December 29, 2014 6:35 pm at 6:35 pm #614578
We all know that anxiety has nothing to do with bitachon or lack thereof. But we may not always know how to immediately respond to people who argue they are connected. Or sometimes in our anxiety, even we may think they are connected, even if we are not morons. So this thread is to help y’all out, by showing you succinctly how they are unconnected.
Anxiety is irrational.
Bitachon is rational.
The same way if someone is anxious, it doesn’t help for them to put more locks on their doors (it even hurts usually). Because anxiety is irrational.
(BTW: This is why anxious people sometimes think they are connected–because they aren’t completely cognizing that anxiety is irrational. And it is important to point that out.)August 13, 2017 11:29 am at 11:29 am #1337914
☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
That depends on what kind of anxiety it is.August 13, 2017 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm #1338122
anxiety in a sense is rational. most anxieties are rooted in real life occurrences, the irrational part is the association later on to other events.August 14, 2017 12:09 am at 12:09 am #1338180
But sometimes it’s irrational and still correct, or vice versa.August 14, 2017 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm #1339161
Here is an extreme example
A man sees a child fall out of a second floor window, this event does not leave him and he is horrified by what he saw, now when he sees children even next to a closed or gated window he gets nervous. So the root event is logical it is now where he associates these other events that although safe and illogical bring out many of the same feelings.
In real life it usually is more complicatedAugust 15, 2017 2:02 pm at 2:02 pm #1339549
On the other hand, he is no less likely now than any other person to encounter a child falling out of a window. So it’s still possible for his unhealthy behaviors to save a child’s life.August 15, 2017 2:22 pm at 2:22 pm #1339593
So Popa The Great wrote ‘QED’ and he was right.August 15, 2017 2:22 pm at 2:22 pm #1339595
RY, that would be like someone who wears a life jacket his whole life. But don’t mock him because I’m case of a flash flood our could save his life.
In other words, even discussions about anxiety can become illogical.August 15, 2017 2:28 pm at 2:28 pm #1339599
For almost 3 years, this was a perfect thread, and then DY ruined it.August 15, 2017 2:35 pm at 2:35 pm #1339602
Haleivi, I didn’t say anything about mocking him. Mocking him would just be wrong because he is a human being.August 15, 2017 4:09 pm at 4:09 pm #1339674
The Mesilas Yeshorim is in Perek 9. Well worth learning through properly. Here are some selected bits:
עוד ממפסידי הזריזות הוא רוב הפחד וגודל המורא מן הזמן ותולדותיו, כי פעם יירא מהקור או מהחום, ופעם מהפגעים, ופעם מן החלאים, ופעם מן הרוח, וכן כל כיוצא בזה. הוא הענין שאמר שלמה עליו השלום (משלי כו, יג) אמר עצל שחל בדרך ארי בין הרחובות. וכבר גינו חכמים זכרונם לברכה המדה הזאת ויחסוה אל החטאים, ומקרא מסייעם דכתיב (ישעיה לג, יד) פחדו בציון חטאים אחזה רעדה חנפים, עד שאמר אחד מן הגדולים אל תלמידו בראותו אותו מתפחד, חטאה את (ברכות ס, א). אלא על זה נאמר (תהלים לז, ג) בטח בה’ ועשה טוב שכן ארץ ורעה אמונה.
– what he is describing is clearly anxiety, and he finishes the paragraph by advising Bitochon to counter it.August 15, 2017 5:41 pm at 5:41 pm #1339695
We all know that anxiety is connected to bitachon or lack thereof. But we may not always know how to immediately respond to people who argue that they are not connected.Or sometimes, in our anxiety, even we may think that they are not connected, even though we are morons. So this thread is to help y’all out, by showing you succintly, how they are connected.
Anxiety is an emotion and it is both rational and irrational.
Bitachon is an emotion and it is both rational and irrational.
Anxiety is basically irrational.
Bitachon is basically rational.
Working on being rational helps you to be less irrational.
QEDAugust 15, 2017 5:41 pm at 5:41 pm #1339672
“We all know that anxiety has nothing to do with bitachon or lack thereof… The same way if someone is anxious, it doesn’t help for them to put more locks on their doors (it even hurts usually). Because anxiety is irrational.”
I understand your analogy to anxiety despite extra locks. However I disagree with your argument.
