Author Topic: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition  (Read 22605 times)

Britan

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MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« on: October 19, 2015, 02:53:54 PM »
If you asked me, I'd say I'm pretty frugal/thrift/mustachian/whatever. I like reading the blog and forum because it motivates me to do better and reminds me that there is more to life than work.

I also suffer from anxiety, enough so that I occasionally need a therapist to remind me that I'm not the worst, laziest, stupidest, most ungrateful, blah blah blah person to have ever walked his earth, the world is ending, everything is the worst, insert hyperbolic statement of choice here, guess I'm gonna eat some worms.

Sometime the two blend in ways that are not so great for my mental health. I think it's something in the tone, which I love, but which triggers old anxiety points for me about needing to be 100% perfect 100% of the time. 99% is a failure to get 100%, and therefore is a failure and something I "ought" to feel badly about. Don't ask me, my brain does weird things when the anxiety weasels invite themselves over to play.

Like I said, I do see a therapist occasionally. Problem is, he is costly. So inevitably whenever I need it most, I am most likely to berate myself for being a soft complainy pants for not being 100% perfect 100% of the time. I mean, I could just do the frugal thing and just "get over it", despite the proof in my own life that that's not how anxiety disorders work.

I can't be the only one with this problem. Anxiety is really common. Are there any other MMMers out there who find the mindset sometimes triggering anxiety? Particularly folks who are currently diggin out of debt. What do you do to keep things in perspective and remember that 99% is actually pretty fucking good, especially when the rest of the class is averaging a 50, and the teacher has a policy of never giving 100s?

Easye418

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2015, 02:59:51 PM »
I can't be the only one with this problem. Anxiety is really common. Are there any other MMMers out there who find the mindset sometimes triggering anxiety? Particularly folks who are currently diggin out of debt. What do you do to keep things in perspective and remember that 99% is actually pretty fucking good, especially when the rest of the class is averaging a 50, and the teacher has a policy of never giving 100s?

Great topic.


We are one of the ones in bold.  Right now, I have $62K in Student Loans I want to kill off before we start a family.  Everyday that is still on my shoulders is another day I worry.  By 27, I am going to have one single debt (Mortgage), make close to $100k salary myself, and an investment account +$100K (hopefully closer to $125K).  I am trying to convince myself that this is the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Most people would probably like to be in my shoes, but I constantly feel like I'm behind and never going to be happy.  I don't want to spend like a jackass, but you know what, I would like to frivolously spend some of my hard earned money on things I like.   

My answer is probably a bad one, but I drink some beer.  Nothing better than a long work week and worrying about money on a Friday night then going to my Kegerator and pouring a nice tall glass and watching The Office.

BH/MMM changed my life, but it didn't come without punishment. 
« Last Edit: October 19, 2015, 03:02:58 PM by Easye418 »

ArcadeStache

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2015, 03:05:58 PM »
I'm in the same boat and yeah, sometimes not being perfect at MMM or other things sets it off. All I can say is that I try to tell myself that everything will still be fine and that life is too short to worry and not be happy. I'm pretty good about not making frivolous purchases but when I waste $ on takeout or coffee once in a while, I remind myself that I am saving pretty well and not falling into most consumerist traps or chasing the accumulation of stuff.

If the therapist helps then it is $ well spent. If you are concerned about paying for it, could you offset it by cutting something else or selling some clutter on craigslist or eBay? I usually have a steady stream of stuff for sale, which makes me less anxious about not being hyper frugal. I also find getting time outside in nature helps me relax, plus it's free....maybe that can help you feel less stressed? Best of luck.

eudaimonia

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2015, 03:08:10 PM »
Check out some free books at the library on CBT: Cognitive Behavior Therapy. This method has been a lifesaver for my wife who also suffers from depression/anxiety.

Remember that in life nobody is every 100% perfect at anything. Ask yourself if you are doing more than 60-70% (pretty much what most average people do). If you are doing more than this you are already on your way to achieving your financial dreams. If you are in debt it could take a while. Instead of worrying about this, take advantage of this time to work on yourself in other ways. Perhaps there is some other aspect of your life that you could improve while you are improving your finances: your health, love life, family life, personal attitude, or spirituality. Instead of trying to squeeze blood out of an orange getting the last 1-5% out of your finances, spend time improving these areas to more than 60-70%. You will notice that your life will improve not in just that one area but to all other aspects of your life. Even your finances.

Rhoon

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2015, 03:16:43 PM »
I go and look at pictures of my 10 year retirement goals (might be 15) to pull me out of my slumps; though when I think of it being 10-15 years off, it sometimes makes it worse. When that happens, I have a stiff drink and go to bed so I can get up early and work out (Vicious cycle).

Retirement Goal:
Buy one of these and sail into the sunset, giving my son a Worldly culture education. Summers on the Mediterranean and winters in the Caribbean sound great too.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkwBY-CGHcA


My Basics:
New Job: $120K/yr
Mortgage: Just moved last year: $228K
Wife's Student Loans: $38K
CC Debt: $0
Car: Leased @ $300/mo (withhold the face punches for now; this forum did talk me out of trading into a brand new $46K Lexus RX330; convinced the wife we should pick up a $5K Prius for the time being to save more $$)
Various 401K's + IRAs: Roughly $100K

morning owl

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2015, 03:27:53 PM »
I can definitely relate. I have to take time off this site because it furthers my anxiety about money. It's a really weird situation to be in -- we have a paid off house, high six figures in investments, and are in a better position than most of our friends, who are either deep in debt, or have no savings or assets to speak of. I guess it's a catch 22; the anxiety and conscientiousness is what got me to this place where I'm doing fairly well, but inwardly I question whether I would feel secure with 1MM in the bank, or 2MM, or 10MM. The money amount almost doesn't matter, because it never feels like enough. It's a version of greed, even though I feel DH and I are fairly generous and non-greedy people. I'm just greedy for FREEDOM and STABILITY. And this causes anxiety.

I had a good meditation habit going for a while, and it helped. I have to get back into that. Therapy would help too, no doubt.

