Is it Anxiety or Stress?

Being a counselor is just such a joy for me... most of the time.

Early in my career, I wondered if becoming a therapist would mean listening to people vent their complaints all day.  I worried if I could ever help them change.  I wondered if they would think I was enough of an expert to guide them in their journey toward a better life.

The good news is that opening my private counseling office in Florence, Alabama has been one of the most satisfying and fulfilling moves of my life.  When I work with a woman who has anxiety attacks, or a child who can't go to school because of worry, or with a  mom who wonders if everyone is as overwhelmed as she is (The answer is yes.), I can't help but feel truly blessed.  

There are hard parts about my job, though.  

One of the most difficult parts of being a counselor is knowing wholeheartedly that someone would benefit tremendously from my services, yet they just don't realize it.  


"This is just how I am."

Is it?  Or is this how you are when your emotions are out of balance?  If you worked with me for a few sessions, would your mind still race with worries that your child will get sick or be in an accident?  

woman worrying


"It runs in my family.  My mom was always worried sick, and my grandfather was... and I've been this way since I was a kid."

Wow.  What a shame that three generations of your family has lived with symptoms of sleeplessness, excessive fear, and jaw pain that all could have been avoided.  

man working on worry


"Isn't this just life?  I mean, I feel like what I'm worried about - finances, jobs, kids - is all pretty normal."

Allow me to let you in on a little secret:

Just because worrying about everyday life - kids, jobs, finances - is common doesn't mean it's normal.  

1 in 5 people has anxiety

Research tells us that up to 1 in 5 people worldwide suffer from anxiety.  That makes it extremely common... but it doesn't make the way your body feels with anxiety normal.  Far from it.  

Your body is trying to tell you that something is abnormal when you experience the symptoms of anxiety:

  • Feeling restless, tense, on edge, or keyed up 
  • Muscle tension in your shoulders, feet, back, or jaw
  • Bad dreams, fitful sleep, waking up repeatedly, or having trouble turning your mind off at bedtime
  • Heartburn, stomachaches, vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea when stressed
  • Having a sensation of choking or chest tightness in times of intense panic
  • Feeling a sense of impending doom if you're not with your "safe person" or "safe place"
  • Ruminating on the "what ifs" past the point of what's actually helpful


Although these symptoms may be the most common manifestations of emotional distress in the world, they are NOT normal.  


To that end, I created my free "Is it Anxiety or Stress?" quiz to help you figure out the difference.  While it's not a diagnostic tool intended to determine whether you're clinically diagnosable with anxiety (only your health care professional can do that), it's designed to identify key symptoms of excessive anxious thoughts that can show up in your mind and body.





Alcohol is Feeding Your Anxiety, Not Calming It

When I read about Ashley Longmire’s history with anxiety and subsequent treatment for substance abuse, I knew that I had to feature her as an expert here! Enjoy this wonderful post and please be sure to check out her other work!
— Celeste
alcohol is feeding your anxiety

“I deserve a break,” is a thought that ran through my head on a regular basis.

My chest was always tight. I burst into tears at the slightest provocation. Everything hurt my feelings, and everybody was an idiot (except me, of course). I don’t even want to admit how often I snapped at my children and everybody else who dared so much as a whisper in my direction.

Real life was that thing that got in the way of me “relaxing”. On any given day, I was counting down the hours or days until I could either escape, or dull, reality. The kids were too loud, the house was too messy, the bus came too early, and the bills never stopped.


I thought alcohol was a necessary vice, my savior from the daily stress. It was the only thing that never let me down, or so I thought. 


The first drink was always gone quickly. My anxiety would drop and my mood would rise instantly. By the end of my second drink, I felt like a completely normal, happy, relaxed person. A happy, relaxed person with a bit of a buzz, but not much. I rarely stopped at two drinks. It would just snowball from there.


I was anxious about everything all the time, but I didn’t even know it was anxiety. It was just life, the only thing I knew. I was always going, always solving problems, always planning ahead (worrying), always juggling everything for everybody. The world was on my shoulders, and I could not afford to slow down.

anxiety at work


Now that I’m approaching two years sober, I’ve learned a lot about anxiety and alcohol that I hope inspires others who struggle. These are just a few of the many lessons I’ve learned:

  • ·      Self-medicating with alcohol or other substances only stunted my emotional development.

We have emotions for a reason. Using alcohol to quiet or run from them only prolongs the struggle.

  • ·      Enjoying a drink from time to time, and needing a drink are two very different things. 

When I quit drinking, the chaos in my head slowed down. I started dealing with my emotions instead of running from them and pushing them away like mosquitos buzzing around my head. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.

The more we use or drink, the more anxious most of us become over time. In the days following a binge-drinking episode, I was a mess of nerves. Even if I only had 2-3 drinks, I would feel the emotional effects. I would drink again a few days later to calm the anxiety, and the cycle continued. 