Yes if Bitochon was supposed to be simply knowledge in your mind then your analogy and your argument would be correct. The flaw in your argument is that Bitochon is supposed to be something you feel in the deepest levels of your heart, like a child who feels safe with his father.
Anxiety is an emotion, so if your Bitochon is a logical thing only then yes it won’t counter anxiety. However deeply felt Bitochon which goes deeper than the feelings of anxiety will counter the anxiety.
Obviously this isn’t easy, and for many people perhaps psychologists have other ways of countering anxiety which are easier to practically succeed with. However to state that proper Bitochon isn’t an antidote to anxiety, is wrong.
How do I know all the above? I’m not making it up. [Actually PBA’s argument seemed very strong to me until I did chazoro of the relevant piece of Mesilas Yeshorim, which helped me to realise the above. Yet again we see the danger of talking from the boich about hashkofo inyonim. Whenever one comes up with an idea like this it has to be tested very carefully by going through the relevant sections of the classical mussar seforim].
The Mesilas Yeshorim is in Perek 9. Well worth learning through properly.August 15, 2017 6:14 pm at 6:14 pm #1339740
I can’t post the loshon of Mesilas Yeshorim for some reason. Perhaps the site automatically blocks posts mostly in foreign languages? Anyway I assume everyone has a Mesilas Yeshorim. Or go here: http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=52042&st=&pgnum=100&hilite=
In the first paragraph about pachad, what he is describing is clearly anxiety, and he finishes the paragraph by advising Bitochon to counter it.
Later, again, he starts by saying we should have Bitochon (‘ויהיה נכון לבו בטוח בה) and not be anxious and worry always. The only type of worry we should have is one based on logic, וזאת היראה המיוסדת על הנהגת החכמה והשכל, היא הראויה, anything which isn’t logical (ie anxiety) is היראה השוטה, i.e. when it isn’t שכיח היזיקא .
In summary, it is clear that Bitochon is the antidote to illogical unwarranted feelings of anxiety. And if you ask, how can something in your head stop a feeling in your heart, the answer I believe is that Bitochon isn’t supposed to be only in your head, but deeply felt in your heart as well.August 15, 2017 7:00 pm at 7:00 pm #1339771
Aren’t there psychology methodologies that have to do with teaching people to view things rationally? And to internalize that so it changes the way you feel and act? Like CBT.August 16, 2017 12:07 am at 12:07 am #1339814
let’s dissect this a little.( disclaimer I did not learn the Mesilas Yeshorim, I only based this on what you wrote)
1 if there is a real danger then the fear is proper and we do not say that he is lacking in bitachon ( although he still needs bitachon in his situation as well)
2 an irrational fear has no place and it antidote is bitachon
Now let’s go to our hypothetical case, the original episode is very rational and a ligitamate reason for anxiety the only problem is the association and unresolved fear/trauma that is causing the anxiety, so saying bitachon iin the straight forward sense is maybe incorrect in this case, although one would need bitachon it would not only be in trusting hashem but also require many steps in resolving the fear/trauma and association.
Also many anxieties are issue with people making it much more complicated, and requires lots of proper actionsAugust 16, 2017 12:08 am at 12:08 am #1339812
If one belief/emotion could just unseat another, depression and anxiety would cancel each other out. But they don’t.August 16, 2017 12:14 am at 12:14 am #1339789
Let’s just throw science aside and pretend that scientists and conventional medicine blame anxiety on a dinosaur living in your head.August 16, 2017 12:47 am at 12:47 am #1339857
I don’t understand the relevance to “depression and anxiety would cancel each other out. But they don’t”. Depression and anxiety are not opposing feelings that there should be any cancelling out going on. On the other hand, Bitochon is the way of cancelling out anxiety, as the Mesilas Yeshorim says. So I don’t understand your argument. Also, I’m unclear whether your intention is to argue with the Mesilas Yeshorim or to suggest I’ve misinterpreted it.
As for the “dinosaur living in your head” comment, I honestly haven’t a clue what you mean by this? If it was in response to what I wrote, would you mind to elaborate.August 16, 2017 12:50 am at 12:50 am #1339853
I understand your question. I wasn’t posting what I wrote in response to your earlier post that “most anxieties are rooted in real life occurrences, the irrational part is the association later on to other events”. I was responding to PBA’s original post which was talking about any anxiety.