One important realization for me, logically, was to recognize that it's not actually about money. It's about looking for a feeling of stability and freedom, and I believe these feelings need to be found elsewhere, perhaps through spirituality or mindfulness.

mozar

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2015, 07:44:49 PM »
Read: Feeling Good, the new Mood Therapy

Civex

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2015, 08:13:17 PM »
I can't be the only one with this problem. Anxiety is really common. Are there any other MMMers out there who find the mindset sometimes triggering anxiety? Particularly folks who are currently diggin out of debt. What do you do to keep things in perspective and remember that 99% is actually pretty fucking good, especially when the rest of the class is averaging a 50, and the teacher has a policy of never giving 100s?

Great topic.


We are one of the ones in bold.  Right now, I have $62K in Student Loans I want to kill off before we start a family.  Everyday that is still on my shoulders is another day I worry.  By 27, I am going to have one single debt (Mortgage), make close to $100k salary myself, and an investment account +$100K (hopefully closer to $125K).  I am trying to convince myself that this is the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Most people would probably like to be in my shoes, but I constantly feel like I'm behind and never going to be happy.  I don't want to spend like a jackass, but you know what, I would like to frivolously spend some of my hard earned money on things I like.   

My answer is probably a bad one, but I drink some beer.  Nothing better than a long work week and worrying about money on a Friday night then going to my Kegerator and pouring a nice tall glass and watching The Office.

BH/MMM changed my life, but it didn't come without punishment.

My kegerator/keezer is currently empty, so I've been reaching for the growler, but how closely that statement mirrors my own life is scary. 26, higher income profession, large student loan burden and on paper very put together, but dealing with the same struggle.

My coping mechanism is not ideal; other than beer, running, and the office; when I start to become negative towards myself/my progress, I compare myself to my real life peer group(s). While it may sound a little shchadenfreund, in real life, I am financially more put together than about any of my friends/family. Neither the anxiety or the response is probably the best, but it is what works for me.

One thing I try to remember is that showing up is 50% of the battle, and if you are showing up on the MMM forums, you are far ahead of most people.

snuggler

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2015, 08:22:23 PM »
There are now some websites that offer "online therapy" that might be a good option for you. 

I haven't tried them, but the idea is that your therapy largely takes place via email and text, and for that reason, qualified therapists who have some extra capacity can work with you when their schedules allow. From what I've read, the research shows that online therapy can be just as good-and perhaps even better-at helping people than on-the-couch visits.

See betterhelp.com, talkspace.com, and breakthrough.com.

It sounds like a great idea, and the rates seem cheaper than conventional therapy.

RedefinedHappiness

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2015, 08:24:29 PM »
I can definitely relate. I have to take time off this site because it furthers my anxiety about money. It's a really weird situation to be in -- we have a paid off house, high six figures in investments, and are in a better position than most of our friends, who are either deep in debt, or have no savings or assets to speak of. I guess it's a catch 22; the anxiety and conscientiousness is what got me to this place where I'm doing fairly well, but inwardly I question whether I would feel secure with 1MM in the bank, or 2MM, or 10MM. The money amount almost doesn't matter, because it never feels like enough. It's a version of greed, even though I feel DH and I are fairly generous and non-greedy people. I'm just greedy for FREEDOM and STABILITY. And this causes anxiety.

I had a good meditation habit going for a while, and it helped. I have to get back into that. Therapy would help too, no doubt.

One important realization for me, logically, was to recognize that it's not actually about money. It's about looking for a feeling of stability and freedom, and I believe these feelings need to be found elsewhere, perhaps through spirituality or mindfulness.

Sounds like me. Posting to follow.

Tris Prior

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2015, 09:02:37 PM »
I have anxiety and am in therapy for it, and I definitely can relate. My debt is paid off now, but I was in full-on throw-everything-possible-at-debt-even-if-it-means-not-eating mode when I started therapy. My therapist would tell me I was showing "rigid thinking" and that I should ease up on myself because berating myself a) made me feel worse and b) didn't actually solve the problem. This REALLY screwed with my head for some time because then I would come to this board and think, "well, does EVERYONE on this board have rigid thinking, then?" I could not reconcile the two at all.

I don't really have a solution other than taking a break from the forum if it gets to be too triggering. It stopped being an issue for me once my debt was paid off.


frompa

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2015, 09:10:17 PM »
One thing I try to remember is that showing up is 50% of the battle, and if you are showing up on the MMM forums, you are far ahead of most people.

++ to that.

Also, money is nothing more (or less) than an idea.  It's all about our thoughts and feelings, and not very tangible at all.  I'd say a good therapist is about one of the best ways to deal with money stuff, as it can all get so attentuated and intense.  Give yourself some slack, dude! 

Dollar Slice

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2015, 09:59:40 PM »
Fellow anxiety-sufferer, and going through a bad spell myself... to the point that I officially took myself "off budget" and am having a fuck-it month of not recording cash transactions just to give myself a break.

For longer-term... I think it helps to decide (when you are in a good place, mentally) what is important to you, and budget for it. Things like therapy and other health care should fall in that "important to you" category. If you give yourself a generous budget category for therapy/health maintenance, then you might feel less anxious about paying for it - and if you come in under budget in that category sometimes, it's a double win because you have more money in the bank and it means you were feeling better than usual lately.

Lots of people on this forum have categories for vacations, restaurants, alcohol, entertainment, and so on - you can justify paying for therapy and still be a top-notch MMMer :-)

HappierAtHome

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2015, 01:11:17 AM »
There are loads of people on this forum who benefit from professional mental health care. Most of us have journals which provide a good insight into balancing medical / self-care needs with achieving FI.

TheBuddha

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2015, 01:30:13 AM »
I've found that getting my financial act together has really helped with anxiety. Although I've always liked myself and self-esteem wasn't a problem in that sense, it has been a problem that I didn't have success on the outside to match my relatively good feelings on the inside. Now that I'm having some external success I've relaxed a lot.

I like exercise to help treat anxiety. Sometimes I don't feel like exercising though, in which case I'll drink a couple energy drinks to force myself to exercise or I'll feel like my heart is going to explode.

