Anxiety and Panic

Video: Using “Belly Biofeedback” App for Diaphragmatic Breathing

Belly breathing isn't an easy skill to learn... especially for a panicker like me.

When I first started trying to breathe diaphragmatically while under lots of stress in grad school, the whole effort was a miserable failure. Whenever I tried, even in the comfort of my own apartment, I felt like I wasn't getting enough air. And that airless feeling, in turn, would usually trigger a panic attack.

Despite my perennial pessimism in most other parts of life, I kept trying.

I kept trying at home. I kept trying in my university's anxiety management class. I kept trying in the library. I kept trying and trying and trying.

And now, four or five odd years later, I'm finally able to breathe out of my belly instead of my upper chest. Through mindfulness, I'm now able to notice when my breathing pattern is off -- and then, I can consciously correct it.

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Books

Video: Tending the Family Heart – Family is a Verb

You may not be aware, but our own Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker has an e-book entitled Tending the Family Heart that highlights the importance of creating and nurturing the "heart part" of our families -- that almost magical bond that interconnects every family member with all the others.

According to Dr. Marie's philosophy, it is the heart that provides safety and warmth to all within its embrace. It is what transforms the very ordinary and repetitious tasks of daily life into expressions of mutual support and care. It is what celebrates the dailyness of love and belonging and helps everyone cope in times of challenges, separations, and even tragedies. When the "heart part" is strong, it provides both children and adults with what they need emotionally and psychologically to become their best versions of themselves in spite of whatever stresses come their way.

Psych Central’s Ask the Therapists Daniel J. Tomasulo, Ph.D. & Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. discuss Dr. Marie's bestselling parenting book and how "family" is actually a verb in this video.
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Children and Teens

Video: Cutting, Self-injury & Self-harm

Self-injury and self-harm behaviors are still hidden and stigmatized within the mental health profession. Many professionals are afraid to talk about them with their clients, and family doctors rarely ask their young patients -- who are most likely to engage in such behaviors -- about them.

They are a continuing hidden epidemic among teens and young adults today.

But self-harm behaviors such as cutting don't have to remain in the dark. Best of all, if a person can find a way to talk about them to someone they trust -- such as a friend, a family member or a teacher -- they may also find help for them.

In this video, Psych Central’s Ask the Therapists Daniel J. Tomasulo, Ph.D. & Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. discuss why some people turn to self-harm (such as cutting), and what can be done to help them.
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General

Video: Six Effective Ways (For Adults) to Deal With Bullies

I hated sixth grade.

It was my first year in middle school and I reeked of awkwardness in a very "Deb-from-Napoleon-Dynamite" sort of way. Side ponytail? Check. Fascination with weird homemade lanyards and keychains? Check.

All the older kids were wearing their grunge-inspired flannel shirts and Grateful Dead t-shirts. Most of my wardrobe came from either Kids R Us or a giant garbage bag of hand-me-down clothes that my mother had collected from her co-workers.

One day, while walking home from school, a eighth-grade boy started harassing me. He'd call me names, comment on my clothing, and taunt me nearly the entire ten-block walk. My entire repertoire of comebacks, unfortunately, came straight from Full House.

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General

Video: On Positivity and the Positivity Ratio

What is positivity, positive psychology and the Positivity Ratio?

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson discovered that experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio with negative ones leads people to a tipping point beyond which they naturally become more resilient to adversity and effortlessly achieve what they once could only imagine.

In this video, Psych Central’s Ask the Therapists Daniel J. Tomasulo, Ph.D. & Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. discuss the benefits of positivity and understanding how the positivity ratio might help you in your own life.
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Books

Video: Tending the Family Heart e-Book

You may not be aware, but our own Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker has an e-book entitled Tending the Family Heart that highlights the importance of creating and nurturing the "heart part" of our families -- that almost magical bond that interconnects every family member with all the others.

