Anxiety and Panic

I’m Not Lazy, I’m Agoraphobic: How One Mother Copes

I'm not lazy, I'm agoraphobic.

I used to spend my days at work, my nights in Manhattan, and my weekends filled with adventure and road trips. Now, if I am able to leave my house for a medical appointment, it’s an accomplishment.

I’ve had “episodes” that lasted months, where I’d be unable to leave my bed -- not because I’m lazy but out of fear.

I suffer from a very misunderstood disease called agoraphobia, which is the fear of open spaces (a very generalized definition).
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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: March 12, 2016

Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

I don't know about your neck of the woods, but from where I'm sitting it's a sunshine-filled, 70-degree day, and the last thing I want to do is be indoors!

Still, I suggest you take your phone or tablet or laptop or whatever (oh, technology) outside, because you definitely don't want to miss this week's updates in the world of mental health.

Read on for the latest on how to create habits that revive lost motivation, why binge-watching television could be linked to depression, what some mental health patients have to say about a certain Bernie Sanders comment, and more.

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Anxiety and Panic

Networking for Introverts: 4 Secrets to Meet New People

Networking can be, at times, awkward and even produce anxiety. The thought of reaching out to people you don’t know to build potential business relationships can seem daunting. How do those “super connector” social butterflies carry themselves with such confidence while others stammer and stutter?

As it turns out, there’s a psychology to relationship building that will not only help you feel more secure when meeting new people, but will also transform your stack of business cards into meaningful connections that may advance your career.
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Anxiety and Panic

How to Handle Panic Attacks

There are many things in life to be afraid of. You can be injured or killed in myriad ways. You can get lost. You can make a fool of yourself. Something can happen to your loved ones. Another terrorist attack can happen at any moment. So much to be frightened of. It’s enough to make you fearful of leaving your house!

And so you don’t. Or, you do with much trepidation. And when you do, you may feel your heart racing, your body trembling, your breathing tight. You may feel chest pain and wonder if you’re having a heart attack. You may feel sweaty and wonder why your body temperature is out of whack. You may feel dizzy, unsteady, faint and more.

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Anxiety and Panic

Understanding Claustrophobia’s Impact on Your Life

Those who suffer from claustrophobia always remember the first time they felt the hopeless sensation of being trapped or enclosed. It’s a feeling unlike any other -- and one that can humble anyone in any situation. And whether you’ve experienced claustrophobia once or you deal with it every time you get on a crowded elevator, it’s important to come to terms with what it is, what causes it, and how it can be overcome.

What is Claustrophobia?

Simply put, claustrophobia is an
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Brain and Behavior

What is Commitment Phobia & Relationship Anxiety?

For most people, relationships are fairly easy things. They come as naturally to life as breathing or making a meal.

For some, however, relationships are not so easy. In fact, they present such a challenge to the individual, that a person can be said to have relationship anxiety, a fear of relationships, or suffer from "commitment phobia."

Commitment issues in relationships are nothing new. But our understanding of how the fear of commitment for some people can be paralyzing has increased. And while you won't find "commitment phobia" in any diagnostic manual, it is a very real experience of anxiety and fear.

Here's the lowdown on commitment phobia and relationship anxiety.

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Anxiety and Panic

Do Your Fears Hold You Back? 3 Simple Strategies to Ease Fear

Are you paralyzed at the thought of public speaking? Shaky in meetings with your boss? Find yourself tongue-tied in social situations?

Fear can occur in any number of situations.  It can be both effective -- for instance, when it compels us to run from a burning building -- and a blockade that can keep us from living our lives fully.

In a recent article in GQ Magazine, behavioral neuroscientist Mona Lisa Shultz, PhD, describes illogical fear -- involving that which does not threaten our lives or well-being -- as a “corrupted file that you downloaded by accident that keeps coming up.”

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Anxiety and Panic

How Kathryn Tristan Overcame Her Anxiety – And You Can Too!

Research scientist and author Kathryn Tristan was unable to fly or leave her hometown for over 20 years.

But after working from the inside out, as she puts it, Tristan was able to move past her overwhelming anxiety and panic. Through the use of specific techniques, she's been able to quell them and lead a fulfilling life.

Below, Tristan, who’s also author of the forthcoming book Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living (available December 4, 2012), reveals the four strategies that have helped her overcome anxiety and worry.

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Brain and Behavior

The Fear of Flying Mindset

In my fear of flying program, Fear of Flying?... Not Anymore!™, I address the key psychological factors that contribute to this phobia (which I've also discussed in two other articles here: Why Do We Fear Flying?, and Fear of Flying -- How to Overcome).

One focus is on the concept of "normalization." Our brains can be trained, through various exercises created for this process, to understand that flying is a normal, routine activity. Our brains can normalize routine situations, even if these routine situations involve risk.

For example, we likely don't ruminate over the possibility of slipping every time we shower because our brains have become trained to expect that we will safely take our showers, based on many years of successfully completing this task.

But since most of us only experience flying on an occasional basis, if at all, our brains automatically go on alert when we think of flying.

Whereas showers are routine, flying is not.

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Anxiety and Panic

How to Decode Your Anxiety & Worry — And Diminish Both

Sometimes anxiety and worry can seem to spring out of nowhere. Before you know it, you’re upset and your brain is buzzing with bothersome thoughts.

But your anxiety isn't that random. “Your anxiety is actually a process,” writes Holly Hazlett-Stevens, Ph.D, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nevada, in her book Women Who Worry Too Much: How to Stop Worry & Anxiety from Ruining Relationships, Work & Fun. “It’s made up of a series of thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviors.”

The key to better understand your anxiety and worry is to examine all these components individually. Once you know how your anxiety and worry manifest, you can work on reducing them.

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Touchless Soap: Marketing To Your Fear of Germs

I'm not sure when the scale tipped in the other direction, but there is a whole generation of children growing up who've been made fearful of the potential threat of germs by well-meaning but over-protective parents.

Germs are indeed potentially harmful to our health. But so is being driven around in a car to soccer or dance practice. And while most germs won't kill you, many automobile accidents will.

Because germs are everywhere, in virtually every environment you live or work in, it's silly to believe you can somehow "escape" them (short of living in a clean room). The key is to take reasonable measures to help protect yourself from germs -- but not to give into some irrational fear of them.

That's why touchless soap dispensers are just plain silly and have far more to do with marketing to our irrational fear of germs than doing much of anything to actually help us wash our hands better.

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