Worry Answers

Why am I so stressed at 29 years old? And I how can I stop worrying about every single thing?

Hi Pag, First off you should be proud for reaching out. I am so sorry that you are feeling as if you're being negative. Anxiety can be a very tricky thing and can be so different for everybody. What does anxiety look like to you? What do you do when you are feeling anxious? When we are feeling anxious it could be important to explore the why behind it all. How long have you had anxiety? When you first started having anxiety was there something that triggered it? How old were you before the anxiety started? It is normal for people to be worried and concerned about things in our life but when it is excessive worry is when it can turn to an issue for you. At the same time that does not necessarily mean you have a mind of an older person. It could be just some changes going on right now in your life. This is your chance to really explore yourself and see what you truly like and what you think could be fun for you. What did you like to do before you became anxious? What kind of fun things did you enjoy before?  Along with the anxiety it would be important for you to know your triggers. If you know your triggers you can cope more easy. Also with your triggers what coping skills do you utilize? Have you looked into these things before? Once you can help your anxiety and work on it, you can focus more on yourself and what you think could be fun for you.  When you have anxiety it is important to dig deep into those thoughts and maybe even write them out. Write out your anxious thought and then write out the multiple outcomes that can happen from the thing that is making you anxious. When you're anxious a lot of the times you are not able to focus on yourself and do the things you need to do to take care of yourself. Practicing self care could be helpful for you. What are things you do to take care of yourself, your body and your mind?
Answered on 02/10/2023

How do I stop overthinking?

Hi Dave,  Thank you for your question, and I'm sorry to hear of the toll that overthinking is having on your mental health. I hope that my answer will be able to provide some guidance for you and help you manage these thoughts that you are having. It can be so frustrating to feel like your thoughts are out of your control, particularly when your overthinking has always felt like a part of you.  Overthinking is not a mental health diagnosis in itself but is usually a symptom, particularly of anxiety. It would be helpful for you to take a look at the thoughts that you are having and think about what anxieties are underlying them. Is there a fear of failure? A worry about how people will react to you? Perhaps it could be a mixture of different anxieties/worries.  When we're feeling anxious, it's because our brain is responding to a perceived 'threat'. The problem is that a lot of anxiety can be caused by an imagined threat and these worries aren't actually grounded in reality. This is particularly the case where you've mentioned that you create scenarios in your mind - these scenarios act as the perceived threat but in actuality, there is no concrete 'evidence' for them being real or something that will happen. That doesn't stop them from feeling any less real though, which is why these thoughts have had such a big impact on your wellbeing and life. To combat this process, it is therefore a case of showing your brain that it is not under threat, and that the thoughts it is having are not representative of what is actually happening.  Keeping a thought record is one of the most effective tools to combat overthinking. As regularly and consistently as possible, try to keep a log of the thoughts that you are having. This can be in whatever format works best for you e.g. long paragraphs, bullet points, a voice note for yourself.  Alongside a log of your thoughts, try to identify how this makes you feel too. For example: 'I feel like if I go to work tomorrow, I'm going to mess everything up. This makes me feel embarrassed, like I'm not good enough.' Then from there, you can start to analyze these thoughts a little more. Starting with what makes that thought and feeling so significant to you? What is it about that feeling that you would like to avoid?  Then you can start asking yourself whether the thought can be 'proven' with substantial evidence? Is there any concrete evidence which proves that the thought is real or is going to come true? Is there any evidence to the contrary for your thoughts, that could actually disprove it?  If you described this thought to your friends/family/partner, what would they say about it? Why might their perception of it be different to your own? Is there any way of reframing this thought in a more positive way? That doesn't mean pretending that everything is perfect, but perhaps looking at it with a different perspective. Using the example above, it could be reframed like 'I feel worried about messing up at work tomorrow. My worry is because I want to do a good job and because I'm ambitious. If I do mess up, it gives me an opportunity to learn from the mistake and do things better next time.' The tools I've described are very common ones for addressing difficult thinking patterns. When it comes to overthinking, the most pleasant option feels like trying to block them out, or pretend that they don't exist so that we can get on with life. Unfortunately, tackling overthinking requires the difficult option of confronting the thoughts and taking a look at them, trying to figure out what anxieties and underlying feelings are being expressed through these thoughts.  This process is not easy, but rest assured that overthinking is something that with time and work can become less impactful on your life. Being mindful that this is hard work to be doing, I would also recommend some mindfulness activities. Mindfulness is all about bringing our focus to our biological senses and the world around us, to help us take a step back from our thoughts, particularly if they are overwhelming. I would recommend this webpage as a good starting point for mindfulness. There are many other mindfulness exercises such as breathing and meditation practices which you can find online too, if you would like to explore this further.  The tools that I've mentioned above come from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which is a form of therapy which addresses how our thoughts, feelings and behaviors impact one another. With the overthinking that you're describing, it could be beneficial to seek further CBT support as it could very well help you with the problems that you're having. A CBT-trained therapist would be able to support you in tackling these thoughts, and provide you with further tools like the ones I've described.  However, CBT is not the only option and there are many types of therapy which could support you in this. Sometimes, just expressing your thoughts with another person can help. Saying them out loud can help us see a different perspective on things, and having somebody there to explore those thoughts and challenge them can make a world of difference.  I hope that this provides a good starting point as you begin to tackle your overthinking and the impact that it is having on you. I wish you all the best, and certainly hope that you reach a happier place with your thoughts. 
Answered on 02/05/2023

How do I learn to live in real life and not in my head?

