Category Archive Anxiety

ByAnxious Minds

Dealing with Child Anxiety takes more than just therapy

Children often go out and play — activities that are normal for their physical, intellectual, and emotional development. They go to school, do homework, do some errands, and play again. They interact often with peers and are always on the go. In some cases, children get a chance to feel the surge of anxiety in and around their busy environment. Child anxiety often shows up in school events (like sport games or a science test), and even because of peer pressure. Although a little worry and a little sense of competition may boost a child’s performance in school, a positive fact since anxiety is often considered a negative response to challenging situations or problems.

But experiencing child anxiety in ill-suited situations can cause the kids to be extra stressful and distracted. It is a known fact that children are easily scared of anything. From spiders, frogs, monsters under their beds, dogs, or to the dark, they feel this rush of anxiety that makes them extra alert. Anxiety, in this case for children, is likewise general in nature—constant alertness. But it is essential that there exists a balance of anxiety that would not intervene with their daily normal functions.

Unfavorably for some, children also have different child anxiety disorders. Sometimes, children feel worried about something, making them think that they may fail in some way or another. This is an example of generalized anxiety disorder. Excessive worry for children can be treated by sharing them definite thoughts and giving them inspirational words, giving them an opportunity to learn how to “self talk” in a positive way. Other disorders also include panic disorder, often caused by panic attacks due to either psychological or physical harm. Another would be separation anxiety disorder, that is common in young children who are extremely attached to either parents or siblings. Social and other specific phobias are also implications for such disorder, and is focused on fear of things or certain situations. A child with selective mutism often generates a feel of being alone. They usually do not converse with anyone or participate in any social interaction (in school or at home). Another would be having obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as a child, since it can also affect their way of living, and this specific disorder is mostly carried out through adulthood.

Coping with anxiety can be easy and effective if the method is proven to be safe and known by medical institutions. The support of parents is also important in effective treatment of serious emotional and psychological conditions. Other methods to manage stress in children include cognitive- behavioral therapy such as role playing, relaxation training, healthy thinking, exposure to positive and rational thoughts, and also family therapy — which is acknowledged as one of the most effective ways for coping with anxiety.

Coping with anxiety in children takes time and effort from the therapists, doctors, and parents alike. Engaging them in proper social activities, helping them help themselves, and also praising them and constantly giving them gifts or goodies will give them more encouragement and support.

ByAnxious Minds

Curing Anxiety Without Medication…What The Professionals Don’t Want You To Know

As a psychotherapist in private practice for over a decade, I certainly have seen it all: watching my clients suffer through anxiety and stress, watching them go from medication to medication looking for “the right pill”, and rarely finding it, spending inordinate amounts of money desperately trying to find the correct method to make their stress go away.

Can Anxiety Be Cured By A Pill or through Mental Health Counseling?

Anxiety is a complex issue…not just something that can be cured through popping a pill, or through one or two visits to a mental health counseling professional. And while a combination of both medication and counseling can be effective, unfortunately it can take years to see results…and often a lot of money.

If I Do Decide To Take Medication And See A Therapist, What Is The Best Type Of Therapy And Medication I Should Take To Help My Anxiety?

I can’t answer that for you specifically, because every one is different (for example, you may have an allergy that precludes you from using a certain type of medication; Or you may not take well to a specific model of psychotherapy). That said, I can say that I have seen many of my clients do pretty well with what is known as “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy”, in combination with a medication that their psychiatrist prescribed.

Isn’t There Any Way To Get Rid Of My Anxiety Right Away, Instead Of Waiting The Years It Can Take For Medication and Counseling to Kick In?

Yes. For every year it takes to go through therapy and anti-anxiety medication, people can actually learn to make their anxiety disappear in 10 to 15 minutes. That doesn’t mean that counseling and medication aren’t viable options…but they are not the end-all cure-all for anxiety…they are merely supplements to help you get better. The majority of the work is done by “you”. Not to mention…you save a great amount of your money and time.

Why Don’t Psychiatrists Ever Tell You That You Can Learn to Make Your Anxiety Disappear On Your Own?

Bottom line: Because they need to make a living. If you did not see them for visits, these Doctors would not be in business. Don’t get me wrong…there are some darn good professionals out there in the field of psychiatry.

But, the fact is, if the Doctors and therpists dont  let you know that you can learn, in 10-15 minutes, the secrets to curing your anxiety…they would lose a great deal of income.