However I still tend to disagree with you. As you yourself put it originally, “the irrational part is the association later on to other events” – his current feelings are bottom line irrational. The explanation the psychologist will give may be a rational explanation, in that we can understand how such an anxiety could develop. But that doesn’t mean that the fear itself is rational. So I think Bitochon on a high level would sort out the anxiety even here (though I’m not sure and can’t prove this from the Mesilas Yeshorim).
Having said that, it wasn’t my intention to belittle the psychological methods of resolving anxiety (with which I’m not familiar). Achieving a high level of Bitochon is no easy task, and although it would be better to resolve the anxiety this way, often the psychologists’ way is simpler to achieve results. So I agree with your final point that all these steps are helpful.August 16, 2017 1:58 am at 1:58 am #1339878
Anxiety and depression would cancel each other out because people who are depressed usually stop caring about the things they are or would be anxious about.August 16, 2017 4:25 am at 4:25 am #1339899
“Anxiety and depression would cancel each other out because people who are depressed usually stop caring about the things they are or would be anxious about.”
OK I understand your point now. I’m not a psychologist so I’m not equipped to discuss why they don’t cancel out. I think these two conditions are very complex, and I can see reasons why they they could actually reinforce one another, which would explain the prevalence of their comorbidity.
However you can’t escape from the fact that the Mesilas Yeshorim does say that Bitochon is the cure for anxiety, which contradicts the OP’s assertion, that was the main point of my post. If you reject my explanation fine, I personally think its a good explanation, but would be very happy to hear if you have another way of understanding the Mesilas Yeshorim.August 16, 2017 4:17 pm at 4:17 pm #1340701
I think that bitachon may help some (I stress some) people with anxiety.
Anxiety can be irrational and bitachon can be rational (if properly understood) but being rational actually can help one deal with irrational thoughts. In CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy one looks to replace irational thoughts with rational thoughts. I could potentially see bitachon incorporated into this.
Now, you do what works and if it wouldn’t work then definitely don’t do it. And you can’t just say, have bitachon. When you use CBT you are taught how to use it, not just told, think rationally.August 16, 2017 5:42 pm at 5:42 pm #1340799
But anxiety is not just a thought, it’s like a neurological machine that fuels thoughts and emotions that keep punching you in the face.August 16, 2017 9:03 pm at 9:03 pm #1340872
I know a social worker who uses bitachon to help her patients who are dealing with anxiety. I imagine this is very common amongst Frum therapists. I think it works something along the lines of what Yitzymotcha described.
And I agree with you, Yitzy, you should never tell someone to have bitachon. That is one of the stupidest things you can say to someone who is expressing concern about something. Someone just did that to me recently, and I think it had the effect of making me more nervous.
If someone understands what bitachon is, they would realize that telling someone to have bitachon can’t possibly help them to have bitachon. It is an internal process that can only come from the person himself and can’t be imposed from the outside.August 16, 2017 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm #1340895
The most modern way of dealing with anxiety is exposure and acceptance. Most of the time if not all of the time anxiety is a form of OCD, or obsessive thinking. Reassurances don’t quiet or calm an anxious mind they just pose opportunity for “that scary voice” to argue back with vengeance. When one accepts the fact that it is ok to feel afraid despite it being uncomfortable it is then possible to face fears head on. Full exposure to scenarios or thoughts that would normally produce high anxiety for periods of time will condition the body to normal response.
People that are anxious by nature will probably always have a tendency towards anxiety. Learning to accept it and cope with it is key to leading a life untethered to fears.
Bitachon is a belief, an actual cognitive thought process. Anxiety is very real and most times physical. It can be caused by chemical imbalances or times of high stress. There are times that a person can feel anxious without even knowing what they’re anxious about. Physical reactions are not controlled by logic. That’s like talking yourself out of a fever.August 16, 2017 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm #1340910
OCD is both obsessive and compulsive.August 16, 2017 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm #1340912
Yogis are said to be able to control their heart rates.August 17, 2017 6:38 am at 6:38 am #1340952
yitzymotcha and big deal,
Thank you for bringing some psychological insight into the mechanism of anxiety.
I don’t have a background in psychology, but you are in effect asking a kashya on the Mesilas Yeshorim quoted above, and I would like to try to answer (unless you can explain to me that I’ve misunderstood the MY). Would be very interested to hear back from you.
