Worry No More, Touch Your Worries Away

I know it’s been a while, just over here starting my online counseling practice but I know the title of this post probably has you a bit intrigued on what I’m planning to talk about. Well, when we worry, what is usually going on?

What Happens When You Worry

  • You can’t stay present
  • You’re having ruminating thoughts
  • You’re piling on those anxiety symptoms that can do some damage internally, if you do this activity quite often.

Helping Yourself When Worrying

One of the things that I’ve mentioned before that is helpful is figuring out a way to be present. Incorporate a grounding exercise to get you back to a state where you can control what you’re doing. Next, it’s about figuring out a plan, especially if this is something within your control. What is the first step you can take to get this problem solved? If it’s out of your control, then maybe it’s getting out how you feel in some way (journaling, talking to someone) or figuring out a coping technique that can help. We don’t want to just keep thinking and worrying, without an exit plan.

So, in using your senses, I thought it would be good to share a little tip. Find an item that you think can serve as a good distraction for you, something small that you can put in your hand and make it serve a purpose. That purpose is being able to tell yourself to not worry about things out of your control, calm down, breathe a bit and anything else you feel you want this item to tell you in moments where you just start to worry. Carry this item with you, rub it, squeeze it, hold it, but start to make a connection for yourself that this item is supposed to help you limit your worrying, calm you down and help you stay present and out of your head.

The reason this topic was so important for me to share today was bc I recently was given this item called a “worry rock” and I never knew such things existed. I am aware of stress balls and other items to put in your hand when stressed but never this and I’ve been using it quite often. I think being able to turn your attention to something in your hand, helps keep you distracted for a bit to ponder the following.

Questions to Ask Yourself When You Finally Distract Yourself From Worrying

  • Why am I worrying about this right now?
  • Is this going to matter tomorrow or days from now?
  • Is this taking me away from something that I do need to focus on?
  • Can I come up with another way to look at this thing that I keep worrying about?

Additionally, try other sources of touch that can help you in certain moments to balance or calm you down. There are studies out there on the benefits of touch and so it’s doing what works for you. At one point I started to just try to be still in moments where I felt like my heart was racing and I would just rest my hands on my chest and just let it stay there for a while, and I found that was very helpful in bringing my heart rate down. I believe this is something similar to Reiki, which I have been going to a massage therapist for and after my sessions lately, I feel much more relaxed than when I walked in.

Worrying shouldn’t be where you just stop and allow your mind to just keep going about the what-ifs, what you should have done, or things you feel you can’t do. Make this a moment where you take some control and don’t allow your worries to take you away from dealing with what you need to so you can move on to feeling like you should.

The Evidence You Need Is Getting Out of Your Head

You know how almost every season, there’s always a new fashion focus, whether its certain colors, different style changes, but there is always something that they saturate throughout the media for us to buy. Why can’t they do this with things that can help with our mental health? I think we talk so much about the issue but to destigmatize it, why not have ways that we tell folks what goes together this season to manage how our thoughts can factor in to our feelings and behaviors.

Why isn’t that very popular on the news rotation? I would love to start this trend, so this brings me to what I feel goes together right now.

It’s been getting colder, Daylight Saving Time is over, and I feel that’s another story on its own. I don’t think we need it and don’t think its helpful with our overall fatigue which can trickle down to other factors of mental wellness, but I’ll stay on track.

So, for this season, what goes together in managing how you decide to react to certain things is being able to identify what evidence you have for thinking the thoughts you have and learning to take a pause before saying and doing things you don’t mean.

At times we really are motivated by the sudden rush of adrenaline and this makes us want to react right now, but NO, NO,NO, take a pause and think through things before you impulsively react. Our minds and the things we think about can play some not so great tricks on us, if we’re not fully aware.Some can have a hard time identifying how realistic certain thoughts are so that’s why it is important to identify what you’re doing now and then take the necessary steps to rectify the situation.

