Tips for Coping with Social Isolation and Reducing Anxiety

May 20, 2020

Humans thrive in environments with social contact and don’t do well in isolation. That’s why solitary confinement is used as a punishment in state penitentiaries. It causes the prisoners great mental anguish. Many of us have had a taste of what it feels like to be in solitary or small group confinement over the last couple […]

Tips for Coping with Social Isolation and Reducing Anxiety

Humans thrive in environments with social contact and don’t do well in isolation. That’s why solitary confinement is used as a punishment in state penitentiaries. It causes the prisoners great mental anguish.

Many of us have had a taste of what it feels like to be in solitary or small group confinement over the last couple of months. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the lockdown measures to slow its spread, have been hard for many of us mentally and emotionally.

We don’t know how long this crisis will last and that uncertainty is adding to our distress. We don’t have control over the virus, or what our governments do, but we do have control over ourselves and what we focus on. With this in mind, here are some tips for coping with social isolation, for however long it goes on.

Isolate Yourself from the Media

Too much news can overwhelm you and increase anxiety. With a situation that is developing and so many differing points of view,  it can cause confusion and panic to engage with too much media. Try to limit yourself to looking briefly at the headlines and personally relevant information, but stay away from the temptation to leave the news on all day or check-in repeatedly. There are much better and healthier places to put your attention and energy.

Get Creative

Being isolated can get very boring very quickly, so it’s important that you try and get creative with your time. This could mean doing a home beautification project like painting the living room and rearranging the furniture. Learning a new skill or language and maybe making it a group project with your partner or a family member. It could mean experimenting with an old recipe, trying some new dance moves, or making up a game with your kids. Just have fun and think outside the box!

Reconnect

Now is a great time to reconnect with friends and loved ones you haven’t spoken to in a while. Technology like Skype and Facetime makes it incredibly easy to chat with friends and family anywhere in the world. Try not to overthink it, just reach out. Very likely your friend could use the social contact now too.

Stay Active

A lot of the anxiety we may feel comes from the fact we aren’t moving our bodies as much as we usually do. It’s important to stay physically active during this time. If you can do so safely, try to get outside and get some sun too. Go for a walk or ride your bike. Not only is exercise good for us physically, but activity releases endorphins that make us feel good mentally and emotionally as well.

Meditate

The world is a chaotic place right now and it seems we are being hit with negativity from all sides. Your internal chatter may also be very negative right now. It’s important to make time each day for some quiet in all this chaos. Meditation is a great way to find that quiet.

If you’ve never meditated before, that’s okay. Just give it a try. It isn’t about being a great meditator, it’s just about finding a little calm in the storm.

One of the easiest ways to meditate is through a listening meditation. Find a space in your house where you can be alone and get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out… and simply listen to the ambient sounds.

What do you hear? The buzzing of a light? A fly? Your dog’s collar rattling down the hall? Expand your hearing to see what else can you hear outside your house. Birds? Lawnmowers? Traffic?

Simply breathe and listen letting your mind bounce from sound to sound for 5-10 minutes. When you listen intently, you can’t think at the same time, so enjoy the mental quiet. If you notice that you slip and get caught up in your thoughts again, just refocus on the sounds and find the calm again.

If you find that the social isolation is really beginning to trouble you and you’d like to speak with someone, please contact me to schedule a consultation. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

SOURCES:

Is Telehealth the Future of Therapy?

May 4, 2020

Telehealth has been the “new normal” for the past few months, but will it continue? In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, many therapists have had to quickly figure out how to use online sessions. This change has allowed therapists to be responsive to the social distancing safety protocols while also supporting their clients through the […]

Is Telehealth the Future of Therapy?

Telehealth has been the “new normal” for the past few months, but will it continue? In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, many therapists have had to quickly figure out how to use online sessions. This change has allowed therapists to be responsive to the social distancing safety protocols while also supporting their clients through the emotional turmoil of this challenging time.

While we are now looking towards slowly opening back up, many of us have changed our view of Teleheath. We can now see the benefits this treatment option offers for our clients and our practices. It’s really not so surprising that telehealth is a growing industry, currently a $6 billion, and expected to reach $20 billion by 2025.

