Panic Attacks:  Bottom Line- You are OK

They often feel like they come out of nowhere.  Your body responds in ways that if you didn’t know, you would think you are having a heart attack.  It is why you may go to the ER- can’t breathe, are nauseated, have increased heart rate, sweat, have feelings of absolute dread and impending doom, feel like things aren’t real or...[ read more ]

Anxiety when Triggered by Stress, Presentations, Difficult Conversations-Tips to Calm and Focus

You must give a presentation or have a difficult conversation with someone, and you are feeling stressed.  Or something just ignited your anxiety- a fearful thought or feeling.  You notice your body’s physical responses - your heart beats faster, your muscles tense, chest tightens, your breathing quickens and your stomach churns.  What can you do to help yourself calm down...[ read more ]

Managing Anxiety in Grief: Six Series Episode 4 – Differential Relaxation

In grief, we may become stressed due to repeated, recurrent thoughts that are related to our loss.  We replay images of the person who died, or events that led up to the loss. We keep thinking “if we had only done X or if we would have done Y” maybe our loved one would not have died or left. Our...[ read more ]

Managing Anxiety in Grief – Six Series Episode 3 – Worrying, B3’s and Deep Breathing

Worrying about your future after a loved one has died or is no longer in your life is commonly experienced in grief.  The tomorrow you had once planned together has now changed and it can be difficult to imagine a life without that person.  There are so many small and not so small thoughts that come into your mind and...[ read more ]

Managing Anxiety in Grief- Six Series- Episode 2- Recurrent Thoughts of Loss- Labeling

The experience of constant thoughts of the loss continues as we grieve.  These could be details of the loss itself, or memories of what life was like before the loss, or thoughts about actions we did or did not take that in our mind could have changed the outcome of the loss.  Or it could be recurrent thoughts of an...[ read more ]

Managing Anxiety in Grief – Six Series- Episode 1- Recurrent Thoughts of Loss – Heart Breathing

One thing I’ve learned from others who are grieving and in my own grief is that anxiety seems to magnify at this hard time. It manifests in many ways, and one that is particularly painful comes in the form of recurrent thoughts of the loss. These distressing thoughts play over and over again in our heads, making it hard to...[ read more ]

Leaning into Grief and Anxiety

Leaning into Grief and Anxiety As we continue to experience personal losses from the pandemic, and witness the social unrest from heinous violent acts, grief and anxiety are present everywhere we turn. The uncertainty, lack of ability to plan and expect, loss of connection with others, loss of life for some and ability to get basic survival needs met, and...[ read more ]

Why Avoiding Worry Leads to More Worrying

Avoidance or escapist behavior (doing a different behavior, or not doing something so we can avoid the feelings of fear, sadness, anger, shame) is a common reaction to a worry or stress. It serves as a protective function, the brain's way of averting danger or threat. An example is deciding to watch a show on Netflix instead of working on...[ read more ]

Responses to COVID 19: Helping Yourself Cope

This pandemic has been challenging for us in so many ways.  Our reality has shifted and we find ourselves thinking and feeling things that are difficult to understand. Trauma expert Dr. Bessel van der Kolk likens it to reactions he’s seen in trauma survivors.  For some of us, due to our personal histories or current situations this pandemic can be...[ read more ]

Don’t Worry, Be Happy?

Well, not exactly. According to social psychologist and "father" of thought suppression David Wagner, the more we try not to think of something, the more we think of it. In his 1987 "white bear" experiment, he showed a picture of a polar bear to a group of participants and then had them track their thoughts but avoid thinking of the...[ read more ]

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