I made jokes about being a robot, about being emotionless. Turns out, I’m not emotionless. I never was. It’s just that I was numb, and I used alcohol to cope with trauma that I couldn’t bring myself to face. It’s scary to me how long it took me to realize that alcohol was holding me back. Way too long.


anxiety affects children

Most importantly, and most humiliating for me to admit, is that I was not the mother that my children needed and deserved. That’s a hard truth for any parent to face, but it’s an important one.


For at least 7 years, my decision to self-medicate with alcohol affected my children in different ways.


I never drank around them, and they never saw me drunk or even knew that I drank, but that didn’t matter. I couldn’t handle the stresses of life sober, and that showed up in many ways that affected them.


There is no way I would be a fit guide for them now, had I not quit drinking. It would be like you trying to follow a guide through a dense forest full of predators and poisons, but with a guide who has never been in the woods before, and keeps whining to go back home. Yikes.


Now that I’m sober, not only am I less anxious overall, I am also better equipped to guide my children through the emotional upheaval of growing up. They are preteens now, so you can imagine the range of emotions that we experience on a daily basis.


I can say with complete certainty and gratitude that my life is so, so much better since I stopped using alcohol to deal with anxiety. 


It never ceases to amaze me how most of the time, the solution to our problem is right in front of us. That was certainly true in my case. 


We only get one life, and I’m finally living mine honestly. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to rebuild my life.




ashley longmire anxiety and alcohol

Ashley is a military spouse, mom, stepmom, and Christian who calls Mississippi home. She writes about mental health, recovery, and parenting on her blog at In addition to blogging, she loves building beautiful and profitable websites for bloggers and business owners ( One of her #1 goals is to write and publish a book by the end of 2018. Her long-term dream is to travel the country in an RV with her family, working and connecting with inspiring entrepreneurs all over the country. Connect with her at @bloominash on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

4 Myths About Anxiety Damaging Your Mind and Health

"How can I stop a panic attack IMMEDIATELY?"

Kate* implored me to help her cure her panic attacks with counseling.  She wanted an answer fast!

Unfortunately, in working with Kate on her counseling for Panic Disorder, it became clear that she had suffered from high stress and anxiety for a number of years without seeking treatment.  This led to more serious problems than if she had created a stress management plan when symptoms were less severe.   

Kate's anxiety didn't develop all at once.  It had slowly crept in after a breakup with her long-term boyfriend and coworker, Joe.  Immediately after this breakup, Kate found herself regularly waking at 3AM, when her mind seemed to turn on with worries about how she would manage to continue working with her ex.  Kate soon began to avoid certain meetings or areas of her workplace because she didn't want to risk running into Joe. 

Avoiding important meetings meant Kate fell out of the loop in her job, and she dropped the ball on a few projects.  When her boss gave Kate a bad performance review, her worries increased tenfold.  Some days she felt so paralyzed with worry during her commute that she became physically sick and would pull her car over to avoid vomiting.  

Knowing she couldn't avoid any more lost time at work - especially now - Kate began visiting walk-in clinics in an effort to get her stomach issues under control.  This lasted for nearly 2 years before Kate came to my office for help after she was diagnosed with a panic attack by her OBGYN on a routine visit and was subsequently referred to my office.  

I realized quickly that because Kate's early symptoms of stress (sleeplessness, avoidance) were unmanaged, full-fledged panic attacks (vomiting, nausea, racing heart) ultimately ensued. 

You see, Kate believed a number of damaging myths about anxiety.  She's not alone.  From where I sit, there are 4 major myths that need to be addressed.

4 anxiety myths


4 Myths About Anxiety That Are Damaging Your Mind and Health

1.  "It's not that's just the way I am."  I hear this line every week from potential clients who believe their sleeplessness, muscle tension, or excessive worry are just simply their "nature."  While it's true that some of us are naturally more high-strung and prone to stress, it is false to believe that living with the symptoms of this stress is healthy or "normal."  

Symptoms of anxiety can actually cause or exacerbate a number of health problems:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Eczema
  • Common colds
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Acne
  • Substance abuse
  • Hair loss

Obviously you realize that some conditions, like diabetes or a heart attack, are very serious.  However, it can be easy to think that symptoms like sleep loss are possible to simply ignore.  Consider for a moment how serious insomnia could be if it causes you to nod off while driving.  Or how repeated bouts of the common cold could lead to serious work absenteeism with major consequences.  

It's always best to treat stress and anxiety when symptoms are at a lower level rather than when they become utterly debilitating.


2.  You should hide clinical anxiety or be embarrassed and ashamed of it.  Because I treat dozens of high-achieving, well-dressed, well-liked people for anxiety, I often forget how stigmatized people can feel when admitting to their symptoms.  I regularly tell friends that if they knew how many "normal" (their words) people confidentially come into therapy every day, they'd be a lot more apt to visit a counselor themselves. 

