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STRESS

A Panic Attack, the Wrestle Within

3.16.19

View original article published in Psych Central– Samantha felt overwhelmed by her school assignments, her relationships, and her job. She often felt like she was walking a tightrope while holding a pole that contained all of her “should” and “must” type of thoughts. “It’s not a matter of if, but when I’ll fall and crash!” she’d repeat. She would imagine placing her thoughts and feelings in a bottle and shutting the lid tightly. “I place them there so I can cope,” she would declare. She recognized her panic attack cycle: stress, anxiety, tension build up, and suppress until it shatters. Then starting all over again. She hated her panic attacks, but said she always felt better after experiencing one. Do Samantha’s struggles sound familiar?

Making Friends with Failure

1.24.19

View original article published in Psych Central– Many of us may have grown up with the idea that making mistakes is a bad thing. When we received a bad grade or things didn’t go as expected, we may have felt distressed as we told our parents about it. We worried about their negative reaction. The urge to avoid errors goes back to an earlier time when our ancestors could not afford to make a mistake when they hunted for food or came across danger. Miscalculations cost people their lives in the olden days. Their minds were adept at helping them ensure they didn’t make deadly blunders. In our modern world, we rarely need to be anxious about oversights that could cost us our lives, unless we have a high-risk job such as being a pilot or a

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

12.20.18

View original article published in Psych Central– Children sometimes have meltdowns when they don’t get what they want. Some adolescents can feel destitute when their wishes aren’t granted. When you feel confident about your plans and they don’t turn out the way you hoped, what is your response? As we run into bumps and storms in life, we may need to detour, delay, or completely cancel our plans. When we were young, we may have used words such as “It’s not fair,” and soon enough we found out this was true more often than not. Still, we protest, get mad, and blame others or ourselves for not obtaining our desires. When this happens, many of us get entangled with “should’ve,” “could’ve” “would’ve” type thoughts. Have you noticed the results

Procrastination: The Stalling Game Your Mind Loves to Play

11.30.18

View original article published in Psych Central– When you have an assignment, presentation, or a job interview, you know it is essential that you prepare for it. Yet, getting started feels like a monumental task. You may check your email and feel like you need to respond right away, or your friend texts, and you feel the urge to reply. Maybe you go on social media for a few minutes before you embark on the task at hand. You fidget, get a drink and a snack. You get another text, and your assignment just keeps getting further and further postponed. Procrastination is king when individuals experience anxiety, maladaptive perfectionism, and other mental and emotional challenges. But we all procrastinate at one time or another. Why does our mi

Anxiety, Thoughts, Boats, and Automobiles

10.5.18

View original article published in Psych Central– Under Title: Thought Watching Exercises to Increase Awareness & Reduce Anxiety We often go about our lives without noticing what our mind is telling us because we are too busy attending to our hectic lives. Blithely unaware, we comply with the advice our mind dictates to us all day long. Some of you may say, “What’s wrong with that?” Well, there is nothing wrong if the advice is helpful, and it moves us closer to our values and goals by following it. But when we are unaware of what our mind is saying, we can end up making unwise choices. For example, if you experience social anxiety, your mind may provide advice that to stay home from a social event is the best option. You believe your

When It Comes to Your Anxiety, Are You a Thermometer or a Thermostat?

9.25.18

You probably haven’t thought much about the difference between a thermostat and a thermometer. Let’s review their differences. A thermometer measures your temperature. If you have a fever, it reacts to your temperature. A thermostat is something we place on the wall of our homes and purposely set the temperature where we want our environment to be. Let’s say, in wintertime we may want the temperature to be 72 degrees and the number doesn’t change at all. When the thermostat detects it’s getting colder than 72 degrees, the signal is sent to the heater and yes, the heater clicks on. However, the thermostat does not react and the temperature remains steady unless you change it. Thus, the thermostat responds to the temperature, where as the th

Anxiety and Your “What If Calculator”

5.21.18

View original article published in Psych Central– Some universities provide a “what if calculator” to help students project possible grades. It provides the percentage they need on each test to get their desired grade at the end of the course. Based on what they would like their final grade to be, they can decide how much work and effort to put into studying for their final exam. If we all had a what if calculator to forecast our future, life would be so much easier! We could say we all are in a possession of a what if calculator. For many of us, that amazing thought-making machine works overtime. The problem is that though our mind means well, its calculations are not entirely accurate most of the time. Quite often, the predictions are wo

Learning to Live in the Moment

4.10.18

A six-year-old girl was at the park with her siblings. She had fun at the playground and then explored the park with her family. She noticed an old tree trunk by a pond and sat on it. When her siblings went back to the playground, she chose to stay there to enjoy her surroundings. She commented on the snow-capped mountains, the pine trees, the grass, the seemingly dead bushes, the ducks quacking sounds, and the tadpoles swimming in the pond. After about 10 minutes, she was invited to join the rest of her family. She asked if she could stay a little longer. She sat at the same spot for 30 minutes noticing the world around her and literally soaking it all in. She instinctively connected with what was happening right then without any cares abo

Why Won’t Anxiety Go Away?

2.21.18

View original article published in Psych Central– If you were walking through the woods and noticed a bear walking towards you, you would probably either run for your life or be so scared that you freeze. On the other hand, if your friends told you to watch out for a person dressed as a bear scaring people in the woods, you might initially get startled but would otherwise remember it was just a person. This heads up would make all the difference in your reaction. Life is like a walk through the woods. We know that anxiety is going to manifest itself because it is a part of life. At one time or another, all of us will experience mild or severe anxiety. But what happens when anxiety shows up? Many individuals report that they hate it. They wi

How to Cope When the Anxious Child Has a Meltdown

1.22.18

View original article published in Psych Central– When our children exhibit disruptive behavior and appear to be out of control, we can feel helpless and sometimes hopeless. When we realize that their actions are no longer isolated events but have become part of a distressing routine, our mind may come up with myriad of solutions. When our children have anxiety and we know that this a contributing factor, our amazing problem-solving machine — the mind, might also say to us, “You are a terrible parent. It’s your fault.” This is a thought that our mind is providing to help us make sense of the situation. It is only trying to find a solution to match our distress and our child’s behavior. Those thoughts may match the situation, but it is not h

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