Imagine a girl who was very nervous about being assaulted on the way to school, even on the main road in a safe area, where there is no rational reason to worry at all. As you say, her anxiety is a physical thing, possibly caused by chemical imbalances etc, and of course you can’t “talk yourself out of a fever”, so just thinking about bitochon won’t help, as you argued.
However this same girl has a different eitzo: that her father should walk with her to school. Her father is a tough big 6 foot fellow who has of course looked out for his daughter his whole life. She feels perfectly safe and secure in his presence and doesn’t feel at all anxious when he walks her.
Now I assume you’ll agree that as physical as anxiety can be, it nevertheless makes sense that even someone with these chemical imbalances would be able to stop worrying in such a scenario. And the reason is, this isn’t the same as trying to be rational and stopping worrying about whatever, where the ‘scary voice’ can politely disagree and get her worried again. This is different because the whole situation is different, its a situation where there is no place for her anxiety.
Well then, if we would really feel that we ARE always walking with our Father – if we would really really feel that way – there would similarly be no place for anxiety.
Obviously as I wrote earlier it is very hard for us to achieve such a level of bitochon, and the psychologists’ methods may be more achievable. I also think that bitochon is best learnt by example rather than from seforim, if everyone would have access to a role model in this area it would be easier to see how bitochon can counter anxiety, saying Tehillim a lot is I think a bit like having a role model, as it shows us how Dovid Hamelech applied bitochon in his life. However difficulty aside, as this is possible, the Mesilas Yeshorim is meyushav.August 17, 2017 10:29 am at 10:29 am #1340973
No. Actually having her father there might help her with her exposure. While walking with her father she would need to imagine different types of scary scenarios to try to bring up her anxiety level. Initially, her anxiety would be worse but eventually she will acclimate. If done correctly, that little girl will soon be walking on her own to school. However, if she was just using her father as a constant reassurance, she’d likely to grow an increasing dependence on him. (This is true if a person has anxiety. I’m not sure its applicable to someone who has a rational fear.)
A basic component of this type of therapy is a person’s commitment to accept uncertainty and be willing to take risks so that he can live normally. I’m no scholar, but perhaps this is how you answer the question.August 17, 2017 10:30 am at 10:30 am #1341000
I think there is merit to what gavriel is saying.
Is anxiety purely neurological? I’m not an expert, just a simple fellow. The way I explain things to myself is that there is something called a biopsychosocial aproach to mental health. So there are 3 parts. Biology, psychology, and the social context. If anxiety was purely biological then all we could do is take medication. But most people with anxiety are open to medication if needed and psychology/therapy. Albert Ellis was a famous cognitive behavioral therapist who stopped using the word anxiety. He said people were anxietizing themself by the beliefs they were telling themselves. He was an atheist but he’d agree that if telling yourself you have a strong G-d walking next to you helps you then by all means do it.
I also don’t think OCD is the only way anxiety can manifest itself. How about, OMG, if I make a wrong turn while driving I’ll end up in a bad neighborhood and the people will mug me. Is that OCD?
What I don’t like about using G-d to allieviate anxiety is that what if the anxious person then starts asking, “yes, but who says G-d esists…” We just went from one doubt (maybe I’ll be harmed) to another doubt. So, if there are more effective ways of dealing with the anxiety I’d go with them. But if bitachon works, do what works.August 17, 2017 10:30 am at 10:30 am #1341047
It’s important to understand what OCD is. Compulsions are performed to find relief from the obsession. Reassurances are compulsions. Relief is temporary causing the obsession to return strongly which causes an obsessive compulsive cycle. Oftentimes compulsions are thought rationalizations seeking to calm an anxiety.
Learning to acknowledge the obsession or fear, Accepting it and not reacting to it with compulsion/reassurance is a big step towards healing.August 17, 2017 11:15 am at 11:15 am #1341098
The reason the reassurance does not work many times is because it is a lie to this person, that is where the expectance comes in, understanding the danger the person was/is in danger allows the person to deal with reality, I think here is maybe the mistake of thinking that bitachon tells a person to deny reality and just say your safe even thought they are not.