According to the DSM-V, almost 20% of people have anxiety worldwide.  What's more, anxious distress can be inherited just like diabetes or high blood pressure.  Do you fault a person who inherits a predisposition to breast cancer?  Then why get so freaked out when you think someone you know has anxiety?  

In fact, statistically one in five of your friends does probably have anxiety.

It's also worth noting that some anxiety is not inherited, but rather is situational.  Consider Kate:  she'd never experienced anxiety before in her life and had no family history, but a few stressful events left unmanaged caused her to develop symptoms.  


3.  You can just snap out of it.  If you're an anxiety sufferer, it can be incredibly frustrating to hear loved ones say, "Just stop thinking about it." By definition, anxiety means you find it difficult to control the worried thoughts that enter your mind throughout the day.  

This means that anxious can't be effectively managed or resolved by simply ignoring the problem. 

I would venture to say that burying your head in the sand can, in fact, worsen the symptoms.  What if I told you, "Don't think about pink bunnies right now.  No matter what, just ignore any thoughts of pink bunnies that enter your mind.  Don't think about their little pink tails, or their two big ears, or their little pink feet."  What's the only thing on your mind right now?  Pink bunnies!

Managing anxiety and simple daily stress takes an arsenal of coping skills that you use on a regular basis.  


4.  Everybody gets stressed.  A part of this statement is true, granted.  I will wholeheartedly agree that everyday life is full of stressors like bills, traffic, parenting, and dinner plans.   

But when it affects your sleep, appetite, digestion, muscles, fatigue or energy levels...we're dealing with more than stress.

In my Quiet Mind Collective Monthly Survival Guide, I interviewed Samantha Johnston, who shares how a time of incredible stress actually led her body to rebel against her with an autoimmune disorder that caused incredible pain, joint stiffness, and other negative effects.  She shares the incredible ways that simple stress relief routines actually relieved the physical pain symptoms and swelling she was experiencing.  

My Quiet Mind Collective Monthly Survival Guide can be an invaluable part of your monthly stress management and anxiety relief routine.  Through this powerful online course, you'll learn the exact same strategies I'd teach you in therapy... but for a fraction of the cost of counseling and in the privacy of your own home.  


Quiet Mind Collective offers:

  • Transformative coping skills for any level of anxious distress
  • Research-backed psychoeducation broken down into easy-to-understand lessons
  • Powerful worksheets, videos, and audio recordings to help you take back control over the fear and stress affecting your health


While traditional therapy could cost you up to $3500, Quiet Mind Collective Monthly Survival Guide delivers:

  • A value-packed subscription of new lessons every month for one year
  • Videos, worksheets and interactive exercises to help you plan for stress management
  • A private, nurturing community filled with support for your concerns


Pay not $3500, but only $997.  For your convenience, you may also choose to make 12 monthly payments of $97.


A daily, weekly and monthly routine for stress relief helps keep the stressors of life at a manageable level rather than allowing your body to build up damaging symptoms that affect your mind and physical health.  Don't wait to invest in your wellness!



*Kate is a fictitious character created from an amalgam of actual client stories to demonstrate common signs of Panic Disorder.  

4 Ways Anxiety is Sabotaging Your Relationships

"It's all just too much.  I'm certain he's going to leave me... who could live with me like this?"

Andrea sat sobbing in the armchair across from me, clutching a throw pillow.  She'd shredded tissues into bits in my therapy office as she relayed the events that had transpired in her marriage over the last two weeks...

Her husband had stayed late at a work function... Andrea worried he was having an affair.

He missed a workout several times last month... Andrea worried he was going to have a heart attack and die.

They had a conversation about how Andrea's worries really sucked the enjoyment out of their marriage... Andrea worried that her husband would leave her for a woman who was "more fun."  

I might have put more stock in Andrea's concerns had I not met her husband early on in the course of her therapy for generalized anxiety.  During this visit, her husband had expressed sincere affection and genuine support for Andrea.  He repeatedly professed his love and commitment to her, yet she struggled to accept it.


Andrea's anxiety as sabotaging her relationship. 

anxiety in relationships

Though Andrea is a fictional character, the behaviors above are extremely common among my therapy clients with anxiety.  In fact, anxiety in relationships (romantic and otherwise) comes up perhaps more than any other topic when I counsel women.  Unfortunately, anxiety biases our thinking and can cause problems that we aren't even aware of.


4 Ways Anxiety is Sabotaging Your Relationships


 1.  Anxiety changes how you feel and respond in your love life.  A few months ago I was interviewed on a podcast about anxiety, and afterwards a listener wrote on the comments wall asking for my advice.  She had recently endangered her boyfriend's job after her anxiety caused her to make a big scene at his workplace holiday party.  She admitted to me that her anxiety sometimes causes her to fret that her boyfriend values his job more than her, so her worries really ramped up when he began mingling with coworkers at the party.  Upset and fearful, she had pulled him aside and started a heated argument about her feelings... which was witnessed by her boyfriend's colleagues, to his embarrassment.

