Dames’s book is packed with meaning and information. First, is one man’s lifelong search for the what will bring rest to his troubled mind, to put aside his demons, and be the man, the father and husband, he could be -- and does become. Second, beyond a journey of self-knowledge and self-renewal, the book evaluates therapies, how they can help the individual make the best of the 45 or 50 bits of information, out of the millions, which the brain can process. We can shape how we view our lives and what we do with them. Third, the book gives the reader the tools for a better life, not lost in endless rumination of some therapies, but in the liberating action of others, which Dames examines in detail. As the Buddhists say, life is suffering; however, the suffering has purpose, which each of us can discover. Review Jan 2018
This book was fascinating. The author provides raw, gritty details of his own psyche as a scientific case study, then explains how to deal with anxiety disorder, with an "If I can do it, so can you" attitude. Joel Dames is the intelligent, logical, compassionate voice of the marginalized man. I highly recommend this book to anyone who deals with anxiety--whether you go through it yourself, or deal with a family member who has the disorder. I only just read the book and am starting to try the methods, but I have high hopes, because they are simple--it's all about how to change your focus and concentration.
First of all, let me tell you that I absolutely adore your book. Primarily because you've so nicely packaged all the so many different techniques and therapies that I myself have discovered and researched so far. And secondly because of your personal writing style and sharing of your own struggles.
(Btw, is that you in Figure 5-4? Nice photo, that one.)
Time and again I am reminded that my problems are not the problems themselves but rather the erroneous mental problem-solving that I apply to such unresolvable problems. I like the concept of living with paradox.
My attention is greatly self-focused in the sense that I cannot tolerate uncertainty and want everything to be and feel perfect before I can do anything. However, I have changed my strategy and hope I'll stick with it for the longest time.
1) I have given ACTION and outward, task-focused and more body-led attention the highest priority. I wish to keep myself busy with different goals/activities and positive coping strategies so that I leave myself no room to ruminate.
2) Next, I am going to practice any one attention training technique for at least twice a day for 15-20 mins. Probably gonna start with Ki Breathing, since breath is so, so important.
3) I am going to monitor myself to see how often I slip and slide back into the narrow, unhelpful modes of attention, rumination and coping.
4) Lastly, I might occasionally use CBT to challenge troublesome automatic thoughts.
My greatest challenge lies in immersing myself in different and varied activities. Finding some activities (already have a bunch, all the essential ones), getting started, applying force against inertia and finally gaining momentum. No more trying to 'fix myself first'. Now I want to experience living, in the external, real and richer world through my actions.
All I wish is that my 45 bits of attention remain mine and I don't squander them on the CAS, or anxieties and uncertainties. I'll keep going back to your book as a reminder.
Thank you very much,
May you be blessed with joy and vitality,