According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults over the age of 18 suffer from an anxiety disorder. If you are one of them, you know how difficult your life can feel most days.
When anxiety strikes, the world around us can become a sort of funhouse, only not that much fun. It’s important to be able to self-soothe in these instances. But how can you calm an anxiety attack subtly when you’re out in public?
As soon as you feel the anxiety coming on, focus intently on your breathing and nothing else. Begin to take slow… deep breaths. Inhale for a slow count of three… hold for a count of three… and exhale for a count of three. Slow deep breaths send a signal to our body that we are not under attack and everything is okay.
Talk to Yourself
In your mind, remind yourself that you are having an experience but that you are NOT that experience. While you feel that something is wrong, remind yourself that you are actually safe and all is well.
Think of something that calms you. This may be your childhood bedroom or your grandparent’s home. It could be your favorite beach or your own bathtub. Simply put yourself IN that space. Use your full imagination to feel yourself there and allow the calm to settle over you.
Carry Lavender Oil
Keep a small vile of lavender oil in your purse or pocket and inhale its scent. You can even rub some between your finger and then rub on your temples to calm down.
Practice Listening Meditation
If you’ve never tried listening meditation, I highly recommend it for everyone. But it can be especially beneficial when you are feeling anxious, and here’s why. Listening requires you to stop thinking. Try it now. Stop reading and instead listen to all of the ambient sounds there in the room with you, outside the door and window.
What do you hear?
Let your sense of hearing grow and grow, picking up more subtle sounds. The buzz of the lights overhead… the noise of the ice maker… a bee at the window… your dog’s collar down the hall…
It’s actually a very fun exercise to do. And in order to REALLY GIVE SOUND YOUR FULL ATTENTION, you can’t think while listening. It’s a bit like trying to juggle while standing on your hands, it simply cannot be done.
Much of our anxiety comes from our anxious thoughts. It’s our reptilian brain trying to keep us alive by alerting us to all of the dangers around us. But when we meditate, this mind chatter goes away.
When an anxiety attack comes on, life can feel unbearable. The next time this happens to you in public, try one or more of these techniques.
And if you’d like to speak with someone about your anxiety, please get in touch. I’d be happy to explore treatment options.
Whether it’s expected or sudden, losing a partner is always a devastating heartbreak. The finality of the loss of the love of your life, and the idea that you will move forward in the world without them by your side, might be one of the most difficult challenges you will face.
If you’ve suffered the death of a significant other, have grieved and come up on the other side, you may be at a point where you want to find love again. You might have feelings of fear, anxiety, or even guilt, and you’re not sure how (or if) you should start dating again. Read on for some advice that can help you begin the process of starting over.
There’s No Timeline
In grief, there’s no handbook or checklist; how you mourn and move forward is completely personal. Whether it takes you 3 months or 3 years, your timeline is your own. When you begin to feel the sadness lift, and you find yourself yearning to share your life with someone again, it is probably time to begin the process of dating. Sharing every day with someone is a very intimate and special experience, and it’s healthy and natural for you to move forward with your life in a positive way.
Letting Go of Guilt
While it’s important to take the time to heal and recover from this devastating loss, it’s also important not to prolong the period of mourning. Your partner would not want you to live the rest of your days in sorrow. If you find yourself feeling guilty, know that your feelings are natural, but know also that you deserve to be happy.
Your children and other family members who are also grieving the loss of your spouse may not be ready for you to date again. While it’s important to be sensitive to their grieving process, you must also remind them that it’s your decision to make. Keep in mind that their journey of grief is personal to them. As you remain sensitive to their process of mourning, remain true to yourself and move forward when you are ready.
Overall, when you begin dating again is an entirely personal choice. As someone who has suffered such an incredible loss, it can be a difficult decision; but it’s a decision that is only yours to make. Moving on with your life doesn’t erase the memories of the past, nor does it do a disservice to the spouse that you loved and lost. A new relationship will bring you joy and happiness, creating more loving memories you can add to your life.
Are you struggling to move on after the death of a significant other, and need support and guidance? A licensed therapist can help. Call my office any time, and let’s schedule a time to talk.
Bringing a baby into the world is supposed to be one of the happiest events in a woman’s life, but often there are things that can make a new mother feel sad, exhausted, and overwhelmed. One of those things is having an unexpected C-section.