Anxiety can cause us to believe irrational things, which often leads to hasty decisions.  This is evident in the example above, but other examples might include abruptly breaking up with a partner, making rash decisions to become physically intimate, or trying to move the relationship along faster than is comfortable.

 2.  Anxiety causes you to overthink situations and events.  When you lie in bed at 2am, staring at the ceiling and mulling over a relatively insignificant issue, anxiety may be to blame.  This is one of the most common physical complaints I hear my clients describe, but simply dwelling on a situation more than is helpful or necessary can cause problems, too.

One woman disclosed to me that, after her husband's 10-year high school reunion photos were posted on social media, she had viewed them over and over and over, looking for signs that he was having more fun without her.  She had stayed home from the event (out of insecurity about her outfit) despite her husband begging her to come with him and even offering to stay home instead.  Once she had convinced him to attend alone, she felt somewhat sad that she'd missed out.  Viewing the social media photos, however, had caused her anxiety to go into overdrive.  "Do his friends hate me?  Are they glad I stayed home?  Does he always have more fun when he's away from me?  What if I just drag him down by being around?"  Ruminating on these negative thoughts is a hallmark sign of anxiety.

3. Anxiety changes the way others perceive you.  Remember Monica from the TV show Friends?  Her high-pitched, hysterically obsessive rants were hilarious to watch... but in real life this kind of behavior would drive others away.  I meet clients with anxiety who are naturally high-strung, which may cause them to talk too fast, interrupt often, fidget, or become breathless in conversation.  All of these behaviors put off an energy that can be unattractive to potential romantic interests.  

We all know that some people simply put off "bad vibes."  Anxious distress can cause a hypervigilence that is off-putting because it may seem desperate, needy or high-pressure.  Sometimes this can be helped by simply taking a few deep breaths to lower the heart rate and blood pressure.  Others can sense when we are at ease.

4.  Anxiety can cause unhealthy relationship patterns to develop.  We know that men tend to be "fixers," right?  Imagine how a relationship pattern could develop if a man tries to fix his partner's anxiety...

She verbalizes her worry that she'll be fired for arriving 5 minutes late to work.  He gives her a litany of reasons why she is being irrational.  She becomes more anxious that he isn't listening or that perhaps he thinks she's overreacting.  Do you see the pattern?  

Anxiety  --->  Partner's downplaying of the feelings  --->  More anxiety

anxiety in marriage

Relationships are difficult enough as it is.  

Anxiety can be a villain to healthy thinking patterns, causing trouble in our love lives and even friendships, coworker relationships, or family dynamics.  The next time an issue bubbles up in your relationship, take some time to evaluate whether any of the 4 habits mentioned above might be sabotaging your success in this area.


Have you taken our quiz?

You'll also receive a FREE anxiety Survival Guide by email when you sign up.

Expert Help for Anxiety

Does a dentist fill his own cavities?

Does a surgeon remove his own appendix?

Sometimes you need to reach out for an expert, right?  When it comes to anxiety relief and stress management, you can definitely do a Google search for something like, "How to stop a panic attack fast."  

expert help for anxiety relief

Yes, you'll get some answers.  Yes, you may find some of it helpful.  Should you always trust everything you read on the Internet or see pinned on Pinterest or demonstrated in YouTube?  I think not.  

In this video I share a bit about why.

Like what you saw in the video?

Check out our private Facebook community, Quiet Mind Collective.  You can also look over our Pinterest boards for anxiety relief, stress management, and general wellness.  

If you're wondering what anxiety actually is or whether you may have it, you can check out some of our other articles where I explain the symptoms that often are missed.

Anxiety management techniques taught in therapy can vary from therapist to therapist, obviously, but you're most likely to learn things like deep breathing relaxation techniques.  My own therapist recommends these all the time, and it really helps.


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expert help for anxiety

What is Anxiety and Do I Have It?

"I mean, yeah, I do have trouble falling asleep sometimes.  It's like at 2am I just wake up and I can't stop thinking about stuff... but it's not anxiety."
"I wouldn't say I have anxiety, but I do have some times when my breathing gets really fast and I sort of feel like the walls are closing in on me."
"A family history of anxiety?  Not that I know of.  My mom is constantly worried all the time and texts me at all hours to make sure I haven't been in some kind of accident or whatever."

I've heard all these and more in my years as a counselor for adults and kids.  Every statement above has one thing in common:

They all point to signs of clinical anxiety.

What is anxiety and do I have it

In general, Anxiety Disorders are incredibly misunderstood by the general public.  If you're a sufferer, you know how hard it can be to try explaining your feelings to someone who doesn't get it.  They give you that blank look and ask, "Can't you just stop thinking about it?"

Obviously, if you could stop worrying... wouldn't you just do it?

