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I was inspired to write about the use of gadgets to relieve anxiety after a design student, Joy, reached out to me.  She was seeking collaboration on a jewelry design aimed to reduce anxiety.  We recently met up for coffee, where she presented a well-thought-out product that is worn as a bracelet.  It detects elevated heart rate and guides timed breathing using a sphere that circles the top of the bracelet.  This product was created by Joy, following the theme of the class, Design for Mental Health.  This got me curious to explore the use of gadgets to address anxiety.

With a quick Google search, I was able to find dozens of types of gadgets all aimed to reduce anxiety.  I will introduce a few that stood out.  The Prana is worn on your waistline by clipping it into the inside of your pants.  It tracks breathing, as well as indicates when you need to improve your posture.  When tension is detected it prompts you to relax through proper diaphragmatic breathing and good posture.  The Muse helps with meditation.  Worn like a headband, the Muse uses brain-sensing technology to measure whether your mind is calm or active.  It translates these signals into guiding sounds to help you stay focused during meditation.  The Pip and the Sona both work similarly to a Fit-Bit.  They are wearable tracking devices that pair to an app on your smartphone.  They track breathing and heart rate throughout the day and, when needed, provide guided breathing and meditative exercises to reduce stress and anxiety.  Among other popular gadgets are aromatherapy diffusers, sound machines, and a plethora of available apps for your smart devices.

Prana tells you when you need to improve your posture

Sona keeps tabs on your heart rate and physical activity to measure your overall stress levels

Let’s talk about the benefits.  These gadgets are convenient.  We live in a fast-paced society and these gadgets provide on-the-go relief.  Also, these tools can help reduce the stigma around anxiety and mental health issues in general.  These cool looking, tech gadgets, are often wearable, which allow for open conversation and awareness around mental health.  They say “I’m taking care of myself” in a very open way.  These also appeal to the mainstream consumer, which can help to normalize anxiety.

There are some concerns and considerations to examine.  Confidentiality is always an issue when treating mental health.  Not everyone would feel comfortable exposing their anxiousness, especially in a panic situation.  Many of these gadgets could warrant unwanted attention. Also, we need to highlight that anxiety is complex, and gadgets themselves give a quick-fix approach to treatment.  Outside of more involved therapy, these gadgets can be useful, however, they are limited in helping process deeper underlying issues or developing more self-sustaining coping skills.

I want to encourage readers to be open to and think critically about the use of tools or gadgets in treating mental health.  What are your experiences, thoughts, and opinions?

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Does this look like the face of someone who struggles with anxiety? You never know what someone might be struggling with based on her or his appearance. Anxiety is a real issue that I fight to conquer every day. In the past, I hid behind my appearance to keep others from knowing about my war with anxiety on the inside. I no longer hide.

While studying for my MA in Clinical Psychology, I was surprised to learn that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the United States and women are twice as likely to suffer. Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the U.S. (18% of the population) and 1 in 13 people worldwide. One in every eight children is affected and the average age of onset is 11 years old. Anxiety disorders develop as a result of many different factors including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, learned behavior, and life events. Becoming anxious is a natural feeling and response, but when it becomes unnecessarily excessive and physical symptoms occur, it becomes debilitating. It breaks my heart to know that while anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only one-third of those suffering receive treatment.