According to Dr. Marie's philosophy, it is the heart that provides safety and warmth to all within its embrace. It is what transforms the very ordinary and repetitious tasks of daily life into expressions of mutual support and care. It is what celebrates the dailyness of love and belonging and helps everyone cope in times of challenges, separations, and even tragedies. When the "heart part" is strong, it provides both children and adults with what they need emotionally and psychologically to become their best versions of themselves in spite of whatever stresses come their way.

Psych Central’s Ask the Therapists Daniel J. Tomasulo, Ph.D. & Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. discuss Dr. Marie's bestselling parenting book in this video.
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Video: Anxious? You’re Not Alone: Check Out These Anxiety Blogs

I am not the only person with an anxiety disorder.

Likewise, you are not the only person with an anxiety disorder.

But it can sure feel that way sometimes, eh? Especially on days when everyone else at the party is acting super sociable, but you're slunked (is that a word?) down in a corner and too dizzy to talk to anyone.

It's easy to feel alone on days when everyone else seems to be gathering their groceries from the store shelves just fine, but you're still hovering in the breezeway, leaning on your cart, and trying to muster up the courage to walk inside.

And it's easy to feel alone at work, too. Everyone else can pay attention to the corporate PowerPoint presentation in the conference room, but you're sitting next to the closed door, thinking about how far you are from the office restroom, and flexing your leg muscles for a quick escape.

Every time we say "I am alone!" we are lying.

We are not alone in our struggles...and I made a video, just for you, to prove it:
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Children and Teens

Video: Teenage Depression

Teenage depression is just as serious as clinical depression suffered by adults of any age. Yet because of the unique situation most teens find themselves in -- at a sensitive stage of their development and becoming comfortable with their own personality -- it's often hard for a teen to get help for feeling depressed.

We're not talking feeling sad because of a breakup with their boyfriend or girlfriend. We're talking about serious feelings last 2 weeks or longer of sadness, lethargy, lack of interest or pleasure in the usual activities in a person's life, and even suicidal thoughts. These are the hallmarks of untreated depression.

Psych Central’s Ask the Therapists Daniel J. Tomasulo, Ph.D. & Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. in this video talk about teenage and adolescent depression. Young adults experience depression more often than many adults, but there is hope for getting better. Here's how.
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Addiction

Video: Helping Someone With an Alcohol or Drug Problem

Problems with drugs and alcohol affect millions of Americans' lives each and every day. Many people live in relationships with others who have a drug or alcohol problem, and don't know where to turn or what to do. Others have friends or co-workers they'd love to help out, but don't how to help them.

Alcohol and drug problems don't go away on their own. And they rarely get better just with the passage of time, unless the person has made a concerted effort and pledge to change.

Do you know someone who has an alcohol or drug problem?

If so, this week's video from Psych Central’s Ask the Therapists Daniel J. Tomasulo, Ph.D. & Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. may be able to help you.
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Anxiety and Panic

Video: 6 Ways to Distract Yourself From Panic

Coping with panic attacks can be difficult, to say the least.

I've had well over... um... well, I'm not exactly counting, but it's certainly more than 300 or 400. And I mean bona fide panic attacks. Not high anxiety -- true panic.

Even after 8 years, I'm still working on coping with it effectively. A series of heart palpitations in the cereal aisle will still send me dashing for the exit of the grocery store. A twinge of nausea on a car ride will send me reaching for Xanax.

And a little unwelcome heat & humidity will make me clammy and lightheaded... just like it did today. Just as I started filming this video, I panicked. My apartment was too warm and I couldn't get the AC to work. Frustrated, I started feeling woozy and like I needed to sit down, lest I panic. Then, when I finally did sit down, I became worried that I would simply grow hotter and hotter until I finally passed out. So, feeling even woozier, I stood up again to plead with the thermostat, shaking, and extremely fearful of passing out.

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General

Introducing Be The Change Video Blog

We’re happy to welcome our newest blog, Be The Change, by Danielle, a 26-year old woman who is in recovery from mental health issues and addiction. The mental health issues she’s faced include borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, sex and love addiction.

She’s going to be focused on video blogging on the blog (also known as a vlog) on what she’s learned and learning in her journey in recovery. You can learn more...
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