But no, anxiety goes much deeper than that...

Based on my clinical experience and the criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (the book doctors and mental health professionals use to make diagnoses), there are 8 signs of anxiety that commonly go unnoticed.

8 Anxiety Symptoms You May Not Realize

  1. Muscle tension.  That nagging ache or tightness in your shoulders and neck indicate that your body is stressed out.  Other types of pain may include headache or teeth-clenching.
  2. Worry about lots of different things, even when they're really unlikely.  Will we be in a car crash?  Did I leave my door unlocked?  What if our landfills fill up?  Has my child gotten the right amount of vegetables today?  If you find it difficulty to stop the spinning wheel of "what ifs" in your mind, you may be suffering from anxiety.
  3. Sleep disturbance.  This often manifests as trouble falling asleep or difficulty with staying asleep.  Clients may report that they lie down in the dark but can't stop thinking, or that they awaken in the wee hours with all kinds of worries.
  4. Stressful dreams.  Like sleep disturbances, stressful dreams can be a sign that your body is asking for help with anxiety.  These may include terrifying nightmares, or may be as simple as dreaming that you're unprepared for a big meeting or that you're looking for something you need.  You might not even remember these dreams, so it can be helpful to ask a partner if you talk in your sleep frequently.
  5. Visits to the doctor.  This one gets missed all the time!  I read a statistic on WebMD that 75-90% of doctor visits are actually for stress-related symptoms that mask themselves as physical ailments.  One example was a person I knew who repeatedly asked her doctor for cancer screenings since she was convinced that bumps, bruises, skin discolorations, or coughing meant that she had cancer.  Another example might be unexplained pain that simply cannot be explained by physical ailment (see item #1).
  6. Intense moments of panic.  Periods of intense fear with shortness of breath, dizziness, feeling "crazy," feelings of choking or even thoughts that you might be having a heart attack are common for panic attacks.  What's more, suffers often believe that there is a physical/medical explanation for this rather than an emotional one.  
  7. Irritability.  If you snap at the smallest thing, anxiety could be to blame.  After all, if you're essentially waiting on imagined disaster to strike at any moment, you'd surely be irritated when some small debacle (like burned dinner or a child's tantrum) occurs.
  8. Stomach issues.  Feeling too nervous to eat, vomiting or having diarrhea before a stressful event, or even heartburn can be signs that your body is screaming for relief from the emotions of anxiety.  

It's worth noting that, in general, several of these these symptoms would be required and they'd last in some form for a period of 6 months or more to be considered clinically significant.  In other words, if you've simply had trouble sleeping once in the last few months, the symptom is probably irrelevant.


Is it Anxiety or Stress?  

Take our quiz to find out, plus receive our FREE Survival Guide based on your results!

Please note that this article is not meant as a substitution for health care advice or mental health treatment in any form. Always consult your health care provider if you think you may have an emotional or mental illness.  

Why Does Deep Breathing Reduce Anxiety?

In this video, I'm going to share a bit about why deep breathing works to reduce anxiety.

I can see you nodding off right now.  Don't click away!

Deep breathing gets such a bad rap, because it seems entirely cliche.  Well, I'm here to show you that there's a reason relaxation training always involves mindful breathing.  Whether you're a sufferer of social anxiety, panic attacks, burnout, stress or generalized anxiety... this coping skill will work for you.

Relaxation is a skill that we lose as we age, due to the stress of parenting, financial worries, work/life balance and more.  The good news is that you can learn to reduce your anxiety with techniques like mindful, intentional breathing.

Don't forget to take our quiz, "Is it stress or anxiety?"

deep breathing for anxiety

In the video I'll share about:

  • The fight or flight response
  • How this response is not helpful to us any longer, despite having been really beneficial to our ancestors 
  • Exactly how to breathe correctly for maximum relaxation
  • How to incorporate deep breathing into your daily life for stress reduction and anxiety relief

One more thing... Be sure to check out the quiz mentioned in the video so that you can get all of our downloadable audio files that will walk you through deep breathing exercises.  Just click the button to take our "Is it stress or anxiety?" quiz, and then enter your email when prompted.  

deep breathing reduces anxiety

What are the subconscious triggers for your anxiety?

If you can identify the trigger that sets off anxiety, you're half way to stopping panic attacks in their tracks.  In this video I explain the psychology behind training your brain to actually trigger panic.

Pavlov was a scientist who found that when he fed his dogs, they drooled in anticipation of the meal they expected.  Furthermore, Pavlov noticed that even as he entered the kennel to feed his dogs, they would begin to drool.  After a bit of investigation, Pavlov realized that the bell attached to the kennel door became a trigger for his dogs to salivate... the physiology of their bodies (saliva) was actually caused by something that only REMINDED them of food... not actual food itself.