Here are just some of the benefits of “virtual therapy”:

Privacy

Many people, especially those that live in smaller towns and cities, are hesitant to seek help from a therapist for fear their friends and neighbors will find out. With telehealth, you can receive help from the comfort and privacy of your own home. This can be particularly helpful for professionals who are highly visible in their community and teens and young adults who go to school/college with all of their friends and can feel ashamed of seeking professional help.

Telehealth is a Time Saver

One of the positive lessons in this difficult time, is many people are realizing how good it feels to slow down a little bit. Generally, many of us feel that we never have enough time in the day to accomplish all that we need to. Telehealth allows you to fit therapy into your day more easily, as it saves you from having to deal with the commute, traffic, and parking.

Flexibility

Often the people who need therapy the most are the ones that are overworked and have the least time to spare. Telehealth takes up less time and can often be offered at more flexible times. Is your only free time an hour while your child is in dance class? A video session from your car can make the most of your limited availability.

Clients Show Up on Time

When a session can begin with the simple mouse-click, timeliness is greatly improved. This means that you get your whole session and your therapist doesn’t need to waste any of it talking about the fact you were late.

Cost Savings

Online therapy means a therapist can run their practice without the need of a front desk staff or paying for office space each month. This extra revenue can help the therapist to offer more probono or reduced fee sessions to clients in need. Or work less and focus more on their self-care and work-life balance.

These are only a handful of the benefits telehealth offers to both providers and patients. While it might be a bit more time before clients and therapists fully embrace online therapy, the future looks bright.

I have been providing Telehealth sessions for the past year for clients in Colorado and Idaho. Contact me today if you would like to discuss how Telehealth might work for you.

SOURCES:

Why More Men Should See a Therapist

April 20, 2020

Women more likely who seek therapy, typically making up almost two-thirds of therapy patients. However, multiple studies have shown that men may benefit even more from the therapy process. If we can just get them to start. Many men don’t like the idea of opening up to a stranger and sharing their feelings. They might […]

Why More Men Should See a Therapist

Women more likely who seek therapy, typically making up almost two-thirds of therapy patients. However, multiple studies have shown that men may benefit even more from the therapy process. If we can just get them to start.

Many men don’t like the idea of opening up to a stranger and sharing their feelings. They might feel therapy is too touchy-feely and not masculine process. I want to encourage men to push past their discomfort and seek therapy anyway because it can really help in so many areas of their life.

Here are some of the reasons why more men should see a therapist:

Men Often Struggle with Their Identity

Many men today struggle with what it means to be a man. Decades ago, the definition was more clearly defined, but nowadays a man can get completely lost. Should they be masculine or is masculinity somehow toxic? Should they show their emotions or will it make them look weak? Should they protect women or is that somehow belittling women?

Clear role models can be hard to find these days. Many men don’t want to be like their fathers, but where else can they look. Some men look to media and advertising to find clues about who they should be, and this can be just as confusing and damaging as it is for women.

Therapy can be a space where men can learn to define themselves on their own terms.

Gain Understanding and Tools for Your Relationships

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? It sure can feel that way! In their day-to-day interactions, men tend to act more from their thoughts and women more from their emotions. Neither is right or wrong, it is simply how we are wired and socialized.

Since many men tend to struggle to express their feelings and communicate in a way the women in their lives can relate to, these relationships can suffer as a result.

Therapy can help men safely explore their own feelings and learn how to relate in a language women understand.

Become the Best Version of You

Seeing a therapist doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong with you. Often therapy can be a way to explore who you are, what you want, and how to reach your goals. In other words, therapy can be a means by which you become the best version of yourself. If you hit the gym x times per week to get into the best physical shape of your life, why not hit the therapist’s office each week to get into the best mental and emotional shape of your life and be a total package?

Get Help for Substance Abuse

Studies have shown that men are far more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the stress and depression in their life. Therapy can show you how to cope without the need for these substances.

