Tag: anxiety

Coping During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Some people ask me, “How can I feel less anxious?”

I think acceptance plays a major role in reducing anxiety during Covid-19.  No one alive today has been in a situation like this.  If we say to ourselves that we should not be anxious, this expectation will raise our anxiety.  I have been using online counseling to talk with a lot of clients about Covid-19 and the calmer ones are those who are using this time to focus on accomplishing tasks like organization, cleaning, volunteering, and doing generally helpful things.  The people who are more anxious are usually watching several hours of news per day, as well as spending a great deal of time on social media.  The anxious people often are not doing things that give them a feeling of accomplishment or helpfulness.

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Work and Leisure?

Weisure is the term.  It refers to the mix of work and leisure.  Since virtually everyone is connected, it is so difficult to leave work at work.  Is it a bad thing?

Many say that work has become fun and is a huge joy in life.  Why not mix work and leisure? It could be more productive and satisfying.

I enjoy technology and am guilty of weisure on a regular basis.  However, balance is the key. If one obsesses over his or her work, this lack of relaxation is destructive.  It is important to be able to find a way to relax and enjoy life.  Remember that you work to live, instead of live to work Continue reading →

Rise of Opiate Use Is Not the Answer to Relive Stress

By Eve Pearce

According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010 12 million people in the US used opiate drugs for purposes other than pain relief.

Abuse of prescription drugs such as morphine, oxycodone and codeine is a far bigger problem than use of heroin and many people are turning to opiates as a way to help them deal with stress. Prescription opiates are able to do this, as although they take longer to reach the brain than injected heroin, once there they exert similar effects. In the central nervous system these drugs bind to opioid receptors which not only aids pain relief but triggers feelings of pleasure, calm and well-being as well. However, they are not the answer for stress relief, as their use is associated with a number of adverse consequences. Only by addressing the root of the problem and developing appropriate strategies can stress be safely and successfully managed. Continue reading →

Do You Have PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD) is often thought of for people who have been involved in war. However, there are many people who have PTSD from various traumas that can happen throughout one’s life, such as car wrecks, domestic violence, a near fatal illness, being abused, or witnessing a horrific event—even a natural disaster.

It is important to understand that PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder. The symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks (reliving the trauma), nightmares about the traumatic event, symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing. This may include trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event, avoiding activities you once enjoyed, difficulty maintaining close relationships, irritability or anger, overwhelming guilt or shame, substance abuse, trouble sleeping, suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts, being easily startled or frightened.

PTSD can manifest itself in physical form. For example, people with PTSD show higher instances of fibromalaysia, arthritis, ulcers, and high blood pressure, just to name a few. If the person develops a substance abuse problem as a result of self-medicating, there may be legal, health, financial, and family problems.

If you have been involved in a traumatic event, you do not necessarily have PTSD. Some people are involved and witness very horrific events with little or no problems, whereas, others may have many PTSD symptoms as a result.

Coping with Trauma

People who have been attacked, assaulted, or have had their life threatened may have great difficulty coping with the stressors of life.

This can show up in many forms, such as relationship problems, frequent nightmares, high levels of stress and anxiety, as well as persistent irrational fears and panic attacks.

Participating in workshops to learn how to keep yourself safe is a fantastic way to empower yourself to make it much less likely that you will become a victim. These workshops often have a healing component to them. However, it is important to look at your own psychological healing and address what may have happened in the past.

Therapy is a great complement to the workshops on personal safety that you may have already taken. You will feel so much better about yourself once you have better self-confidence, sleep better, and have dealt with those negative feelings that may be holding you back. Remember, it is very important to focus on prevention and resolve past feelings that are still holding you back.

Below are some simple and powerful techniques for helping you to get through anxious times. Remember, what you tell yourself can increase or decrease your anxiety. Why not learn a few things you can tell yourself to reduce your anxiety? You are in control of your thoughts and you have the power to significantly decrease your anxiety.


REBT Essentials for dealing with the “circle of anxiety”

  • My anxiety is bad, but I’m not bad.
  • I don’t always have to feel comfortable, and it isn’t awful when I don’t.
  • My over-reactive nervous system is a part of my life, but it’s not bigger than life.
  • Controlling my anxiety is important, but hardly urgent.
  • Comfort is nice, but not necessary.
  • I don’t have to be the one person in the universe to feel comfortable all the time.
  • I don’t have to hassle myself or put myself down for not coping better with my anxiety.

Source: Bill Borcherdt. REBT Resource Book for Practitioners. Albert Ellis Institute.

Nerves and First Visit

A lot of people are very nervous about their first visit to a therapist. Whether this is their first time in therapy or if this is the first visit to a new therapist, it can be very nerve-racking!

It may take some pressure off to realize that a first visit is a time for both client and therapist to get to know one another. There are no obligations at this point to have further sessions. If you like the therapist, then you can schedule a another appointment. If you do not care for the therapist, then you can let the therapist know that you do not feel it will be a good match and keep looking for someone who you think will be able to help you.

Doing anything the first time is often uncomfortable and difficult. Usually, with time, things get much easier. Be brave and make that first visit. Remember that it is your choice if you continue in therapy.

Trying Too Hard?

MANAGE your anger. CONTROL your anxiety. STOP having panic attacks. FIX the relationship.

All of these are great ideas and actually work for a large percentage of people. However, for some, the more they emphasize on attacking the problem, the worse it gets.

How can this be? You have to take the bull by the horns, right? Well, most of the time you do. But not always.

There really is such a thing as trying too hard. Yes, believe it or not! Sometimes, I urge people to accept the feelings they are having. There can be a lot said by admitting that you are really nervous, angry, sad, or upset. Giving yourself permission to feel these things can actually help these unpleasant feelings pass.

The next time you have an unwanted feeling, try to stay with it for a bit and see what happens.

Am I Trying Too Hard?

Do this technique to stop depression. Do that technique to stop your panic attacks. Try this approach to calm your mind. Not only does there seem to be exercises to address all issues known to humanity, but there are several experts who write self help books to tell you what you are doing wrong.

Think about this. Maybe you are trying too hard. Maybe you are actually sabotaging yourself because you are trying so hard to “beat” the problem. The more you focus on that problem, the more you will experience it.

I urge my clients to “roll” with the problem they may be experiencing. Maybe say, “I have this problem and I’m going to live with it—its not the end of the world. Its not life threatening. What’s the worst that can happen.” No, you are not giving in. You are allowing the problem to have less weight. Now, it is more likely it will fade to the background because you are focused on better things in your life.

Here are a few things you can say to yourself to address anxiety. They are taken from REBT:

  • My anxiety is bad, but I’m not bad.
  • I don’t always have to feel comfortable, and it isn’t awful when I don’t.
  • I can bear—and bear with—anxiety: it won’t kill me.
  • It is not necessary to be in perfect control of my anxious moments. To demand that I be in control only multiplies my symptoms.
  • Others are not required to treat me with kid gloves when I feel uncomfortable.

Research ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) for more ideas.