If you’ve recently had an unexpected C-section and are experiencing mixed emotions about it, you’re not alone. The following feelings are common after having a C-section that you were not planning:
Many women, especially young women, assume they will have a natural birth. But sometimes, life throws us a curveball in the form of unforeseen complications or 20+ hour labors that simply won’t progress. Often, C-sections are necessary for the health of the baby, mother, or both.
It’s very normal, however, to feel shocked at this unexpected turn of events. You thought about this day for months and you’ve physically taken very good care of yourself, so a C-sections seems to be the ending you simply didn’t want or plan for.
Women should always speak with their doctors before the delivery date to understand what kinds of things may occur that could result in the need for a C-section so they can manage their expectations of the big day.
It is common and perfectly normal to feel sad that you and your husband or partner didn’t get to experience the “normal” birth event. In a C-section scenario, the husband is not allowed in the OR and new parents don’t get to immediately hold the baby or get those brand new baby pictures to immediately upload to Instagram. The rush and fear of sudden surgery means that magical, special moment of parents connecting with child is gone – or at least, postponed.
Feeling sadness and grief for that loss is understandable. You are not alone in that: This is a very common feeling amongst new mothers who have an unexpected C-section.
You Feel Like a Failure
Women throughout the centuries, throughout the millennia, have had “normal” vaginal births. Maybe you come from one of those families were every female has had a vaginal birth. But you, you HAD to go and have a C-section.
Many women feel guilt and shame after having a C-section, like they somehow didn’t do something right. They should have taken more supplements. They should have exercised more during pregnancy. They should have pushed longer and harder before “giving up.”
Feelings of inadequacy are, unfortunately, a big part of being a parent. But you can feel like an absolute failure when you feel the actually childbirth was a complete flop.
It’s important to remember you did nothing wrong. Repeat that with me: You. Did. Nothing. Wrong.
There were serious medical circumstances surrounding your required C-section. If you feel the need to know exactly “what went wrong,” feel free to schedule an appointment with your OBGYN, who can help you try and make sense of what happened.
You Feel Bad About Feeling Bad
Perhaps the most frustrating emotion many women feel is feeling bad about the fact that they feel bad. Despite the fact that both mother and baby are healthy, many women still feel distressed about the surgery and ashamed that they feel this way even though everything turned out fine.
The best thing to do in this circumstance is to not pretend that you’re okay, but ask for help. Just because you think you should feel joyful doesn’t mean you do. If you are feeling any of the emotions listed, seek guidance from a professional counselor who can help you process your emotions and make sense of everything.
If you’re a new mother who is struggling with having a C-section and you’d like to explore treament, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect roughly 40 million people over the age of 18 in the United States. Though these disorders are highly treatable, only 36.9% of those with anxiety seek treatment. Perhaps this is because of busy schedules or a lack of insurance that causes so many people with anxiety to suffer in silence.
But there are proven strategies you can do that don’t cost a penny and take little time. In fact, you could do any of the following strategies on your lunch or coffee break. Here are some ways to reduce your anxiety:
According to a study published by the Journal of Emergency Medicine, 30% of people who go to the ER with complaints of chest pain and no evidence of coronary artery disease are actually suffering from a panic attack. Why is this so common?
When we are stressed or anxious, we tend to over-breathe or under-breathe. This can cause dizziness and hyperventilation. Deep breathing is a powerful way to gain control over your breath and reaction to a panic attack. Studies show taking slow, deep, breaths soothes our nervous system and increases brain activity. And you almost immediately feel a calm settle over you. Try it for yourself.
Try Listening Meditation
One way to get your mind to settle down is to meditate. And one of the easiest ways to meditate is to practice listening meditation. This is exactly what is sounds like. Sit quietly, eyes closed, and begin to listen to the ambient sounds in the room. What do you hear? Buzzing lights? A fan? Someone cough? Birds outside? A lawnmower? Just be aware of all the sounds and try and expand that awareness to hear as much as possible. This form of meditation is fun and effective, because you cannot possibly listen, truly listen, and think at the same time.
Take a Walk
Nervous energy needs to go somewhere – it has to be burned. Taking a 15- minute walk around the block can be a great way to get rid of this energy while breathing deeply. As a bonus, your body releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins when you exercise.
Don’t Drink Coffee
Yes, I am asking you on your coffee break to not drink coffee. Or soda. Caffeine and sugar can exacerbate anxiety by making us feel jittery and nervous. You are far better off sticking with water.
I hope you will give these anxiety-busting strategies a try. If you feel they are not helping as much as you need and you would like to speak with someone, please get in touch with me. I’d be happy to speak a bout treatment options with you.