Remedy For Anxiety

January 12, 2012 by  

Remedy For Anxiety
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Magic mushrooms for the terminally ill

September 8, 2010 by  
Filed under CANCER

Many things in life are double-edged. Medications come with therapeutic as well side effects. And illegal substances such as hallucinogens may actually help alleviate the suffering of some.

The flower generation of the 60s are familiar with the effects and side effects of lysergic acid diethylamide  aka LSD. Its current equivalent is the magic mushroom Psilocybe cubensis with the active ingredient psilocybin. Both LSD and mushrooms are banned substances in the US.

However, researchers in the field of psychiatry are looking into the benefits of these substances, especially those who are afflicted with severe anxiety and depression. In the 50s to the 70s, studies were conducted to investigate how hallucinogens affect moods. However, the widespread use of these drugs on the streets led to strict regulations, so that the research projects had to be abandoned.

According to Dr. Charles Grob of Harbor-University of California Los Angeles Medical Center and the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute:

“Forty to 45 years ago, the culture was going through tremendous upheaval. These compounds were associated with a very politically active counterculture… It was something of a public health crisis. Everything had to be shut down.”

In recent years, the possible use of illegal substances as marijuana and opioids in alleviating anxiety, distress and pain in terminally ill patients have been brought out in the open. In fact, in some parts of the US, medical marijuana can now be used with certain restrictions.

In the currents study, the researchers looked at 12 patients with advanced cancer and assessed whether hallucinogenic mushrooms can ease the distress and anxiety that comes with terminal disease. The patients were given either psilocybin or placebo without knowing which medication they got and observed for 6 hours. During the observation period, they were instructed to lie still, close their eyes and listen to soothing music through headphones.

Those who received the hallucinogens showed an improvement in anxiety levels and also an improvement in1 depression scale. No severe side effects from the “trip” were reported.

The study was simply a pilot study to show that this type of research is safe and tolerable and should be pursued further. Dr. Grob continued to explain:

“Times have changed and it’s now possible to pick up this research model again… I think that is an indication that there has been a very strong shift within society to move away from the old cultural bias and politics of the process many years ago. I think there is a greater capacity to be open-minded and let science dictate our conclusion, not politics.”

Photo credit: wikicommons

Chocolate against stress?

November 17, 2009 by  
Filed under STRESS

chocolate_boxesChocolate has always been considered a major enemy of healthy living. But recent studies show that thre might be a good side to this dark temptation.

In the third book of the Harry Potter series ,Harry  collapsed after being  attacked by dementors on the train to Hogwarts. His teacher Prof Lupin gave him a very unusual, yet effective treatment: a chocolate bar. It might just be a story but author Joanne Rowling seems to know something about chocolates and stress.

A new researcher study published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Proteome Research reveals that there might be something to the so-called chocolate therapy for emotional stress. The report continues to that eating 40 grams (about an ounce and a half) of dark chocolate a day during a period of two weeks can modify the metabolism and reduce levels of stress hormones in the bodies of people feeling highly stressed.

The Swiss and German researchers looked at 30 participants (11 men and 19 women aged 18 to 35 years) who were otherwise healthy except for stress. The levels of emotional anxiety were measured through questionnaires and urine and blood plasma samples were collected  regularly during the 14-day study period. The participants were classified according to their anxiety state and those with higher stress levels had a distinct metabolic profile based on blood and urine tests. However, daily consumption of 40 g of dark chocolate  for two weeks resulted in reduction of the stress hormone cortisol and also partially normalized stress-related differences in energy metabolism and gut microbial activities. The chocolate used in the study was Noir Intense by Nestle, which contained 74% cocoa solids. A 20 g bar was consumed as snack at midmorning and another one at midafternoon.

But what is in the chocolate that counteracts stress? It is not fully known but chocolate is known to contain antioxidants that are beneficial to heart health.

The authors conclude:

The study provides strong evidence that a daily consumption of 40 g of dark chocolate during a period of 2 weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of free living and healthy human subjects, as per variation of both host and gut microbial metabolism.

However, we shouldn’t forget that too much of a good thing can be bad. Dark chocolate may be good for our health but white chocolate is not. And remember that chocolate bars, even if dark,  still contains some sugar and fat that can be fattening and unhealthy if taken in large amounts. So remember, this and other similar studies on the benefit of chocolate do not give you the license to gorge on chocolate. Moderation is still the key to everything.

Depression, sleep problems in children – the latest updates

September 3, 2009 by  
Filed under DEPRESSION

baby-feet2More and more reports are coming on regarding depression among children that it just makes you as parent well – depressed. Below I summarized the latest studies on depression and sleep problems in children:

Study # 1:

15% of preschoolers have “atypically high levels of depression and anxiety“, according to Canadian and French researchers. The researchers looked at 1,758 children in Quebec  and followed them up from age 5 months to five years. The family members were also monitored and interviewed.
The researchers found that some kids are more at risk of developing depression than others and indicators are also evident as early as 5 months. The predictors are:

  • 1st : Difficult temperament as a baby
  • 2nd: Lifetime maternal depression

According to senior author Sylvana M. Côté of the Université de Montréal’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine

“Our study is the first to show that infant temperament and lifetime maternal depression can lead to a high trajectory of depressive and anxiety problems before school entry. It is critical that preventive interventions be experimented with infants who risk developing depressive and anxiety disorders.”

Study # 2:

Another indicator of depression and anxiety among young children is sleep problems. Although in many cases, poor sleep is mainly due to bad habits and poor sleep hygiene,  in some cases it is an indication of emotional disorders. Italian researchers looked at 322 children between 7 and 11 years old. 112 of the participants have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder but were not taking any medication. 200 of the children did not suffer from depression.

The results of the study showed that 82% of children with depression have sleep problems. Only 5% of children in the control group have similar problems. Specific problems reported were:

  • Insomnia
  • Bedtime difficulties
  • Sleep anxiety
  • Fragmented sleep
  • Tendency to co-sleep with parents

According to author Dr. Flavia Giannotti of Center of Pediatric Sleep Disorders at the University of Rome

“Sleep problems are very common in typically developing children. Even though they are more frequent in toddlers and preschoolers, they affect also school-aged children. What was most interesting about this study was the finding that certain types of comorbid conditions might be especially disruptive on sleep. Therefore, in childhood, considerable attention needs to be paid to the interrelation between sleep patterns and emotional disorders. To ensure the most effective care, parents of sleep-disturbed children are advised to first consult with the child’s pediatrician, who may issue a referral to a sleep specialist for comprehensive testing and treatment.”

Study # 3:

British researchers report that early treatment of sleep disorders in children can actually prevent depression. Results from the twin study suggest that sleep problems are mainly due to genetic factors. In the case of depression however, the role of genetic factors diminishes as the child grows older but the environmental factors take a more important role.

