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Posts tagged anxiety

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Coping Statements for Anxiety

It is often possible to manage anxiety by actively replacing irrational thoughts with more balanced and reasonable thoughts like the following:

1. I’m going to be OK. Sometimes my feelings are irrational and false. I’m just going to relax and take things easy. Everything is going to be fine.
2. Anxiety may feel bad but it isn’t dangerous. There’s nothing wrong with me. Everything is going to be OK.
3. Feelings come and feelings go. Right now I feel bad but I know this is only temporary. I’ve done it before so I can do it again.
4. This image in my head isn’t reasonable or rational. I need to change my thinking and focus my attention on something that’s healthier, and generally helps me to feel good about myself. For example _____________.
5. I’ve managed to interrupt and change these thoughts before – so I know I can do it again. The more I practise this, the easier it will become. Anxiety is a habit – and it’s a habit that I can break!
6. So what if I anxious. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not going to kill me. I just need to take a few deep breaths and keep going.
7. Just take the next step. Just do the next thing.
8. Even if I have to put up with a period of anxiety, I’ll be glad that I did, and persevered, and succeeded.
9. I can feel anxious and still do a good job. The more I focus on the task at hand, the more my anxiety will ease, then disappear.
10. Anxiety doesn’t have a hold on me. It’s something I’m working on, and changing over time.

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Errors in Thinking that Create Anxiety

1. All-or-nothing thinking: Looking at things in black-or-white categories, with no middle ground (“If I fall short of perfection, I’m a total failure.”)

2. Overgeneralization: Generalizing from a single negative experience, expecting it to hold true forever (“I didn’t get hired for the job. I’ll never get any job.”)

3. The mental filter: Focusing on the negatives while filtering out all the positives. Noticing the one thing that went wrong, rather than all the things that went right.

4. Diminishing the positive: Coming up with reasons why positive events don’t count (“I did well on the presentation, but that was just dumb luck.”)

5. Jumping to conclusions: Making negative interpretations without actual evidence. You act like a mind reader (“I can tell she secretly hates me.”) or a fortune teller (“I just know something terrible is going to happen.”)

6. Catastrophizing: Expecting the worst-case scenario to happen (“The pilot said we’re in for some turbulence. The plane’s going to crash!”)

7. Emotional reasoning: Believing that the way you feel reflects reality (“I feel frightened right now. That must mean I’m in real physical danger.”)

8. ‘Shoulds’ and ‘should-nots’: Holding yourself to a strict list of what you should and shouldn’t do and beating yourself up if you break any of the rule

9. Labeling: Labeling yourself based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings (“I’m a failure; an idiot; a loser.”)

10. Personalization: Assuming responsibility for things that are outside your control (“It’s my fault my son got in an accident. I should have warned him to drive carefully in the rain.”)

Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm

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Understanding Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety attacks, also known as panic attacks, are episodes of intense panic or fear. Anxiety attacks usually occur suddenly and without warning. Sometimes there’s an obvious trigger— getting stuck in an elevator, for example, or thinking about the big speech you have to give—but in other cases, the attacks come out of the blue.

Anxiety attacks usually peak within ten minutes, and they rarely last more than thirty minutes. But during that short time, the terror can be so severe that you feel as if you’re about to die or totally lose control. The physical symptoms of anxiety attacks are themselves so frightening that many people believe they’re having a heart attack.

Symptoms of anxiety attacks include:

· Surge of overwhelming panic

· Feeling of losing control or going crazy

· Heart palpitations or chest pain

· Feeling like you’re going to pass out

· Trouble breathing or choking sensation

· Hyperventilation

· Hot flashes or chills

· Trembling or shaking

· Nausea or stomach cramps

· Feeling detached or unreal

Self-help for anxiety attacks and anxiety disorders #1: Challenge negative thoughts

· Write down your worries. Keep a pad and pencil on you, or type on a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. When you experience anxiety, write down your worries. Writing down is harder work than simply thinking them, so your negative thoughts are likely to disappear sooner.