Of course, the Buddha is known for being relaxed and meditating, so I'll give you my secret:
Spoiler: show
clonazepam

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2015, 01:37:08 AM »
When I'm low on motivation I redefine what 100% is; so I set achieveable goals the evening before, and if they all get done that's 100%. I think of 100% like a machine, you can't run anything at full throughput all the time without maintenance and downtime.

Paying for therapy is a great investment. Without being happy within my own skull there is no point in doing any of the rest of it. Same with taking care of my body (no point saving for retirement if I won't enjoy it) or investing in healthy relationships.

If I have trouble justifying a self-investment cost, I will sometimes set up a separate line item for it. I decide at the start of the year what it is reasonable, and that money goes in a mental account, it is no longer my money to spend, apart from physio, therapy, whatever. At the end of the year, any leftover money gets thrown away - I can give it to someone else or burn it, but it's not mine, and it doesn't get set against any gift or charity allocated spend. Would that sort of framing help?

Anatidae V

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2015, 01:44:00 AM »
I budget, and there is fun money to spend, plus a sizeable portion set aside for therapy visits, Physio etc. I don't think about it, I use YNAB and I put the same amount in every month. If I start thinking I can't afford medical or health things, DH handles the budget for a while. If I lived alone, I'd just ignore spending or have a friend who could sanity check my purchases (fun and required) while I go through a rough patch until I can tell the important from the irrelevant again. Im not in much debt, though. Journalling on here definitely helps.

Kaplin261

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2015, 04:41:18 AM »
What I have noticed is most people have some form of anxiety. At the gym pudgy me works out with some of the biggest muscular guys and they complain and stress out about missing a work out day or not eating enough protein that day, however there more fit than 99.9% of the people going to the gym. My father in-law has had his yard in a magazine and wins yard of the month almost every month, his yard is a paradise but he is always obsessing over it and changing it to make it better. It's the mental disorder/anxiety that helped these people get to where they're at now. When they hit a plateau that's when the anxiety becomes troublesome, the anxiety makes them feel like they need to try harder even though there at the top and there is no more headroom.

When I feel stressed out, I think of my 10 year goals and look at other ways other financial goals that I can improve my quality of life. There is always room for improvement in some part of your life.

dcheesi

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2015, 07:00:56 AM »
I think there's a couple of aspects to this kind of perfectionist anxiety (which I am all to too familiar with).

One is a focus on outcomes rather than effort. Fear of failure, or berating yourself for not foreseeing everything and creating a perfect outcome, etc. For this I found Stoic ideas to be very helpful. Some things are in your control, and others aren't; even if you act "perfectly", you can still fail to achieve the desired outcome due to forces outside your control. As long as you did your honest best, you are blameless with regard to the influence those external forces (of course accounting for those externals is part of doing your honest best, but there are limits to how much you can compensate for).

Going further, you also have to realize that the human mind is not a precise calculating machine operating on complete input data; rather, it's a bundle of heuristics (fancy word for shortcuts and guesswork) designed to operate in a field of uncertainty and conflicting data. Mental mistakes are going to happen; it's not a defect, it's part of the design!

Anther aspect is how we deal with downtime. Especially if you are practicing Stoic virtue-ethics, it's easy to fall into the trap of feeling like every moment of pleasure and relaxation is a wasted moment when you could have been productive.

Again, I think the key here is to realize that the human mind & body are not inexhaustible machines; we need to rest and recharge, both physically and mentally. It's important to set aside time for rest, and time for fun, in order to keep ourselves in peak condition; otherwise, the deficits in performance (increased errors, etc.) will quickly erase any productivy gains in the short term, and in the long term we're setting ourselves on the road to burnout.

Lis

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2015, 10:24:50 AM »
Oh my god you are me. Wow, talk about looking in the (internet) mirror.

First of all, your mental health is and should be the number one priority. It's super easy to say "get over it" and nearly impossible to do. If therapy is helpful, and it should be, keep doing it. Only stop because you've reached a healthy place, or because your therapist isn't helping (in which case, look for a new one).

As someone who has dealt with anxiety and still has to work to keep it in check, I don't understand how people plan out 10, 15, 30 years from now. Some people can, with the caveat that shit could hit the fan, but they're prepared for that. I can't. So I focus on now and today, making sure I'm living well within my means now and sending the rest of my money off to magical Vanguard land. I don't dwell on number crunching right now because FIRE is not in my immediate future, and if I started it would send me down a vicious cycle of hair pulling and crying and stressing out that I'll never be ready.

Amy Poehler has a great quote that I use daily, especially on this site: "Good for her, not for me." She was discussing how to combat woman-on-woman hate, but I think it can apply to any of us with an anxious mindset. Find something that works for you and stick to it, and stop worrying about others. Easier said than done, I know.

You've gotten a lot of great advice and I don't have more to add other than to tell you you're not alone, and sometimes it helps to know someone understands exactly what you're going through. (((Internet Hugs)))

Britan

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2015, 11:13:14 AM »
Heh, in a kind of weird way, it makes me feel better just to know that I'm not the only one. I mean, I know it in theory, but the brain weasels have their ways of convincing me otherwise.

Now that I'm in a slightly better headspace than yesterday, here's the thing I'm finding help me the most. Maybe just writing them out will help me remember them the next time I end up in a negative thinking loop of doom.

1. Low information diet. People edit the shit out of their lives on the Internet. I like reading blogs about interior design but sometimes I freak out that my house isn't that clean all the time. But really? Chances are that theirs aren't either. Since I'm not always the best at reminding myself of that, it's better for me to occasionally just cut it out for awhile.

2. NOT budgeting. Dollar Slice, I'm also in the middle of a non budget month too. Ironically, I find myself spending less. When I'm not stressed, I look at each purchase individually and think "is this actually worth it to me" and can usually respond "no". But if I've spent every day obsessing over my budget, that leaks into my decision making mind and Im more likely to make a choice to spend that I would otherwise because it will "relieve stress".