According to author Alice Gregory of the department of psychology at Goldsmiths College in London

“We reported in a study previously, that genes were the most important factor in explaining the association between sleep problems and depression in eight year olds. However, when we examined this issue at age 10, we found that genes were less important in explaining the association and that environmental influences had become more important. This could be because environmental experiences are becoming more relevant as children grow older and could therefore play a role in both sleep problems and depression.”

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Depressed and single = chest pains

July 7, 2009 by  
Filed under DEPRESSION

heart-sickWhat do depression, chest pains, and being single have to do with each other? A study that followed up 191 patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) suggests that these three might be interrelated in this patient population. The results were based on answers to a questionnaire that determines the frequency of chest pain before and during physical stress testing as well as psychosocial assessments using a self reported anxiety and depression questionnaire.

Here are the key research findings:

  • 36% reported no chest pain during the past month;
  • 35% reported monthly symptoms of chest pains;
  • 30% had daily or weekly chest pain
  • 44% who reported daily or weekly chest pain had significant anxiety; two-thirds had severe depression.

The study results suggest that anxiety and depression are associated with higher incidence of angina pectoris among CAD patients, especially those who had surgical procedures to open blocked arteries.

Angina pectoris is mainly characterized by chest pain but can also include pain and discomfort in the jaw, shoulder, back and arm. The pain is caused by myocardial ischemia, a condition wherein the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is insufficient, which in CAD patients is mainly caused by narrowed or blocked arteries.

According to lead author Dr. Mark Sullivanof the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

“This study has identified a high-risk group for angina. Patients with daily or weekly angina are highly likely to have significant anxiety and depression.”

Other findings of the study are:

  • Patients who experienced angina more frequently were more likely to be younger and single.
  • Patients who experienced chest pain more often were also more likely to report the pain during a treadmill testing.

The reason behind the link between the frequency of angina and depression , as well as age and civil status is not clear. According to Dr. Sullivan

“It is unclear whether these psychosocial factors are truly affecting the anginal response to ischemia or if the increased chest pain burden is causing an intensification in psychosocial distress.”

I have previously posted on the link between depression and heart problems and how standard care for cardiac patients fails to take into consideration the psychosocial needs. It has also been shown that a stable life partnership helps in patient recovery.

In the US, the standard care for myocardial ischemia is medication and revascularization procedures. In Europe, on the other hand, treatments include aside from pharmacotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy and rehabilitation programs similar to those used for chronic pain.

D. Sullivan concludes:

“Physicians need to assess patients with frequent angina for anxiety and depression. It’s not all ischemia. There are other very important aspects to angina that can be diagnosed and treated either with psychotherapy or medication. Reducing anxiety and depression may be a cost-effective way to reduce angina.”

Photo credit: stock.xchng

It’s not the weather, it’s your lifestyle

December 30, 2008 by  

Winter time is a difficult time for many people. It’s cold, dark, and gloomy. No wonder winter is associated with high incidence of depression.

Currently available data indicate that depressed individuals have a 50% higher risk for cardiovascular disease than those without psychological problems. Guidelines issued by American Heart Association (AHA) and endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association recommend that cardiac patients be routinely screened for depression. In addition, treatment of depression is commonly addressed during cardiac rehabilitation. In related previous posts, depression among heart patients were shown to be best tackled with a combination of psychotherapy and physical exercise.

But – we cannot blame the weather for everything. Researchers at the University of College London report that the wrong lifestyle leads to psychological distress, which in turn result in increased risk for cardiovascular disorders. In addition, the findings of the current study “suggest that treating psychological stress on its own might not be the best approach to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study used data from the Scottish Health Survey (SHS) which followed up 6576 adults aged 30 years and above fo7 seven years (on the average). The researchers measured psychological distress as well as behavioral and pathophysiological risk factors. The measurements were based on the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), an assessment tool which basically looked at general levels of happiness, depression and anxiety, and sleep disturbances.

The results showed that

“…behavioral factors, including smoking, physical activity, and alcohol consumption, accounted for 65% of the relationship between psychological distress and cardiovascular disease risk. An additional 19% of the association was explained by pathophysiological risk factors, such as hypertension and C-reactive protein (CRP).”

The role of smoking and physical activity seems especially significant. People who were stressed of psychologically distressed tended to be smokers who little or no exercise at all. “These two factors alone explain well over 50% of the association between distress and cardiovascular risk.” Surprisingly, alcohol explained only a small part of the psychological distress – cardiovascular risk link.

The study results indicate the association between psychological distress and cardiovascular risk can be largely explained by behaviour and lifestyle factors, in this case, cigarette smoking and physical activity.

If your goal is to treat mental illness for the purposes of reducing cardiovascular risk, you need to take a fairly broad approach and not just look at the psychological components,” lead investigator Dr Mark Hamer (University College London, UK) told heartwire. “You need to also look at the behavioral risk factors as well, with a particular emphasis on physical activity and smoking cessation.”

Now that we are about to enter the New Year, maybe it’s time to reflect on our lifestyle. Is there anything we can change for the better? For better mental and physical health?

Alzheimer’s Mirrors and Anxiety

July 21, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

A disturbing phenomenon sometimes occurs in a person in mid-stage Alzheimer’s. It is totally frustrating to the caregiver who doesn’t understand what’s happening, and it is terrifying to the person with Alzheimer’s. Often, the patient or loved one will seem to get upset or even hysterical for no reason at all, but there is always a reason, and in many cases, the culprit is the mirror. Yes, the mirror.

To fully explain how a mirror can alarm your loved one, let’s go back to the basics. By now, you already know that Alzheimer’s disease attacks the short-term memory and gradually erodes every memory, one memory at a time. So what happens when an 85 year old woman (who doesn’t remember ever being 85) looks into the mirror and sees an image of a woman who is not the 25 year old she thinks she is? She is virtually looking at a stranger, and she is terrified. She may even think there is a stranger in the house. Could this be happening in your house?

Observe where your loved one is when the behavior begins. Is there a mirror nearby? There are so many situations over which you, the caregiver, have no control. However, you can control how many mirrors are available in the house. Just imagine how you would feel if you looked into the mirror and discovered that you had aged 60 years overnight. This could be happening to your loved one every day.

Sometimes, your loved one may make friends with the person in the mirror. This is not as disturbing; however, you might discover missing food in the most unusual places because they are saving food for their friend in the mirror.

As a side note, the mirror could play a major role in a loved one’s refusal to shower. After all, who wants to undress in front of a stranger?

If you find that the mirror is, indeed, causing the behavior, then limit, or better yet, eliminate access to mirrors. Alzheimer’s disease is a cruel, insidious disease that can make life unbearable for both the one who has it, and for the caregiver. Remember, for every behavior, there is a trigger. If the mirror is the trigger, and you remove the mirror, then you’ve not only eliminated the behavior, you have done a great service for your loved one.

