coping skills

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 serious...it'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.  

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

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

Breath

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

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

www.thehigginscreative.com

The Higgins Creative - @thehigginscreative (Instagram) www.thehigginscreative.com/facebook

 


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

www.KatieEFlores.com

IG: katieeflores, FB fb.com/katiefloresfanpage

 


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.

 

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 Basicsfamilytherapybasics.com

@iliwalter


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

www.mamasmagic.net

fb: @mamasmagictomballtx; pinterest: mamas magic

 

mamas moon self-care self care for anxiety

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