Tag Archives: stress

Anxiety 101: What is essential for you to know?

Anxiety: An overview

When trying to understand what anxiety is, many people really don’t differentiate very well between what it is and what isn’t. A good example might be in defining the difference between fear and anxiety which would have several different features. When individuals are afraid, their fear is usually directed toward some specific situation or external object. You might fear failing in sports or in an exam, or being unable to pay bills or any number of things related to specific circumstances or individuals. When you experience anxiety you often times can’t really be specific about the source of your anxiety. You experience more of an internal sensation rather than external. It may be a reaction to a unrecognizable or vague danger. Many times people feel an internal sensation of losing control over yourself or a situation.

Anxiety: The whole body effect

Anxiety may affect your whole body. Many people describe it as having psychological, physical and behavioral effects. On a psychological level, anxiety is an internal sensation of uneasiness and apprehension. In an extreme form that may cause you to fill detached from yourself or you may even feel fearful of going crazy or dying. On a physiological level you may feel anxiety in the form of specific bodily reactions such as sweating, dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, and muscle tension. On the behavioral level it can absolutely undermine your ability to express yourself or deal with certain circumstances that are essential to your daily life.

The fact that anxiety may affect you on these three different levels makes it much more difficult to reduce the debilitating effects. Some psychologists have found that a more complete program of recovery from an actual anxiety disorder must be to intervene at all three levels to:

(1) Reduce your physiological reactivity.
(2) Eliminate behavioral avoidance.
(3) Change the internal representations which continue the state of apprehension and worry such as through the use of “self talk”.

Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders:

Anxiety and what we define as anxiety disorders appear in many different forms and levels of intensity. It can be manifested in anything from a small worry and a subjective feeling of uneasiness to severe anxiety culminating in a panic attack with symptoms such as disorientation, heart palpitations and even a sense of terror. Anxiety that comes out of the blue with no warning is referred to often as free-floating anxiety or in very severe instances a spontaneous panic attack. The difference between these two spontaneous episodes of either free-floating anxiety or spontaneous panic attack may be defined by whether you experience four or more of the following symptoms at the same time. The experiencing of four or more of the following symptoms may define a panic attack:

• Trembling or shaking
• Sweating
• Choking
• Heart palpitations
• Shortness of breath
• Numbness
• Nausea or abdominal distress
• Hot flashes or chills
• Dizziness unsteadiness
• Feeling of detachment
• Fear of going crazy or that you are out of control
• Fear of dying

Anxiety and anxiety disorders are usually differentiated between how specific they are to certain specific
circumstances or are generalizable to many situations. If your anxiety arises only related to specific circumstances it is called a situational anxiety or phobic anxiety. Situational anxiety is very different from every day fears in that it tends to be very unrealistic and out of proportion to the specific circumstances but is not debilitating. For example, if you have an apprehensive feeling about confronting others, going to the doctor or driving on the freeway it may qualify as a situational anxiety. Situational anxieties become phobias when the anxiety is high enough in intensity that you begin to avoid those specific circumstances or situations. If you absolutely avoid confronting others, going to the doctors or driving on the freeway, you may have developed a phobia due to the persistent avoidance of the specific situation.

Anxiety: It’s the thought that counts

Unfortunately, anxiety can also be brought on by thinking about the situation. If you become severely distressed by merely the thought of what may happen when you have to face one of your phobic situations, you may be developing what is referred to as anticipatory anxiety. If the level of distress is not too severe, your anticipatory anxiety may be unable to be distinguished from ordinary worrying. Sometimes however, anticipatory anxiety can become very severe and may be referred to as anticipatory panic.

There are some very important distinctions between spontaneous anxiety (or panic) and anticipatory anxiety (or panic). If you have spontaneous anxiety, it has a tendency to come out of the blue and hit its peak very rapidly and has a tendency to subside. Studies have found that the peak in intensity is usually reached within five minutes, which then subsequently seems to be followed by a gradual tapering off over an hour or more. Anticipatory anxiety however, tends to gradually build up in response to either thinking about or encountering a threatening situation and then usually drops off quickly. Frequently, people will “worry themselves to death” about something for an hour or two and then seem to let go of the worry as you find something else to occupy your mind.

Anxiety in conclusion:

It’s not enough just to say that we are anxious and just expect it to be resolved somehow. In order to have any type of understanding and resolution we have to define the specific circumstance of anxiety and how it is manifested in various forms which ultimately could even become an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are much more intense and disabling then the every day experiencing of anxiety, fear or stress

By Paul Susic Ph.D, licensed psychologist

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Mental Health Counseling and Stress Management

Both for counselors and clients involved in mental support, increased levels of physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual stress can make challenges worse. It is fairly common knowledge that anxiety, panic, fear, anger/rage, loss of focus, PTSD, chemical dependency and other forms of addiction, and compulsive behaviors are either created, or made worse, as a response to stress. I believe that depression or depressive episodes are often the back side of anxiety (and over stimulation.) With the physiologic response to stressors/anxieties at least partially shutting down the higher function of the decision making neo-cortex, stress can lead to poor problem solving, reduced abilities to communicate, and increased psycho-pathologies.