More information about []Alzheimer’s Caregiver Help can be found at []

Brenda Dapkus Co Owner of Alzheimer’s Family Help. We provide caregivers with tips and solutions to behaviors common to Alzheimer’s.

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Physical Causes of Anxiety

March 15, 2008 by  
Filed under DEPRESSION

By Joanne King

If you experience Anxiety & Panic Attacks it may very well be a “secondary” condition to another physical illness.

Of course, the only way to know for sure is to be as open and honest with your doctor about your symptoms and your lifestyle as possible (even if it is embarrassing).

There are so many things that can contribute or have caused your anxiety disorder and panic attacks that the list is just incredibly long.

Here are just a few possible physical causes of anxiety disorder and panic attacks:

* Low potassium levels
* High potassium levels
* Diabetes
* Depression
* Cigarette smoking
* Alcohol consumption
* Recreational Drugs
* Medications (including the one’s that are prescribed for anxiety & panic)
* Cancer
* Aids
* Malnutrition
* Kidney Disease
* Work place stress
* Marriage breakdown
* Witnessing or being a part of a traumatic event
* Dehydration
* Asthma
* Heart conditions

If your anxiety & panic attacks have become a disorder then you’re not only going to have to treat the primary cause (which could be anything from the list above and more), but also treat the anxiety & panic disorder as you have developed a new response to fear and stress.

Note: Never self diagnose. Make sure you visit your local GP first. All material provided is for informational or educational purposes only. No content is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an Anxiety Disorder

February 11, 2008 by  
Filed under STRESS

If you have been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, you may be wondering just what it is and where it came from. Obsessive compulsive disorder, otherwise known as OCD, is defined by the APA as “A mental disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions, repetitive, purposeful acts performed according to certain rules or in a ritualized manner.” Although the cause of OCD is technically unknown, obsessive compulsive disorder has been known to be onset by stress and is defined as an anxiety disorder. It is a condition that can affect anyone, no matter their age, sex or social status. In fact, according to recent studies, OCD is a leading cause of disability and affects approximately 5 million people just in the United States alone.

OCD, like other anxiety disorders such as bipolar disorder, is very complicated. There are numerous symptoms and not every person has all of the symptoms. Generally speaking, obsessive compulsive disorder manifests itself as the presence of persistent and even obsessive ideas, thoughts, and images or in extreme cases, impulses and irrational behaviors. People with OCD many times become isolated because their state of mind is apparent even without talking. It is not uncommon for people with OCD to be very depressed because they are at a constant war with themselves. They are forever repeating the same thoughts over and over in their head and when they are unable to stop thinking these thoughts; they spend all of their time trying to get their minds on something else. For this reason, people with OCD tendencies don’t always make the best of friends.

Preoccupy Yourself With Other Things

Where some people get into trouble is that they spend so much time trying to curb their obsessive thinking that they get into compulsive irrational behaviors, which takes their mind off the compulsive thoughts. Unfortunately, it is really a vicious cycle that never ends. It has been studied however, that people with OCD can benefit greatly from learning a new skill. Learning something new such as music, yoga, or anything that takes a lot of concentration, can greatly reduce or even temporarily eliminate the obsessive thought pattern. If you or someone you love suffers from OCD, the best thing you can do is keep their mind preoccupied on something meaningful or at the least productive.

Many people think that perfectionism is the same as OCD. Being a perfectionist can make you exhibit some of the same behaviors as someone with OCD, however when you are strictly a perfectionist, you can control your behavior. Wanting everything the best it can be is one thing, maximizing your potential is a great trait of someone who is defined as a perfectionist. However, people that suffer from OCD tendencies take perfectionism to a whole new level. Breaking down because something has been moved or touched by an outsider, numbering your socks or labeling them left and right is way over the top. These are not uncommon behaviors for people with OCD; it is however, not something a perfectionist would relate to.

Anxiety Attacks, Real And Present Displays Of Fear

April 12, 2007 by  
Filed under DEPRESSION

By M. Jedediah

Anxiety attacks, also known as panic attacks, can strike at any time, usually with no warning. An attack can even come while you are sleeping, or seemingly completely at rest. One in 60 people with no other mental disorders will experience a panic attack each year in America.

To fully describe a panic attack to someone who has never experienced one is as difficult as a sufferer simply deciding not to have any more. Once you have suffered through one however, you will never doubt their existence or seriousness again.

Anxiety attacks are unexpected episodes of intense terror or fear. These attacks burst from within, unannounced and certainly unwelcome, and although the extreme level of fear is generally irrational, the perceived danger seems very real, and presents itself physically as though a tragedy of historical proportions were imminent.

A person experiencing an anxiety attack will often feel as if they are about to pass out, or even that they are dying. Attempting to reason with someone who is in the midst of a panic attack will prove fruitless, and may even intensify the perception of dread, since now the sufferer will add you not believing them to their fears.

If you or someone you love suffers from these sudden and intense anxiety attacks, you must prepare for the next one. Sadly, the overwhelming fear of the next attack can itself be the catapult towards one. Anxiety, when it is persistent, and the accompanying fears are all-consuming, is best dealt with by a mental health expert.

Begin with your primary care physician, and be honest about the level of fear you are experiencing, the frequency of the attacks, and the impact the attacks are having on your daily life. You will then be referred to an expert well studied in your symptoms, and able to prescribe help, be it in medication form, talk therapy, or a combination of these and other methods of treating this very real disorder.

It will prove invaluable to a sufferer of this debilitating disorder to keep a journal and especially to write in it as soon as possible after an attack, describing the thoughts, emotions and physical ailments associated with the gripping fear. This record will also be a very practical tool in your therapy and recovery, as you are able to look at the attacks you have come through and realize no harm came to you during them, other than what the attack itself caused.

To witness a panic attack, without knowing what it is, can itself be a very unsettling experience. You may feel helpless, wanting to be of assistance, and having no idea how to proceed. The person may be hyper ventilating, complaining of not being able to breathe, or think they are having a heart attack, even complaining of chest pain. Many a trip to the emergency room with these symptoms has ended with the diagnoses of an anxiety attack.

Some people who have experienced an attack in a certain place or during a certain activity may begin to associate the attacks with that situation and become irrational afraid of being in that place again. This then is an anxiety attack linked to a phobia.

If this type of panic disorder is left untreated, it could quickly escalate to the degree where the sufferer is unable to even step out of their own front door to retrieve the newspaper or mail. Thankfully, much has been learned about these debilitating attacks in the past decade, and advances in treatment are ongoing.