I am really glad you asked this question because this is something that a lot of people struggle with! Usually when people are overthinking things they are struggling with negative feelings over something that they did or something that occurred in the past and then they have negative feeling chemicals released every time they think of the future. Those things that happened in the past cause us anxiety or dread. However, it isn't actually what happened that made the person have negative feelings about the past, it is how they viewed what happened. Almost everyone has things from their past that they have an "over response" too. For instance, say someone has an experience when they are 7 years old where they did something embarrassing. When they look at that experience from an adult's perspective they often judge themselves from an adult perspective. When in reality the behavior was not unusual behavior for a 7 year old. They might even be able to see another 7 year old do the same behavior and excuse it as normal for that developmental level. However, when it comes to ourselves we can judge ourselves more harshly. Randomly this event will come into the adult's mind and they will have accompanying thoughts like, "I am so stupid" or something similarly negative. The negative feelings that are produced during that thought will carry through to other areas of their adult life and reinforce the idea that they are "stupid". The more they reinforce how they interpret that event the more they are parallyzed about the future. This can become an obsession with living in the past and fear of the future, so they aren't free to live in the moment. It is important to look at the things that we think about squarely in the face and learn to tell ourselves the "truth". I personally like to recommend positive psychology here where we turn the negative thing into something positive until it actually produces positive chemicals when we think about it. Along with this, gratitude excercises help us focus on the present and what is working in the moment. This also gives us positive feelings about the future. Most people have been thinking negative thoughts so long that they need someone else to help them see the past and future for what it is. Doing this will help them change how they think until they can accept the situation, accept themselves, and anticipate the future. This is how we can best live in the moment. 
Answered on 02/04/2023

Is there a way I can get rid of being anxious all the time?

Thanks for reaching out for advice regarding this matter. Anxiety can be a healthy emotion, it forces us to focus on our problems, and work hard to solve them. But sometimes, anxiety grows out of control, and does just the opposite. It paralyzes our ability to solve problems. When this happens, irrational thoughts often play a role. First of all, it is important to know that anxiety is something that everyone experiences from time to time, but for some people, it can be extensive and excessive. Whenever a person has something that is considered a stressor, whether a real or imagined threat, they sometimes begin to have symptoms of anxiety or panic. I think it is important for you to investigate your feelings around the anxiousness. What is the root of your anxiety, Who benefits from your anxiousness, How does it serve you? It is important to be more mindful of your irrational thoughts. With enough practice, this will become a natural process that can help you manage anxiety. You mentioned that entering a meeting, meeting someone, travel, or anything big triggers your anxiety. Anxiety distorts our thinking by causing us to overestimate the likelihood of something going wrong, and imagine the potential consequences as worse than they really are. Sometimes, just taking a moment to think about these facts can help us recognize our irrational thoughts. For example, what would be the worst, best, and less likely outcomes, and if the worst case scenario happened would it matter in a week, month or a year from now. Please note that negative thinking, avoidance, distorted or biased thinking, and selective memory and attention causes anxiety.  Some of the ways to overcome anxiety is acceptance. For example, using the acceptance-based approach can be very beneficial. (identifying the thought, labeling it, be aware of the moment when the thought comes up, and being aware of the moment when the thought begins to recede from awareness) Another way to overcome anxiety is questioning. Using cognitive restructuring offers a way to critically evaluate potentially distorted thoughts.  Exposure is another way to overcome anxiety. Leaning into anxiety rather than avoiding it but confronting situations help to ease your anxiousness and to show that bad outcomes can still be manageable and even have an upside.  In addition, nutrition is a helpful way to overcome anxiety.  Research shows that anxiety levels can be impacted by the kinds of foods and drinks we consume. For example those who consume more saturated fats and added sugars have high anxiety levels than those with lower consumptions of saturated fats and added sugars. Eating fruits and vegetables and foods high in fiber with limited processed foods improves mood and helps with managing depression and anxiety. However, caffeine can increase your anxiety levels. Moreover, physical exercise if nothing but moving your body for 10 minutes is helpful for anxiety, this helps to improve your mood. Also, mindfulness is very helpful with addressing anxiety, some examples are:  meditation, deep-breathing, and progressive-muscle relaxations. Lastly, connecting with nature can be very important with managning anxiety. Studies show that using any of the five senses to feel closer in nature can boost your mood and put you in a more relaxed state. I hope these resources and coping strategies will be helpful for you. Best wishes to you!!
Answered on 02/03/2023

How to overcome health anxiety and bad thoughts?