I used to be a part of the one-third suffering alone. During my junior year of high school, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) having sought help only because it was affecting my grades. I stopped there, believing I was strong enough on my own to control my anxiety. However, it consumed every area of my life and was so blinding that it was all I could see when I looked at myself. During my freshman year of college I started experiencing panic attacks, one being so extreme that I thought I was going to die. At that point, I realized I could no longer control my anxiety on my own. I found my strength, peace, and comfort in God and utilized therapy and medication to help manage my anxiety symptoms. It was as if a veil was lifted, and I could finally see myself for the first time. I realized that I was not my anxiety. Instead, it was a struggle and everyone struggles with something. I was finally able to see my value in God and that my struggle with anxiety was a part of His big plan for me.
Through what I experienced, I can understand why others are hesitant to seek treatment. If my family and I had known about GAD and its prevalence at a young age, my life could have looked much different. I remember continually feeling stupid and weak that certain things were more difficult for me than my peers and after awhile I stopped sharing how I felt because this message was also a voice from the culture around me.
Despite my upbringing in which I was led to believe that utilizing therapy and medication was a sin, God showed me through studying Psychology that these resources are incredible tools that could even strengthen my relationship with Him. I recognized that I was the one letting my anxiety conquer me. Seeking help was not a sign of weakness; it was a sign of strength. I was courageous! This realization made it possible for me to pursue my dreams. As Mrs. San Francisco International and a contender for Mrs. California International, I want to share my story. No one should feel that they have to struggle alone. A courageous decision to utilize resources such as the Anxiety Relief Center can change your life like it changed mine. Thank you again for the opportunity and please let me know if I need to make any changes! Emily Bai – Mrs. San Francisco International

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By Batya Ross, MFT

Have you ever noticed how external factors, such lighting, sound, or smells impact how you feel inside? Whether it’s candlelight, moonlight, or a beautifully sunny day, lighting can really set the tone for what feels possible. An interior designer will tell you that a well placed lamp could make a room, but is there more to lighting than just aesthetics? According to environmental psychologist Rikark Küller and his associates in Sweden, there is a direct correlation between the light you are exposed to and your mood. These researchers wanted to understand how people responded to variances in lighting. They found that the story of Goldilocks still bares truth, too much or too little light can elicit lower feeling states such as anxiety or depression. And when lighting is within the “just right” range a person’s mood improves.

Light helps regulate the body by sending messages about when to be alert or when to relax. The messages are important because they support the body’s ability to operate properly. We can use external stimuli– such as light– to support the tasks we set out to do or the ways we want to feel. When supported, the body and being can adjust and meet the new intention.

Here are three tips for optimizing the uplifting properties of light

Spend some time outdoors. Sunlight prompts the body to make its own vitamin D, whose role it is to keep bones strong by increasing absorption of calcium. Studies about the vitamin’s impact on mood are inconclusive but Sue Pavlovich from the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (SADA) says “getting outside for a walk in your lunch hour, even in the winter sun will be good for you. This is because surrounding light, which is outside light that envelops you, is always better than artificial light because it’s stronger and brighter.” The bright light supports the body’s ability to focus and stay alert. A walk outside can replace your morning coffee and support the strength of your body.

Limit screen time before sleep. Screens (TVs, computers, phones) play an important role in modern life. We are exposed to high levels of light which can confuse our bodies. Bright artificial light can actually reduce melatonin, the hormone that supports sleep. It is recommended to limit the use of screens before bed in order to help with falling and staying asleep. Smartphones have already begun to account for this problem. The Twilight app, for one, lowers and changes the light coming through the screen. Beyond dimness, the app colorizes your display with various tints of red. This sends messages to your body that the sun is setting and that it is time to begin slowing down for rest. Users report instantly feeling lower levels of stress when looking at the red light versus the regular blue light. Try to avoid or at least dim screens 45 minutes before bed.

Experiment with various light bulbs, lamps and color. In most apartments and homes the overhead light is too bright. This can be rectified with lamps or changing the wattage of the light bulbs. Most people do not control the lighting at the workplace but Küller noted that even in environments where lighting is either too dark or too light subjects had a more positive mood when “good color design” was introduced. Colors absorbs light on a spectrum. This means that you can trick your eyes to see different light when put alongside color. If you can’t change the lamp, then change the color.

It is not just about the amount of light at specific times of the day, but the quality of that light. Preferences and natural sensitivities vary from person to person. Mindfulness can be a helpful tool for finding out what is best for you. Take note of the lighting when you feel calm or anxious. This information will guide you in understanding your personal preferences. Staying connected to the sensations you feel can show you both, what kind of external lighting you respond to, and that you have agency in taking care of your internal experience by honoring your preferences in the external environment.