· Create an anxiety worry period. Choose one or two 10 minute “worry periods” each day, time you can devote to anxiety. During your worry period, focus only on negative, anxious thoughts without trying to correct them. The rest of the day, however, is to be designated free of anxiety. When anxious thoughts come into your head during the day, write them down and “postpone” them to your worry period.

· Accept uncertainty. Unfortunately, worrying about all the things that could go wrong doesn’t make life any more predictable—it only keeps you from enjoying the good things happening in the present. Learn to accept uncertainty and not require immediate solutions to life’s problems.

Self-help for anxiety attacks and anxiety disorders #2: Take care of yourself

· Practice relaxation techniques. When practiced regularly, relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing can reduce anxiety symptoms and increase feelings of relaxation and emotional well-being.

· Adopt healthy eating habits. Start the day right with breakfast, and continue with frequent small meals throughout the day. Going too long without eating leads to low blood sugar, which can make you feel more anxious.

· Reduce alcohol and nicotine. They lead to more anxiety, not less.

· Exercise regularly. Exercise is a natural stress buster and anxiety reliever. To achieve the maximum benefit, aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days.

· Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can exacerbate anxious thoughts and feelings, so try to get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep a night.

Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.htm

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Tips for Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

1. Start small, and take the first step. You are on a journey. This is just the beginning. You only have to start.
2. Have faith in yourself. At least you’re brave enough “to try”. If you’re patient and keep trying you will get there in the end.
3. Make a list of all your fears so they’re not formless and vague. It is easier to fight them if you know what you are fighting!
4. Accept that life is often hard, and fear is natural and normal. Every person who succeeds will have to face and deal with fear.
5. Remind yourself of your successes and the ways in which you’ve changed. You have triumphed and succeeded over obstacles before.
6. Remind yourself of those who love you and believe in you. They know that you can do it – so derive some strength from them.
7. Imagine how you’ll look and how you’ll feel when you’ve succeed. It is WORTH making the effort. Don’t give up: you’ll reach your goal!

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How to have a more peaceful life

1. Recognise how much your thoughts affect your feelings – and work on changing your self-destructive thinking.
2. Stop trying to be someone you’re not meant to be.
3. Stop trying hard to please other people all the time.
4. Expect to meet hurdles and to experience disappointments.
5. Enjoy experimenting with your creativity.
6. See life as an adventure, full of possibilities.
7. Be grateful for the small things that brighten up your day.

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Mental Illness: Fact or Fiction?

Those with mental illnesses are often stigmatised as people are confused over what is the truth … and a lot of what we hear is simply misinformation! For example,

1. Fiction: There’s no hope for those diagnosed with mental illness.
Truth: There are numerous treatments and forms of support that make it possible for those with mental illness to hold down jobs and lead a normal life.

2. Fiction: There’s nothing I can do to make a difference in their lives.
Truth: The way you speak and act can make a huge difference. It can promote understanding or it can add to the burden. For example, seek to separate the person from the diagnosis (So instead of calling him or her a schizophrenic, describe them as a person with schizophrenia). Also, don’t label them as crazy or inferior. That is both insulting and inaccurate. Those with mental illness should be treated with respect; they have the same rights as others in society.

3. Fiction: They’re more likely to be violent than the average person.
Truth: There is no evidence that those with mental illness are any more violent than another person (but they ARE more likely to be victims of crime.)

4. Fiction: I’m not at risk of mental illnesses myself.
Truth: Mental illnesses are common - more than half the population will receive a diagnosis at some point in their life. It will likely affect their wider family, too.

5. Fiction: Mental illness is related to mental retardation.
Truth: The two are not related in any way at all. Mental illness affects a person’s mood, thoughts and behaviour; retardation affects their intellectual functioning and creates some challenges for daily functioning.

6. Fiction: Mental illnesses are caused by a weak character.
Truth: Mental illnesses are caused by a number of factors – social, biological, emotional, psychological, environmental, or a mix of these.