Lower Your Suicide Risk

There has been a disturbing rise in instances of suicide among older American men. This is most likely a result of men not believing they have the right to seek help. When you’ve got to be the strong one all the time and fix other people’s problems, seeking outside help simply is not an option.

But it IS an option. Men need to get help with their issues so they don’t turn to suicide.

Help with Fatherhood

As I mentioned earlier, many men grew up without proper role models. Then they find themselves as a father, unable to cope with the challenges and responsibilities. Therapy allows men to discover who they want to be for their children and come up with a game plan to develop this side of themselves.

If you are a man struggling with these issues or any others and would like to explore treatment options, please contact me to discuss starting therapy. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

References:

How to Cope with the Stress and Anxiety Caused by COVID-19

April 8, 2020

Trying to stay calm during the COVID-19 pandemic, can feel incredibly difficult at times. There are so many things to worry about these days: friends and loved one’s health, the economy, and what to even believe as this crisis unfolds. One of the most important things you can do during this stressful time is to […]

How to Cope with the Stress and Anxiety Caused by COVID-19

Trying to stay calm during the COVID-19 pandemic, can feel incredibly difficult at times. There are so many things to worry about these days: friends and loved one’s health, the economy, and what to even believe as this crisis unfolds. One of the most important things you can do during this stressful time is to take care of yourself – both your physical and mental health.

Signs of Emotional Distress and 6 Ways to Cope

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, but most will exhibit some of the following signs:

  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Intense emotions
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increase conflict with loved ones
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

If you are experiencing significant stress right now, here are some ways you can cope:

1. Limit Media Consumption and Look for the Good

Too much news isn’t good for anyone. While we need to have some idea of what is happening in the world, our nation, and our local areas, we also need to protect ourselves from overload. Try to limit your news intake by looking at headlines and then only reading articles from trusted sources one to two times a day for maximum of 15 minutes each or watching one half-hour news program. You need the highlights, not every story. Try to look for reliable reporting that focuses on just giving the facts, not inflating the drama. It can also really help to look for a feel-good story of people helping each other after you read about the tragedy. This is a serious global crisis, but in the face of crisis, we also see how people rise up and band together to support and help each other.

2. Nurture Your Body and Spirit

While it can be tempting to stay in your pajamas eating junk food and watching TV all day, be sure to balance “vegging out” time with other self-care. If possible, get outside for some fresh air and go for a walk. If you can’t get out, try to do some indoor exercise and look out the window to feel connected to the world outside. Eating more comfort food right now is normal, but try to make sure that you are getting a balanced diet and staying hydrated. Also, try to keep to a regular schedule with plenty of sleep and then getting up and dressed to help you feel as normal as possible. Keep an eye on your alcohol or other mood-altering substance intake, because although it can be very tempting to not be present right now, you don’t want to make more problems for yourself.

3. Tap into Your Sense of Fun

If you have kids, look to them for some good old-fashioned playtime. Play hide and seek in the house or create an obstacle course in the back yard. Even if you don’t have kids, you were one once, so try and tap into your silly playful side. Watch some of your favorite funny movies or have a video hangout with your friends. Laughter really is the best medicine, so get plenty of it!

4. Support Your Local Community

Many local businesses are hurting right now. If you’re still getting a paycheck, consider buying a gift card from a local restaurant, gym, hair salon, etc. to give them revenue now and you can use the card later. Or get some take out from your favorite local restaurants. Have you seen posts to help in your local area? Making facemasks, donating CD players for nursing homes, or texting your neighbors to see if anyone is out of TP and offering to share your extra, are all ways to help. These efforts will help others and make you feel great at the same time.

5. Be a Role Model

Remember, your kids will ALWAYS look to you first to see how they should be thinking and feeling about something. Working on your self-care will help you stay calm and able reassure your kids everything will be okay -because it will be. This is the time to look for positive role models in our community and do our best to be one for our friends and family.