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By Tara Pratt, MFT

Updating your Facebook, binge watching your favorite show, and impulse buying new sneakers on Amazon probably wasn’t on your most recent project’s to-do list. But for many, procrastination has become part of the experience of completing a project. Thankfully, moderate procrastination is manageable and more of a nuisance. For some, however, procrastination can become destructive and costly.

For many of us anxiety is the reason we procrastinate, which in turn can create more anxiety. When life becomes overwhelming, it’s easy to start postponing tasks rather than face them head-on. Or perhaps, it’s not that you’re overwhelmed, but that you’re anxious about a negative response to your work.  The first step in fixing anxiety-related procrastination is realizing that your negative thoughts, rather than an outside stimulus, are preventing you from taking the next step.

A great way to confront this kind of anxiety is the “Worst, Best, Most Realistic” approach. This technique asks you to examine the worst, best, and most realistic outcomes of your actions. For example, imagine you’re a landscape artist that was commissioned to paint a portrait. You begin to feel anxious over the quality of work you can produce. Here’s where the technique comes into play:

What’s the worst outcome?

  • You could paint the portrait poorly and the client will be unhappy.

What’s the best outcome?

  • You could excel and discover a new talent/interest. Those who commissioned the work will be impressed with your ability to learn new skills.

What’s the most realistic outcome?

  • You could struggle with some aspects of the work, and do well at others. You may not be as confident with your work as your landscape paintings, but you’re now less fearful of similar projects.

This technique is a great way to give you some perspective when confronting the anxieties keeping you from your work. With a more collected approach to your project, you will be better able to set manageable steps to begin.

We all procrastinate at some point in our lives to various degrees, but when it gets out of hand then it can create a domino effect of stressors. When your stress levels rise, because of a looming deadline or things left undone, for example, remember that you have the power to change. Hopefully these tips will give you insight and guidance around your procrastination patterns. Take the time to evaluate your procrastination today…or tomorrow.

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By Eyal Goren, MFTi

How many times do you agree to do something before considering the meaning and consequences of it? How many times do you say YES, when you truly want to say NO? When we think of anxiety, its causes and ways to reduce it, we almost never think about boundaries. The lack of clear and healthy boundaries is a cause of stress and anxiety for many people.

Imagine the following scenario: A friend, who is moving into a new apartment, is asking you to help this Saturday. “There’s no one else that can help me, and I know I can always count on you” he says. You say “Of course!” without hesitation. “I’m his friend, I should be there for him” you think. When you get home, you remember that you planned to spend Saturday studying for the exam you have next week… but now it’s too late! You already promised your friend to help him. He is counting on you. If you tell him, you can’t help him after you already agreed he will get upset; he will be disappointed in you. He is depending on you! “Well…” you think to yourself, “I can help him for a few hours in the morning and study in the afternoon. That’s not what I planned, but I can do it for him, it’s not a big apartment and it will be over in a few hours”.

On Saturday you arrive to your friend’s place, only to discover that he hasn’t pack anything and instead expects you to help with that as well. “We have all day” your friend says, “so I figured it would be much easier if I waited for you to help me, rather than packing everything all by myself”. Your first instinct is to say, “No way! I have an exam to study for and I can only help you for a few hours!” However, looking at his apartment and understanding the impact you leaving him all by himself would have, you choose to say, “Okay…”, realizing that today you will not study for the exam.

You start to work, pack and move the furniture and boxes from his apartment to the truck he rented. Thoughts are coming up: “Why did I say yes in the first place? Couldn’t he prepare everything in advance? Why didn’t he give me a heads up? Maybe I should have said NO. Why didn’t he pay for professional movers???? ” Slowly but surely anger starts to build in you and start to feel resentful of your friend. You feel manipulated and used. You become bitter and at some point you turn the anger towards yourself “Why am I always doing this? Why can’t I say no? Why can’t I put myself and my needs first? What am I so afraid of?”.