3. NOT thinking long term. Sometime looking long term is just way too daunting. It's like a really long integral in calculus: sure every step might be easy algebra, but it looks so scary now that it's overwhelming and I may as well give up now!!! The only way I got an advanced degree in math was just taking it one step at a time, and just focusing on what's in front of me when the larger problem seemed too daunting to solve. This will be like that too.

These might seem counterintuitive, but the thing is, I'm not really a massive spendy pants by nature. Even without ever discovering MMM or making a conscious attempt to save, I'd still have a nice 401k and money to fall back on. If I give it a little more effort, I do better. But if I try to give it too much all the time and never accept less than perfect, the added stress actually has the opposite effect. I'm so much more likely to justify bad spending because "it will make me less stressed".

@Morning Owl- I think you nailed it. What I'm anxious for is stability. I'm so rigid on wanting ABSOLUTE stability RIGHT NOW that I sometimes forget that I actually am privileged with a lot of stability already-in my job, my relationship, my family, and yes even financially. But some of the things I do when anxious about perfect stability threaten the current stability that I do have, so I need to cut it out. :p

Britan

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2015, 11:14:00 AM »
Oh and also, thanks everyone! :)

wenchsenior

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2015, 11:19:49 AM »
We are having a similar conversation on the "Hulk Smash..." thread.

I tend to suffer from anxiety, mental 'hamster-wheeling' and episodes of depression (usually mild, thankfully).

If you rule out obvious medical problems (hormones, thyroid function, blood sugar instability, etc.), which can absolutely affect mood, then the following work well for me:

Regular exercise, preferably outdoors in sunlight (I am INCREDIBLY light sensitive). Grew up in WI, struggled with depression in high school with less sunlight, exercise and poor diet. Moved to AZ, where I ate better, exercised more, and had TONS more sunlight...generally felt great. Then moved back to the MN, and promptly fell back into depression.  I have to have bright light. When I can't get daily sunlight, I expose myself all the time at my desk to a full-spectrum 'happy light'.  I definitely notice a drop in mood if I go without sunlight for more than few days.

Without light, your body can't create serotonin, which is a 'mellowing' hormone.

Beyond that, I second the recommendations above for the book, "Feeling Good" or other Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques. A lot of my anxiety is due to poor mental habits and lack of self-awareness when I start the habitual thought patterns that make me anxious. CBT reminds me 1) that how I perceive or imagine things to be doesn't usually accurately reflect reality; and 2) there are simple exercises to retrain my thought patterns to be more positive, and more accurate to actual reality.

ETA: Yes, I found a low information diet (almost no news AT ALL) and limited exposure to Facebook etc, also to be very helpful to chill me out.

Kaspian

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2015, 11:29:09 AM »
Wow--I've found the opposite be true.  While I never carried debt or worried about money, since finding MMM anxiety is way, way, WAY down.  I eat healthier, have less clutter in my apartment, much more closet space, walk more, stay out stores more (where they intentionally create feelings of anxiety knowing you'll buy more stuff), buy less junk online, less mail to think about, less bills, don't watch cable (ditto to last bracket comment), drink less alcohol, etc.  Simple living, you know?  Anxiety levels incredibly down from being a consuma sucka.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2015, 11:30:41 AM by Kaspian »

Dee18

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2015, 11:38:59 AM »
Like Kaspian, I found MMM reduced my anxiety.  I realized that I was totally on track to have a comfortable retirement.  And I like knowing there are so many MMM people who agree that a lot of money people spend is "an exploding volcano of wastefulness."  MMM also helps balance out the many comments I hear like, "I can't believe you drive a ten year old car.  Aren't you afraid it will break down and leave you stranded on the side of the road?"  and "I can't believe you would try to fix your washing machine yourself.  Aren't you afraid you'll get electrocuted?"  (Um, no.  I think I'll unplug it first.)

Britan

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2015, 11:50:32 AM »
Wrench senior: I would totally be unsurprised if it was thyroid related or sun deficiency related too. It's nice out today. Maybe I'll go take a walk while it lasts. :) Winter is coming ;)

Kaspian: ahh, to have your life, haha. Living a consumerist life is no doubt anxiety inducing and for most sane people, switching to MMM would reduce that. To some degree though, it's anxiety from an "external" source, and a totally rational response to real financial stress. It's something that can be removed by physically doing something different: not spending on stuff. Anxiety disorders are weird though. If I wasnt anxious about money, I'd find something else to be anxious about. My partner teased me (gently) recently because I really was just looking for things to be anxious about. Finances just happens to be a convenient nucleation site for my anxiety. It would be one thing if I really was financially loaded down, but I'm not really. I'm anxious over something that, from the pov of a third party, doesn't really exist and is totally irrational. I get all worked up over nothing. Addressing that kind of internally produced anxiety is more of a mystery to me. It's easy to say "just don't worry about it"; significantly harder to do in practice, especially when you've got anxiety disorder lite.

BeanCounter

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2015, 12:03:18 PM »
I can definitely relate. I have to take time off this site because it furthers my anxiety about money. It's a really weird situation to be in -- we have a paid off house, high six figures in investments, and are in a better position than most of our friends, who are either deep in debt, or have no savings or assets to speak of. I guess it's a catch 22; the anxiety and conscientiousness is what got me to this place where I'm doing fairly well, but inwardly I question whether I would feel secure with 1MM in the bank, or 2MM, or 10MM. The money amount almost doesn't matter, because it never feels like enough. It's a version of greed, even though I feel DH and I are fairly generous and non-greedy people. I'm just greedy for FREEDOM and STABILITY. And this causes anxiety.

I had a good meditation habit going for a while, and it helped. I have to get back into that. Therapy would help too, no doubt.

One important realization for me, logically, was to recognize that it's not actually about money. It's about looking for a feeling of stability and freedom, and I believe these feelings need to be found elsewhere, perhaps through spirituality or mindfulness.
Wow. This sounds exactly like me. Thanks for sharing.

norabird

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2015, 12:17:49 PM »
I don't really have anxiety about money itself (do have it about relationship issues, and understand the mindset you mean), but while I love the forum I find the blog posts to have a very unhelpful tone and basically just don't read them anymore. He is inflexible and you're already beating yourself up so you don't need a pile on.