6. Use Your Time Constructively

For many of us, there is a silver lining in this situation in the form of extra time. Unless you are working from home and homeschooling your kids, in which case just do your best and tune out all of the extra project talk. But if you do have extra time, consider using this time wisely. Maybe you have an ever-growing list of home projects that you just never have time to tackle or a fun project that just keeps getting pushed off. Now is the time to dive in, keeping you feeling productive and engaged now, and clearing your list to make room for more fun later.

Everyone is going to have a slightly different reaction to this difficult time. If you find yourself becoming too stressed or depressed, I encourage you to reach out for help. Speaking with a therapist can help you cope with the stress and learn new coping skills to get you through. I am available for sessions through a secure video platform. Contact me today to set up a free consultation.


SOURCES:

https://www.ucihealth.org/news/2020/03/covid-19-anxiety

https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/ep/behavioral/stress_covid19.pdf

Is Social Media Bad for Your Mental Health?

March 23, 2020

Social media use can increase depression and loneliness, according to a recent study. So, if you have been feeling a bit low lately, but you can’t quite put your finger on why, it may have something to do with your social media habits. It’s hard not to feel inadequate or jealous when looking at photos of people […]

Is Social Media Bad for Your Mental Health?

Social media use can increase depression and loneliness, according to a recent study. So, if you have been feeling a bit low lately, but you can’t quite put your finger on why, it may have something to do with your social media habits.

It’s hard not to feel inadequate or jealous when looking at photos of people whose lives seem “picture-perfect” all of the time. Also, social media can make you feel like you’ve been with friends, but you really haven’t connected to anyone. The “alone in a crowd” type feeling can make you feel more lonely than just hanging out by yourself. Research is showing a definitive link between spending time on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and a sense of loneliness and isolation.

Take a Social Media Detox

I encourage my clients to take a social media break every now and then, when they start feeling anxious or depressed in reaction to checking social media. It helps to gain a more positive sense of reality. They often report back to me that the detox offered some amazing and unexpected benefits such as:

Improved Self-Esteem

When you take a break from comparing yourself to other people, you can start to look at how great you and your own life really are. You can focus on what you have, not what you don’t.

New Interests and Hobbies

When you spend less time trying to get that social approval from of ‘likes’, ‘retweets’, and ‘upvotes’, you suddenly find you have a lot of time on your hands for other things. Most people realize that feedback from things in the real world is much more satisfying than “perceived popularity” in cyberspace.

Improves Your Mood

More time really visiting one-to-one or in small groups helps us feel more grounded and connected to people. This can drastically improve our mood and sense of well-being. Reach out to a friend and schedule a call or get together to help boost your mood!

Better Sleep

Many people are on their mobile phone in bed, checking their social media accounts. The blue light from these devices disrupts our sleep patterns and our emotional reactions can also get us riled up. Try giving yourself an hour or two before bed to wind down with no devices. Try reading a book or watching a show on a TV across the room to avoid the blue light interference.

Able to Enjoy the Moment More

Try using those extra few minutes to try daily mindfulness. By being present in our lives, we feel an increased sense of peace and joy. That’s priceless.

So, how do you perform a social media detox?

Follow these 4 steps:

  1. Temporarily deactivate your accounts. Don’t worry, you can reactivate them again in the future should you choose.
  2. Remove all Social Media Apps and notification pathways from your devices.
  3. Use a web filtering tool to block social media sites. (Why tempt yourself?)
  4. Be prepared for some withdrawal symptoms and have other activities ready to replace the void.

If you are having difficulty letting go or notice that your anxiety and depression are worse than you realized, therapy can help. Call me today to schedule a free consultation.

3 Steps to Self-Compassion

March 10, 2020

Why do we say such mean things to ourselves? “You can be so stupid.” “Why would he be attracted to YOU?” “You’re just going to screw this up.” Most of us treat ourselves far more harshly than we would anyone else. Our inner critic says things that we would never say to another person. This often contributes […]

3 Steps to Self-Compassion

Why do we say such mean things to ourselves?

“You can be so stupid.”

“Why would he be attracted to YOU?”

“You’re just going to screw this up.”