For more information on anxiety try visiting a website that specializes in providing anxiety related tips, advice and resources to include information on anxiety attack

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Disturbing Facts on Anxiety Attacks

April 7, 2007 by  
Filed under DEPRESSION

By Jeanette Pollock

The most intriguing truth about anxiety attack that once it is triggered, the entirety of the person’s life may be changed…forever.

Anxiety attacks cause one of the most complex and fastest effects that may occur in human body. This condition is experienced with an overwhelming sensation of uncontrollable dread, which may somewhat border around the terrible experiences of being seriously ill, or the expectance of death or getting awfully nuts.

It’s effects do not stop there. Drastic changes will occur in the body’s major organs more specifically the heart, the lungs, intestines, kidneys, stomach, eyes, bladder and the largest muscle groups.

All these combined may not even be accomplished by the serious injuries induced in the body or the most violent poison that may enter to it.

These reactions will then send a message to the brain to release a cascade of hormones and stimulants which is the main fact why when under an anxiety attack, the person feels mixed sensations that are characterized mainly by the impulses to get out, hide and flee.

Because of an overwhelming “imagined threat”, the immediate response is to take oneself away from being hopeless and trapped. It really doesn’t count if the threat is real (though the rational mind is conscious that it there are no genuine threats yet it seem not able to do something against his sensations).

Panic may be the result of a trauma towards an accident, a crime or the likes. However, the medical community is certain that stress may be one root cause why people develop anxiety attacks. Other resources assert that childhood experiences may reveal the link.

People who are most susceptible to developing anxiety attacks are those who are overly perfectionists, reclusive, socially avoidant, excessively anxious and unreasonably fearful. Heredity may play some vital roles though.

As we have noted earlier, once the attack commences it will linger on until some effective cure is found. What keeps it worse is the constant fear of the anticipated attacks. As a defense mechanism, people will try to devise means to restrain from doing activities or involving themselves into instances and places which may bring back memories of the attack or which they expect that anxiety attack is most likely to occur. In effect, sufferers will enclose themselves into comfort zones where they are fairly secured.

Although many cases are recorded in medical history, varying levels of the medical community still often confuse the condition with other ailments and disorders that are somehow closely intertwined with anxiety attacks. This is primarily because anxiety attacks imitate symptoms of other conditions, which for many years have caused too much misdiagnosis.

In some cases, anxiety attacks mimic a condition completely like with cases of hypoglycemia, hyperventilation syndrome, complex partial seizures along with others. In some instances, it follows the symptoms of disease like asthma, vertigo, angina, hypertension, hiatal hernia but only in parts.

Nearly all anxiety attack sufferers believe that they are seriously ill. Thus, they are noted to go from one physician to another only to find that their case is not thoroughly understood even by the experts themselves which they typically confuse with panic.

1/3 of American adults desperately needs rescue from this death-threatening condition. When will it be rendered? No one knows exactly. But rest assured that even at this very moment, people are working towards searching an efficient treatment of the disorder.

Jeanette Pollock is a freelance author and website owner of Visit Jeanette’s website to learn more about anxiety attacks!

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What Is Social Anxiety?

April 4, 2007 by  
Filed under DEPRESSION

By M. Jedediah

Who among us has never been in a large group of people and felt timid, nervous, and even downright terrified? Feelings such as these can happen from time to time, especially if we are a generally shy person. But when feelings of fear and panic are present in all situations such as these, you may be exhibiting signs of social anxiety – persistent and severe heightened fear and panic in social situations. When these feelings take over and begin to impact the way in which you socialize and engage in personal relationships, it is thought that treatment can significantly benefit the way in which we manage these overwhelming feelings.

Social anxiety is defined as feelings of fear or panic in anticipation of social situations – or while participating in social situations. These psychological feelings that people are judging you or you are under a microscope can lead to physical symptoms that may include increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, sweating, shaking, headache, and diarrhea, among others. While social anxiety is considered an occurrence, social anxiety disorder falls within the umbrella of anxiety disorder that encapsulates everything from generalized anxiety disorder to obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias.

A diagnosis of social anxiety disorder is generally made when there is ongoing and persistent feelings of panic and apprehension associated with commonplace social situations; daily life is thwarted by these feelings of anxiety and the sufferer sees the ramifications in their relationships – familial, platonic, and romantic. People who experience this type of anxiety feel as if their every move is being watched and they are convinced that they will humiliate themselves in a room full of people. Often the fear is so palpable that all social interaction is avoided in order to avoid the feeling.

In fact, for anyone who has ever experienced stage fright while performing in front of a group of people, the feelings associated with social anxiety are much the same thing. Those who suffer from this type of anxiety feel in a constant state of stage fright whenever they are in social situations – as if they are expected to perform.

Not surprisingly, those who suffer with this anxiety – and are not aware of the magnitude or definition of what they are managing – will often attempt to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs during social engagements. Such substances often have the ability to lower inhibitions enough that sufferers can mange their social time without feeling incapacitated. But this is hardly the safe or effective way to treat anxiety.

Treating this anxiety can be done in a number of ways. Cognitive-behavioral therapy with a licensed and reputable therapist teaches the patient how to rewire their thoughts and change their behaviors associated with the source of anxiety. Often there is a certain amount of exposure therapy wherein the patient is introduced to sources of anxiety – but in a controlled and safe environment. The hope is that continued exposure with positive outcomes will eventually desensitize the patient from this type of anxiety.

Medication is also available that treats a wide variety of anxiety. Your doctor is best in the position to determine what medication may work for you and will monitor your progress. In most cases, a combination of therapy and medication works most successfully in treating social anxiety.

For more information on anxiety try visiting a website that specializes in providing anxiety related tips, advice and resources to include information on social anxiety.

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Getting Anxious Over Anxiety Depression?

March 27, 2007 by  
Filed under DEPRESSION

By Barry McDonald

A lot of people who are exerting too much of their brain power usually exhaust not only their physical strength when engaging in various multi-tasking activities, they also tend to over extend their brains up to the point when it plainly needs some good old time for relaxation. A lot of busy people who seem to cannot fathom the idea of relaxing and taking time of from work, as well as their worries, tend to actually start having nervous breakdowns, anxiety depression and all sorts of mental illnesses that can cause a person’s sanity to go haywire, fortunately, if you’re one of those poor unfortunate ones who are unable to distress and is constantly worried and fussing over things, there are actually available cures and various treatments for treating anxiety depression.

Anxiety depression is actually characterized by all sorts of irregularities and erratic behavior from the person who is suffering from it, this is usuallu due to certain stress triggers that may tend to easily cause a person undue jitters and stress. Also, a lot of people who tend to get easily nervous over stressful activities are actually prone to having anxiety depression, its just a matter of being strong-willed when it comes to facing difficult and stress-prone activities. It may be pretty hard to overcome at first, but trying to be calm and cool in times of extreme pressure is what’ll actually save your mental health from going totally downward spiral.