Just found a therapist for my own anxiety issues and because it's through a training institute there is a $15 co-pay--I recommend seeing if there are training facilities for psychotherapy near you. Definitely look into CBT. Good luck!

Self-employed-swami

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2015, 12:20:02 PM »
I am back on medication for my anxiety.  For me, it's like my anxiety turns the thoughts knob up, and I become unable to stop analyzing and reanalyzing everything.  Medication gives me back the control over my own thoughts, and makes me more effective at my job, and at my life.  It allows me to dismiss the unlikely outcomes, and focus on the things that I have control over, instead of what I can not control or change. 

For me, medication is sometimes what I need, so I can regain control over my anxiety, and I am thankful for it being a possibility.

Britan

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2015, 12:34:23 PM »
I don't really have anxiety about money itself (do have it about relationship issues, and understand the mindset you mean), but while I love the forum I find the blog posts to have a very unhelpful tone and basically just don't read them anymore. He is inflexible and you're already beating yourself up so you don't need a pile on.

Ah, I was feeling something similar but didn't quite know how to say it. I wouldn't say he is inflexible, but I think his approach is targeted to folks who have the opposite kind of anxiety. Someone who is faced with debt and plugs their ears and goes "lalala " while ignoring it does need to know that their debt is an emergency. Someone who really believes that they should be keeping up with the Joneses needs to know that they don't have to. Someone who really thinks that partying it up and blowing all your money on booze leads to happiness needs to learn otherwise.

But to use CBT terminology, he's addressing people who cope with financial anxiety by displaying a *deficit* in worrying behavior, when they really should be more worried.  Internet face punches are a good way to do that.

My problem, and that of many others, is that we have *amplified* worrying behavior in response to anxiety above and beyond what is justified. So we are already getting our ish together and are now worried even above that. $200mil and we would still wring our hands. Face punches are a good way to turn my anxiety up to 11, which makes me more likely to shut down and give up as a coping mechanism.

So I think maybe... I can think of it like this: I (and others like me) are not the intended audience of certain blog posts, because we already know the material. (Eg the recent one on building wealth in your 20s). So its ok if we dont read them. Those punches are not directed at us. Others, like the stoicism one and more happiness related ones might be more of our jam.

(Also just looked up CBT to find that this is basically what my therapist has been doing all along without using those exact words.)

Note: ninja edited for clarity.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2015, 01:21:11 PM by Britan »

FLBiker

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2015, 01:09:29 PM »
Heard a lot of good ideas here.  Some that really work for me:

Meditation, exercise, low information diet.

If I had to pick one, I'd go with meditation.  It may not be for everyone, but I've gotten pretty into it over the last two years and it has really helped.

I also really liked the comment about how know amount of money would be enough to quell the anxiety, because what I really want is security.  I'm gradually coming to accept that this is impossible, though.  All the money in the world doesn't guarantee a safe and secure future.  And that's OK.

Britan

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2015, 01:24:30 PM »
Heard a lot of good ideas here.  Some that really work for me:

Meditation, exercise, low information diet.

If I had to pick one, I'd go with meditation.  It may not be for everyone, but I've gotten pretty into it over the last two years and it has really helped.

I also really liked the comment about how know amount of money would be enough to quell the anxiety, because what I really want is security.  I'm gradually coming to accept that this is impossible, though.  All the money in the world doesn't guarantee a safe and secure future.  And that's OK.

Out of curiosity, what do you do when you meditate? I haven't really been able to find a good way to get my brain to shut up. Sitting still in silence just makes it even more active. I'm sure there is a way out there for me, but so far the "sit quietly and just stop thinking so much by force of will" hasn't worked. :p

FLBiker

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2015, 01:36:48 PM »
Heard a lot of good ideas here.  Some that really work for me:

Meditation, exercise, low information diet.

If I had to pick one, I'd go with meditation.  It may not be for everyone, but I've gotten pretty into it over the last two years and it has really helped.

I also really liked the comment about how know amount of money would be enough to quell the anxiety, because what I really want is security.  I'm gradually coming to accept that this is impossible, though.  All the money in the world doesn't guarantee a safe and secure future.  And that's OK.

Out of curiosity, what do you do when you meditate? I haven't really been able to find a good way to get my brain to shut up. Sitting still in silence just makes it even more active. I'm sure there is a way out there for me, but so far the "sit quietly and just stop thinking so much by force of will" hasn't worked. :p

Good question.  There are a lot of different approaches, but I generally keep it pretty simple.  I bring my attention to my body and watch my breath.  When thoughts arise, I notice them but try not to follow the story.  Sometimes, I count each out breath from 1 to 21 and back down to 1, starting over if I lose track. 

I don't generally use guided meditations, but UCLA has some good ones: http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22

Having said all that, the most helpful thing for me has been joining a group.  I really appreciate the guidance, the opportunity to (weekly) get together with a group, and the accountability of making a commitment.  Here in Tampa, we have a very robust group called the Florida Community of Mindfulness with several different types of activities every week.  In fact, I'm going on a 4-day silent retreat at the end of this week w/ them.  This will be my fifth in the past two years.  As you can tell, I'm a fan.

What I've found is that having a consistent meditation practice helps me notice my thoughts when I'm not meditating as well, which helps me let go of anxiety producing stories earlier than I was able to in the past.

I'd google meditation groups in your area and try them out.  Each group is different, so you can find something that works for you.

Dicey

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2015, 02:25:21 PM »
remind me that I'm not the worst, laziest, stupidest, most ungrateful, blah blah blah person to have ever walked his earth, the world is ending, everything is the worst, insert hyperbolic statement of choice here, guess I'm gonna eat some worms...
Eh, feck off buddy, that title is mine, stop trying to rip me off. Okay, seriously, doesn't everybody feel this way, at least some of the time? I think it's important to realize that you are not the only one who feels this way, Britan, not by a long shot. I'm a fat, lazy FIRE'd slob who should be out cleaning my garage or decluttering my office or planning dinner or doing laundry or reading the material for my (volunteer) board meeting this afternoon, but no, I'm here on the MMM Forum. Thankfully, I'm a vegetarian, so worms are no longer part of my diet...