Thank you for reaching out and for submitting your question. I am sorry that you are experiencing some challenges in your life right now. There are some people who seem to live carefree lives when it comes to their health. They don’t seem to ever give it much thought. But then there are others who are forever researching symptoms and can’t stop endlessly checking themselves for all sorts of maladies. They can’t stop fearing the absolute worst. The smallest of bumps or lumps and they are off to the races in terms of imagining they must surely have a horrid, incurable condition. It can truly become a debilitating and stressful way to go through life. But it does not have to be this way. There are approximately nearly 800 million people worldwide who struggle with what is commonly known as illness anxiety disorder. It can mean you are hyper focused on your own health and/or on the health of someone close to you. The condition can be chronic. And it can be quite distressing and disabling. The near constant, endless worry disrupts function across your life. It can interfere with relationships, upset sleep, lead to depression, and can be problematic in terms of keeping up with work or school. It tends to also lead to many unnecessary doctor visits, procedures, and medical tests as medical practitioners struggle to ensure nothing really is wrong.For someone with illness anxiety disorder their physical health is not the problem. Health isn’t the concern at all. It is instead the inability to tolerate uncertainty this is the issue. A person who is better able to manage uncertainty when it comes to their health will experience a symptom and will think “I must just be stressed and working too much and that is why this is happening.” The reason it through, and they forget about it. Alternatively, when you struggle with illness anxiety disorder you brain does something different. Your mind jumps to taking a ‘we are better to be safe than end up sorry’ sort of approach. And so then there are an infinite number of possible health concerns to consider. The symptom you get focused on could very well be quite real. But what happens is you misinterpret and decide the signs you see must surely be indicative of a serious and dangerous disease process. A person with illness anxiety disorder has a brain that is not as able to be as flexible. You can’t see that there may be some other simple explanations for what you see. Instead, your brain leaps straight to worst case scenario. You think you are simply being conscientious and playing the safe card. You might believe you are justified in taking full responsibility for your health. Did you know that people who do actually have a serious medical diagnosis tend to not have illness anxiety disorder? They have complete knowledge of their condition and know what the future potentially has in store. Yet, they live well and enjoy their lives. In fact, they don’t feel unlucky and don’t want to wallow in worry. They know life is short and they want to live it. They consider worry to be a waste of precious time – their illness sometimes means life is a bit shorter and lot more uncertain, and so it is suddenly more important than ever to really have fun and enjoy the time they have. We would all like to be guaranteed a life of good health. But nobody can have that. So when it comes to illness anxiety disorder the concern then involves addressing the intolerance of uncertainty and they constant reassurance seeking. Here are some ideas to consider which may help you as you work to overcome illness anxiety disorder: Don’t go down the research rabbit holes. We have so much information literally at our fingertips. It is a wondrous thing and incredibly helpful and valuable. However, it also can be problematic. If you want to look up a local restaurant and take a look at their menu it’s great. But for in depth medical self-diagnosis? Not so great. Sure, we are all guilty of looking up symptoms when something comes up that has us not feeling our best. But the reality is this – if you research your symptoms long enough then no matter where you start you more than likely will come up with death the eventual outcome. Spoiler: we are all going to die eventually.You could spend days or weeks or months researching an illness. If you find yourself doing this, put some limits and boundaries in place. Only go to reliable sites. Limit the time you spend – you get 10 minutes only for two days per week. Illness anxiety disorder is a beast whose hunger you will never satisfy. Stop feeding the beast!Replace worry with action. Instead of worrying about getting sick, proactively spend time getting well. Increase your movement. Reduce your alcohol. Improve your eating and sleep habits. Focus yourself more in the present. If you spend all your time worrying about what might happen in the future you prevent yourself from fully living in the moment. When you find your mind leaping ahead, grab hold and pull it back into the now. When illness anxiety thoughts creep in, notice them. Appreciate the thoughts for what they are. They are just thoughts, not actual facts of predictions. Notice them and acknowledge them. Then set them aside and come back to the present. If this continues to be something you struggle with, a therapist can be a great resource. A therapist can help you work through some strategies and help you navigate handling uncertainty better.
Answered on 02/02/2023

How can I improve my self-confidence?