ByAnxious Minds

Counting our way out of anxiety

Mathematics is still one of the most challenging subjects faced by ordinary grade school and high school students. It is not uncommon to hear of students who flunk at math not just for because the subject is hard to learn, but also because they are afflicted with what is now called by teachers as — math anxiety.

Math anxiety is referred to as an intense feeling of helplessness or frustration about one’s ability (or lack of it) to accomplish mathematical tasks or solve mathematical problems. Some who have this “academic malady” claimed that their minds suddenly go blank and they feel terrified once they look at a mathematical question or test. Many have proclaimed their sworn hate for the subject and have simply resigned to what they consider to be fact — that they cannot learn to do math.

But what does make math difficult, or at least, different? According to math teachers, their subject of expertise is unlike other courses or subjects taught in school for the following reasons:

1. Math involves the study of various processes. In other subjects, you learn and understand the material without necessarily having to apply it. In math, you have to learn the lessons or processes such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division – and then, you have to move on to a workbook, apply those lessons, and solve math problems.

2. Math is considered to be a linear learning process where one such process is taught and used today, and is used as part of the lessons of the following day, and so forth. Teachers say that when you study history, you can learn chapter 6 even without passing through some of the previous chapters. You can skip some parts of history and choose a specific section as part of the lesson. But in Math, you cannot study algebra without first mastering the four basic mathematical operations. Given this situation, it is easy to understand why some children who failed to master basic concepts find it hard to learn higher math concepts, and, as a consequence, they tend to develop math anxiety.

3. Like a foreign language, math must be practiced daily to retain your skills.

There are other reasons why math is very different from other subjects. But for sure, many children around the world have to grapple with the numbers and concepts that seem like undecipherable codes. Math anxiety has become so serious that some academicians believe it is one of the causes for school dropouts. They said that once the student who is struggling with math feels utterly frustrated in learning the concepts and processes. that student may conclude that going to school is futile. In fact, test anxiety is often linked to the fear of failing math or the fear of actually having to try to solve a mathematical problem. When a student fails to study or does not prepare sufficiently for an examination, nervousness and helplessness sets in. But for a student who suffers from math anxiety, preparing for the examination is already considered “mission impossible” since he cannot even learn the basic lessons. The only conclusion he can make is that he will fail the math exam — again. Clearly, it can be expected that a student suffering from math anxiety would almost always show signs of test anxiety.
Now, what can we actually do to help children cope with math anxiety?

The first step is to recognise that math anxiety is an emotional response. It is not a permanent condition.
The second step is to know that certain myths and misconceptions have actually reinforced poor math performance. One such misconception is that a student can only be good either in language or in math, and not at both fields of study. A student who performs well in English grammar class may be a dunce at arithmetic, while a good math student would surely stammer during a poetry class. Education experts say that nothing can be farther from the truth. They insist that if schooled well, children can be good in languages and in numbers.

They say that a good foundation in arithmetic is necessary to do well in higher level of mathematics. Academicians are also careful to add that teachers play a major role in developing a healthy and positive regard for studying math. If children experience repeated frustration and failure in learning math, it may be the “teacher factor” that is causing the anxiety and inability to learn. Good math teachers are necessary to make the subject more interesting and rewarding for the students. The third and most obvious step is to buckle down to work and try to learn math from the very beginning. As mentioned earlier, it entails a linear, progressive mastery of concepts and processes. As in all things in life, mathematics, too, must be learned one step at a time.

ByAnxious Minds

Coping with anxiety through martial arts

“To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

A lot has been said about martial arts. There’s a lot punching, kicking, and wrestling involved — all considered as systems and tools of brutal force. This notion or preconceptions about the martial arts were developed, in a large measure, due to films and movies that depicted the combative arts as a means of inflicting violence. But in reality, the true aim of martial arts is quite exactly the opposite. At the core of every fighting philosophy are the values of valor, chivalry, nobility, self-control, and self-sacrifice. This art form is not just about fighting, combat, or self-defense. Martial arts philosophy stresses that people should live in peace and harmony. It also emphasizes respect for self and others, compassion, and a high regard for physical and moral excellence. In its purest form, the martial arts is practiced to achieve strength and enlightenment of the mind, body, and spirit.