Most of us treat ourselves far more harshly than we would anyone else. Our inner critic says things that we would never say to another person. This often contributes to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

Practicing self-compassion can help you change this internal relationship and make you feel like you have a supportive friend with you instead of just a critic.

This might sound weird, uncomfortable, or impossible at first. Please keep reading to learn some simple but profound ways you can begin to practice self-compassion. Over time, you will be able to connect in a loving and supportive manner with yourself.

1. Become More Mindful of Your Feelings

Self-compassion is a pathway to emotional healing. To begin, practice being more aware of your own emotions, especially as they relate to yourself.

Try to be more aware of when you have an uncomfortable emotion. Perhaps you are feeling confused, desperate, or inadequate. These are moments that your inner critic may strike. Now, try and offer yourself kindness and understand instead. Like you would do for a good friend.

You may say something to yourself life, “I know you’re disappointed. I also know you did your best and I am so proud of you for trying.”

2. Monitor Yourself

Until you become used to being compassionate toward yourself, you’ll want to be very aware of the language you are using. Just like all habit changes, you are likely to fall back into old patterns until the new one becomes routine. Criticizing yourself will be the automatic choice and don’t expect yourself to be perfect at self-compassion. When you notice the critical voice has taken over, be aware and make a compassionate correction. This can even include being self-compassionate about self-criticism! “Wow, it’s easy to fall back into old habits. It hurts when I talk to myself like that, but everyone makes mistakes.”

3. Get Physical

There’s a phrase that says, “get out of your head and drop into your body.” This is a perfect way to engage with self-compassion.

Begin to use kind physical gestures with yourself. This could be gently stroking your cheeks and temples when you’re stressed, holding your hand over your heart when you’re sad, or holding your own hand when you feel lonely. Any physical gesture, so long as it’s loving, will help you show yourself true love and kindness in those moments.

For some people, showing themselves compassion may prove to be incredibly difficult. It can be helpful to work with a therapist to help you understand your blocks and learn to practice self-compassion in a healthy and supportive way. If you are interested in exploring treatment options, please contact me to schedule a free consultation session.

How to Set Healthy Boundaries

February 28, 2020

We all want to have healthy relationships, right? However, if you grew up in a household that was unsafe and unstable, and where there was a constant invasion of personal boundaries, you may not know how to build healthy relationships. Many people with this type of past, find themselves in relationships, romantic and otherwise, with people […]

How to Set Healthy Boundaries

We all want to have healthy relationships, right? However, if you grew up in a household that was unsafe and unstable, and where there was a constant invasion of personal boundaries, you may not know how to build healthy relationships. Many people with this type of past, find themselves in relationships, romantic and otherwise, with people who do not respect boundaries and feel entitled to have their needs met regardless of the other person’s. Relationships can only be healthy when both people have the space to be themselves and maintain their personal integrity.

If you can relate, chances are you have a hard time creating healthy boundaries to create the life experience you wish to have. Here are some ways you can begin to do so:

Identify Your Limits

You can’t set boundaries unless you discover where it is you personally stand. You’ll need to take a bit of time to recognize what you can and cannot tolerate. What makes you happy and what makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed? Use your emotions to help you determine your limits.

Don’t Be Shy, Communicate Your Needs

People who have similar communication styles are easy to engage with. These people will quickly understand what you mean as you explain your new boundaries. Other people, especially those who have different cultural backgrounds or personalities, may not easily understand your boundaries. With these people, it’s important to be very clear and direct with what you want and don’t want.

Pay Attention to Your Feelings

People who have a hard time setting boundaries don’t often allow themselves to acknowledge their own feelings because they’re usually too busy worrying about everyone else’s.

You’ll need to start recognizing how people make you feel in order to know whether your new boundaries are being crossed or not. When you’re with someone, make mental notes, or even jot down in a journal how that interaction made you feel.

If, after spending time with someone, you feel anger or resentment, this is a sign that the person may be overstepping your boundaries. Reiterate to this person what your boundaries are. If they continue to disrespect you and them, you will want to minimize your exposure to further interactions with them and/or have a self-care plan to help you recover.

