Just wanted to drop you a line to say I returned from Sri Lanka on Saturday after the most amazing trip of my life. And guess what? NO panic attacks on planes, or anywhere else for that matter, despite quite intense travelling conditions. I can only say THANK YOU so much for your words of encouragement and "matter of fact" way of dealing with certain thoughts and feelings....I am now living proof that everything you've discovered (primary/secondary thoughts etc) works....absolutely 100%, no doubt. To go from the place I was 2 weeks ago, which was full of dark, negative, fearful thoughts to where I am now is simply amazing....no, actually it's life-changing. So, once again, thanks so much Will. I can't tell you how much this has changed things for me. All the best to you and I hope that you continue to inspire others with your writing and advice. Toby
Date: 9 May 2008 00:49:04 GMT ''Will, I don't know how to thank you. I think you may have saved my life. Your website instantly got inside my head in the way no psychiatrist, psychologist or self-help book ever has. I always struggled to even describe these thoughts to people but you do it perfectly. I couldn't believe it when I read about your 'AIDS panic'. The same thing happened to me. I went for a test and, like you, the result wasn't enough to allay my fears so I went for another one!'' Thanks again, Murray
2/7/12 Hey again Will.
Hope and think I am on the right track now. One quick question. I feel like when i just come out of a thought (become aware of it) my mind goes blank and feels like it just freezes for a few seconds or even more like for 20s before the cut-off comes and that feels like a big Jolt in my whole body and my eyes spasm every time. Am i correct in assuming these phenomenons are coming out and cutting off from thoughts? Did you experience similar stuff or heard from others?
At the moment i feel your book is a life saver even thought my blurred mind had problems getting grips on it at first. Are you enjoying summer over there in the UK? Take care. Andreas
On Wed 6/03/13 10:07 PM , M <@googlemail.com> wrote: Will, all OK now, many thanks, book has been a revelation. Regards, M
Oct 2012 Hi Will, Nick Watts, here, hope things are going Ok with you! Just thought I would send you a line to tell you my intentions Things are going really well for me at the moment. Well chuffed for the ways things have turned out. I can really focus on the positive things not and the Anxiety, which is a thing of the past! Been thinking of doing it for a while and I am going to write a book on my experiences with mental illness. I feel it’s the greatest achievement in my life is coming out of the other side of the darkest moments! If it wasn't for your help in seeing people do recover i wouldn't be here today writing this to you. I have total turned things around and now the happy, confident person, i always wanted to be. i have been paragliding for three years now and Speed flying for a year, ( halfway house between a paraglider and a skydiving rig), and have totally overcome my fear! Considering in the dark times I was scared of the shadows on the wall, no bullsh*t!! and I thought there was no, way out! I was ready to quit work!Its just a learned behaviour and now i have learned the other way to become confident in myself. Next year me and my best mate, met though Paragliding are going onto a skydiving course with a view to go base jumping in the future. All i can say is thanks again Will. Ps here is a video of me and my mate speed flying last week...hope all is ok All the best Wattsy
Ok, so to summarise....
Do you check/go back into your thoughts?
Do you doubt that your thinking is normal?
Do you find the 'intensity and frequency' of your thinking discomforting and difficult to deal with?
Is it like you're in a constant state of alert?
Do you struggle to concentrate? Does your mind race out of control?
Do you get depressed or seem to be ‘stuck’ in a rut with no way out?
Do you obsess, 'lock on' or need control/quickly getting fixated with things – sometimes to the point where you feel there's a real problem?
Do you feel detached from reality or in a dream?
Do you worry incessantly or feel your mind races out of control, making you feel edgy, scared, or on your own?
Do you head 'talk'/analyse?
Do you need to qualify/make sense of everything?
Do you feel that you have ‘odd’ or unacceptable thoughts/feelings, that ‘no-one’ else would ever have? Do you think you're going mad?
Do you like 'clarity' - or need complete mental control of what you think/feel?
Do you have repetitive habits that become destructive/make you feel uncomfortable?
Do you think in a 'deep' way and 'see' this as unacceptable?
Do you feel uneasy with your mind – an intense, racing mind that just ‘won’t’ seem to calm down?
Do you 'lack' confidence in the way you think/act - particularly if this is 'imperfect'?
Do you find you're sometimes ‘scanning’ for negative thoughts – almost looking for them to happen to test/hurt yourself?
Do you also have terrible thoughts that make you feel you should act them out?
Do you feel guilty about the way that you're thinking – especially with the effect it has on those around you?
Do you worry that your best is never good enough and constantly doubt yourself?