When it comes to effectively curing one’s self from a mental illness, one must keep in mind that you have to be actually honest with yourself and assess what kind of depression or mental illness you actually have, go to reputable psychiatrist to get yourself diagnosed correctly as well as be able to get the right depression treatment for yourself. Here are the various types of depression:

Manic or Bipolar depression – characterized by sudden and extreme changes in one’s mood wherein one minute he or she is in an elevated state of euphoria while the next minute (day or week) he or she is feeling to be in a personal hell.

Postpartum depression – characterized by a prolonged sadness and a feeling of emptiness by a new mother wherein physical stress during child birth, an uncertain sense of responsibility towards the new born baby can be just some of the possible factors why some new mother go through this.

Dysthimia – characterized by a slight similarity with depression, although this time, it’s been proven to be a lot less severe, but of course with any case, should be treated immediately.

Cyclothemia – characterized by a slight similarity with Manic or Bipolar depression wherein the individual suffering from this mental illness may occasionally suffer from severe changes in one’s moods.

Seasonal Affective Disorder – characterized by falling in a rut only during specific seasons (i.e. Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall) studies however, prove that more people actually fall in to a rut more during the Winter and Fall seasons and lastly, Mood swings, wherein a person’s mood may shift from happy to sad to angry in just a short time.

But the type of depression that has actually been proven to be quite common among people is anxiety depression, which is actually characterized by the state of being overly anxious about things. Anxiety, a supposedly normal behavior that’ll actually help a person adjust more to a certain stressful activity like first date jitters or a grueling exam the following day. Anxiety actually helps you get psyched up towards facing certain “difficult situations”; anxiety therefore is actually a good thing. Anxiety depression however, is simply the opposite, not to be easily dismissed as a “case of the nerves”; Anxiety depression is in actuality an illness that can be caused from the biological makeup of an individual, or in other words, a hereditary illness.

Also, there are actually various types of Anxiety depression, each having its own unique characteristics. Take for example Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD, this kind of Anxiety depression is a lot more complicated than the average Anxiety depression, in spite of possibly being a day-to-day habit for those who suffer this kind of Anxiety depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder actually makes the individual quite more paranoid than usual, anxiety attacks are more frequent, even absurd at times. They can even be anxious even when there’s no apparent reason that calls for them to behave in such a way. People suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder actually shows a lot of symptoms, from lack of sleep, to being unable to relax, getting tired easily, cannot concentrate on what they’re doing and even suffering from depression. This kind of Anxiety depression is still curable; just a little work will actually do the trick.

Consult a reputable cognitive behavior therapist who’ll help give the individual the therapy that he or she needs to help him or her loosen up, also prescribed medicines are sort of a must to help these individuals battle anxiety attacks, help them calm down and relax.

Feel Happier, Get Back Your Passion for Life and Boost Your Energy Levels 100% by Conquering Stress, Depression and Anxiety in Only 90 Days – Many Clients Report Noticeable Results in Just SEVEN DAYS…Visit for details.

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Teen Eating Disorder And Anxiety Depression Causes

March 12, 2007 by  
Filed under DEPRESSION

By Robin J. Derry

Body image confusion running amuck? A seemingly “perfectionist” orientation to the smallest details? When does this apparent detail-and-goal orientation by your child “cross the danger line” into obsessive compulsive behavior and accompanying teen eating disorder?

Eating disorders, and their deeper complex of potential causes, constitute the greatest mortality risk of our present crop of diagnosed and labeled psychiatric illnesses. An eating disorder in teen family members is utterly serious, and potentially life-threatening unless parents can orchestrate an intervention combining counseling therapy and some mix of anxiety medicine or anxiety herb remedies.

What Parents Need To Watch For – Early Sign Of Teen Anorexia. Anxiety depression symptoms evolve subtly, and combined with children’s natural penchant for “secretiveness”, are virtually impossible to initially detect.

* Physical Signs. However, what you look for in your child are physical signs such as below-average weight for her age group and body size.

* Eating Habits. Your son or daughter may have a history of battling you over meals and food types. However, when their growing perfectionist and thin-body obsession is applied to foods, you’ll hardly know what to do. Suddenly, all sorts of foods are “banned” by your child as she focuses narrowly on new-found foods that are “better for me”. Parents, go at you own peril because you’re at the outset of a rapidly expanding food phobia, and an underlying swirl of mental confusion, anxiety, fear, low self esteem and more.

* Speaking Patterns – Black And White Reality Markers. A hallmark mental sign of teen eating disorder is the growing demarcation applied to many ideas, where your child is cut-and-dried in her judgments. Increasingly strong convictions and a deterministic attitude allow her to judge everything in good-versus-bad terms. She’ll also obsess about having “the wrong body shape”…” I’m getting fat” even while she’s below weight.

* Medical Risk Issues And Symptoms Of Teen Anorexia. Look for an increase in headaches, reduction or absence of regular monthly menstruation, cold insensitivity, bowel irregularity and constipation, dizziness and overall fatigue. She’s wasting away, and can’t stop herself.

Teen Anorexia – Cause Of Teen Depression. Self esteem and body image reflect leading edge aspects of the mind-body duality that can easily bump off the rails in the teen years leading to many forms of anxiety depression behavior. No surprise that young kids would be vulnerable to feelings of inadequacy, doubts, plus succumb to pressure from peers as to how they should look and act and whether they’re attractive enough. Throw in the cascade of puberty hormones, perceived pressure to perform at school, uncertainty about future goals and adult life and you have an explosive mix.

Intervention Strategies For Parents To Know About. You need to act smart, and carefully in order to put a brake on a dangerous teen eating disorder. In most eating disorder cases including teen anorexia family dynamics and “family history” point to the need for 3rd party outside professional guidance, along with some form of chemistry intervention.

* Natural Anxiety Herb Remedies – Negligible Side Effects. Mood-altering synapse-disrupting chemicals are strong stuff and should be administered to teens with a light hand, on a fully qualified basis. For hundreds of years, and even supported by modern clinical research, herbs such as St. John’s Wort have been shown to be as effective in triggering positive mood shift as well known brand drugs such as Valium…however without any side effects. Other anxiety herb remedies include rhodiola, ginseng and south pacific kava.

Other supporting nutrients that trigger the brain’s secretion of serotonin and its mellowing “feel good” properties include zinc, selenium and members of the B vitamin complex including B6 and B12, along with Vitamins D and C.

* Anxiety Disorder Medications. Millions of Americans ingest stimulants, amphetamines, mild tranquilizers, so-called anti depressants, even anti convulsants in order to address the potentially underlying causes of teen eating disorder and the associated phobias, obsessive compulsive behavior, and fears and anxiety. Parents beware that many of these same palliatives pose risks to your teen: addiction, withdrawal difficulties, confusion, rebound anxiety panic attacks, physical discomfort including muscle cramping, blurred vision, diarrhea, and more.