Thank you for reaching out and for submitting your questions. Congratulations on your new leadership position. It is understandable to feel some anxiety in a new role. I am sorry this has been overwhelming for you, but I am glad you are seeking to support to alleviate the situation. This type of experience is quite common. In the workplace, there are many people who doubt and don’t believe in their abilities. Even if this is entirely untrue and they are very competent, they find themselves plagued by feelings of low self-confidence and a constant sense of anxiety and worry. Most likely you could quickly list out all the ways you feel you are not good at your job. But there are many reasons why you are there. There are reasons why you were hired. And there are reasons why you are still there. Also, finding yourself promoted into a new role likely means there is something to recommend you. So what are those strengths? You must have some positive attributes or else you would not be in the position in which you now find yourself. What are they? Make an actual list of these qualities. Write down everything you can think of. Include your best qualities in the workplace. Also, include your personal attributes and strengths. Keep this list handy and keep referring back to it. Add it to whenever you can. Take it a step further too – make note anytime someone at works makes a favorable comment about you or about the work you’ve done. Make a “brag” record. Your boss sends you an email telling you that the report you submitted looked great? Print that out and put in the “brag” file – which you can later pull out to remind yourself. Keep in mind that it is very easy to aim for perfect. You will never achieve perfect. Instead, you want to reach for good enough. Do your best, of course. But understand that if you try to hold yourself to perfection you will always fall short – because nothing and nobody is going to achieve this impossible standard. You will fall short every time. As will anyone who aspires to be perfect. Do your best. That is truly all you can do. Think about who could be in your support team. They don’t have to work with you. We benefit from having others to confide in. Talk about your worries and concerns. Sometimes it can help just to be able to talk things out. A colleague can be a resource and might be able to offer some helpful insights. A colleague can be a great help in these situations. Express your concerns and ask them for some actionable advice. The benefits of this include getting actionable input, but it also shows you have initiative, a drive to improve, and are conscientious about professionalism. A friend or relative who is outside of work can also potentially offer objective feedback. Perhaps a situation isn’t about you, but perhaps it is more about a bigger issue within your company that only an outside can more accurately point out. If your lack of confidence in your new role is related to a lack of skill, this is easily addressed. Now is the time to fill in those gaps. What is it you need to learn? What might you want to improve on? A lack of knowledge can absolutely contribute to anxiety. If you are not accustomed to performing a task, then patience and practice will eventually ease some of the nervousness. Be sure you seek training, feedback, and extra help as needed. Nobody expects you to know your new role as if you’ve been doing it for years. They are more than likely expecting you to have questions. If you find that you continue on with work and these feelings don’t go away, then it could be a good time to seek out a therapist. Also, if you believe these traits have followed you around for most of your life, and may even by impacting you in other areas of your life, then a therapist can help you make a plan to make some changes. In therapy, you will be able to work cooperatively with a therapist to identify some barriers that may be making it hard to build confidence. And a therapist can work with you to come up with some individualized strategies you can experiment with to move forward in a new, better way. It is entirely normal to have fears when beginning a new job or stepping into a new role at your current workplace. But these fears don’t have to linger and don’t have to negatively impact your performance or overall mood. Anytime we encounter a major change in life, anytime we step into something new and unknown, it can be scary. It can absolutely help to have a therapist there to open up about concerns with. In therapy, you can make a plan for how to make things different.
Answered on 01/31/2023

What do you do when you feel like you can’t trust yourself to make your own decisions?

Thank you for reaching out with a question regarding how you can manage your life with less anxiety.  You say that it is crippling anxiety which is making life so difficult for you at this time.  The good news is that there is specific therapy to support healing from anxiety, called Cognitive Behavior Therapy(CBT). This alongside a counselor who really listens and hears you can promote effective healing. One of the ways that CBT helps is by challenging your thinking around the anxious thoughts. For example; What is the best that can happen? What is the worst that can happen? What is the most likely thing to happen? With a therapist you can explore this 'real time' around your own specific anxiety or worry. We can look at all of the potential outcomes and sometimes even if the 'worst' thing happens it may not be as bad as you think.  We would really explore the options and help you to recognize that with time, and challenge you can start to feel less anxious and more accepting. There are many messages given to us throughout life and some include,'be perfect', 'success is the only option'. These can be debilitating and harmful when given with pressure to get it right every time. These messages are unrealistic to believe in as a life goal.  Yes, you can succeed but in order to succeed you need to learn from your mistakes.  Everybody makes mistakes. I wonder why you are feeling anxious about making a mistake? If this was your best friend what would you say to them? Starting with challenging the smaller anxieties, then building on this will give you the tools to heal. It sounds like you have been feeling anxious for such a long time that your amygdala is in overdrive and triggering your threat response inappropriately. Understanding how the chemistry of the brain and how that influences anxiety responses may be helpful for you alongside some brain retraining with CBT and non judgemental support. It will take time but if you are willing to trust the process and do the work then you can heal.  I am sending you kind thoughts and hope that you are able to connect with a therapist that you can trust and works well with you towards healing. Kindest regards Barbara Lorusso MBACP
(CPCAB, L4, Psychotherapist)
Answered on 01/31/2023

How can i stop caring too much?