Your anxiety and stress reactions might be caused by some kind of subconscious pairing in your life.  Does a certain text tone set off shortness of breath because you associate it with work?  Does drinking coffee cause your heart rate to increase and thus set off the fear of having a panic attack?  

We also discuss desensitization in this video:  how to train yourself not to respond to panic-inducing stimuli.  For example, if a certain text alert causes your heart to race, try learning relaxation strategies (like the ones mentioned on this channel!).  As you practice these relaxation techniques, play the text alert continuously... pretty soon you'll have your body trained to respond to that same sound with relaxation instead of nervous energy.

anxiety triggers

How I wrecked my friend's car (or so I thought)...

Last week on the street outside my office I saw Wade, this really nice guy I know from church.  He works from home making these incredible promotional and media videos, and a few months back he'd mentioned wanting to rent an actual office space rather than being distracted at home.  Since there was a vacancy in my building and he'd be the ideal business "neighbor," I called out to Wade from a distance so that I could fill him in on the details.

We chatted for maybe 5 minutes, standing outside in the sunshine between our cars laughing about entrepreneurship and all its challenges.  But as often happens when you're a naturally anxious person, I began to fear that maybe he needed to hurry off on an errand that I might be keeping him from.  So we said our goodbyes and Wade thanked me sincerely for sharing with him about the vacant office.

As I walked away toward my parked car, I heard Wade put his enormous truck into gear to back out of his parking space.  Then it happened...

I heard blaring horns as he backed cautiously out into the street and right into a tiny little sedan. See, Wade's truck was so high up that he couldn't even see the minuscule car behind him.  He heard the horn blaring, but couldn't see any obstacles in his rearview mirror.  

I stood paralyzed with anxiety.

Guilty thoughts came rushing into my head:

  • Did I just cause that wreck?
  • What should I do? Offer to get his kids at school? Offer to stay until the police come?
  • Why did I stop him to talk?  He never would've had the accident if I hadn't slowed him down.

I had this terrible feeling that Wade would be upset that I'd caused the whole ordeal.  In a rush I stammered out how guilty I felt for having "caused" the accident, and of course Wade was entirely generous and took total ownership for the fender-bender.  He encouraged me to get on with my day and not give it another thought.

But even hours later I found myself thinking of the incident.  In fact, it was the first thing I told my husband when he arrived home from work.  Later that night I saw Wade's wife and I told her about it, again apologizing.

That's what anxiety feels like:  it's not always standing in the corner, crying and wringing your hands.  Sometimes it's just that nagging feeling of guilt or stress or "what if" that you just can't shake.  

It comes from mistaken beliefs about our world and about our worth.  It comes from irrational fears about what others think or what could possibly happen.  It comes from our genes.

So here I am today, planting my flag and working to help you understand that anxiety doesn't have to look like the picture you've seen on TV.  Sometimes it's as simple as a look inside your own thought patterns.

3 Practices to Calm New Mom Anxiety

Sleepless nights. Early morning feedings. And fatigue you just can’t sleep off! Welcome to life with a newborn!

As mothers we love our children dearly, but getting through those first few months of motherhood can make even the most prepared and organized woman, feel stressed out and overwhelmed. As a mom of three crazy kids I’ve learned that doing a few simple strategies can make a huge difference in a new mom’s health and happiness.

Here are three simple strategies!

newborn mom anxiety


With a new baby you might feel like you don’t have time to do anything for yourself. However, yogic breathing practices (pranayama) relieve anxiety quickly and you can do it anytime and anywhere.

Here’s how it works:

While your baby is napping or feeding, sit still and close your eyes. Settle into your body and turn your awareness to your breath. As you inhale count slowly to 4 (in your head). As you exhale count slowly to 6. This uneven breath emphases the exhalation, which calms the nervous system and brings your mind and body into a more peaceful state.


Sing it out

Babies love to hear beautiful sounds. And as a new mom, singing to your little one can help calm her and YOU at the same time.

Here’s how it works:

This stress relieving strategy is similar to yogic chanting. Sing your favorite lullaby or ballad. This type of song will force you to take a deep inhale, then slowly release the exhale in the form of beautiful sounding notes. Hence calming your nervous system.


Strike a (yoga) pose

Newborns love to get face time with their mommy. This practice is a great way to entertain her and fit in some stress releasing yoga postures at the same time.

Here’s how it works:

Folding your body forward at the hips in a seated forward fold helps to calm your nerves by increasing your exhale and turning your focus inward. To do this mommy and me version of seated forward fold, sit down on the floor, with your legs extended. Place your baby on your legs laying on his back. Inhale as you sit up tall, then exhale folding at your hips to bring your face close to your baby’s face. Hold this posture for a few breaths. (Bonus points if you sing and apply kisses to your little one’s cheeks). Do this as many times as you like.