What do you do to keep things in perspective and remember that 99% is actually pretty fucking good, especially when the rest of the class is averaging a 50, and the teacher has a policy of never giving 100s?

I don't have a perfect answer for this question, but I'm FIRE'd finally (54, late, I know), so I'll share a few thoughts with you. When I was working, I'd do a monthly summary of all my assets. I'd list them on colorful posty notes and slap them on the wall (of my home office. Do not do this in the workplace.) It was so inspiring to flip back and watch how the numbers improved. Yes, I know there is YNAB and such, but this is what worked for me and it was free. I stayed away from spendy people and I didn't do spendy things. Well, sometimes I did, but I found ways to do the spendy things as economically as possible. I also stole the mantra "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." I didn't save every single cent, but I did save a lot of them and over time, they added up. It's quite similar to dieting: a series of small changes over a sustained period of time nets satisfying and measurable results.

Blasphemy Alert: I am FIRE, but my life doesn't look much like Pete's. I don't ride a bike, or grow my own foods or any number of things he advocates, but I still got there. It just took me longer. But the view from here is awesome, and well worth the effort. Getting to FIRE really is as simple as making up your mind to do it, and sticking to it with unwavering steadfastness. Keep at it and it will happen. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some chores to do...

Britan

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #34 on: October 20, 2015, 02:52:27 PM »
Diane: I think there are a bunch of us here fighting to be the Worst Human Being Evarrr~~~!!!! :)

FLBiker: thanks for sharing, that's helpful. I used to go to Quaker Meeting occasionally as my quiet time. I think I'll try goin again this week. I have to be careful it to beat myself up over not going though haha.

Kaspian

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2015, 02:57:59 PM »
Kaspian: ahh, to have your life, haha. Living a consumerist life is no doubt anxiety inducing and for most sane people, switching to MMM would reduce that. To some degree though, it's anxiety from an "external" source, and a totally rational response to real financial stress. It's something that can be removed by physically doing something different: not spending on stuff. Anxiety disorders are weird though. If I wasnt anxious about money, I'd find something else to be anxious about. My partner teased me (gently) recently because I really was just looking for things to be anxious about. Finances just happens to be a convenient nucleation site for my anxiety. It would be one thing if I really was financially loaded down, but I'm not really. I'm anxious over something that, from the pov of a third party, doesn't really exist and is totally irrational. I get all worked up over nothing. Addressing that kind of internally produced anxiety is more of a mystery to me. It's easy to say "just don't worry about it"; significantly harder to do in practice, especially when you've got anxiety disorder lite.

I have full blown panic attacks when in enclosed places with lots of people.  I have about 45 minutes in a mall before I have a complete breakdown--my eyes glaze, I sweat profusely, feel cold and greasy, confused, my knees get weak.  People ask what's wrong with me.  It's especially bad in places/stores where there aren't any windows.  Auditorium gatherings?  Hello no!  I don't even like large dinner parties.   (Those aren't so bad because I can exit every half hour or so.)   Oddly I seem OK at outdoor markets, rock concerts (where I like the band), and airplane terminals.

I've tried to tell myself how irrational it is.  Even on days where my mind is clear, I go into a mall not thinking about it, and "boom" 20 minutes later I'm falling apart at the seams.  ...I guess a phobia like that is different from general anxiety, but I can totally relate to the mind having a mind of its own. 

And this sounds totally insane but if giving a choice between a whole day of being trapped inside a busy mall or going inside a lion's cage, the clawed kitty would win.  :(

freeatlast

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #36 on: October 20, 2015, 03:09:23 PM »
Hi! I have a highly stressful job that I have been trying to leave and I actually had to take a medical leave of absence because of anxiety. I used to be a bad perfectionist... I tried meds, didn't like them. Tried therapy and maybe it helped, but not much.  Tried meditation and it worked a little but I haven't been able to stick with it.  Now I exercise religiously every day but Sunday. I exercise hard for at least one hour - sometimes two.  I quit smoking my one cigarette a day and I eat a bit better. The constant ruminations in my mind have quieted - they still come back sometimes, but it is better. I have lost 13 pounds and I feel BETTER. The tightness in my chest is mostly gone. I ain't perfect, but I feel 80% there. My doctor says people were born to move and some people just need to. Anxiety is from fight or flight reaction and exercise provides the flight and is a relief.  So.... that's my experience.... YMMV! Good luck!

BigBangWeary

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #37 on: October 21, 2015, 02:36:43 AM »
I think in a weird way, due to the selection bias of this site, it might actually make some of us feel worse off about our financial situations. Whenever you log on you here about mid-30s couples with 'only $1million' etc. and it sometimes starts to make you think that you are way behind. I have to remind myself that we are a select group.

Salim

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #38 on: October 21, 2015, 05:10:30 AM »
Read: Feeling Good, the new Mood Therapy

Just started the book... I'm on page 61. It's great!

Trudie

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #39 on: October 21, 2015, 07:52:14 AM »
I can definitely relate. I have to take time off this site because it furthers my anxiety about money. It's a really weird situation to be in -- we have a paid off house, high six figures in investments, and are in a better position than most of our friends, who are either deep in debt, or have no savings or assets to speak of. I guess it's a catch 22; the anxiety and conscientiousness is what got me to this place where I'm doing fairly well, but inwardly I question whether I would feel secure with 1MM in the bank, or 2MM, or 10MM. The money amount almost doesn't matter, because it never feels like enough. It's a version of greed, even though I feel DH and I are fairly generous and non-greedy people. I'm just greedy for FREEDOM and STABILITY. And this causes anxiety.

I had a good meditation habit going for a while, and it helped. I have to get back into that. Therapy would help too, no doubt.