As the day continues your anger turns to anxiety about the coming exam. You know you are not ready and that you won’t have enough time to study. You start to get worried and stressed that you might fail. You get home exhausted, restless, and unable to fall asleep due to the worry and anxiety surrounding the exam. Your worry grows and becomes bigger and bigger; you will fail the class, not graduate on time, you won’t get the job you wanted to apply for and so on.

Sounds familiar? Have you ever agreed to be the maid of honor for a “friend”, who was more of an acquaintance you never really liked? Requiring you to spend days of doing all the “dirty work” for her. Or have you taken on a project at work, that no one else wanted, only to find that you are stuck spending late nights and weekends without receiving any help or appreciation from your boss or colleagues?

Building healthy boundaries is one of the most difficult yet important aspects about reducing anxiety. For some of us, being assertive is challenging. We don’t like saying NO and defending ourselves. We try to avoid confrontations and we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. At first, it may feel unnatural and even selfish, however, one might say that other people who think we are selfish for setting boundaries are selfish themselves for not respecting them. To some setting boundaries sounds like a negative thing, but having clear boundaries can actually create freedom. If you set a boundary or say no and someone experiences it as a negative, that is their issue, not yours. It is also a test of your relationship. If you can’t say no to someone because you feel there will be consequences, then what kind of a relationship is it? Is that the kind of relationship that you want? Setting boundaries is not about hurting other people, but about being kind and real with yourself; it’s about taking care of your own needs; it’s about self-respect and self-worth.  Habits such as “People-pleasing”, doing something because you don’t want to offend, hurt or anger someone, being afraid of disappointing or being a disappointment, can be quite toxic, and in most cases, will induce stress and anxiety. For some people, who don’t know how to set boundaries, avoidance is a way to protect themselves, but this only generates additional stress. The more they avoid the more anxious they become.

Setting boundaries is an important, if not the most important thing in self-care. It is hard to set boundaries or to say no.  It is not always a popular decision, but it is a huge relief to stop doing what you don’t want to do. Most of the time, (especially for people who are more sensitive, caring, pleasing, etc.) setting a boundary comes with a feeling of guilt. And still, there is nothing more helpful and important than keeping healthy boundaries. Remember, you are as important as other people, if not more, and setting boundaries is taking care of your needs and what’s important to you.

It’s important to take a day off when you feel you need to rest, take a vacation, let go of toxic relationships (negative, abusive, controlling, criticizing, energy drainer), not overextend yourself, not be available sometimes, not explain everything, not answer the phone. It’s necessary to prioritize yourself sometimes. Basically, it’s important to remember that it’s okay to not be there for everything and everyone all the time.  It requires self-awareness and assertiveness in order to express your feelings and needs, ask for what you want, and say no to what you don’t want. A good indication of a lack in boundaries is, spending more time talking and thinking of the needs of other’s, over our own.

Setting and maintaining boundaries is difficult at first, but with practice and experience, it will get easier. Honing your skills will give you a sense of power and control over your life, increase your confidence, reduce stress and anxiety, lead you to better relationships, and improve your quality of life. As you say no to other people, you start to say yes to yourself.

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By Alexis Hall

Finding the time to exercise as a single parent is nearly impossible. Chances are, you’re overextended, worn out, stressed out, and feel bad putting yourself first. But if you want to be the best you can be for your kids, you need to make time to care for yourself.

Physical activity is important for both your physical and mental health and is one proven way to relieve stress, which is something all parents feel from time to time. As a single parent, you know that all too well.