First of all it is good to be someone who actually cares. It is good to care about other people and situations. People in your life are probably lucky to have someone who is thoughtful and who actually cares. One of my favorite quotations is that you should get caught trying. A lot of people have checked out. A lot of people do not simply care at all. So give yourself a pat on the back for not being overtaken by apathy.However all things need to be in moderation in psychology. We need a balance. For instance if you are not depressed then if you are too happy or excitable you may be in mania. This is just an example. But we need to find a balancing point. It sounds like for you your ability to care has hit a point that it is out of balance. A good thing to keep in mind is that therapy one on one especially CBT can really help. In CBT we start by making a cognitive map. It would be really interesting to discover what are the things that you are concerned about. What sort of messages do you assume about those things? We would explore what are your biggest fears. What sort of things do you just assume. What sort of thoughts and emotions are tied to your not caring. It would be good to write these down as a list and to explore what is going on. Maybe you could start by writing down assumptions and projections. What do you think could go wrong?It would also be good to explore your emotional framework. What leads you to caring so deeply. I would wonder if maybe something has gone too far. What do you gain and what are your assumptions that make you care. Often times deeply caring is linked to a desire to control? This may not be your case. But are you trying to control others and situations that ultimately are not up to you to control. Acknowledging limits to our ability to control and that there is a lot out of our control can be scary at first. However if we learn to accept life as life happens with a lot of it being out of our control this can lead to coming to peace with not being obsessional over every detail and thing that is going on. I think ultimately the cognitive map or list with details of everything that you worry and care about would be examined by a therapist to look for patterns. Maybe you could do this. Write down everything you care about and look if there are patterns and themes. Look for underlying assumptions. We all have assumptions. Look at how your emotions impact your assumptions and vice versa. Our emotions lead to assumptions and our assumptions lead to emotions. If you can map that out on your own or with a professional it may give you some insight into why and how your care. You may be able to find new thoughts and perspectives that allow you not to obsessively care.Another aspect I would be interested in knowing is if this overthinking has always been your situation? Or is this a new behavior. If it is a new behavior what sort of situations and stressors have led to it. Was this made worse during the pandemic? Or have things in relationships or work situations changed recently? Looking for a root cause or if this is your personality might lead to insight that could lead to the caring being better. Tracking this behavior over time might let you know if there are patterns to the over caring. This would be a good thing to explore with a therapist.One thing that also stood out to me is that you said that nothing has felt the way that it did before. It would be good to explore that with a counselor. I would start by making sure that everything is physically good with you. Are you taking care of yourself physically and eating well, sleeping, exercising. These can be major tools for improving mood. I think that mood can be improved through talk therapy. Are you just worried so much about the things you care about that it leads you being emotionally exhausted? This would be a good thing to explore with a therapist.
Answered on 01/27/2023

How do I stop overthinking about every situation I'm in?

Hello and thank you for submitting your question. I am sorry you are experiencing this challenge in your life right now. Thinking is something we all do. And it can be a good thing. It can be vitally necessary in many instances. In fact, there are many times in life when taking the time to be thoughtful, to think more, helps us tremendously and is vitally important. But overthinking? That definitely can become problematic and can get in our way. It can stop you from taking action and keep you getting things done. It can wreak havoc on your emotions and bring down your mood. It can impair your relationships. It can make you feel overwhelmed and stressed out. It can also lead to muscle and body aches, tension, and overall general pain in the body. Some may experience headaches or digestive issues because of it. In chronic, long-term cases there can be issues with premature aging, a compromised immune system, heart disease and other conditions. It really can do quite a number on your emotional and physical health if left unchecked. Overthinking makes thinking productively and clearly much harder – if not nearly impossible. Maybe you worry about the future. Often, this means making predictions, usually catastrophic ones, which quite likely will never come to pass. Or you get trapped ruminating and dwelling over the past. Perhaps both. Overthinking can be a symptom of anxiety, stress, or depression. It can be a challenging habit to break. But you can get better and things can certainly improve. Practice will be helpful as you won’t change this pattern right away. Being aware that you have a tendency towards overthinking is actually a really great place to be and is a good first step. After all, you cannot change something you don’t acknowledge. Before we can change a habit we need to be aware it even exists. Catching yourself when you get caught up with overthinking is a moment of awareness that will help facilitate change.Often, overthinking is deeply rooted in fear. We begin getting very focused in on all the many things which could go wrong. And when that occurs we find that we get stuck. We can’t seem to take action. We get paralyzed by the endless loop of thoughts. We get frozen in place. The next time you notice that loop of overthinking settling in over you, consciously hit the pause button. Notice if you are thinking about all that could go wrong. Are you having lots of negative worries flooding in? Take that moment to switch over to using your powers of thinking to come up with all that could go right and all the positives. Find some alternatives. Switch gears, so to speak. Another trap an overthinker is susceptible to is perfectionism. We have to be perfect. Everything we do has to be perfect. Here again comes a lot of worry and fear. But perfection simply isn’t possible. And it might take reminding yourself of that over and over. And then over and over some more. Be patient with yourself if you find you are always waiting for perfection. Perfect is not going to happen. And expecting it can be debilitating. Progress and good enough are much better goals. They are more realistic and far more practical to aim for. Don’t keep striving for the perfect outcome. Identify instead good, reasonable solutions. One option is to give yourself some scheduled worry and thinking time. Set a boundary around it. During the time you can think and mull and stew and ruminate all you’d like. You are not going to overthink and worry all day non-stop. Pick maybe 20 minutes where you will sit and process things. Get some pen and paper. Or sit at your computer. List out all the things which need to be thought about. Write about them. What are they? How do they make you feel? What can you do about them? What is out of your control? Get it all out and when your time is up then it’s time to move on. It can be a good idea to plan an enjoyable, relaxing activity post get-out-your-thoughts session. If you begin to overthink during your day outside your scheduled time, just remind yourself to get back on the task at hand and make a note if need be that you will get to think about things later. Keep in mind that you are not a fortune teller who can flawlessly predict or control the future. The only thing you can control is the present. If you spend all of the current day worrying about what may or may not happen in the future you end up robbing yourself. This doesn’t mean you can’t think and plan. But doing it in excess ends is never productive. Try to challenge the negative thoughts you have. We all have them. Many are untrue. So check in and see how many of yours could be false. Consider the thought. Ask – is that true? How do you know it’s true? What is the evidence for and against it? What else could be true? Try your best to take a more balanced approach. If this continues to be a struggle it really is worth considering seeking out help from a therapist. The BetterHelp platform is a great option and there are many wonderful, skilled therapist able to offer support. You might also be able to find some local resources which might suit your budget better if that’s a concern.
Answered on 01/25/2023