Look into additional info regarding teen eating disorder, and natural options for managing your child’s brain health and moods while promoting natural rest and life cycles.

Natural Nutrients To Treat Eating Disorder:


Author Robin Derry is publisher for a specialty information site that gives solutions to health, household, sport, travel and legal needs.

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Shyness And Self-Esteem

March 10, 2007 by  
Filed under STRESS

By Ron Steiner

While not all shy people have low self-esteem, shyness is usually seen as a symptom of fear or lack of self-confidence. When you’re shy, it usually means that you’re self-conscious and maybe even worried about what other people think about you. Occasional shyness is normal, but when it becomes a habit, it can be detrimental to your progress in life, work, and love.

Because of the connection between shyness and self-esteem, building your self-esteem step by step can help you overcome your shyness. There are several things you can do to boost your self-esteem, whether you’re suffering from depression or you’re just having a bad day.

Make an inventory of things that you like about yourself. Do this as often as necessary. You can write anything – from simple things such as your ability to whistle, or more complex things such as your strength of character. It doesn’t mean that you should ignore your weaknesses and pretend that they don’t exist, you just have to accept yourself for who you are. Don’t include things such as financial success, the admiration of your peers, or the way you look. After all, self-esteem is about how you view yourself – these external factors don’t matter. When you gauge your strengths, you’ll be able to see how unique and valuable you are.

Find something that you’re good at, and work on it. If you have the talent for cooking, why not work on some new and original dishes? Activities involving art, such as painting and writing, can definitely give your mind a feeling of freedom and accomplishment. Even bird watching can improve your mood greatly. Whatever your talents are, make sure that you get to “practice” them once a week, so that your mind will be given a chance to refresh itself after a stressful week of work.

Only recall good, happy, and exciting memories. Whenever you’re sitting down to think, make sure that you actively call out happy memories. This is because when you start thinking negatively, an entire swarm of negative feelings and memories will come right at you. Don’t waste your time with negativity. Think only of the good things you experienced, the great people you encountered, and even funny jokes you heard.

Volunteer your time to the community or work with outreach programs. Being in a team that helps others allows you to think beyond yourself. Keep yourself busy by interacting with other people and learning from them. You’ll find that most people are very much like you – they all want to be surrounded by their loved ones, they have their own fears, and they also deal with feelings of inadequacy. When you realize that other people are just like you, you’ll see that there’s nothing to fear in social situations.

By conquering any feelings of low self-esteem, you will realize that you are deserving of love, admiration, and respect. When you realize this, you will also be able to conquer your shyness during social situations.

About the Author: Ron Steiner writes for Visit for dating advice, dating site reviews and love advice. Plus a FREE 7 Day eCourse.

Break Free From Depression Helplessness

February 8, 2007 by  
Filed under DEPRESSION

By Chris Green

I recently posted an article to my website about how certain beliefs underpin stress, depression and anxiety. One of the main beliefs I briefly introduced concerns helplessness. Helplessness is a major part of these illnesses so let’s look at how you can reduce the impact this flawed belief has.

Believing you are helpless in life is a truly terrible feeling and I write from personal experience here. For five years, a number of traumatic events led me to the point where I believed life held nothing but pain and anguish. I truly believed life would unfold in a way that would destroy me and there wasn’t a single thing I could do about it.

Perhaps you’ve felt this way too?

The underlying belief is the important factor here. It is a firm belief that life is something that happens to you and you have NO CONTROL over anything. In short, you are a powerless, passive recipient for whatever life decides to throw at you.

It is an awful state to be in. Furthermore, this belief simply isn’t true.

Let me give an example. Say you and your partner split up. Now, this can be one very traumatic experience, I’ve been through it, so have many others. You react in a highly negative and emotionally arousing way:

“I’m devastated. He/she was my whole world and now my world has fallen apart. Everything I do in life always goes wrong and this is another disaster. I’ll never be happy again.”

Wow. It’s a powerful reaction isn’t it? I’m sure you, like me, have either reacted this way to an event or you’ve heard someone react this way. It is a very damaging way to assign a meaning to an event you are confronted with.

The last two sentences reveal the belief in helplessness. The key words are: Everything always goes wrong and never be happy again. When you react in such a way, you are telling yourself that you are helpless because nothing has ever gone right for you and you’ll never be happy no matter what. You’re saying you cannot control anything and therefore, you truly believe you’re helpless.

How do you think you’ll feel when you react like this? Exactly. You’ll feel deeply unhappy, confused, frustrated and of course, helpless to change your life. Why would you feel anything else? Everything ALWAYS goes wrong and you’ll NEVER be happy again so what’s the point of doing anything to create change?

Do you see how helplessness works? But it simply isn’t true. Of course, there are many things in life that are entirely beyond your control. Other people and Mother Nature to name but two. There are things in life you have some control over – where you live and work for example. It is important to keep these facts about control firmly in mind.

Here’s the most important fact about helplessness: There is one thing you have full control over in your life and that is how you react and assign meanings to everything you are confronted with. In the example above, a better reaction would be:

“OK, my relationship hasn’t worked but other things in my life are going well and I’ll concentrate on them for a while as I come to terms with what’s happened. Just because this relationship hasn’t worked out, it doesn’t mean future relationships will fail and once I’ve got over this, I’ll get out there and find someone better.”

See the difference? You’re keeping control by assigning a less emotional meaning, a meaning more in keeping with reality. You’re acknowledging that you’re hurting, but that this is temporary and when you’re ready, you’ll try again. You know you have other things in your life that you can concentrate on and this reaction will prevent a feeling of helplessness arising.

See you soon.

Copyright 2006 Christopher Green

Former anxiety sufferer Chris Green is the author of “Conquering Stress”, the internationally acclaimed program which will help you to permanently conquer stress, depression and anxiety without taking powerful drugs. For a free mini course, please click here =>

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Three Shocking Reasons Why You Prevent Yourself From Healing From Anxiety!

January 17, 2007 by  
Filed under STRESS

By Alexandra Mannock

If you suffer from anxiety, you know exactly how incredibly hard it is to make it go away. Every day you wake up and hope that you can somehow calm down, relax, and get better. You’ve tried everything from medication to psychotherapy to self-help books…but nothing seems to work!

The sad part is, after all of that exhaustive work you’ve done to get rid of your stress, you throw your hands up and say, “No one can fix me!” …and then you decide that since nothing can be done, you’ll simply suffer in silence, go on with life, and “cope” with this thing called “anxiety.”