Make Self-Care a Priority

Put yourself and your needs first. This may feel strange and even somehow wrong if you’ve spent your entire life taking care of others. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings and get what you need to feel happy and well.

Speak with Someone

If you’ve spent an entire life with a sense of low self-worth, you may find setting boundaries quite difficult. In this case, it’s important to speak with a therapist that can help you discover where these feelings are coming from and how to change your thought patterns and behavior.

If you’d like to explore therapy, please contact me to schedule a free consultation session.

10 Signs You’re Addicted to Working

January 13, 2020

We live in a society that worships achievement and success, so being a workaholic may seem like a win. However, is denying yourself pleasure until the work gets done honorable or stealing your quality of life? While having a good work ethic is definitely a key to living your best life, you don’t want to […]

10 Signs You’re Addicted to Working

We live in a society that worships achievement and success, so being a workaholic may seem like a win. However, is denying yourself pleasure until the work gets done honorable or stealing your quality of life? While having a good work ethic is definitely a key to living your best life, you don’t want to take “work before play” too far or you may burn out.

The Dangers of Being Addicted to Work

You may think that a workaholic would be every boss and manager’s dream employee. After all, if you’re someone who’s addicted to work, you’re generally the first one to arrive, last to leave, refuse to take vacations and take on mountains of work.

However, workaholics are often not seen as team players, don’t delegate, and can’t handle their workload efficiently. Also, since these individuals refuse to take time off of work, they can become sick. Workaholics experience far more work-related stress, anger, anxiety and depression, which can result in physical symptoms like headaches, migraines, GI upset and insomnia.

Are You a Workaholic?

Wondering whether you are a workaholic? Here are 10 signs you may be addicted to working:

  1. You work over 50 hours each week.
  2. You feel the need to be constantly busy.
  3. You have trouble relaxing and/or having fun when not working.
  4. You are a perfectionist.
  5. Writing to-do lists is fun for you.
  6. Your loved ones complain about how much you work.
  7. You’re often caught not listening or paying attention to conversations because you’re focused on work.
  8. You’ve often been called a “control freak.”
  9. You are neglecting other aspects of your life, like attending your child’s play or music recital.
  10. You become highly stressed when you are forced to turn off your cellphone and other digital devices.

Workaholism is a Real Disease

Workaholism is an actual disease like alcoholism that tends to be passed down from parent to child. Work addicts use work as a means to cope with emotional discomfort and feelings of inadequacy.  Due to this real, intense need for work as a distraction, other areas of their life tend to suffer and the cycle goes on and on.

Workaholics can benefit greatly from cognitive behavioral therapy where they can learn coping strategies that allow them to feel better and work less.

If you or someone you know is addicted to work and would like to explore treatment options, please contact me to schedule a consultation. It’s time to build some balance in your life.

How to Boost Your Self-Esteem

December 23, 2019

What does it mean to have healthy self-esteem? Is it feeling good about how you look? Or accomplishing something big in your life? The reality is, having healthy self-esteem means you like and appreciate yourself faults and all. Good self-esteem can be the difference between being a happy, resilient individual, able to face life’s challenges head-on […]

How to Boost Your Self-Esteem

What does it mean to have healthy self-esteem? Is it feeling good about how you look? Or accomplishing something big in your life?

The reality is, having healthy self-esteem means you like and appreciate yourself faults and all. Good self-esteem can be the difference between being a happy, resilient individual, able to face life’s challenges head-on and someone who suffers from depression and anxiety and is often overwhelmed with life.

If you have struggled with self-esteem issues, there are some things you can do to free yourself:

Face the REAL Reality

Are you someone that generalizes your lack of self-esteem? By that I mean, do you make generalities about yourself such as, “I’m an idiot,” “I’m not pretty enough or smart enough?” The truth is, we all act like idiots from time-to-time, and most human beings on this planet can find someone who is smarter and more attractive than they are.

If you’re going to work on your self-esteem, you need to first recognize that you often lie to yourself with these generalities. It may be a very convincing lie from your point of view, but it’s still a lie.