Some Tips to Keep Those Thoughts in the Present

  • What do you know to be real right now? What evidence do you have for thinking this way in this moment? This may be the best time to take a step back, identify what you know and don’t know and then go from there. Feeding those thoughts that are merely how you perceive the outside world, without some evidence at times, needs to STOP here.
  • Take a minute and distract yourself with another activity, then when you have had some time, come back to this thought, this moment and really identify if having this thought really fits with your current environment or is it something that is being created by the anxieties from how you normally perceive your world, which at times may or may not be accurate. You have to be realistic with yourself on how you coast throughout your day to day tasks to be able to identify areas that need some adjustment.
  • Learn to observe, no need to judge a moment as right or wrong, good or bad, just be in the moment, that you’re having this thought and just observe. Just like you can observe the person sitting in front of you, or that bird that just flew  on that tree branch, just be in that moment and observe. Be aware of this thought that you’re having and know that you don’t necessarily have to react to it in any way.

This is the season to identify what things don’t match up in your space and this is the time to do something about them. If your thoughts go off track at times, let’s work on reeling them back in, so you can be in this moment focusing on what matters right now because it is what you have some control over, right?

Thanks for reading,

Alvina

Thinking of A Different Outcome To Manage Certain Feelings You Might Have

We can always expect that we know how a situation will play out. Maybe they won’t like me, or they’ll talk behind my back, maybe I shouldn’t do this presentation because I already know it won’t go great. You see we tell ourselves quite a bit in situations where we’re about to challenge a possible weakness and possibly strengthen this quality about us but our self-talk is hiding out waiting on these moments to keep you in the same space you’ve always been.

We Have Work To Do

This is what can keep us in our heads, strays us away from growing and doing great things with what we’re capable of and just get out of this comfort zone we love to cuddle in. I think what can work is learning to think of a different outcome, when we’re able to be challenged in a way that we aren’t comfortable with.

For every thought we have about what could possibly go wrong, why can’t we have the same thought about how the situation could go good?

See how that can help with shifting your mindset overtime? We at times are so immersed in how a situation may look, we’ve thought about how bad we may do in a situation, how others may comment on how bad we did, we even think of ways that we can negatively label ourselves and what does that do? It just keeps hitting on that self-esteem of ours and this is what frightens us in a way to not challenge ourselves in different aspects of our lives.

What Can Happen?

Now if you were to shift your thinking, what do you think that would do to you? Your confidence goes up, you know you can be in control of situations, and that you have certain strengths in you to do what you’re meant to do in whatever situation you’re about to go in.  To go into situations confident that you will do your best, it starts with how you train your mind to shift to the good rather than the not so good. I’ve yet to meet someone who could tell me whats really going to happen in a situation before it happens so why create that already for ourselves, but if you know of someone I’d like that number, but then again why would you want to know? Experiencing life as it is, is so fruitful because you challenge aspects of you that have been waiting for moments like this to help you grow and discover the greatness in you.

Thinking of A Different Outcome

  • Get your self-talk in check in any moment: This is where it starts. So, be mindful of the things you say and think about yourself in any situation, it helps with knowing what things you need to change, because that self-talk isn’t going anywhere.
  • Start to see the good in moments no matter how big or small: If you can’t do it in the moment, wait until the end of the day and look back and find something you may have missed from everything that didn’t go so well. Find that small ounce of positivity in your day on something that did go well and savor in that moment for a bit. Also, try to think through what you could have done differently to have a different outcome.
  • Recognize the Control You Have: You have an abundance of control over a lot of situations, you feel you don’t.  Like I mentioned above, it starts with what you think and then its truly believing in your abilities, and following through with what you believe. That belief that you got this, is all you need in making sure you can take moments for what they are. Its not going to be about what you create in your head, but how you plan to do what you’re capable of doing to make it known you always had it in you.

So, how will you think of a different outcome to ponder on to overcome situations that keep causing you some form of anxiety, fear, frustratation, sadness, etc?

 

Thanks for reading

Alvina

Preparing For A Panic Attack

Ever have that feeling, your heart feels like it’s about to come out of your chest, you can’t fully breathe, can’t find a way to calm yourself down, you’re just in the state of trying to find something and nothing really helps because you’re in a state of panic. That right there is part of experiencing a panic attack and it’s not anything nice. I’ve had a few and its an unexplainable sudden, intense feeling and if I knew then what I know now, I think I could have handled it a bit differently. Before I get into ways to manage a panic attack,  a few other symptoms to be aware of:

    • Palpitations, pounding heart, accelerated heart rate
    • Sweating 
    • Shortness of breath or smothering 
    • Fear or losing control 
    • Numbness or tingling sensations 

Reading this article, shows a bit of how we can interpret a panic attack and how it worsens, by the way we perceive the occurrence of certain bodily sensations that are normal responses when we’re anxious. So basically we get triggered (perceived threat), then a feeling of uneasiness comes over us or we think something not so great will occur (apprehension), then we experience certain bodily sensations and lastly if we think of these sensations as catastrophic enough, then that feeling of uneasiness worsens and really we continue in this cycle of panic that we at times can’t break from. It can literally feel like eternity before you’re able to calm down, especially without a plan to manage it.  