If you can see the role stress plays in relationship to increased mental health challenges, then the contrary, the practice of stress management, can lead to reduced demonstrations of symptoms. Forms of stress management, biofeedback, “desensitization,” “mindfulness,” and other anxiety reducing practices (like yoga, meditation, diet, exercise, etc) can prove very therapeutic in helping to control the causes of anxiety/stress related symptoms. Beyond symptom control, for the motivated client, I feel that using these techniques until mastered and then regularly, and preventively, can benefit a person by “empowering” them with body awareness, present living mindfulness, and new skills to control stressed out physiologies.
Empowerment of the individual is the key! Self-awareness and then self-control (of habitually held stress) enables a person to feel better in control of available time and energy and better able to self-minimize, if not eliminate, psychological symptoms and emotional/spiritual pain & conflict. Spending time in a “positive” way, in the present moment, leads to reduced fear and anxiety. This new self-control can often lead to reduced needs for psycho-active medications, alcohol, or street drugs.

Stress management, biofeedback, other behavioral techniques, and other stress reducing practices are not difficult to learn, but finding the time and motivation to use these effective techniques often requires support and counsel. For therapists, counselors, teachers, and concerned family members, these same techniques are essential in minimizing the potential for “burn-out,” “over-load,” and reduction in the ability to care for your client, student, or family member. To be a positive role model by regularly practicing stress management, seems an obvious self-care strategy that serves all parties in therapeutic relationships.

I may be “preaching to the choir” but even the obvious needs to be restated. Basic stress management is a necessary element to psycho-therapy. The extra element of simple biofeedback practices is a beneficial feature offering personal awareness that leads to better levels of self-control.

About the Author:

Since 1978, the Stress Education Center has offered coaching, training and products for stress management.
L. John Mason, Ph.D. is the country’s leading stress management expert and the author of the best selling “Guide to Stress Reduction.” Since 1977, he has offered Success & Executive Coaching and Training.

Please visit the Stress Education Center’s website at Stress, Stress Management, Coaching, and Training for articles, free ezine signup, and learn about the new telecourses that are available. If you would like information or a targeted proposal for training or coaching, please contact us at (360) 593-3833.
If you are looking to promote your training or coaching career, please investigate the Professional Stress Management Training and Certification Program for a secondary source of income or as career path.

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Becoming Your Best Self – Top 10 Strategies For Stress-Free Living

Becoming Your Best Self – Top 10 Strategies For Stress-Free Living

1. Identify and live by your values.

When we know what our values are, and our goals and actions are in harmony with our values, we are seldom stressed or in conflict about what we are doing.

2. Complete the Past

Sometimes we hang on to voices or perceived injustices from the past, long after the person or situation is dead and gone. By bringing closure to these events, we are free to move forward.

3. Plan for the Future.

It is important to know where we want to go and to have a rough idea of how we plan to get there. While it is important to give up final control to God or the Universe, we need a sense of focus and direction to our lives. Planning for the future gives us that sense of direction.

4. Live in the Present.

This is key. Once we have completed the past and planned for the future, we need to stay focused in the here and now. There is very little that we cannot handle in the moment. (A clue: if you are feeling guilt, you are in the past. If you are feeling fear, you are in the future. The absence of those feelings generally means you are planted firmly in the present!).

5. Understand that if you can dream it, then you can achieve it.

If we are — truly — not capable of something, then it is practically impossible for us to dream about it. Knowledge of what we are capable of is in each and every cell of our being. So no matter how wild and far-fetched your dream appears, the very existence of the dream means that you can achieve it if you are willing to commit to it.

6. Allow others to live their own lives.

Allowing others to be themselves and to live their own lives is the first step in being able to be yourself and living your own life. If you have any “shoulds” or expectations of others, let them go. Shoulds kill relationships faster than any weapon I know of and fill our lives with unnecessary stress.

7. Recognize God in everyone.

Everyone (literally, everyone!) is a reflection of God. Sometimes we have to dig a little deep to see it as our perceptions, expectations and fears cloud our vision. But when we can recognize how God is mirrored in each person, our lives are calmer and freer!

8. Create reserves where you need them.

Stress is often created through lack, either right now or right around the corner. Create reserves of time, space, money, love, vitality and meaningful action, starting where you feel most stressed.

9. Focus on being and not doing or having.

When we are focused on who we are, what kind of person we are, we tend to be on a journey of spiritual evolution, which in itself tends to have less stress (or the stress is less stressful!). When we are focused on doing or having, we are not focused on our higher selves, but only on certain dimensions of who we are (and usually on what we think that means). Be a being, not a doing!

10. Choose to be the best you possible.

Making a choice to be our best selves, to live life to our fullest potential, typically allows us to transcend our lives and reduces much stress because we understand that the source of stress is temporary. Also, don’t forget that today, you are the best you’ve ever been! Revel in that fact.

About the Author:

Copyright Louise Morganti Kaelin. Louise is a Life Success Coach who partners with individuals who are READY (to live their best life), WILLING (to explore all options) and ABLE (to accept total support). Visit her website at http://www.touchpointcoaching.com for many free resources to help you be your best self and live your life in wholeness. One of those resources is her blog, Touchpoints to Wholeness, available through the navbar. You can also sign up for her periodic free newsletter (The 3-Minute Coach) which offers insightful and practical suggestions for creating and being the person you WANT to be. You’ll get a free ebook (Blueprint for Success) just for signing up!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Louise_Kaelin

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