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January 27, 2011 - Image 32

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-01-27

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Health &

The situation may be
But not a true






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Resolved from page 31

to want to do something; but in

many of these situations, there's
not much direct action that we
can take.
"So the brain can spin out of
control, scaring itself, maybe feel-
ing guilty and ruminating over
issues that are beyond our con-
trol. This is the essence of a 'bad
worry' habit."
Perhaps it is because of the
amount of Jewish brainpower
dedicated to worry that we end
up with the neurotic New Yorker
stereotype. "Neurosis is basically
suffering that you create yourself,"
says Rossman. "A neurotic person,
a Woody Allen archetype, is the
kind who is processing distress
24-7, regardless of circumstance!'
The neurotic prototype is
someone with a very bad worry
habit. "The phenomenon makes
for funny Woody Allen movies," he
says, "but it is miserable for those
who live with it or whose families
live with it."
The shame, he says, is that so
much of Jewish anguish may be
unnecessary. "We have enough
real problems to solve, without
letting our runaway imaginations
add to our distress!'
He says the first step to kicking
the habit is developing awareness
of it. The next step is recognizing
that neurotic thoughts are based
on inaccurate interpretations of
events — story lines that may
have developed at a young age but
are totally false.
"By learning to observe your
thoughts," Rossman says, "and
by considering other ways of
interpreting events, it is possible
to lessen the grip of obsessive
The Worry Solution teaches
mindfulness, but sometimes the
help of a therapist is invaluable.
"Freud once said that the pur-
pose of therapy is to turn neurotic
misery into simple unhappiness,"
Rossman says. "But we know now
that people can do much bet-
ter than that when they learn to
worry well!' I_ 1

Dr. Rossman is the founder of The

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University of California San Francisco
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January 27 2011

Healing Mind, co-founder of the

Academy for Guided Imagery and

a clinical faculty member at the

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