Are there tools I can practice to help with my anxiety and worrying?

There are several ways to deal with anxiety-provoking thoughts. One is to practice Grounding Techniques to distract yourself. Another one is to confront your worries by using Cognitive Behavioral Restructuring Techniques.  The Grounding Techniques can include the 5-4-3-2-1 technique or engaging all of your 5 senses by answering the following questions: What are 5 things you can see? What are 4 things you can feel? What are 3 things you can hear? What are 2 things you can smell? What is 1 thing you can taste? Go slowly through the process of really describing the things you can see in detail, paying attention to what you can smell and hear. Be in the moment. By shifting your attention to the here and now, your anxiety will go down. The second option is to analyze the Negative Automatic Thoughts that you have. Catastrophizing and Emotional Reasoning are symptoms of anxiety. You can lower your anxiety by learning how to restructure your negative irrational thoughts or cognitive distortions. It takes time to learn the techniques which is why being in therapy can be helpful. Another way to deal with anxiety is to do breathing exercises. When we are anxious we don't breathe right. We may start panting. It prevents our bodies from receiving the amount of oxygen necessary for proper functioning. We may start feeling dizzy or experiencing a Panic Attack. It is important to remember to start taking deep breaths or diaphragm breathes. You can count to one, two, three to breathe in, hold, and count one, two, three to breathe out. Repeat it several times. Your anxiety will lower.  You can challenge your irrational thoughts by using questioning techniques. Are my thoughts based on facts or feelings? How would my best friend see the situation? How likely is it that my fear will come true? What is most likely to happen? It would be helpful to analyze in therapy the family of origin dynamics. In many cases, people have both genetic predispositions to anxiety and also learn from their parents if the world is perceived as a safe or a dangerous place. By observing their parents and how they react to different situations, children learn how to respond to them. In severe anxiety cases using medication together with therapy can be the best way to lower the anxiety.
Answered on 01/23/2023

Why I do feel scared to risk of doing anything in life. I'm thinking all of the time I have lost, which makes it worse

There's no such thing as feeling an emotion for no reason. Our feelings are always valid and, with enough care and concern, explainable. Having a daughter can be a scary thing indeed, leaving the hospital in particular as you mentioned. This anxiety may indicate an insecurity around your preparation to be a mother. Feeling unprepared or ignorant about the journey of motherhood you were embarking on at that time potentially brought up some other issues you have been dealing with. Understanding that anxiety around preparation may indicate insecurity, we must ask a fundamental question: who is supposed to teach us core values around being prepared? Our parents! The difficulties we have as parents raising our children are a reflection of the difficulties our parents had raising us. Thinking about what themes in life your parents still to this day struggle with will assist you in identifying what work you may still have left to do in your own life. The same can be said about getting a job. Were you taught or shown ever how to create a resume, submit one, job etiquette, etc? If so, I wonder what type of grit and commitment landing a job can take or confidence building instruction did you receive. These blindsides won't just be present in how we struggle to find work, or relate to family, it may even be present in how we make friends as well. A feeling of preparedness is essential to healthily executing all things. A lack of preparation can easily stand in the way of productivity. Knowing that you aren't a terrible person, dumb, stupid, blameworthy, etc. at your lack of knowledge is the first step. Forgiving yourself for believing that you should know things when you were never shown in the first place is imperative. Doing so will begin to establish behavior that not even your parents potentially can/could do. This is how you know you are breaking a cycle. Any time you are actualizing your life in a way those before you still struggle to is proof of you developing your own unique expression of how to get things done. 
(M.Ed, LPC)
Answered on 01/23/2023

How do I get my anxiety under control? Will it ever go away?