Do you try to calm down unsuccessfully – in fact, to the point where you actually tense up more?
Have you lost hope and think ‘everything’ you have tried has just ended up with more misery and desperation?
Do you really struggle to concentrate/stay 'on' task, avoid things, or find your relationships are affected?
Do you seem to be in a constant 'battle' with your mind?
Do you seem to move on from solution to solution?
Do you feel medication is not something you would want to rely on, but you have no other option, OR have you tried medication and realised it doesn’t completely solve your problems?
Do you think sometimes you 'have' to be the worrier or things wouldn't get done?
Do you ultimately feel you're on your own, 'trapped' in your own mind with no way out?
Do you tensely hold on to any positive chances to get control?
Any questions you can email me.
''The Mind Works'' (Book/Ebook) by Will Beswick:
A review by Nicki Starkey. The 'National Phobics Society' 23 July 07 (*Review of pre-updated final version)
'The Mind Works' is one man's powerful, personal account of his struggles with panic and anxiety…. Beswick also makes it clear how all types of panic and anxiety are related on the panic spectrum, and can manifest themselves in different ways. In his own case, this was in the form of illness phobia whilst at college. Beswick then begins to outline his own theory on how ‘the mind works’. Put briefly, this theory explains that we are either ‘fighters’ or ‘flighters’. Fighters internalise their panic and flighters externalise theirs. Beswick explains how he overcame his panic by realising that his panic was ‘secondary thinking’ - an internal process that was ongoing. He introduces a number of concepts, such as COPAST- concept of primary and secondary thinking. These are explained in great detail with examples to demonstrate their meaning. As the reader, we are gradually encouraged to find faith in our natural coping abilities..…The author uses a number of diagrams and workable examples for the reader to attempt. He also includes a number of responses to e-mails from readers of his own website (www.doyoupanic.co.uk) where he clarifies any points raised about his theories. It also means that he can tailor his answers to particular phobias or types of anxiety and explain how they work.... The author has also included contributions from other therapists, such as John Crawford’s explanation of OCD, which I also found very helpful. As well as this, he provides links to helpful articles, and opens the discussion up to include related subjects such as eating disorders and medication, and how these relate to his theories.
Overall I was very impressed with the content and layout of this book.. it is written in a way that will help many readers to rationalise what they are experiencing and help them to look at the issues in a new light. It uses good examples, positive language and a personal approach that will strike a chord with many readers.... Nicki
On Mon 11/05/09 9:33 PM , Brian sent: Hi Will, thank you so much for replying to me. I just wanted to tell you that since my last "desperation" email, I had a great realization while reading your book that I really believe has brought me back to the present.....What brought me back to the present was a quote on one of the last pages of your book. The quote is "Just 'think' what you think...don't force yourself to think." Reading that quote made me realize how hard I had been trying to recover by "forcing" all of the methods of recovery in my head. I was thinking so hard about what you and Paul say, and I wasn't just allowing my normal thoughts to flow, instead, I was further 'intensifying' and 'breaking' the flow. I am feeling so much better now - much like I did when I first found Paul's website a year ago, and I can tell it is just going to get better for me as time goes on. I wanted to share this with you just to let you know the impact you have had on my life. Thank you so much, your doing a great thing, and I know so many people are grateful for that. Thank you, Brian
7 Feb 2010 09:53:07 Hi Will, just thinking last night I would write to you to say thanks! Finally got to grips with this now, so I would hope others will see this comment. As you say, there is such a confusion with our original thoughts and our reacting to them, that I found myself unable to function or concentrate for any set length of time. Ironically, I found myself concentrating when I wasn't consciously thinking and therein lies the answer! Of course, by that time - I would then question why I was concentrating!! It does subside everyone, believe me! Be patient with this and it will clear up in time as it really is 'very' simple to understand....next email - To sum up what I have learned 1. don't expect to be able to handle everything in life perfectly (too much pressure = tension) and 2. this more realistic view will mean you will be able to flow through the bad (or even what we think is mad) far more easily and keep that flow and 3. even if we do leave that flow, as you say, we just have to use COPAST to deal with the temptation to forcefully panic. Thanks Will Marc
29/3/14 Thanks Will I so get this now! My mind has been running at full throttle for so long and then, WOW it all seems so clear! Sadly, I just slip into my old habits and completely forget what I saw so clearly! Understanding this finally for me has been to realise that this is definitely something I have to work on - the extra document for me was the final stage I needed to really understand - that we veer into an elevated state so easily because we worry and want complete control and is something that has really helped me improve that mindful awareness of achieving flow by staying calm. If it makes you feel better! Many thanks Will Sandra