Bitachon has many aspect to it.August 17, 2017 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm #1341186
Big deal, people who have anxiety don’t necessarily have OCD. Obsession and fear are also very different. And there is no “learning”, only possibly overwriting.August 17, 2017 6:37 pm at 6:37 pm #1341356
Joe: Even if it’s the truth Reassurances don’t work. An anxious /OCD mind will always rationalize and rerationalize about why there is a real danger. Actually a person needs to realize that he’s not in control to take the first step toward healing. That’s not the same as telling someone they’re safe.
An anxious person doesn’t necessarily need to be in any danger to feel anxious. They perceive danger even though people who don’t suffer from the disorder will feel perfectly safe.August 17, 2017 6:37 pm at 6:37 pm #1341358
RebYid: Actually, it’s been realized that more often then not there is a very strong component of OCD in people with anxiety. It’s been misunderstood until now, but more professionals are learning to diagnose such cases as having obsessive thoughts or having OCD.
Many times fears take on an obsessive nature. That’s when the compulsions/reassurances start.
Overwriting is not in the script. Accepting the panic/fear without trying to suppress it is very therapeutic.August 17, 2017 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm #1341498
“Accepting the panic/fear without trying to suppress it is very therapeutic.”
I agree with this statement. Unfortunately, most people are shunned away from experiencing their emotions. They are told to “just get over it; it’s not a big deal.” Or, “You don’t have to be scared/worried/sad…” This is very wrong and is harmful. The more we suppress emotions, the more they will bother us. They may stop for some time, but they will eventually resurface. The way to go about dealing with emotions is to feel them and acknowledge that they exist. It may sound counter-intuitive, but if we can accept an emotion head-on and not suppress them, they WILL eventually go away and give great relief.
I’m not a mental health professional, but i have observed them and know others personally who struggle with disorders. With this said, it’s of equal importance not to make the sufferer feel like he/she is crazy. They know their thoughts aren’t logical and feel ashamed about it. They need validation and empathy. This is not easy to do especially if one is not knowledgeable about mental health, but it’s extremely important. There are many resources that can educate us about mental health. One resource is a new organization called Refuat Hanefesh. It’s important to get educated in this area as mental health challenges are real and need more attention.August 17, 2017 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm #1341491
“We all know that anxiety is connected to bitachon or lack thereof. But we may not always know how to immediately respond to people who argue that they are not connected.Or sometimes, in our anxiety, even we may think that they are not connected, even though we are morons. So this thread is to help y’all out, by showing you succintly, how they are connected.”
I would like to comment on the above:
Anxiety is very real to those who are experiencing it. They are plagued with anxious and intrusive thoughts that don’t seem to subside. With the help of therapy and medication (if needed), someone suffering from anxiety can be helped. With this said, Bitachon is extremely important but has NOTHING to do with those suffering from Anxiety. Imagine telling someone who suffers from severe anxiety to just have Emunah in Hashem. If that worked, that would be great and all the mussar seforim would be sold out. It DOESN’T WORK. How do i know, because I have seen people suffer from anxiety and various other things. They don’t want to hear “Just have more Emunah in Hashem and your anxiety will go away.” Emotions are very complex and are much different than things that we intellectually know. For example, someone who has a phobia of dogs when on a leash knows intellectually that the dog will not hurt him. However, they don’t know this emotionally and therefore have a tremendous fear of dogs.
Although they are very close physically, the heart and mind are very far. As it says, “V’yadata Hayom V’hashavosa L’vavecha.” We know, but the greatest work is to get the heart to know. Again, if someone can overcome anxiety with learning about Emunah, that’s great. But that’s rare. There are mental health professionals that are skilled with the various modalities of therapy. There’s CBT, DBT and much more. They are trained to help the individual connect the emotions with the intellect. They may do exposure therapy on the client that has a fear of dogs. My point is that learning Mussar seforim has almost no connection to solving psychological issues. Psychological issues are very real as i said and the client has to learn skills to rewire the neural pathways and to disassociate the fear from dogs. It’s a learnt thing which Bitachon cannot do. It can help as an aside, but it’s not the full or only answer.August 18, 2017 6:58 am at 6:58 am #1341664
Big deal, overwriting it is the only thing you can do. That is what acceptance does.August 18, 2017 8:14 am at 8:14 am #1341690
Sorry, I don’t understand your comment.August 18, 2017 9:35 am at 9:35 am #1341710
Have you ever overwritten anything?
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