Let me tell you something that will both shock you AND give you incredible relief: You’ve always had the power to make your anxiety go away for good, but you are blocking yourself from doing this. Yes…You heard me…You are actually “preventing” yourself from getting cured!

Listen carefully, because you should know that there are three “Blocking Behaviors” that you are likely engaging in to impede your healing process, and stop you from enjoying a stress-free life. Here they are:

1. Obsessive Negativity

When you are obsessively negative, it means that you have a tendency toward being “negative” about people, places, situations, and things in your life. Perhaps you find yourself saying things like “I can’t do this!” or “No one understands!” or “Nothing ever works!”, for example. You may be doing this unconsciously, but essentially you have what’s known as a “sour grapes” attitude, and it holds you back from knowing what it’s like to view life from a positive lens and enjoy the beauty in yourself and people around you! There’s a whole world out there for you…with happiness and positive thinking.

2. Obsessive Perfectionism

When you engage in obsessive perfectionism, you are centered on trying to do everything “just so”…to the point of driving yourself into an anxious state of being. You may find yourself making statements such as, “I have to do this right, or I’ll be a failure!” or “If I am not precise, people will be mad at me!” Again, this behavior may be totally under the threshold of your awareness, but it interferes greatly with your ability to enjoy things without feeling “uptight” and “stressed.”

3. Obsessive Analysis

When you are obsessed about analyzing things, you find yourself wanting to re-hash a task or an issue over and over again. For instance, you might find yourself making statements such as, “I need to look this over, study it, and know it inside and out…or else I can’t relax!” or “If I relax and let things go without looking them over repeatedly, things go wrong!” While analytical thinking is an excellent trait, if it’s done in excess you never get to stop and smell the roses because you’re too busy trying to analyze everything and everyone around you. Gaining insight into this type of behavior is one of the most important keys to letting go of stress, and getting complete power over your anxiety.

If you find yourself engaging in any of the above “Blocking Behaviors”, there are two things you can do to help yourself:

1. Ask the people you know, love, and trust, “Am I negative about things?”, “Do I complain alot?”, and “Am I difficult to be around?”

This may be hard for you to listen to, as the truth sometimes hurts a great deal. But the insight you will get from others’ assessment of you is invaluble, and you’ll know precisely how others see you. Accept their comments as helpful info, and know that you will gain amazing insights from what you hear.

2 Keep a journal to write down and establish patterns of when you are using “blocking behaviors.”

Even if you are not thrilled with the idea of writing, you can make little entries into a note book or journal each day. The great part is, you’ll begin to see patterns in your behavior that reveal exactly what you’re doing to prevent yourself from curing your anxiety.

Alexandra Mannock, MA, CAGS is a former psychotherapist who offers a free five-day mini-course revealing untold secrets to cure your anxiety the easy way…without medication. This course is available now at: Alexandra also recently released an amazing new e-book entitled “Anxiety Zapper: The Easiest Guide To Having Complete Power Over Your Anxiety!” Find out what everyone is raving about at:

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Musicians and Performance Anxiety

December 6, 2006 by  
Filed under STRESS

by Kevin Sinclair

Have you ever faced your time to shine, and felt overcome with an intense hesitation or worry about an upcoming performance? As the time nears for you to address your audience, do you suffer from sweaty palms? Is there a lump in your throat? Do you experience tremors, tension, stuttering, upset stomach or loss of focus? All of these symptoms are a sign that you may suffer from performance anxiety, which is a common problem that requires a little mental rewiring to get you on the right track.

Music performance anxiety develops from the thoughts, feelings and habits of a musician. The level of anxiety that one has will affect a musician’s desire to perform, as well as their ability. In order to deliver a high-quality performance, a musician must overcome the mental obstacles that create a barrier between wanting to perform and actually completing the act. When you feel anxious, pressure begins to build up that makes it impossible to pick up an instrument or sing a song.

Main Types of Performance Anxiety

There are three main kinds of performance anxiety that musicians encounter. The first occurs before a performance date is even mentioned. Fear of rejection or self-doubt regarding their abilities may hinder a musicians attempt to arrange a showing of their talents. The anxiety sometimes mounts to the point where a musician never feels they are truly ready to perform in front of others.

The second type of anxiety occurs during an actual performance. Gripped by fear of what the audience thinks of them, a musician’s body might tremble. Sweat may form on their forehead, nose, neck or hands. These bodily reactions may also impact the way an instrument is played. Voices become tight or locked, emitting cracked, flat or quivering notes. The anxiety of a musician might be so high that they may actually self-sabotage their performance without even knowing it.

Anxious musicians often become quite distracted by the slightest movement or noise during a performance. They might take this opportunity to blame their inability to complete their set because of outside interruptions. This is just an excuse. Within themselves, they do not feel completely adequate to continue their performance. Musicians with performance anxiety often exhibit poor concentration, as well as loss of focus.

After a performance, the anxiety madness continues, which is seen through a harsh, unforgiving critique of their presentation. The musician will nit-pick every aspect of their set and despite positive encouragement and comments, they will continue to downplay and dismantle their ability.

Tips On Managing Performance Anxiety

When it comes to getting over the hump of performance anxiety, there are numerous ways to combat the fears and doubt that come with presentation. Below are five aspects of performing that a musician suffering from anxiety should take into consideration:

1) Self-Assessment

When you get to know the ins and outs of yourself as an individual, as well as a musician, you are inching your way towards overcoming performance anxiety. Knowing what makes you tick both inside and outside musical circles will help you to better deal with the problems you face before, during and after a performance. A musician should analyze their performance goals, personal capabilities and limitations.

Musicians should also know that everyone has to start somewhere with infinite room for improvement. It is quite important for a musician to perform to the best of their abilities, as well as learn from mistakes and peer criticism.

2) Exposure: Baby Steps

Musicians should take the opportunity to gradually expose themselves to varying levels of performing. One moment a full-length mirror becomes a suitable audience, while the next could be a crowd of five friends. Testing low, medium and high levels of stressful performance situations will help musicians slowly overcome the issues faced in regards to performing. Additional suggestions include practice performances in an empty theater, dress rehearsals with friends and taping acts, then viewing them with family and friends.

3) Preparation

In anything that we do, preparation is an important component for achieving success. A good performance is one that has been thought out, thoroughly visualized and played over and over again in the mind. Once the mental preparation is complete, the physical part of the process involves sufficient practice and specific rehearsing for the particular venue you may perform at. Before a performance, a musician should enter this moment with a clear head. Meditation, yoga and other muscle relaxation techniques can create the right state of mind.

4) During a Performance

Every musician at some point in their lives will feel the flutter of butterflies before, during or after a performance. This is a normal occurrence that just takes some longer to get over. When it comes to the audience, you shouldn’t focus on blocking them out, but instead embrace them as support. If you go into a performance thinking that no one likes you or during a presentation focus on scowling faces, you will surely surrender to your flight or fight performance anxiety tactics.

