Non-Judgement

Dealing with the discomfort of anxiety is a daily struggle. Sometimes it can feel like you are in control and other times it can feel completely unmanageable. When anxiety surfaces getting up to even carryout essential activities can be extremely challenging such as bathing, eating and sleeping. Anxiety feeds off of the fear of its victims, and wants to be noticed. It will try extremely hard to gain recognition making each thought worse then the next until it can hijack the spotlight.

How to practice non-judgment?

In conjunction to practicing being mindful and an observer of your thoughts, adding non-judgment to the equation can help a lot with diffusing anxiety. For example,

Anxiety provoking thought – “I am 40 and am still single, I will never meet anyone and will die alone”

If we look at this thought as just a thought, with no emotional response we now have shifted the paradigm to that of an observer. As an observer it is clear that there is a lot of personal judgment happening here, being hard on ones self and jumping to extremes of a bleak and lonely future. Instead of allowing the thought to consume you, try and welcome its presence maybe even if possible try and not judge the thought “I am aware of the presence of the thoughts, and do not have any opinion good/bad” or “Its okay that I had this thought, it does not mean anything”.

It can seem discouraging when anxiety seems to settle down for a bit and suddenly rears its ugly head again. The key is to not identify with the thoughts, no matter how extreme and fear provoking they become. By practicing non-judgment anxiety can no longer get your attention. Try and also remember that it is okay to have a day where you are not able to control your anxiety do not judge yourself or feel discouraged. It takes a lot of courage to not judge our fears and stressors.

Here are some great diffusion techniques that can really help:

http://www.dbtselfhelp.com/Defusing_Exercises

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3 thoughts on “Non-Judgement”

  1. I find that approach really powerful – observing the thoughts. Those judgements can also point me to needs – eg: wanting companionship, hope. There’s something about transforming the judgement into connection with a universal human need that brings deeper breath into my body and often a surprising simple action emerges that I can take in this moment. Does this make sense?

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  2. It is not possible that negative intrusive thoughts one is observing on but making no judgement. Judgement starts immediately when thought pops up to conscious level by labelling that it is thought not real happening. 2nd if thoughts is against your core values, your appraisal center in conscious level immediately identify it negative and followed by emotional response in form of worry. You have to decide to which thought to be dwell in, if positive thought in accordance to your core values, you will act on it but if negative thought then you judge that it is just thought not representing my personality, then it become easy to observe the thought, not analysing it and controlling emotion as well. It all happen when we make judgement, how without judgement one can observe the thought.

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    1. You are exactly right the brain will automatically judge things as good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair, important or unimportant, urgent or non-urgent and so on. This happens so fast that our experiences are automatically expressed right when we get to them as you said the moment it enters our consciousness. Mindfulness is about being aware of that and becoming the observer of that process.

      The key here is to bring awareness and intentionality to the moments of our lives. Be aware when the brain is automatically judging a situation or a person, and we can pause and get some perspective. Especially for me I would automatically think if I have a thought that means this can potentially happen I need to protect myself and others and downward spiral began. But as I started to practice meditation I was able to allow thoughts to just pop in my head and view thoughts as neutral and just thoughts nothing more halting the thought to manifest in an emotional response. One of the biggest hurdle with OCD isn’t that we have thoughts but our reaction to these thoughts. Many people who don’t suffer with Anxiety/OCD also have the same unthinkable content but don’t react the same.

      This is a great article on the paradox you are explaining,

      Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz books brought me deep solace during my suffering:

      https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/use-your-mind-change-your-brain/201106/mindfulness-is-judgmental%3famp

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