Anxiety and Panic Articles

5 More Ways of Coping with Panic

Friday, January 17th, 2014

5 More Ways of Coping with PanicAwhile back I listed some symptoms of panic and a few techniques that have helped me cope (as well as these exercises for managing anxiety).

These techniques work for me whether I am in the midst of a full-blown panic attack or experiencing some fleeting anxiety. Here are five more ways I deal with my worrying brain.

The Biggest Lessons I’ve Learned in Managing My Anxiety

Monday, January 13th, 2014

The Biggest Lesson I've Learned in Managing My AnxietyPriscilla Warner, author of Learning to Breathe, used to think she was alone in her struggles. Then she discovered the stats: Six million Americans have panic disorder. Forty million have an anxiety disorder.

So, if you’re struggling with anxiety, you’re absolutely not alone. “We all need to learn from each other,” she said.

Knowing how others manage their anxiety can be helpful. Below are the biggest lessons individuals have learned over the years.

Navigating Relationships & Abandonment Fears: Losing Others, Losing Me

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Navigating Relationships & Abandonment Fears: Losing Others, Losing MeAs I have struggled through some very dark days of trauma recovery, I have come to understand some universal laws that have helped make sense of my chaotic life. The most basic law is that the inner child will recreate the challenges of the childhood until the challenges are resolved. To the inner child, the perception of resolution may be very different from the adult’s logical brain.

But I have learned that the resolution can come in many forms.

For a sexual violence survivor, this law holds no more true than when navigating adult intimate relationships. Sometimes, this law is referred to as “women will always marry their father.”

But it manifests in other ways too. It would be easy to address if it weren’t happening unconsciously. Unfortunately, we rarely know we are recreating our childhood. In the case of memory repression, it is worse because we don’t remember the events we are recreating. Sounds like a losing battle, doesn’t it?

9 Ways to Let Go of Stuck Thoughts

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

9 Ways to Let Go of Stuck ThoughtsStuck thoughts… the brick walls that form a prison around your mind. The harder you try to get rid of them, the more powerful they become.

I’ve been wrestling with stuck thoughts ever since I was in fourth grade. The content or nature of the obsessions have morphed into many different animals over the course of 30-plus years, but their intensity and frequency remains unchanged.

Here are some strategies I use when they make a surprise visit, techniques that help me free myself from their hold.

The Differences Between Normal Worry & General Anxiety Disorder

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

The Differences Between Normal Worry & General Anxiety DisorderYou’re worried about X, Y, and Z. You obsess about them for hours every day, maybe for weeks.

How do you know whether this is typical worrying, a normal way of processing something that’s important to you, or if you have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)?

Karen Swartz, M.D., the Director of Clinical Programs at the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center, says the main difference between worry and GAD is that the symptoms are more frequent with GAD. In a Depression and Anxiety Health Alert, she mentions one study that found that people without GAD tended to worry an average of 55 minutes a day, while those with GAD worried for 310 minutes each day. That’s one hour compared to five.

Cyberchondria: Do Medical Websites Hurt More Than They Help?

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Cyberchondria: Do Medical Websites Hurt More Than They Help?Welcome to the world of online medical sites and diagnostics — WebMD, Mayo Clinic, MedicineNet, take your pick. While it’s tempting to easily type in symptoms and research potential illnesses when feeling under the weather, I advocate that these sites do more harm than good and only propel worries further.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m prone to anxiety as it is when sick, so it’s not exactly mentally healthy to Google “headaches” and then proceed to read that I have a brain tumor. Or I’ll type in “back tightness,” where I’m led to a page that speaks of muscle cramping (okay, fair enough), but then look on to see the mention of tetanus. Oh, great. No thanks.

There’s even a term for it now: “cyberchondria.”

Video: Why Black & White Thinking Can Be So Hard To Kick

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Video: Why Black & White Thinking Can Be So Hard To Kick“Why do we park in a driveway, but drive on a parkway?” my third grade teacher, Mrs. O’Malley, once asked during an English lesson.