7. Fiction: Those with mental illnesses can’t hold down a job (or they’re less effective than most other employees).
Truth: Studies conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) showed no differences in productivity between those with mental illness and those without mental illness.

8. Fiction: Children don’t suffer from mental illnesses. What we see is bad behaviour due to poor parenting. Many kids just want attention and have been spoiled by their parents.
Truth: 5-9 % of children are diagnosed with a recognised form of mental illness. However, they can still succeed at school and in relationships if they receive the understanding and support they deserve.

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Common Myths About Mental Illness

Myth #1: Mental illnesses are not true illnesses like cancer or heart disease.

Fact: A physical illness like a heart attack can easily be detected by some simple tests. In contrast, mental illness is an invisible disease which can’t be observed by the general public. This can lead to judgment and to prejudice.

Myth #2: People with diagnosed with a mental Illness tend to have a lower IQ.

Fact: Mental Illness affects people across the entire IQ spectrum. In fact, many extremely intelligent people have been diagnosed with mental illness, are able hold down powerful jobs, and carry a high level of responsibility.

Myth #3: Most of those who suffer from mental illness are violent.

Fact: Very few sufferers are actually violent. In fact, research indicates that they are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of violence.

Myth #4: It is mainly women who suffer from mental illness.

Fact: There are millions of people – both men and women - in all of the different mental illness categories.

Myth #5: Most people diagnosed with mental illness were abused as children.

Fact: Although the incidence of some types of mental illness is more highly correlated with childhood abuse, there are many, many people who have never been abused.

Myth #6: A lot of those who claim to be mentally ill are basically just selfish, or self-centred, individuals.

Fact: Many forms of mental illness have been shown to have their roots in chemical and neurological problems in the brains. They are not character defects.

Myth #7: People with mental illness can get better if they just work a bit harder at getting over their issues.

Fact: Although mental illness symptoms can often be managed successfully through a combination of medication and counselling, it is likely that suffers will continue to struggle throughout their life. It’s not just a matter of “trying a bit harder”.

Myth #8: Those who suffer from mental illness will never recover from their disorder.

Fact: Although many sufferers will continue to battle, or will find their symptoms resurface overtime, they can often manage these successfully. Thus, most of them will lead a fulfilling life.

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How our wrong beliefs can stress us out

Often the thoughts we carry round in our head – and our basic beliefs about the way things should be – are actually a source of unnecessary stress. So, check out the beliefs that we have listed below and see if there’s something that applies to you:

1. Demand for Approval: This is the belief that others must always treat us well. We must have love or approval all the time, from every single person who matters to us, or else we feel we’re worthless and unloveable.
2. High Self Expectations: This is the belief that we must always succeed, and even excel, in everything we do – or it means that we’re a failure and we don’t have any value.
3. Dependency: This is the belief that we can’t cope on our own. We need to lean on others to help us all the time – and we can’t be independent and just make our own decisions.
4. Helplessness: This is the belief that the events in our past have determined our future and the goals that we can set. That is, we think we’re helpless victims – and that’s why we have these problems.
5. Emotional Control: This where we give control to other people, and say that they’re the ones who make us feel the way we do. If only they were different then we wouldn’t feel this way.
6. Personal Idealism: This is the belief that other people and the world must always be predictable, and fair and just.
7. Problem Avoidance: This is the belief that problems make life hard and should be avoided wherever possible. We don’t believe they central for developing new skills, resilience, perseverance and character.
8. We Must Be Free From Anxiety At All Times (Discomfort Anxiety): This is the belief that we can’t cope with feeling anxious, nervous, worried or uncomfortable. Instead, life should be stress free so I don’t have to have these feelings.
9. Perfectionism: This is the belief that there’s a perfect answer, or that there’s only one solution, to the problems I am facing. Hence, I’m frightened to act in case I make a mistake.
10. Over Caring: This is the belief that I must become upset and show that I care when others are upset – or it means that I am heartless and I lack compassion.

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