Having a newborn in the house is enough to make any woman feel like she’s going just a bit crazy. But with some simple yoga-based tweaks you can make it through survival mode and look forward to sunnier days with your new little bundle!


yoga for new mothers

Keya Williams is a Yoga Lifestyle Consultant, teaching busy moms how to use yoga to juggle life and kids without burning out! Could you use more simple ways to bring more peace to your mom life? Check out Keya’s FREE video and learn her 3-step system to help you do motherhood with more ease and joy! www.Nourished-Motherhood/video

Are you a mom struggling to get it all done?  Check out our freebie to help you take charge of your schedule!

As a new mom, I struggled with anxiety over everything! Was my baby breathing? What if she rolls onto her stomach in the night? Is she going to get enough sleep tonight so that I can rest, too? WOW! I’m so glad Keya Williams of Nourished Motherhood could guest post for me today here on the blog.
— Celeste

Celebrate Failure!

Kathryn created a roundup of some of her best articles for self-care. Check them out!
— Celeste
17 self care pros talk about anxiety relief

Open your heart with yoga and mindfulness:

Embrace all activities as learning opportunities:

Celebrate failure:

Kathryn Kemp Guylay, MBA, Certified Nutritional Counselor

Kathryn’s Make Wellness Fun website Kathryn’s Facebook page Kathryn’s Twitter page Kathryn’s Instagram page The Instagram page for Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow Kathryn’s website for Mountain Mantras book Kathryn’s website for Give it a Go, Eat a Rainbow book

You joined a gym, right?  Why not join an online "gym" for your anxiety relief, too?  Our entire resource library is available here:

People Aren't Thinking About You... And it's a good thing

So simple, but such life-changing advice! I love that Lilah Higgins shared this today for our Anxiety Relief from 17 Self-Care Pros series.
— Celeste
lilah higgins self care pros anxiety relief

One step at a time. You don't have to do everything or be everything to everyone. Find out what you love and do those things, let everything else fall down your priority list.

Try to tune out the noise and what you assume people think of you. They're most likely not thinking of you at all and it's easier to function when you realize that.

Get a coach or someone who can mentor you honestly.

Lilah Higgins, Brand Designer and Biz Mentor

The Higgins Creative - @thehigginscreative (Instagram)


Need an honest look at where your personal self-care is lacking?  Try our private assessment completed by a professional therapist.

Beat Shoulder Pain & Muscle Tension from Anxiety

Don’t we all suffer from tension in the back and shoulders? It’s certainly where I feel stress the most. Katie gives us a fabulous pose to try as she rounds out our Anxiety Relief Tips from 17 Self-Care Pros series.
— Celeste
anxiety relief

I carry a lot of tension in my shoulders. When I'm feeling especially anxious I do a yoga move called Garudasana Arms (Eagle Pose).

Inhale and take the arms out to the sides and up to shoulder height. Exhale and cross the right elbow over the left and bring the hands together, either palms together or hooking the fingers around the mound of the thumb.

Extend from the middle of the back between the shoulder blades out through the elbows, spreading the shoulder blades away from the spine. Lift the elbows up with the fingers and forearms pointing straight up towards the ceiling, and take the upper arms parallel to the floor.

Lift and broaden the top of the chest up into the space created by the forearms coming together. Spiral the forearms around each other, rolling the upper forearm and palm away from you.

Hold the position for several breaths.

Bring the arms back out to the side and repeat, bringing the left elbow on top this time.


Katie E Flores, Certified Holistic Health Coach

IG: katieeflores, FB


If muscle tension, shoulder pain, and back pain are part of your day, try out our Stress Skills Deeper Dive.  You'll receive some great resources for working out those muscular challenges.


Anxiety Advice with Peggy Galdamez

Today we’re back with more tips in our Self-Care Advice series. Peggy Galdamez shares some wonderful tips with us.
— Celeste

Find your safe place. Where is it that you feel the safest and go there. Perhaps accompanying this with some breathing techniques to help re-center yourself.

Have a consistent routine that you can count on, depend on and rely on. Take it in small increments too throughout your day if that is helpful. What can you get through in the first 10 minutes, then the next 10 minutes, and so on.

Do something that provides or creates an outlet for yourself to help cope, deal with the anxiety, or provides you with your own version of "therapy". This can come in many forms such as movement, journaling, painting, cleaning... etc.

Peggy Galdamez, Health and Wellness Coach

Hands up if you're stressed!  

Our Anxiety Trigger Tracking Course can help you see what's actually causing those late-night worry sessions.

Trust Yourself To Get Through Anxious Moments

It’s always a blast to feature another professional therapist. Today you’re getting a wonderful article from Ili Walter.
— Celeste
17 self care pros give anxiety advice

My approach to anxiety is not an approach for an anxious moment. It is an approach that addresses how to feel anxiety, recognize it, and its message, and still make your best choice--one that is not based on anxiety. My tips are based on learning to cultivate trust in yourself--a belief that you can get through anxious moments--as well as listening to a variety of messages, anxiety being just one of those many messages.