Here are a few ways to get started:

Invest in home equipment

Home gym equipment may be a high initial cost but is a better value overall when compared to a gym membership you won’t use. Furthermore, working out at home can be easier than finding the time to break away from the kids. Consider these pieces for a comprehensive at-home workout:

  • A boxing bag complete with gloves and wraps. Not only is this a great strength and cardio exercise, it doubles as a physical outlet for pent up stress.
  • A pull-up bar, resistance bands, dumbbells, medicine ball, yoga mat, and jump rope are relatively inexpensive and extremely versatile when it comes to creating a home workout regimen. If budget is a concern, shop for these items first.
  • Treadmills and stationary bikes provide reliable cardio workouts, especially when weather conditions aren’t conducive to being outdoors.

Remember that exercise can help you relax and feel good from the inside

Running, hiking, and yoga are the most beneficial activities when it comes to reducing depression and anxiety. According to Health.com, “The repetitive motions of running appear to have a meditative effect on the brain,” similar to the effect of conscious breathing exercises and exposure to nature. Pick the one that best fits your lifestyle and start creating a more relaxed version of yourself. 

Know your limits

As a single parent, some days you simply won’t find the time to work out and that’s okay. When things gets overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get someone to watch the kids if you need to carve out some time alone, whether it’s to workout or simply breathe without having to be responsible for a tiny human. Be sure to check your guilt at the door; all parents deserve a break and you’ve already pulled double duty. You will only make things more stressful if you spend your “you” time worrying that the kids won’t love you for checking out for an hour.

Get the kids involved

Parents.com notes that it’s never too early to instill positive habits in your children. Rethink working out alone and make it a family affair with some of these ideas:

  • Turn up the music and dance throughout the house.
  • Go for walks with the dog before or after dinner.
  • Race to get chores done and come up with a reward for the winner.
  • Tackle yard work together.
  • Join a walk to raise money for a cause near and dear to your heart. (As an added benefit, giving to charity can actually trigger your brain’s reward center, which can temporarily quell stress and anxiety.)

Sneak workouts into other activities

  • Park far away and always take the stairs when out and about.
  • If you have a baby, let them nap in a stroller while you go for a jog.
  • Workout during commercials.
  • Find a gym you can join near work, and make it a point to utilize your lunches. Even 10 minutes a day is better than nothing!

There are plenty of ways to include fitness in your busy schedule without spending tons of money. Start out small and look for options that best suit your budget and lifestyle. By taking care of yourself and finding the best way to get physical, you set the stage for a healthier state-of-mind each and every day. Being a single mom or dad isn’t easy but you can reduce stress and be a positive role model for your kids by focusing on your own physical and mental health. 

Alexis Hall is a single mom to three kids who works as an in-home health nurse. Besides blogging, when she finds time for herself she likes to run, swim and bike.

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By Talia Abraham, LMFT, The Anxiety Relief Center

Anxiety during the holidays

It’s that time of year again. More accurately, that time when we start counting down to the end of the year and the bells are ringing. Quite literary.  The holidays are here and they can give us plenty of reasons to be anxious and stressed – there’s shopping to do, gifts to wrap, parties to attend, food to buy and prepare, money to spend, and perhaps even some traveling to do (to add to the already existing stress).  You know what I mean, don’t you? You can feel it in the air. It seems a little denser and tense. If that’s not stressful enough consider adding to that equation family. For a lot of us the biggest source of anxiety is family.    

When it comes to the holidays we have this idea that spending time with family is supposed to be joyful and elevating but that’s not always the case. Families are complicated and some of our relationships can be triggering and anxiety provoking. 

The reasons for getting triggered are countless. For some it can be spending time with toxic relatives that are avoided the rest of the year. For others, it might evoke painful memories that come flooding all of a sudden. You might find yourself preparing to sit down for dinner as your dad asks you about that job you didn’t get and now all you want to do is run out of the room. Or perhaps your aunt asks you why your partner or boy/girl friend, who you recently  broke up with, isn’t here tonight and now it seems like you need to explain in front of everyone why and what happened. Maybe it’s quite the opposite and at your family there’s hardly any conversation which leads you to feel like you could cut the air with a knife. How uncomfortable. The possibilities and examples are varied.  