For thousands of years, different people from different cultures have practiced and propagated their own system of martial arts. These unique forms of self-defense and philosophies include the following:
· Karate (empty hand)
· Muay Thai (Thai boxing or kick-boxing)
· Tae Kwon Do (foot hand way)
· Wing Chun (forever spring)
· Silat (to fend off)
· Aikido (the way of harmonious spirit)
· Judo (gentle, soft way)
· Yaw-yan (dance of death)
· Jeet Kune Do (way of the intercepting fist)
· Jiu-jitsu (the soft, pliable method)

Spiritual Benefits

True achievement in martial arts is not gaining the force and skill to smash bricks, cement blocks, baseball bats, and blocks of ice. Neither is it the privilege of wearing different colors of belts nor the prestige of winning sparring championship titles or tournament trophies. The real value of martial arts is in helping individuals harness their natural physical strength and innate goodness of character.

The power within— the elevation of the spirit and the mind. The spiritual side of the martial arts is not religious in any sense but more closely related to the practice of ethics and philosophy. Spirituality in the martial arts is manifested in several training methods and techniques which includes breathing and relaxation drills. According to experts, these drills may help reduce stress and anxiety. Engaging in martial arts also helps people in their battle against emotional, physical, and mental stress and ailments. The deep breathing exercises, similar to the techniques of yoga, produce a calming effect on a martial artist. The inhalation of oxygen and the concentration involved in meditative execution of martial arts routines serve to relax the body and provide “stillness” in the mind during practice. In many martial arts schools, the promotion not only centers of the defensive aspects but also for the benefits of martial arts in coping with anxiety. Long-time martial arts practitioners attest that physical training has helped them deal with depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, and other related illness. To some degree, one can even “shout away” both stress and anxiety during a punching or kicking exercise.

Mental Benefits

Today, martial arts therapy is used as an unconventional treatment for children or adults with social anxiety disorders. Also known as social phobia, this condition refers to excessive, long-lasting anxiety due to various fears, worries and apprehensions. In general, people with social anxiety disorder have an intense fear of being judged or ridiculed by others. People with this condition may often be found in isolation or may only have very few friends. Through martial arts training, people with anxieties may be taught to improve their social skills at the same time as they learn self-defense. These individuals are also taught to develop self-respect and respect for others. By attending self-defense classes, people with anxieties slowly gain confidence and develop healthy relationships with other people in and outside the class. Regular martial arts practice not only provides skills in self-defense. More importantly, it restores or improves the self-image of the practitioner.

Some precautions in practicing martial arts

In general, the martial arts is an excellent means to achieve physical fitness and spiritual health. But if it is practiced carelessly or without proper instruction, the physical activities and routines involved in martial arts training may cause harm or injury. Certain very strenuous movements may put a high stress on the muscles and joints. It is also very important to give special attention to stretching. Stretching regularly to maintain or increase flexibility helps lower the risk of injuries.

Indeed, the martial arts has a deep meaning and philosophy. It is a centuries-old way of training a fighter — how not to fight, which is a paradox in the art and science of combat. These days, it is now one of the most popular means to attain physical health and to control stress and anxiety. But just like everything else in life, martial arts can be used either for good or for bad. For the serious practitioner, determining the proper and safe ways of training is as important as gaining the true, philosophical aims of the martial arts.

ByAnxious Minds

Cooking up Stress and Anxiety

Gone are the days when people think of cooking as a task that should be done “only by women.” In the past, women were traditionally relied upon to cook the meals for the family, do the dishes and clean the house, and be in-charge of just about every domestic task there is. But times have changed and women now play very different roles in society unlike what women of the previous decades were accustomed to. This change in gender roles has affected both women and men — especially in terms of taking the lead kitchen. Today, both men and women now appreciate the art of cooking. People with exceptional culinary skills are highly compensated. For that reason, it is no wonder that the stress that used to part and parcel of cooking is now experienced by both men and women. Food, after all, is about pleasing the senses of people who partake of one’s kitchen creations.

Cooking and stress are not often associated with each other. The word “cooking” easily connotes gustatory pleasures and not stress which is often linked to one’s work at the office or to problems at home.
But it should not be a surprise to know that stress and anxiety now affect the men and women who do the cooking as much as the salesman who tries to meet his daily quotas or the manager who faces enormous organizational challenges.

In restaurants, for example, there are now more male cooks or chefs. These kitchen experts follow a so-called “chef’s ladder” that defines the rankings and specific tasks of each person in the kitchen. There is the head chef or “Chef de Cuisine” who visualises the dishes in accordance with the restaurant concept of dining. Next would be the Executive Chef, who actually runs the whole kitchen, manage the costs, hire and fire staff, revamp the menu, do certain administrative tasks. Under them would be the Sous Chef who make the daily specials, takes inventory, watches over the staff, and does the hands-on work in the kitchen. Also called the “Expediter”, the Sous Chef makes sure that the food gets to the table in a timely manner, a task that requires coordination and time management. With the same level as the sous chef, the pastry chef is in-charge of the pastry section of the restaurant. Mostly women reserved for women, this job requires preparation of chocolates, souffles, and sweet pastries.