As you can see, it starts with how we interpret things and that’s something to be aware of. The awareness of your self-talk in these moments, is key. So, instead of asking,  “Why is this happening to me?”,  the question to focus on is, “What can I do right now to manage this situation?”

Figure out how to manage what you’re feeling in this moment because the focus is getting you back to equilibrium and if your cycling through, whats occurring with you, the fear you have, it’s not going to get you anywhere but still in this moment of anxious thoughts. You have to know that you will be ok, that this moment will pass, even though a bit uncomfortable it will go away, with some planning. 

Preparing for your Panic Attacks

    • Get as low to the ground as possible, sit, lay down, pull over if you’re driving, the point is to stop in the moment and in some way gain some control over whats happening. Grounding techniques work well during this time. 
    • Have a panic attack action plan around that you can utilize, including who to call, what techniques will work, steps that you can take in these moments, as well as any triggers that you’re aware of. Having this somewhere you see often or going over it consistently can be helpful to reach for, when you experience another attack. Keep it as a notecard if you find that helpful.
    • Keep a good space around you. This is not a time that you may want to be touched even if someone is trying to be helpful, let them know this is what you may need in this moment. Just their presence is good enough.
    • Try a body scan if you can, moving through each area to create some relaxation for yourself.
    • Focus on controlling your breathing
    • Make a coping skills box for your anxiety, including things that help with relaxation. Once you have this, find something in your coping skills box that can help bring you down a bit from where you’re at, a nice lavender scent, a stress ball, a picture of something that you enjoy, etc. 
    • Listen to music
    • Be aware of where you’re at, try to stay in the moment and don’t let your mind take you off into more anxiety. Focus on what you can manage in this moment, is it your thoughts, is it your breathing, it could simply be trying to focus on an object in the space you’re in,  to help calm your thoughts down. Maybe describe simple things you notice about this object, its color, shape, smell, etc.
    • Be still, no need to move around, that could make things worse, just be still and focus on a few of the suggestions above on healthy ways to try to calm down. 

Your management of things that occur in your life starts with how important it is for you to overcome it. The cause of our panic at times can be unexplainable but you owe it to yourself to take control of this aspect of your life. Find the tools that work for you, learn them, repeat them, allow them to evolve to find a base of techniques to help with how you manage a panic attack.

Thanks for reading.

Alvie 

Creating a Calmness Around You A Good Majority of The Time

So just wanted to check in mid-week, short week but it seems to be dragging.

My ultimate focus lately is creating this space of peace/calmness. Awareness of the control we can have in different aspects of our lives, is key. Things are definitely not going to go as planned all the time but that doesn’t mean we still can’t create this space of calm energy while we deal with the uncertainties of our day to day tasks. We can be tempted in different ways from,  someone talking about us, receiving a work email that could possibly poke at your abilities, someone being dishonest with you, etc. Yes, at times we want to gravitate towards what we know best and pounce on the situation. Who wants to think about our actions in the moment when we have all this adrenaline in us? Unconsciously, we may want to make someone else feel what we’re feeling in the moment and that can cause the immediate reaction.

Lately, I’ve learned the benefits of stopping in the moment. Yes,  I want to react but I stop, I may attend to whatever that is for a few minutes, may even have a comeback but,  it’s not about that, it’s giving myself time to calm down, creating a good peaceful energy for myself before reacting. Can I say that it has been so helpful to my overall outlook on things? Also, that not everything/everyone deserves your energy. That energy is very important and why waste it on people/things that are of no importance to you in your overall scope of how you go about your life?

Creating this peace can be beneficial to you in the long run because it can keep your heightened physiological activity at bay. Something we need, because every time we’re reacting our internal system reacts and too much of that can be detrimental to our overall health.

To get a clear understanding of yourself, how you respond to things, what triggers you, find your peace in these chaotic moments.

