Lifestyle Blog: living with fear & anxiety

A Lifestyle Blog and Podcast on Mental Health

Self Judgement — September 20, 2018

Self Judgement

self judgementWhen trying to change, do something new, or meeting new people – self judgement is the number one thing that can get in your way. Feeling insecure and nervous are normal, but too much of this critical self-talk can be very damaging to your self-esteem. Harshly judging yourself based on every action you take, every word you say, or maybe something you regret not doing will keep you wallowing in self pity.

What is the best thing you can do to keep self-judgement at bay? Embrace “oh well”. Did something embarrassing? “Oh well.”  Saying “oh well” signals that you are ready to move on from the embarrassing situation. No more wallowing in regret. You just acknowledge you made a mistake and then turn your attention to what you can do next.

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Fear amplifies anxiety — September 18, 2018

Fear amplifies anxiety

When you’re in a constant state of fear, your body will be on edge and see most things as threats. Anything that makes you uncomfortable could cause you to spin into a mini or major anxiety attack. Fear and anxiety stem from the same part in the brain – the amygdala. The amygdala detects the threat and a person’s response to that threat. Once a threat is detected, the amygdala alerts the secretion of chemicals throughout the body – such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, adrenaline, and cortisol. These chemicals evoke emotional and physical responses in the body such as an intense, overwhelming fear or even a panic attack.

So, fear and anxiety are close cousins. What makes them different? Oftentimes we experience fear when we are in immediate danger or we are about to do something new or scary. Anxiety on the other hand is the worrying for the future event. Being constantly fearful of your environment, possible outcomes, or events will kick in your anxious thoughts of all the things that can go wrong. If you keep repeating this cycle, your brain will default to any little upset and have you pull out all these irrational thoughts. This will eventually rewire your brain and continue the vicious cycle of fear and anxiety. The more fear you get, the more anxious you will become and over time this will amplify. Grasping a hold of this and taking control of your emotions can help save you from a life of anxiety and fear.

I have a previous post on how to get over an anxiety attack when they occur, however this is a bandaid. A prolonged state of fear and anxiety can only be overcome by confronting your irrational thoughts. You need to identify your underlying fears, confront them, and talk yourself off the ledge of anxiety. Rationalize your thoughts. Ground yourself. Bring yourself back to reality. Combat your desire to spiral in a thought web. You will thank yourself.

 

Reflections on Relationships — September 13, 2018

Reflections on Relationships

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Relationships are the most complicated yet most rewarding part of life. They take hard work and dedication by both parties. Sometimes certain individuals were only meant to be transitory, certain people may be “lifers” and other may come and go at different points throughout our life. After spending so much time getting to know someone, it is hard to think of that person not being in your life any longer. It is saddening to realize they won’t know you anymore. But when one person leaves it makes room for others to enter. Don’t fret, the right ones will always find a way to stay in your life.

Comfort and Growth — September 11, 2018

Comfort and Growth

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The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all. – Mulan

Comfort is familiarity. Comfort is knowing what to expect for the day. Comfort means not having to exert yourself too much. Comfort means not needing to work harder than needed.

Comfort is a goal we all seek. Comfort feels good. We come home from our comfortable job. We immediately change into something more comfortable. At home we can strip down to our most comfortable attire and can peacefully go about our business.

Comfort is beautiful. I love feeling comfortable with a person I love, a job I can tolerate, and a home where I can relax. However, constant comfort can be… boring.

Seeking comfort in all things we do sounds good, but can be harmful for our well-being. Sometimes we seek comfort to a fault.

Comfort is like looking at the world through a tiny focused lens while the rest of the world is blurred out of focus so we don’t have to pay attention to it. Stepping outside our comfort zone and pushing ourselves a little harder to do something we find scary or intimidating, that is how we can truly have a fulfilled life. Being in a constant state of comfort will not allow us to grow.

How can I push myself out of my comfort zone?

Well, being uncomfortable means putting ourselves into unfamiliar situations. Unfamiliarity means something that is different. Maybe you changed up your morning routine and took a more scenic route to work. Maybe you finally said hi to the girl you see every morning on the bus. Maybe you try to get that promotion. Maybe you can purposely get lost in a new city. Maybe you can try the new restaurant in town. Maybe you try to learn a new skill. Maybe, just maybe, you will grow.

Spice up your life!

 

Chasing people — September 6, 2018

Chasing people

The right people will stay in your life. The right ones won’t leave. You won’t find the need to chase them, their friendship, or their love. If you find yourself constantly in this tug of war with a person who vacillates back and forth between wanting you and leaving you – this is some drama you might not want to put up with any longer.

It is tough letting people go, but it is tougher knowing you had to convince them to stay.

I’ll Keep Changing — September 4, 2018

I’ll Keep Changing

I am a different person than I was ten years ago. Drastically different in some ways. Although I look the same, you wouldn’t recognize me.

I am a different person than I was five years ago. Drastically different in some ways. Although I look the same, you wouldn’t recognize me.

I am a different person than I was just one year ago. Drastically different in some ways. Although I look the same, you wouldn’t recognize me.

When I looked in the mirror I thought I knew who I was. But I am a stranger.

I act differently, eat different foods, have different people in my life, have different morals and standards, and I can live my life authentically now. Different things matter to me. People have come and gone. My memories are blurry. Things have been added and subtracted. I have changed. And I think I will keep changing. Some for the good and some for the worse.

That is life, I suppose.