Under these chefs would be the line cooks who are the ones who actually cook the food. The line cooks are divided according to certain cooking specialty. Another key member of the kitchen is the Chef de Garde Manger who manages the cold food section that includes the salads and desserts.

If you have watched an episode of the t.v. cooking show, Iron chef, you would probably know how stressful it is to work as a chef or a line cook. In that show, the cameras usually show the stress and anxiety in the chef’s faces as they try to prepare a certain number of meals under time pressure. Anxiety is also seen on the chef’s faces when the judges are tasting their dishes.

In another popular reality-based television show called Hell’s Kitchen, several people enter as contestants in a game that is supposed to select the next “big chef” in town. Being a reality show, Hell’s Kitchen often shows the stress and anxiety on the faces of the contestants while the host shouts and gets mad at them for not doing certain things right in the kitchen. Anxiety grips each contestant as they try to battle out to win the throne of being the next best chef.

ByAnxious Minds

Confronting Burnout, Stress and Anxiety

It’s like being in a dead end…finally reaching a stage in your career when you come face-to face with a complete sense of disillusionment with your job, and perhaps, with yourself. You no longer get any satisfaction nor fulfillment in everything that you do, and no one can talk you out of whatever decision you have already made. It’s the point of no return. It’s about time that you give yourself, not just a break, but freedom from stress and anxiety that have been tearing your world apart. It’s simply called burnout.

Burnout is a deep-seated sense of disillusionment and exhaustion with a job or career that used to provide so much excitement and motivation. No one is exempted from burnout. It happens even to highly committed and passionate individuals who encounter problems or get involved in situations where their enthusiasm and passion are gradually being stripped away until they eventually lose the drive and will to go on. It can be a situation or a thought that can weigh you down or make you feel frustrated and angry.

Stress and anxiety are normal parts of everyday life. Both can motivate a person to be productive and to rise up to the challenge of tough situations. However, too much stress and too much anxiety can be harmful and may cause physical, emotional, and psychological problems like infection, heart diseases, and depression. Stress and anxiety at workplace can lead to burnout.

Taking a much-needed vacation may help address the problem of exhaustion and boredom but it may not be effective in totally eliminating the sense of disillusionment, stress and anxiety. Here are some ways people resort to in dealing with a stressful situation like burnout:

Going Through The Motions – Some people deal with burnout by not dealing with it at all. To accept it and not do anything about it is one of the worst way to deal with burnout. Such indifference will soon result to anger and bitterness as opportunities pass you by.

Career Change – When the passion and drive that used to inspire you to do your best have been snuffed out, disabling you from going on further with your career, it’s time to consider making that shift. A new profession will certainly give you a new perspective. However, changing career may not credit some of the precious experiences you have already gained as relevant to your newfound endeavor. Moreover, competition will most likely come from much younger people who are willing to accept lower salaries thus affecting your bargaining power.

Changing Jobs – a change of job within the same field of endeavor or profession is just like having the same job but in a totally different environment. Your skills and the previous experiences you have acquired will be transferable and allows you to re-dedicate your original goals to start anew, without being reminded of the burdens that come with staying on the same job. Individuals who were disillusioned with their previous employers may benefit in job change. However, the downside of this response is the possibility that you may end up with the same situation again if the cause of burnout is the job itself and not the other factors such as management and co-workers.

Wake-up Call – Some people manage through burnout situations by considering it as a trigger to re-evaluate their lifestyles and what they want to achieve. This form of stress management is one of the most positive ways to cope with burnout. It is dealing with the sense of failure by talking with somebody who may have experienced the same situation and help you realized without bias why after all the inputs you have generously given and efforts you have exerted to do well did not worked out to your advantage.

This person should not be from the same company to avoid prejudice which may only complicate matters. Sometimes, this is all that is needed to relieve stress and anxiety that leads to burnout. The realization may lead you to yourself or to other people as the one to be blamed. But what is important is to be able to move on without dwelling further on blame and guilt.

Coming to terms with the situation will allow people to learn that hard work is not the only thing that matters, that major achievements need the support of other people, and most importantly, that they are not superhuman to cure all ills. They will learn to spot and communicate problems early on to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Consult with your healthcare providers regarding therapies and stress management programs in order to help you move on from a burnout situation, stress and anxiety to rise above the demands of a new and challenging career.