Which ever reason it may be, quite often, if you suffer from anxiety you might find your symptoms increase and feel out of control during the holiday season. This may lead to having panic attacks, a sense of dread and sometimes even feeling depressed once all of the festivities end. When symptoms increase people sometimes disregard what they are feeling and they don’t seek help. Alleviating anxiety doesn’t have to be a big deal. If you can become more aware of the things that trigger you around your family and what they look like you can identify helpful resources that can help calm that anxiety down. Nonetheless, sometimes finding those resources can be challenging so here are 3 very simple tips you can use to send you off on a good start. 

3 simple tips to help ease anxiety during the holidays

There are different ways to deal with and attend to the anxiety and stress that you feel over the holidays. This three tips are just a sample of the variety that exits out there. Give them a try, experiment with them. Maybe you’ll find that you like them and maybe you’ll tweak them to your own needs and likings. A big part of finding what works of you is about trying different things and letting yourself be curious and learn. Once you found what works for you it will get more and more easy as you do it.

1. Take a breather – take a walk, walk out of the room, move and stretch. Don’t stay stuck in one position. If you find yourself in a situation that makes you anxious find a way to remove yourself from it. For example if you are sitting at a dinner and you start to feel anxious, walk out of the room, go the bathroom, wash your face and hands. Imagine that you are washing the anxiety away with the water. Another possibility is going for a walk once dinner is over. Remember you don’t have to stay where you don’t want to. You are allowed and even encouraged to take care of yourself. 

2. Find a resource – focus your attention on something that makes you feel good, neutral or calm in the room. Look for something in the room that makes you feel good or neutral and leave your gaze on it. Maybe it’s a photo or a painting, a plant or an artifact. Maybe there’s a pet around that can help you feel ease. Let yourself play with it, pet it. What ever you find that feels helpful and reassuring allow yourself to breath and let yourself take in that object or person. As if it was a soft warm blanket covering you. 

3. Reach out– before you attend a family gathering, contact a friend who is a good support. Someone you can trust and feel safe with. Ask if you could give them a call or send them a text in case you get too overwhelmed or flooded by your family. Let them know that you might need to reach out in case you feel anxious. Reaching is not always easy. It can be challenging for some people. It requires a certain vulnerability to tell someone that you need them. However it is natural and human to need to depend on other people. It can make a big difference once you allow yourself to call someone and ask for support. To know that you are not alone. We all need people around us that we can relay on and be supported by. 

Finding help 

Most people find themselves stressed and anxious during the holidays. It’s a time that has the ability to stir up a lot of those uncomfortable feelings that we try so hard to bury or avoid during the rest of the year. Often people may have this idea that they have to suck it up and just go though it or they might believe there isn’t any help available for them at all. Unfortunately this may end up being a trap, which can worsen your sense of well being. There’s no shame in acknowledging that you are having a challenging or difficult time. If you find yourself feeling like there is no one to reach out to in your circles, get professional help. A therapist or a counselor’s job is to support you and be there for you during difficult times. They will help you figure out and understand your emotions and thoughts. They will help you unload your burdens and feel more held. You really don’t have to face your anxiety alone. It’s never too late to start. Perhaps this could be a chance to finally invest in yourself and resolve some of those issues that arise for you.

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By: Alkmini Hormovas, LMFT

WHETHER IT’S YOUR FIRST OR FIFTH TIME IN THERAPY, OPENING A NEW CHAPTER OF HEALING WORK WITHIN A PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC CONTAINER IS VULNERABLE.

Luckily, there are things that you already do that support you immensely!

