World of Psychology

Anxiety and Panic

Anxiety and the Power of Quick Decisions: How Speeding up Your Decision-Making Can Lower Anxiety

Many of my clients, all of whom are coming to see me for help with anxiety, complain that they have a difficult time making decisions. Anxiety sufferers often have perfectionistic tendencies, and this plays into their decision-making process as well. When faced with multiple alternatives, they want to feel certain that they are choosing the right path. It is normal and often healthy to analyze different options when making a decision, but we each have our own "threshold" for when we have analyzed enough to pull the trigger on making a decision, even if we can't be certain what the outcome will be. 

For people with high anxiety, this threshold for certainty is too high; they don't want to finalize the decision until they can be 100% certain that it is the right decision. Of course, if the decision is not an inherently obvious one, reaching 100% certainty that you are making the right decision is not a realistic goal. So the decision-making process becomes endless. We call it "paralysis by analysis."
Children and Teens

Podcast: Children’s Treatment for Mental Health Issues

Today’s guest is Okpara Rice, CEO of Tanager Place, a mental health facility for children in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Unlike adults, children are not in control of their own environment, and anything that affects a child will affect their families, and vice versa.  So, what is the best way to help these kids?  Join us as Okpara and Gabe talk about the importance of a holistic approach to mental illness in children, approaches which may or may not include medication.


When Your Job Requires Brilliant Ideas, But Brainstorming Feels Like Pulling Teeth

It sounds terribly cliché, but sometimes coming up with ideas really does feel like pulling teeth. It feels painful and frustrating. It feels messy and hard. And it’s the last thing you want to do.

But maybe your job requires you to come up with great ideas. On a regular basis.

Maybe you’re a writer, speaker, designer, artist, podcast host, publicist, teacher, researcher, or entrepreneur. Either way, idea generation is a priority in your position.

And, unfortunately, you feel utterly and completely uninspired.

5 Ways Love Changes Us for the Better

Being in love not only makes you feel good inside, but makes you different on the outside.

Country music superstar George Strait made the song "You Look So Good In Love" famous. As we listened to his masterful and beautiful song, we asked ourselves: Do people in love look the same as those who are not?


7 Realistic Ways to Look on the Bright Side—Which Don’t Feel Fake or Forced

We tend to view looking on the bright side as silly or stupid. We see it as annoying and inauthentic. We see it as naïve and immature.

Sometimes, we see looking on the bright side as infuriating, especially if we’re going through a tough time.

However, as psychotherapist Genesis Games, LMHC, pointed out, “Looking at the bright side is not negating the pain, hurt, and despair. Some situations are truly heartbreaking and beyond difficult.”

6 Ways to Return to Neutrality — And Why It’s a Good Idea

I’ve talked about neutrality for years. It’s a useful state of awareness to cultivate, especially as an antidote to "charge" or emotional activation.

Emotions can generate charge. They stimulate the nervous system, causing pulses to race, breathing to shallow, adrenalin to surge. Attention! Pay attention!

Charge can be important. For example, charge is helpful if you’ve got 14 minutes to make it to your gate before your flight departs. It’s also useful as an aspect of self-awareness. If you feel an activation occurring, your autonomic system is letting you know that something requires your conscious attention.

Coping with a Mass Shooting

A mass shooting is never easy to understand or cope with. With recent back-to-back shootings in the United States, it seems like the violence is increasing, while our safety and security decreases. It's normal to feel afraid, to want to hunker down inside the safety of your home or apartment. And it's okay to feel untethered, like not a whole lot seems to make sense any longer.

In the wake of another mass shooting, everything can feel unreal. It can feel like the violence will never end, and that each of us is at greatly increased risk to be involved in a future mass shooting. The fear can be overwhelming and debilitating.

What can you do to cope with a mass shooting? How can you feel safe when the threat of violence could occur in any public place?


The Importance of Celebrating Milestones Together

Summer often brings more than the usual number of celebrations. Graduation ceremonies, engagement parties, weddings, baby showers, gender reveals, retirement parties, funerals, etc., etc. If you have friends and family, chances are you’ve been to at least a couple such events in the last month. 

It got me wondering why we do them. Because we always do them, whether hosted by others or done on our own. We do them despite the potential for family drama, the expense, the agony of guest lists, and the worries about what to wear. We participate in events put on in our honor by well-meaning friends, whether they are truly in the style we want or whether we really want them at all.