One important realization for me, logically, was to recognize that it's not actually about money. It's about looking for a feeling of stability and freedom, and I believe these feelings need to be found elsewhere, perhaps through spirituality or mindfulness.

There's some good insight here.  From time to time I have to take a break from the site as well.  It's one thing to be in a "hair on fire" emergency situation, but quite another to be treating ordinary everyday decisions as emergencies.  I try to keep in mind that this site is not just about money/frugality; it's about your happiness.  And how you get there and the timetable upon which you do it is completely up to you.

I started participating in a one-on-one spiritual direction course through my religious community.  This is helping me sort through some issues with how I see the world and my place in it.  I don't think it's a substitute for counseling (which I have also done), but I realized that I was at a point where I had some spiritual angst and soul questions.  It also addresses how we see our own identities and place in the world.

One person I've actually enjoyed reading (on Facebook, no doubt) is Elizabeth Gilbert.  She writes a few times a week about perfectionism, how we're all glorious messes, and that sort of thing.  I always come away with some new perspective.

Best of luck to you.  You're not alone.

spokey doke

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #40 on: October 21, 2015, 08:07:14 AM »
I occasionally need a therapist to remind me that I'm not the worst, laziest, stupidest, most ungrateful, blah blah blah person to have ever walked his earth, the world is ending, everything is the worst, insert hyperbolic statement of choice here, guess I'm gonna eat some worms.


^^^ suggests you should read this: http://www.amazon.com/Lovingkindness-Revolutionary-Happiness-Shambhala-Classics/dp/157062903X

Meditation was really the key for me, I no longer suffer from anxiety (the absolutely most horrible, life-altering experience I have ever had).

And the finance thing (and the tension of spending money on things I "shouldn't" need) is a real mind phuck.  Here too, cultivating mental habits where you are not afraid of uncertainty, and accept it, embrace it and yourself make all the difference (and here again, basic Buddhism addresses this directly as a source of suffering and how to deal with it).  I personally like Thich Nhat Han's writing (like Being Peace).
« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 12:29:03 PM by spokey doke »

MicroSpice

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #41 on: October 21, 2015, 09:08:05 AM »
Just another humble vote for meditation, which I have been lax about lately. I also have trouble "doing" meditation by myself, so if you're a beginner, I think finding a guided meditation is a great way to start a practice. I really like calm.com (which also has a free app). You can do a guided or silent meditation and pick the amount of time. When I worked a crazy chained-to-my-desk job, it was nice to just go to the site for 5 minutes and calm myself down.

You are definitely not alone. It's amazing to me how many of us struggle with it but don't talk about it.

FLBiker

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #42 on: October 21, 2015, 09:33:38 AM »
And the finance thing (and the tension of spending money on things I "shouldn't" need) is a real mind phuck.  Here too, cultivating mental habits where you are not afraid of uncertainty, and accept it, embrace it and yourself make all the difference (and here again, basic Buddhism addresses this directly as a source of suffering and how to deal with it).  I personally like Thich Nhat Han's writing (like Being Peace).

+1 -- my local group is actually in the Thich Nhat Hanh tradition.

spokey doke

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #43 on: October 21, 2015, 12:32:23 PM »
If you are a bit more scientifically minded: Buddha's Brain (among others) is a fun and enlightening read--giving a modern neuropsychological account of Buddhist practices (and why they help with things like anxiety)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1572246952?ref_=cm_lmf_tit_15
« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 12:34:05 PM by spokey doke »

HappyHoya

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #44 on: October 21, 2015, 12:54:02 PM »
I can't be the only one with this problem. Anxiety is really common. Are there any other MMMers out there who find the mindset sometimes triggering anxiety? Particularly folks who are currently diggin out of debt. What do you do to keep things in perspective and remember that 99% is actually pretty fucking good, especially when the rest of the class is averaging a 50, and the teacher has a policy of never giving 100s?

I struggle with periodic anxiety over this stuff, and I don't even have chronic diagnosed anxiety. A lot of it was related to student loans. You're not alone. Remember that a lot of this blog is a bit of schtick designed to wake up people who are living in a way that is ridiculously wasteful and need a good shove to snap out of it. A lot of people can channel that anxiety/urgency into taking the actions they need to take. Some people either don't channel this or, like me, have a limit to how much they can productively channel. Figure out your limits and learn how to sort out the good lessons from whatever's counterproductive to you. Be aware that anxiety can cloud your decision-making ability and try not to make decisions during emotional moments.

Cork

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #45 on: October 21, 2015, 01:17:27 PM »
I also suffer from anxiety, enough so that I occasionally need a therapist to remind me that I'm not the worst, ....I can't be the only one with this problem.

Only Britta from Community is the worst.

But seriously, you're not alone.  I have mild anxiety and on bad days I go for long walks.  The walks don't really give me answers to my anxieties, I just come back with less questions.

I picked up a therapist for 2-3 visits, and she was excellent.  She taught me how to work on my mental state.  Since then I've used her tools to ground myself when necessary. 

MarcherLady

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #46 on: October 21, 2015, 02:03:24 PM »
If traditional meditation doesn't work for you, you could try walking meditation.  It's about quieting the brain chatter by concentrating on the bodily sensations of walking, being aware of your breath, the clothes touching your body, the sights and sounds around you etc.  I found it very useful for wiping out work stress (during my walk home etc)  If you Google it there are various sites.  Some suggest you have to walk comically slooooowly.  Although I did that while I was learning the process - in the privacy of my living room - once I had the hang of it I could proceed at a casual strolling speed and still get the benefits.

morning owl

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #47 on: October 21, 2015, 02:16:28 PM »
I'm glad my post resonated with some here... thanks Britan for opening up the topic on here, and thanks everyone for all these thoughtful replies. I've just requested the books mentioned above from the library.

I've been dealing with anxiety and depression for a number of years, and have (in the past ~10 years) figured out what works for me. Sometimes I let these things lapse, and that's when the anxiety creeps back in. But in case this is helpful to the OP or anyone else, here's what works for me:

Meditation. As others have mentioned, this is really a key practice for calming the mind and easing anxiety and worry. I find it hard to maintain a daily practice, for some reason, even though it is so incredibly beneficial. When I can keep it up, I feel 100x better.