Keep Breathing-
 
“Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment.” -Thich Nhat Hahn
 
You just took a major step in committing to therapy and are opening yourself up to powerful and exciting work. That’s huge! It’s important to acknowledge the steps (big and small) you are taking to improve your life.
Deciding to prioritize your mental and emotional health and wellness is major. Slowing down and breathing deeply helps in the moments where it can all feel too overwhelming and threatening. People often come to therapy to change something in their lives.  While change may be exactly what you want and need, it can still bring up some intense feelings and sensations. For example, wanting to run out the door when things get too intense, deep or vulnerable. This is exactly the type of experience you want to share with your therapist. The impulse of wanting to avoid or run away may come up for you. Your therapist can help you be curious about what is going on there.
The golden nuggets of healing are available to us when we respectfully and lovingly ride the waves of resistance, avoidance and denial. This process can be really challenging at times, therefore, remembering to breath and come back to center, ground, peace, presence, whatever you want to call it, is essential. Even though therapy asks you to move beyond your comfort zone, most clients find that that is where to the positive growth and change happens.
Good luck and keep breathing!
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By Batya Ross, MFTi

We experience the world through internal responses. These responses are not communicated with words. Chemicals get triggered and we feel emotions. It can seem like our feelings are playing a game of charades with our conscious mind. Sometimes these messages are easily understood. For example, it would make sense that a finger would throb with pain if it was just hit with a hammer. 

But what happens when the feelings aren’t clear and are more intense? How do we understand what our bodies are sharing with us? I have prepared three tools to keep in mind when trying to decipher the messages of anxiety.

1. The anxiety is not you. People can easily get confused and assume that a feeling that has been with them for a long time is an extension of who they are. Just like an app isn’t a phone, rather a program that the phone can run, so too are your feelings. This program is merely a function not a definition of the system itself. Feelings are something your being creates, not is. 

2. Anxiety is trying to protect you. Let’s say Pat had a bad experience on a bus and then every subsequent time he got close to one, fear came trickling in. This fear lead Pat to avoid busses all together and it succeeded in lowering his anxiety level. But as time went on this got in the way of Pat’s flow of life. Now the anxiety that was adapted to protect Pat was also getting in his way. Somewhere along the line anxiety stopped working for him even though it’s original purpose was to protect. His internal system was doing the best it could with the tools is had. It is easy to focus on the things that need to change and miss the ways that we are doing the best we can.  

3. You don’t have to do this alone.  Imagine a large field of grass. If you walked the same way each time you crossed the field, then the grass would be flattened in that area and a path would emerge. It could appear that this path was the only option for getting across the field. The first time you would walk on another area of the field, it might feel uncomfortable. The grass may scratch your legs and it would be hard to see where you’re stepping. However, the more you would walk that way, another path would be visible. If you walked the new path with someone else then you’d have another pair of eyes to navigate, another pair of feet to push down the grass, and a listener who would hear your concerns. Getting support and starting therapy can assist your process. You don’t have to do this alone. 

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By: Alkmini Hormovas, LMFT

Beginning therapy can feel daunting. It can feel risky. The good news is that moving past fear is exactly what therapy is useful for. 

If you are looking for a new therapist, chances are you want something in your life to change, and you wanted to change for the better.

Perhaps you want to:

  • experience joy and calm more frequently
  • have a greater sense of balance and health
  • improve interpersonal relationships and communication

You may not be sleeping well or have lost motivation to be active or do your usual hobbies. You may be wondering why you can’t seem to attract the partner, job, or friends you want. You may feel frustrated with yourself and others, angry that things aren’t the way you imagined they would be, or restless and bored with certain parts of your life. 

Whatever it is that you want to change, curiosity and wonder are incredible tools that can help you along the way.  A sense of amusement can also be key! 

Therapy helps you discover and acknowledge what gives you satisfaction and enjoyment, as well as what makes you experience discomfort, anxiety, or fear. Therapy doesn’t only focus on what needs to change, it helps you to identify what is awesome in your life and what you genuinely want more of.

“You are not broken. You are breaking through.” -Alex Myles 

Give The Anxiety Relief Center a call to see how therapy can help you. 

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