Tips for overcoming an anxiety attack — August 28, 2018

Tips for overcoming an anxiety attack

An anxiety attack can come about at any given moment in my life. However there are certain triggers that I am aware of. But I always try to be prepared at any given moment in case of any random attacks. I have compiled a few different methods for reducing an attack once one presents itself to me. These have helped me and hopefully they can help you too.

Depending on the location and situation for the attack, these methods may vary.

Get some air! First I try to either go outside, open a window, or pump up the AC and have it blow in my face. Having cold refreshing air helps me when I’m having an attack and finding myself with a lack of oxygen.

Take deep breaths! I then try to take deep breaths and tell myself I am OK. I try to feel my breathing again. When I get attacks I feel I can’t control my breath, so by focusing on my breathing and feeling the air enter my lungs helps me to focus.

Get some water! I try to carry water with me now that I have anxiety attacks. If I am with a group of people I can take a sip of water and not look suspicious. The water can help cool me down especially if it is cold. I suggest getting a refillable water bottle that can keep your beverage cool. Seltzer also works too. I like Coconut flavored La Croix 🙂

Get some mints! I also carry around mints so I can pop a mint and focus on the mint and its cool refreshing…mintiness. I like Lifesavers Wint-O-Green. They last a long time and I like the taste. I also keep them in my car just in case.

The 5-4-3-2-1 Rule! If all else fails then I do the 5-4-3-2-1 rule that my therapist taught me. I say out loud 5 things I see with an adjective: blue car, red traffic light, green grass, gray pole, white license plate. Then it’s 4 things you can touch with an adjective: cold steering wheel, soft blanket, coarse hair, sharp plastic. Then 3 things you can hear: honking horn, soft music, breezy wind. Then 2 things you can smell: sweet roses, floral air freshener. Then 1 thing you can taste: minty mouth wash. It can really ground you and focus your mind so you’re not thinking about the panic attack, rather you focus on your surroundings.

Let me know if you have tried any of these or if you do something else that may help. Also, please seek professional help if you experience anxiety attacks. It can really help you manage in the long-term.

In Praise of Failure —

In Praise of Failure

success-failure-sign

image source: https://leadingwithtrust.com/2015/02/02/4-ways-to-transform-failure-into-success/

One of the latest trends in the self-help, motivation, and inspiration centered industry is to tell people via podcasts and books to revel in their failures. Celebrating failures seems to be the common theme among this elite group of individuals. Telling story after story about how their failures were essential to their success. However, I fear that this joyous expression of failure and its portrayal as something benevolent is not exactly being explained very well. The sheer event of failure in itself is not what should be getting the praise, rather it is in not giving up, despite the setbacks we face.

Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the main propagators of this “praising failure” movement.

I think it is great to reframe what it means to fail. But we must be careful by just repeating, “go ahead and fail!” The real motive we should be praising is not to let the fear of failure paralyze you and stop you from taking action altogether. Prepare, perform, then evaluate your results. The “failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying” Sara Blakely, CEO of SPANX says this very well.

So go ahead, do the thing, and whether you succeed or fail, I praise you for trying.

 

 

The road to confidence — August 21, 2018

The road to confidence

Headline: A shy lanky girl grows up to be a confident woman.

The cliches don’t work. Fake it ’till you make it. Sure it may be a quick fix, a momentary jolt pulses through your body. You take your power stance and feel like superwoman. Your endorphins pump through your veins, electrifying your senses. You are highly attentive. You are focused. You are in the zone. You go into that job interview and blow it out of the water! 

Then you go home. And you sink into your couch and binge watch the Office for the 5th times until you pass out. You feel dejected. You doubt yourself, your abilities, the fun banter with the HR person who  interviewed you. Where did all that jazzed up confidence go?

It was a momentary adrenaline rush, your built-in survival mechanism kicking in boosting your energy levels to give you the necessary oomph to get you out of your car and into your new prospective job.

This was temporary confidence. It’s not all bad, but it won’t give you those warm and fuzzy long lasting feelings.

The road to confidence and self-esteem is paved with blood, sweat, and tears. Confidence is not attained by pretending to be confident. It is a skill that grows as a person gains experience. Confidence is gained through action

You can’t think yourself into confidence, but you can act your way towards a better self-esteem.

How I broke myself — August 17, 2018

How I broke myself

My grandmother always told me not to care about what others thought of me. People’s opinions of me were none of my business. For a long time, I took that advice and I ran with it. I really didn’t care what people thought of me. When I was ridiculed in school, I utilized the old adage, “rubber glue back to you.” But soon my glue began to wear off and the nasty comments began to stick to me.

They then ate at me inside. I couldn’t shake them. The older I got, the more I saw of the world and human nature. The more changes (with puberty) that I underwent, I began to care A LOT about what my peers thought of me. I became very conscious of my position in the world, people’s expectations of me, and my differences. My outward appearance was of utmost importance. So much so, that my insides began to deteriorate. I began ignoring what made me happy and instead did things I thought “looked good” or did things “I was supposed to do.” I began highlighting things I never cared for and ignoring the things that made me unique. I wanted to blend in, be normal, and with that, I lost myself.

Lately, I’ve been on a quest for rediscovery. I’m slowly starting to do the things I once loved. I keep trying to figure out what will bring me joy today, but I feel as though I am too far gone. I’ve become too robotic in my actions. I even shut down some days. I completely cut myself off from the world. I feel so dejected and detached from myself and my loved ones.

By veering so far off my path on my journey to self-development by doing the things I was “supposed” to do, I did the opposite. I deteriorated myself. I broke myself. I now am in the process of rebuilding. I’m finding myself having to forcibly pull myself out of the hole I dug. It is a constant struggle. But I am trying.