I started with a 5 minute daily sitting practice. I use an app on my phone called "insight timer" that has its own community, so you can see how many people around the world are meditation along with you, and it has a countdown timer that ends with a very nice sounding tibetan bell. I gradually work up to 30 minutes. If I lose momentum and miss a few days or weeks, I usually need to start at 5 minutes again. I just follow the breath, and when my mind wanders I bring it back to the breath, over and over again. The mind is always wondering, so meditation is simply a way of training my mind to be still. Its also humbling because none of us will ever be able to maintain a totally still mind for very long. The key is to just keep trying.

Since I find the practice hard to maintain, I might join a meditation community to find some group motivation. It's much easier learning and meditation in a group than it is solo.

Journaling. It is like a brain dump. I write for about 20 minutes, first thing in the morning. There's no structure or parameters to the writing -- I just write as fast as possible and without editing my thoughts or trying too hard. It's a technique I learned from a book called The Artist's Way, where she calls them "Morning Pages." You don't have to be an artist or writer to make use of this technique. It basically gets all your worries and thoughts out of the way. Somehow writing all the worries and insecurities down, it eases them and makes them less potent.

Affirmations. I know they are new agey and maybe a little cheesy, but in my experience they work really well.

The one that helps me with this particular issue described above, where I am worried about money, and feeling a lack of stability and freedom, is this:

"I trust the process of life. All that I need is taken care of. I am safe."

So simple, but it works.

Hope this is helpful to someone :)


Napoleon

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #48 on: October 22, 2015, 02:04:55 AM »
I suffered from anxiety and depression since I was a teen. I had therapy and medication for a few years at university. Medication helped me function, though didn't help me feel better. Therapy sucked for me - I didn't get on with the therapist (CBT) but was so depressed that I blamed myself and thought I wasn't trying hard enough. I'm now 25 and have been OK for a few years (still get the blues and the shivers but nothing crippling) but live with the knowledge that it could come back at any time.

In terms of the MMM site and forum, I spend a lot of time on the Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy. I can't bear the case studies where people are making $100k a year. It makes me feel like shit. So the AMWOSAC helps me set the bar low. It's silly but it helps. I've got the MMM basics/philosophy down now - I don't need to rehash it again and again.

For my personal savings, I also set pathetically small goals. My goal this year was to save 1000 - I made that in February, which made everything I saved the rest of the year feel like a bonus and that I was doing really well. I might make save 10,000 this year if I am really lucky. My goal for next year is to save 2000. I don't believe in stretch goals - they are anxiety producing. I need a goal I can meet pathetically easily. I also do this for my to-do list. I have a 'Must Do' sections which is like 'Empty bin, put away books' and then an Optional section with loads of other stuff. As long as I do the 'Must Do' it's OK but I usually get a good chunk of Optional (real stuff!) done too. Sometimes when I have a bad day, though, at least I've done the 'Must Do'. And it's easier to get out of bed and face t he day when it doesn't seem overwhelming.

I also avoid time-based schedules, even though I love to plan, in favour of sequence-based schedules. So rather than:

9am: X
10am: Y
10.30am: Z

It's:
X then Y then Z.

So I don't have to stress if I fall behind my arbitrary self-imposed timing. And I put the important things first in case I don't finish.

I look at my savings in two different ways. This year the number crept up so that even if I never save another penny, compound interest means I could retire at 65 with our current lifestyle. I crave safety and security and for some reason (even though I grew up comfortably middle class) am terrified of being poor (REALLY poor, like destitute and homeless). The fact that I have 'normal' retirement sorted kind of calms me down, even though I would like to retire earlier and with more disposable income.

For some reason, when I am really depressed the only thing I can do is work. I cannot work out how to eat regular, appropriate meals but I can still work. Maybe it's because it's something I feel has nothing to do with me? Sleeping, eating, washing, socialising - everything goes to shit except for work. However, part of my worry about the depression maybe coming back is that I would need to be able to take time off work. Not sure why I think this but it's ingrained pretty strongly. So I also measure my stash in how many years I could have off work before I needed another job. I'm currently on about five (depending on how the market is doing). That seems like a good long time. So paradoxically even though I would probably be able to work through another spell of depression just fine and would be far too anxious to spend any of the money, it feels like insurance for me.

I'm a huge planner, even though it sometimes adds to my anxiety. I love making spreadsheets of projected savings rates and time to retirement. I don't even know if I want to retire fully but I feel like I need to have the option as a huge safety net. But looking at it all freaks me out because it seems so huge! So I try my hardest not to look at the future but to concentrate on the past - specifically a NW graph of the last few years. I update when I add more money or happen to look, not regularly, and I never add the number to the spreadsheet if it's less than last time. It's kind of cheating and leads to gaps between data points but on the graph it looks like it always goes up.

In terms of what I do to help myself mentally... I'm really introverted but if I'm alone for more than a few days I start going crazy without noticing. So the rule is that I have to leave the house once a day, even if it's just going to the corner shop.

Another things is that when I start getting upset or panicky I have to sit down first and drink a glass of cool water, sipping not gulping. It's hard to cry and drink at the same time (breathing!) and the sensation of the water kind of brings me back. Usually by the end of the glass I am a bit calmer.

For a long time I slept with the radio on at night (Radio 4, talking not music) in case I woke up in the middle of the night with thoughts racing. It's hard to listen to the voice on the radio and the voice in your head at the same time so concentrating on the quiet radio would fade the voice in my head.

Sometimes with mental illness you do need to trick yourself. Work out what freaks you out (me: not meeting goals/schedules) and trick yourself out of it (set pathetically low goals).

Healthandwealth

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Re: MMM and mental health: Anxiety edition
« Reply #49 on: October 22, 2015, 02:12:47 AM »
Very impressed. I hope you can feel feel that you can be so proud of yourself. The way you deal with your anxiety and depression. Wish you all the luck of the world. Hang on.