What Changed? What do you notice is being affected by the pressures at work? Why now, and why are you letting it bother you more now than in the past? The type of work or money you make, has that changed? It isn't always the immediate circumstance that affects us, but what that reminds us of, or what is triggered inside. For example, if you notice that you are feeling pressured to keep this new job because it pays so well, that can add to the pressure of the work and the fear of the manager. Or, let's say you have troubles at home; then yes, there would be more pressure to make a name for yourself at this new, and less established place. Ask yourself, what is work triggering in me that may have already been there? Or what else is going on putting more pressure on work?  Inadequacy, in general, is a topic worth addressing when it comes to workplace anxiety. If we have an inadequacy, then there can be more pressure to perform at our jobs as a way to overcompensate. With our work quality, recognition leads to promotion, which to an inadequate person will validate us and make us finally feel safe. However, the mind tries to tell you; you are OK, but it will not be OK unless you make peace with all parts of yourself.  Now, I am basing this next topic on an assumption of inadequacy; however, in my clinical experience, this is a common theme among people who struggle at work. When the pressure is so significant that we have physical ailments, then we know something deep inside is being triggered; we are being threatened at a vulnerable state. Your job could be what you attach to in providing your identity and your reassurance. So then, the job isn't what matters, but what it does to bolster the self-conscious. Remember, your job hat is just one hat you wear, not your entirety. Being defined by any one thing is setting you up for failure, especially on a bad day at work, or feeling new and inadequate at your qualify of work.  Work on noticing thoughts that get you anxious. Notice that you have thoughts and that these are provoked at times in life or at work. Now, as I stated before, the context makes incidents more significant. So then, it is important to note not just the immediate situation, but what else is going on in life. What else are you experiencing that is causing you to feel such pressure? Then, notice your thoughts and how they are getting your attention. Often I hear people say things like, "I can't leave this job."  This is usually followed by "I need the money" or "this is temporary on the road to something greater." Yet, we are willing to put our body in a health detriment in service to a career? That shows too much identity, attachment, and reliance on a job and money to make our life happy. That thought/belief is cancer, and it is what you can address by distancing from thoughts while in the moment at work.  First step: Notice your thoughts, and what they reveal about you. If you decide to work with a therapist, make sure the topic stays on what you notice, and what you are experiencing, and articulate the abstract in your mind. Do not do or fix anything; notice thoughts and allow them to exist. This will remind you that you have thoughts and that you don't have to act on these thoughts. You have emotions, but you don't need to fix them or get away from them either. Let it all be without fixing or attending to all things.  Anxiety is a part of life; it doesn't go away. Accept it, work with it, and the pressure to rid yourself of it will dissipate.
Answered on 01/22/2023

How to overcome anxiety and stress

Thanks for reaching out, and I will do my best to give you some tips that may help with some of the issues you are facing with the information you have provided.   When we think about transitions-with job, with relationships, with housing, with family-they tend to always be somewhat difficult.  A break up is certainly a difficult transition, and it is likely a bit more compounded when you work together.  Sometimes it can be helpful to create space in whatever way you can with your ex.  I don't know how possible that is for you in your work environment but it may take some effort from you to be aware of the times that you would see him and find a different route or to navigate any one on one interactions so that they don't happen as often.  I know looking for new work can be hard, but being aware of your options and what else is around you is never a bad thing.  Apply and interview when you can, if nothing else it's good experience for when you find something you are excited about.  Try to keep an open and positive mind in your search.   I don't know the nature of the problems with your dad and family as you mentioned, however sometimes creating some space can be a helpful tool.  It can help us to feel like we are less involved in whatever is going on and that can sometimes be very helpful.   When we experience depression and anxiety, sometimes we can take small steps that can make a big difference.  Get outside in the sun when you can, listen to your favorite music, grab your favorite coffee drink, phone a friend, read a book or anything else that gives yourself a moment to pause and focus on something else.  Pay attention to your sleep and eating habits as these are important to maintain to the best of your ability in these difficult moments.  Try to be present in whatever moment you are in, remind your self of the things that you know to be true in those moments and remind yourself that you can do the hard things, even when it feels like you can't.   There are a lot of great resources for anxiety and depression coping skills, often times I work through these things with clients via You Tube videos and worksheets that I have found.  Try to focus on the basic needs, be kind to you and take one day, one step at a time.  The other part of healing that I find to be so helpful is tapping in to (and building) your support system.  If you have family or friends that you can talk to, that is so helpful.  Working with a therapist is also a great resource.  If church is a part of your life, there may be someone there that can either talk with you about these things or connect with someone who can.  There are also various support groups online that can be so helpful.  Lastly there may be groups within your community that meet in person.  Try something new, maybe discover something you have always wanted to do.  It's also helpful to be able to identify what it looks like for you to "move forward."  What are your goals?  What are you working towards doing at this time in your life?  What are the barriers to you meeting those goals...or in your own words moving forward?  What have you done specifically to work towards those goals?  It's SO important to credit yourself for the steps you have taken.  We can be too focused on what we are still doing "wrong" that we forget to talk about what we have done right.   I hope you have found this helpful, apply what you can in these moments.  I wish you all the best!  
Answered on 01/21/2023

How do i start having good and positive thoughts. I've been a pessimist since i was 5