It’s a question that stumped, amused, and bewildered me and my fellow nine-year-old classmates.

We furrowed our eyebrows, but couldn’t answer the question. Was there an answer to this question? Was it a riddle? But wait, even if it were a riddle, can it be more than that? Where do words come from, anyway? And who gets to decide what they mean?

Performance Anxiety & Sexual Dysfunction

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Performance Anxiety & Sexual DysfunctionWhen clients complain about sexual anxiety — whether it’s the inability to achieve erection or too-rapid ejaculation — they often find themselves dwelling on everything that could possibly go wrong in a future sexual encounter.

That kind of anxiety starts building up much earlier than the actual event itself and can feel crippling and paralyzing in other aspects of daily life. We call this anxiety “performance anxiety” because it reflects the fears of being unable to perform adequately in front of other people.

In this case, “other people” refers to a sexual partner, but performance anxiety rears its ugly head in other areas, ranging from public speaking to interviews.

How to Do Present Moment Awareness Meditation

Monday, October 28th, 2013

How to Do Present Moment Awareness MeditationThe present moment awareness meditation is simple and easy to use at any time of the day. It is very effective in helping you overcome anxiety and depression.

In order to get the best results, set aside a regular time of day such as first thing in the morning or last thing at night, preferably in the same place so as to ground the practice in your very being. You will find that regular use will dampen the physiological signs of anxiety.

If you extend your practice to a month or longer, you will be retraining your thinking patterns from past- and future-focused to present moment-focused (Brahmavamso, 1998). Then you will consistently feel more relaxed on an ongoing basis.

Here’s how you do it.

The Self-Blame Game: An Obstacle to Change

Friday, October 25th, 2013

The Self-Blame Game: An Obstacle to ChangeIn my 20 years as a psychologist, I have seen that self-blame is a major obstacle to change. It’s paralyzing and damaging and the enemy of growth.

Often, before I can help a patient address a problem, we have to first climb this mountain of self-blame, and then find our way down to the other side.

I have seen that the people most prone to self-blame are people who grew up with childhood emotional neglect (CEN). This is because CEN is invisible and unmemorable, yet leaves people with significant struggles in adulthood.

Helping Your Child Reduce Self-Harming Behavior

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Helping Your Child Reduce Self-Harming BehaviorSelf-harm, or inflicting physical harm onto one’s body to ease emotional distress, is not uncommon in kids and teens.

In fact, according to clinical psychologist Deborah Serani, PsyD, in her book Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers, about 15 percent of kids and teens engage in self-harm.

There are many forms of self-harm, including cutting, scratching, hitting and burning. Many kids and teens who self-harm also struggle with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, physical abuse or other serious concerns or psychological disorders.

These kids “don’t know how to verbalize their feelings, and instead, act them out by self-injuring,” Serani writes. Kids might self-harm to soothe deep sadness or other overwhelming emotions. They might do it to express self-loathing or shame. They might do it to express negative thoughts they can’t articulate. They might do it because they feel helpless.

Video: Five More Things You Shouldn’t Say to Someone Who Is Having A Panic Attack

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Video: Five More Things You Shouldn’t Say to Someone Who Is Having A Panic AttackIf you’ve never had a panic attack before, you can only imagine what it feels like.

Of course, you’ve probably experienced the individual components of panic in isolation – you’ve most certainly felt your heart beat rapidly while exercising, right? And maybe you’ve dealt with vertigo before after a few drinks, or shortness of breath during spring allergy season.

But when severe anxiety starts piling each of these symptoms in a giant heap on your chest, coupled with frightening thoughts, an uncomfortable synergy is born: the whole of the panic is more than the sum of its parts.

And I should certainly know. After all, I’ve had panic disorder for about ten years now. I can’t even count how many bona fide panic attacks I’ve had in my life.

Some were tolerable; some were crippling. All of them were frightening.

So, what should you do if someone you know has a panic attack in front of you? How should you react? What should you say?

Anxiety
& Panic


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