One tip for beginning to listen differently is to start making a distinction between your voice and anxiety's voice. For example, you can ask yourself, "What fear is anxiety bringing up? And then, counter it with, "What do I know to be true that directly counters that fear?”

There is great benefit in taking up a challenging physical or creative pursuit, because it quiets the mind. Great examples include running, weight-bearing exercises, pottery, playing an instrument, etc. Time spent in the creative activity, over time, teaches you that you are capable of reaching new goals, and it helps you gain trust in your strengths and abilities. If you already have an activity, what do you notice about it's [should not have an apostrophe]ability to quiet anxiety? If you don't already have an activity, what activity would you like to begin? Start now, and take small steps.

Consider, what is your relationship to anxiety? It is a relationship of hatred, avoidance, curiosity? Take some time to define your relationship as well as how it helps and prohibits the development of the kind of relationship you'd like to have. Change your stance in the relationship, based on what it is now and what you'd like to to be. For example, if it is now a relationship of avoidance, you may want to begin acknowledging anxiety regularly. If it is currently a relationship of hatred, what can you do to promote a relationship of acceptance?

Ili Walter, LMFT, Therapist Coach - Family Therapy


We get it - anxiety is challenging enough.  But just give our 5-Day Anxiety Challenge a try... it's the easiest challenge you'll probably ever complete!

Free Yourself from the Anxiety of Perfectionism

Donna offers the sweetest graphics at Mamas Magic. Check out her tips below!
— Celeste
17 self care pros give anxiety advice

Free yourself from perfectionism. Better is good enough. Small changes add to big results.

Remember what you loved as a child. What made you happy? Do that. Even 15 minutes a week takes you back to that carefree time and calms the crazy.

Donna Moon, Magic Mama

fb: @mamasmagictomballtx; pinterest: mamas magic


mamas moon self-care self care for anxiety

Have you joined our anxiety and stress management community on Facebook?  Click the image to join now!

Confronting the Lies of Anxiety - 3 Self-Care Tips (Including a Resource for Anxious Kids)

I really admire Samantha McDonald for her resiliency in dealing with life as a special needs mom. It was an honor to share her anxiety self-care tips in our roundup this week.
— Celeste
Self care for anxiety

My top tip for my clients to help relieve anxiety is called "Truth vs. Lies". Write out all the statements you are saying to yourself, such as "I'll never have enough money to pay bills" or "I'm so worried about how my child is doing in 2nd grade". Next to those write 1 truth regarding each statement - "I was able to buy groceries this month" or "My son got an A on his last spelling test". This exercise will help you recognize when your anxieties are unfounded or if there is any truth to them.

As a family coach, and a special needs mom myself, one of my top recommendations for anxious children, is a "Calm Down Box". Take any type of container and fill it with items that you know help your child relax. Play-doh, hand fidgets, light-up balls, kinetic sand, for example. When you see them becoming anxious, give them their calm down box and watch them have fun.

As a family coach, and a special needs mom, one of my favorite tools for my own anxious children is to get them moving. When my daughter is struggling with homework, or loud noises in the house, we tell her to go ride her bike, take the dog for a walk, or her favorite, jump on the trampoline. For our son it's Pokemon GO or also the trampoline. It's amazing how re-directing them to an activity helps their brains handle anxiety-filled moment so much better.

Samantha McDonald, Life & Family Coach - Living With Real Joy

If your kids struggle with anxiety, too, check out our freebie:

Erase Regret... Eliminate Worry

Today is a really special day, because I love sharing this advice from my colleague, Erik Andress. Erik curates the podcast I co-host, The How To Be A Grownup Podcast. I hope you’ll check it out, and I know you’ll love Erik’s inspiration! He continues with our Anxiety Advice from 17 Self-Care Pros series.
— Celeste
Self care anxiety advice

Remember that no amount of regret will change the events of your past and no amount of worrying will dictate the future. Breathe deeply and as you exhale, know that you are a person of powerful worth and you are very much in control of the way that you perceive and react to your experiences!

Erik Andress, Educator and Podcaster - How To Be A Grownup

Twitter and Instagram: @erikandress

Our Stress Skills Deeper Dive course is filled with powerful anxiety coping strategies.  Check it out!

How Acting Like a Cat Can Resolve Anxiety

We continue with our Tips from 17 Self-Care Pros today, and I loved this creative advice from Selina Almodovar.
— Celeste
self care for anxiety

Start Talking To Yourself! (Speak in your own love language)

Do What Your Cat Does (they sleep, they eat, and they take really good grooming care of themselves- which of those are you lacking?)

Create Your Oceanview (use/create/visit an image that often soothes and brings instant calmness into your life, I.e. Sunset, beach, desert, garden, etc)

Selina Almodovar, Relationship Coach


Lacking in self-care for your own life?  Check out our freebies... they're a great way to take care of your mind, body and soul.