I catch myself talking myself down in my head, shrugging things off, labeling my behavior and learning to back away before I release on innocent bystanders. Of course, breathing and grounding techniques are also helpful during these times as well.

Just like I have mentioned before in so many ways, create a space for yourself that brings you happiness, everyday may be something different but you are in control of how you allow things to bother you. Create this space of calmness for you and no one else because it definitely is something that we all need right now.

A few other techniques in detail that may also be of some help.

 

Thanks for reading

Alvie

Clearing Your Mind Of Ruminating Thoughts

So I give my clients quite a bit of techniques to manage their ruminating thoughts but I found myself at a loss yesterday. I guess it was just one of those days. My car started acting up and I could have calmly said, no big deal, I will take care of it tomorrow. Nope. I got annoyed with JW that moment for asking any questions, I went to look at YouTube for what it could possibly be, like I was really going to fix it once I figured out what it was.lol. Also, I went to bed thinking about it and I woke up with the same thoughts.  I thought out several plans on how I was going to get it to the dealership, if I should call out from work for the day, if this was the end of my car, etc..le sigh

A common mistake we can make in these situations is not knowing how much control we can have over things we repeatedly think about in our head. We create unnecessary anxiety and stress with being for ourselves in these moments.  The thing that happens is that we learn this behavior and it becomes harder to unlearn when we try to. We continue with what we know best and at times that isn’t good for our psyche.

If you ever have a similar moment, here are some options to try. You would think my daily meditations would have helped me deal with this situation a bit better but growth, is the word of the day.

  • Learn to pause, because that’s really what we need, to take a breather, calm ourselves down and think through a possible solution.
    • To find that solution, it takes coming up with several possibilities, choosing the solution that works best and giving it time to do its magic. If its not working out how you planned, switch it up again.  Give yourself an allotted amount of time to see if something works to help with solving the issue that keeps coming up in your head. Also it doesn’t have to be the end all be all.
  • There’s always room for meditation to clear your mind and adjust how you’re thinking about the situation.
  • You can listen to Weightless by Marconi Union. I learned about this anxiety hack a few weeks ago and have used it to calm my nerves,  especially while flying.  I know there are various songs out there but this one I can get with. When you hear of research conducted by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International on ways that sound can impact our stress response, it got me intrigued and now I’m sold.
  • Remove yourself from situations that could intensify your thoughts. Also, think about removing yourself from people to get a clear mind in that moment, to minimize getting annoyed and keep you from snapping at unexpected bystanders.
  • Mindfully try to focus on one thing, whether it’s eating, walking or writing, to try to find some peace in doing one thing and being fully aware of whats going on in that moment.
  • Get a work-out in, for all the great reasons you can think of, do something you like and that can keep your attention. After a work-out, it can help you see how insignificant a thought is, could help you come up with a better solution and just may help with just overall relaxation which is what we’re going for.

You have more control than you think in these moments and if you’re ruminating thoughts are taking you away from dealing with reality, then its asking yourself why you want to cause yourself this headache. It’s ok to slow down in these moments when you’re mind wants to go everywhere but what it needs to focus on. Create peace in your mind by being present about when you’re thoughts are out of control to be able to look at the one thing that can be done to manage the problem.

Getting Past Our Old Way of Reacting

Our current state and how we want our future to look, starts with how we are choosing to deal with our past triggers. The breadcrumbs carefully laid out from our past, is really the driving force in how we are choosing to react, feel and think currently. I love everything about this quote because it falls along the lines of taking that step back and being aware of what you’re doing in the moment to either keep you stagnant in your past life and have that be your story or it wakes you up a bit to direct your life towards a different path. Think about how you naturally react to things that occur in your life, is it the actual moment or do you have reminders of a past event that has really triggered your behavior in that moment?

We are always tempted to react in an old way, whether its picking up a bad habit or just thinking a way we shouldn’t. That right there is because it’s much easier for us to be in this old state because it’s what we know best, it may not be the best decision but it’s what we know best and straying from our usual routine, can at times be a true challenge.

True growth in moments where you want to react in an old way is identifying where you’re trying to go and its recognizing what you want to see in yourself, its standing up to that inner critic that may not want to see you grow and change.

You are of great value and when you’re able to truly see that, you’re able to grow past the stage of old behaviors and progress towards a path of enlightenment to understand the need to react differently to achieve a better outcome in different aspects of your life.