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THINKING

Getting Stuck in the Emotional Funnel - Nancy Larsen, LCSW

8.26.18

View original article published in Psych Central– Have you ever found yourself caught in a downward spiral of negative thoughts? It’s as if your mind is like a funnel with thoughts racing towards the bottom only to get stuck in the neck. The more you try to think your way out of the funnel the more distressed you become because there appears to be no way out. Negative thoughts can be overwhelming, and if we are not careful, they create pathways in our mind from which we draw. Unfortunately, thoughts rarely occur without emotions. When we add emotions to our negative thoughts, we try to think our way towards a solution yet as we spiral downward, a solution seems out of reach. So much so, that we start to panic. It may look something like th

Is the Anxious Mind Spreading FUD in Your Life?

3.9.18

View original article published in Psych Central– In the cryptocurrency world, fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) is something investors don’t want to experience. When FUD spreads, the value of the coin will drop, and those who invested will be unsure of what to do and wonder when the pain will stop. FUD is also something that people with anxiety don’t like to endure. They avoid and seek reassurance in order to be sure that FUD (fear, uncertainty, or doubt) is not part of their lives. Yet, they forget that FUD is part of the human condition. When we perceive danger, our survival built-in mechanism warns us, and fear sets in so we can escape or fight the danger. This is a good thing. Otherwise, our ancestors would not have made it, and we w

When Your Kid Is an Athlete and a Perfectionist

6.5.17

View original article published in Psych Central Joe loved playing soccer and if he had a choice, he would spend all his waking hours playing the sport. He was also a high achiever in other areas of his life. He was proud of the A’s he received in all his classes. He was multi-talented and his parents were pleased with his efforts. However, by the time he entered 10th grade, his parents noticed he had started to become highly critical of himself whenever his team lost. It was difficult for him to get over his own mistakes. He’d punish himself by increasing his practice time and avoid hanging out with his friends. One day, he told his dad that he would like to play soccer at a prestigious university in the future. His dad responded that that

Is Your Amazing Mind Limiting Your Hopes and Dreams?

5.22.17

“Limits, like fears are often just an illusion.” –Michael Jordan We have an amazing, active mind that helps us survive in our daily living. We could not do what we do if it weren’t for our wonderful and powerful mind. It is truly a marvelous gift! However, sometimes it gets carried away with producing thoughts that may limit us. The word illusion in the electronic Cambridge Dictionary is defined as “an idea or belief that is not true, or something that is not what it seems to be.” Sometimes we get caught up in our negative thoughts, memories, and judgments. We may become fearful, anxious or intimidated by our own thoughts. Even though we may have hopes and dreams, our mind can produce thoughts such as: “No, that’ll never happen. I’m not goo

4 Essentials To Help You Enjoy the Holidays

11.28.16

View original article published in Psych Central– The holidays give us great opportunities to continue existing traditions or establish new ones. We reconnect with friends and family. It is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. However, for some it can become a stressful and overwhelming season, and for others, one of the loneliest times. Whether you have big plans or no plans, consider these four critical points to help you enjoy your holidays:   1. Make sure to take care of yourself first! That is selfish some may exclaim, but is it really? A great metaphor for self-care is the specific instructions we receive from flight attendants when we travel by plane. They inform us that if the airplane were to lose cabin pressure

Two Ways to Put the Brakes on Your Anxiety

9.23.16

View original article published in Psych Central– Our human instinct is to react and push back when we feel pain and discomfort. When we struggle with anxiety, those feelings are magnified. Our inherent response is to try and get rid of unpleasant feelings and sensations immediately, but does it really work? This is an important question, and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) teaches that fighting the discomfort can actually make the situation worse. Mental health providers practicing ACT often use the quicksand metaphor, and the reaction we naturally would have if we were ever caught in it. Even though we know it makes matters worse when we panic and try to get out quickly, our survival mechanisms tell us differently. Trying to

When Your Loved One Has Body Dysmorphic Disorder

4.7.15

[View original article published in Psych Central here. Aaron was a senior in high school, and his grades had begun to decline. He wasn’t interested in hanging out with his friends. He seemed depressed. He’d spend an extraordinary amount of time in the bathroom fixing his hair. Aaron’s father had a difficult time understanding his son’s behavior. He would get irritated when he saw all the hair products in Aaron’s bathroom. Aaron was determined to find the perfect product for his hair. He still had not found it. We all have bad hair days. We also are aware of our physical flaws, but most of us are able to accept them without obsessing or becoming paralyzed by them. If you know someone who has become depressed and is excessively preoccupied

3 Steps To Take When Life Gets Foggy

10.20.14

 [View original article published in Answers.com here] What is your first thought when you wake up in the morning? “I’m ready to take on the day!” But maybe you had a restless night and couldn’t stop thinking about current problems. Perhaps you wish your day never began. All of us experience difficulties at one point or another, and it has been said that what really matters is how we react to adversity. The advice is that we need to confront our difficult experiences with a positive attitude. When we do, things go smoother. But it is easier said than done! Take Lori for example. She was the oldest child of four, and when she was twelve years old, her mom passed away. She missed her mother, and she and her siblin

Starve the OCD Beast and START Making Changes

10.15.14

Once upon a time a young man was walking through the mountains near his home.  A cute little kitten appeared.  It looked hungry and lost.  He decided to take it home.  He took good care of the kitten, but every time he fed it, it seemed hungrier.  One day he noticed it was eating a mouse.  He realized his kitten was ready for big cat’s food. But the problem continued. The more he fed it, the more the kitten wanted.  One day, a friend came to visit him.  The friend was shocked and said,  “What in the world are you doing with a tiger?”  The young man had gotten so used to living with his pet and its demands that he had not even noticed that it had become a tiger! You may have heard similar stories to illustrate how individuals who comply with

Trichotillomania and Excoriation Disorder

7.13.14

A friend forwarded me the link to Rebecca  Brown’s videos and journal (Trich Journal).  She is a charming young woman who is very artistic and funny and also suffers from hair pulling and skin picking disorders.  I’ve watched some of her videos since I received her information.  Rebecca is doing an awesome job in helping others understand that they don’t have to feel ashamed of their disorders.  She is helping educate people, but most importantly, with her example, she is helping those that suffer. If you have questions about Trichotillomania and Skin Picking Disorders, please go to the Trichotillomania Learning Center website.  I attended their last conference in April and it was very informative.  Some of the material presented reg

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