To become familiar with reality, make a list of 10 of your strengths and 10 weaknesses. If you have a hard time coming up with your strengths, think about what others have said about you: you’re a good listener, you are thoughtful, you cook a mean burger.

When you’re done making this list, you’ll see there are plenty of things you are really good at. Of course, you have weaknesses too.  Look at that list again. Which weaknesses do you want to work on changing over time? Which are things that are really fine, but you are putting unreasonable expectations on yourself? Which weaknesses are things that are both vulnerabilities and strengths depending on the situation? Like being sensitive, it can be a source of pain and also a great opportunity for connection and creativity.

Forget About Perfection

Perfection doesn’t exist. Now you may think all of those Hollywood A-listers that are on the cover of magazines are the epitome of perfection, but even they are air-brushed, photoshopped, and have a team of people following them around so their hair is never out of place.

Stop spending your energy trying to have the perfect face, body, bank account, career, children or relationships. None of that exists. Focus your energy on achieving attainable goals like finishing a project, making time for an important relationship, and enjoying your hobbies.

Get to Know Your Authentic Self

We spend so much of our lives comparing ourselves to others that we don’t really take the time to get to know ourselves. Beyond strengths and weaknesses, who are you as a person? What makes you happy or excites you? What hobbies do you enjoy? What kind of friend are you?

The more you know about yourself, the more chances that you’ll find things out you really like.

If you would like to speak to someone about your self-esteem issues, please contact me to schedule a consultation.

5 Ways to Effectively Manage Anxiety

December 9, 2019

If you suffer from anxiety, you know how awful it can feel. Your heart races, you start to sweat, and you feel like you just want to run. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the United States affecting roughly 40 million […]

5 Ways to Effectively Manage Anxiety

If you suffer from anxiety, you know how awful it can feel. Your heart races, you start to sweat, and you feel like you just want to run. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the United States affecting roughly 40 million adults. While anxiety can feel debilitating, there are ways you can manage it.

Slow Your Breathing

When we feel anxious, we go into a “fight or flight” response where our breathing becomes quicker and shallower. However, this way of breathing, in turn, makes us feel even more anxious and it becomes a vicious cycle.

To help, when you feel the anxiety start, focus on your breath and begin to slow it down. Breathe in slowly and deeply for a count of 5, hold for a count of 5, then exhale slowly for a count of 5. Repeat this cycle three to five times until you feel yourself begin to calm. If a 5 count is too long, do what you can and think of slowing and deepening with each breath.

Limit Caffeine

Many of us depend on caffeine to get us going, but drinking or eating anything with caffeine in it can exacerbate your anxiety. Studies have even shown that caffeine can even trigger an anxiety attack, so try and avoid or greatly limit consumption. That includes coffee, tea, energy drinks, and yes even chocolate!

Exercise

Studies have shown that just 20 minutes of exercise can reduce symptoms of anxiety. Not only does exercising make you feel good about yourself, it actually floods your body with feel-good endorphins, which can totally turn your mood around. Try to get into a regular exercise program to reduce anxiety and use it to help get rid of the anxiety jitters when they hit.

Make a List

One of the worst parts of feeling anxiety is the feeling that you are out of control. One simple exercise to turn this around is to make a to-do list of small, easy-to-manage tasks. Crossing these tasks off your list will actually empower you and make you feel in control again. You can also use a to-do list to help you organize longer-term projects and feel in control as you check off steps towards getting them done.

Remind Yourself of Reality

When the plane of a nervous flyer hits turbulence, that nervous flyer must remind themselves that the plane is okay, and it is just a normal occurrence to hit turbulence. People who experience anxiety may also have to remind themselves that they are actually okay when an anxiety attack comes on. Tell yourself that you are experiencing anxiety but that you are safe, you are not going to die.

It can also be very beneficial to talk to someone about your anxiety issues. A therapist will be able to offer more tools and advice on how to cope and manage your anxiety.

If you or someone you love suffers from anxiety and would like to explore treatment options, please contact me to schedule a consultation session either in my office or by secure video.