Try to put anxiety in the backseat and attempt to stay calm. If you make a mistake, such as tickle the wrong piano keys, simply move on and do not dwell on small imperfections that pale in comparison to the overall scheme of things. Sometimes, if you don’t wear your disappointment or errors on your face, the audience is less apt to remember or care about mistakes. Breathing techniques will also come in handy once you get into the thick of performing and feel a touch of anxiety.

5) After the Performance

After each performance, take the time to assess yourself before relying on the approval or criticism of others. No one but you truly knows all of the hard work and preparation that went into your performance. Take the time to give yourself a mental pat on the back. Next, combine outside comments with your gut feeling to decide on what you can do next time. Regardless if you had the performance of your life or tanked on your first break, there are always aspects of your musical craft that you can still shape and mold for the future.

Kevin is the publisher and editor of, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.

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Breathing Difficulties? Anxiety & Panic Attacks

August 26, 2006 by  
Filed under DEPRESSION

Breathing Difficulties? Anxiety & Panic Attacks

By Joanne King

“When I hit a bad time with my anxiety I get a very tight chest and my breathing all goes to pot. My breathing is then all I can think about and it starts to make me dizzy as I know I am breathing wrong.”

It was actually these symptoms that pushed me over the edge and lead me to experiment and finally seek a way out of my anxiety & panic disorder.

A test you can perform on yourself to see if you are breathing correctly is:

Place your hand across your tummy. If you feel your hand rise on inhale and your hand fall on exhale then you are breathing correctly. If you feel little to no movement at all then you are breathing in correctly.

If you own a copy of “How to Overcome Anxiety & Panic Attacks” then refer to chapter 8 – Breathing Techniques – As this is where I go into detail and show a proper breathing exercise specifically for anxiety & panic sufferers.

Another nifty little trick you can try to put it at ease and hopefully stop it before it gets to the extent of dizzy spells is:

Place your hand across your nose and mouth and concentrate on the breath you feel against the palm of your hand. This will reassure you that you are definitely still breathing and will help prevent you from hyperventilating so you can get back into a normal breathing pattern again.

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Beating the “What-If” Blues

June 25, 2006 by  
Filed under STRESS

Beating the “What-If” Blues

By Deanne Repich

Do you find that a lot of your negative thoughts begin with the words “What-if?” Does one anxious thought lead to another and another – only to become a negative spiral of worry? When this happens, you’re probably using what-if thinking.


What-if thinking occurs when you make negative predictions about the future, usually starting with the words “What if?” Most of us can relate to Juan’s story of what-if thinking. Juan is running a few minutes late to work. The first thought that pops into his head is: “What if I’m late for my nine o’ clock meeting?”

But his thoughts don’t stop there.

His negative thoughts start snowballing. “What if I walk in late and everyone looks at me? What if I get nervous, start sweating, and feel embarrassed? What if my boss notices I can’t handle it and I lose my job? What if I can’t afford to feed my family?”

His body responds with a host of symptoms – his heart races, it’s tough to breathe, and there’s a knot in his stomach the size of Texas.

As you can see, when you use what-if thinking, one negative prediction usually leads to another, and another, and another. This negative chain has a snowball effect that leads to intense feelings of anxiety, loss of control, and physical symptoms.


Studies show that you have the power to change your thoughts. When you change your thoughts, you create biochemical changes in your brain that affect how your body and mind feel and react. In other words, change your thoughts and you change your reality!

How do you change your what-if thoughts? You do this by using the three “R”s – Recognize, Replace, and Reinforce.

1) RECOGNIZE. Keep a small notepad with you. Each time you notice yourself thinking a what-if thought, write it down. Writing things down helps you to slow down and expose habitual negative thoughts to the light of day. If you don’t take the time to write down your what-if thoughts, it’s easy to miss them because you are so used to them.

The Onion Technique.
The following technique can help you peel off layer after layer of negative thoughts and reach the core negative belief. I call it the Onion Technique because it’s like peeling off layer after layer of an onion until you reach the core. Here’s how it works. When you are in a fairly relaxed mood, take out your notepad and open it up to the first what-if thought. Read the thought and then ask yourself: “And what if that did happen? Then what would happen?” Write down your answer. Repeat this process of digging deeper several times, each time asking “And what if that did happen? Then what would happen?” and writing down your answer.

After several layers you will reach your core belief – the belief that is at the root of your fears. In Juan’s case he might reach this core belief: “If I can’t feed my family, my wife and kids will be disappointed in me. They’ll leave me and I’ll be all alone.” His real fear – what is driving his what-if thoughts – is his fear of being rejected, unloved, and all alone if he disappoints the people he loves. That’s the belief that Juan needs to replace in order to beat the what-if blues. His worry about arriving a few minutes late to the meeting will fade once he addresses this core issue.

2) REPLACE. Once you’ve pinpointed the core negative belief, decide what your new belief will be. Adjust the old belief so that it promotes your well being and reflects the reality you want to create. When creating your new belief, make sure to:

— use the present tense

— use “I statements”

— focus on what you want (not what you don’t want)

In Juan’s case, here are several new beliefs he may want to use to replace the unhealthy belief:

— “I am worthy of love, even when I disappoint others.”

— “I am loved for who I am, not how much I earn. I love my family and we will get through life’s challenges together.”

— “Since I am human, I will disappoint the people I love occasionally. I can be imperfect and still receive love.”

When you notice yourself using a what-if thought, stop it in its tracks. It may help to visualize the word “No” or “Stop” in big red letters in your mind. This action interrupts the thought. Then immediately change your focus by replacing the what-if thought with the new, healthier thought you created.

3) REINFORCE. Once you have chosen your new belief, reinforce it several times a day. Say the new belief with feeling. Believe that it is true, even if only for a moment. Think it. Say it aloud. Write it down. You can even record yourself saying the belief for several minutes and then play it back every night just as you’re drifting off to sleep. Just like any other habit, the more you practice, the sooner it will become second nature to you.

Making the new belief a part of your life takes time and consistent practice, but the results are worth it. You chase away the what-if blues and the physical symptoms that go along with it. And even better, you change the way you look at life!

Deanne Repich, founder and director of the National Institute of Anxiety and Stress, Inc., is an internationally known anxiety educator, teacher, author, and former sufferer. Tens of thousands of anxiety sufferers have sought her expertise to help them reclaim their lives from anxiety, stress, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, anxiety attacks and social anxiety. She is the creator of the Conquer Anxiety Success Program, author of more than fifty articles, and publishes the Anxiety-Free Living printed Newsletter for anxiety sufferers. She has an a free e-book Anxiety Tips: Seven Keys to Overcoming Anxiety you can download immediately when you visit her website

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.