To make a change in anything in life, it's worth the time to practice, or at least acknowledge being kind to yourself along the way. The words that you chose here to describe yourself, are harsh. Clearly, you are hard on yourself. Clearly, you have internalized these narratives. I can assume from you saying you make "bad" thoughts and "don't have the strength" that when you "fail" at anything (a perception of events and often not the reality), you come down hard on yourself. We have to start there when we think about changing.  Now, the perspective of things is often the start of problem behaviors. Your perspective on your life, on your situation, you admit is a pessimistic one. So then, why do you believe it? If you know it is negative and harmful, why let it consume you? It's like acknowledging a sandwich tastes bad, but then you continue to eat it. You notice how your thoughts, they go a certain way, yet, you let them. Your preconceived, habitual judgment of them takes you there. Notice how when things happen in life, your immediate response may be to beat yourself up first. Notice your thoughts, not after the fact, when we summarize them, judge them, or wish them away, but notice that you have thoughts and that these thoughts occur as a response to something in life.  You do have one thing correct here. Not that you have bad thoughts, but because you have thoughts, you judge them as bad or not. You acknowledge that life isn't about the outside world (outside of our head) but our perception of these events. Yes, since you notice that, you know the work to be done to change is all within our perspective of things, and how we choose to think about them. What I mean about choice is when the thoughts come up, even those that demand our attention, we can choose to indulge them or not. We still have the power to decide if this thought is helpful, or counterproductive. You need to be more engaged when you want to be less pessimistic. If your thoughts naturally go to the negative, then you need to start seeing the bright side, and there is always a bright side.  Lastly, I am going to address your perspective on "bad" thoughts, and what it means to fail in life. These judgments are also about failure, and actually, people fail very little in life. People quit or avoid due to fear, but they rarely fail. I want to see you fail, actually fail, at trying to improve your life through recognition and separation of your thoughts. Though you might have a hard time doing it, this will be ongoing for the rest of your life, and therefore any, "failure" isn't absolute, but a bump in the road on the way to something greater. Take a step back from the situation and realize that this one moment cannot define you. One-time indulging thoughts aren't on the road you want to go, but it's not absolute to relapse into old ways of thinking either. If you think your thoughts are, "bad," then notice that they come up, realize that you notice them and that you do not have to indulge, remedy, or avoid them. You can allow thoughts to exist, even unpleasant ones, without you doing anything with them. This includes not living with the belief that life will only be better when you get rid of these thoughts. Do not fall into that trap. The more you wish these thoughts away, the louder they speak. So, acknowledge they exist, choose to separate from them, and see the benefits of any situation, i.e., a learning experience, a wisdom opportunity, an opportunity to learn about yourself. You will be better for acknowledging the thoughts than wishing them away. 
Answered on 01/20/2023

How to get rid of anxiety?

Hi Q, thank you for reaching out and taking the time to ask about your concerns. I can assume that there is a lot of stress and anxiety going on. I don’t fully know the source of it but I can provide some common things that may trigger anxiety and ways that we can cope with it. The way people perceive any given situation influences their emotions and behavior. It is not necessarily the situation itself that determines how they may feel, but rather the way they interpret it. I usually give the example of watching a horror movie. I can sit through it and allow myself to be scared, or I can avoid it at all costs and walk away from the room that’s playing the movie. The movie did not change in both scenarios but how I felt and reacted did. I can imagine that your anxiety may be both physical and thoughts based.When it comes to our thoughts, I understand that at times we feel powerless against their effects and don't always know how to challenge them “in the moment.” If you catch yourself ruminating (thoughts are excessive and intrusive about negative experiences and feelings) or having a one-sided conversation in your mind, then perhaps it's a good time to change aspects of your routine. When we don’t feel like we have control over how we think, it helps to do something physical. This could mean getting up to get a glass of water, going to go get the mail, or perhaps going on a short walk. Recognizing what you tend to ruminate about will also help you stop the toxic anxiety trap. Ask yourself these questions and see if it's helpful to catch yourself and perhaps disrupt the pattern.-Which time of the day are you most likely to ruminate?-Where are you when you tend to ruminate?-What kinds of activities are you doing when you ruminate?-What do you commonly ruminate about?These thoughts are energy-draining and distressing. They could happen to anyone under stress. But when you reach the point where your thoughts and worries are preventing you from doing what you want to do then you should take action. As a reminder, thoughts are not facts, and that we have many thoughts that come to mind on any given day. Reframing negative thoughts can lead to positive emotions and, healthier behaviors including a reduction in overthinking and worrying. It's a good thing to have some sort of social interaction to help us with intrusive thinking. This helps us maintain connection and release some of the build-ups of emotional turmoil that come up for us every so often. I’m not sure if your thoughts include looking for things that have gone "wrong," "bad," "difficult," or "need to improve." I often hear that it's a relief that someone is going to cancel plans on them, it makes me wonder what is it that we are avoiding. This is a common thing that happens when there is perceived pressure and perhaps worry or fear. I'm not sure if this is what you are experiencing but is there something that you are avoiding with your friends? If so, addressing those worries the same way that we challenge our thoughts can help you feel less pressured when in social situations. I know that I included a lot of information, but ultimately, I want you to know that despite how difficult things are with your anxiety, you can find improvement and a sense of calmness.
Answered on 01/20/2023

Can you help with health anxiety and the root cause?

Hi Carls,  Thanks for asking about therapy to address the root cause of your anxiety.  As we know, anxiety is just an emotion (the symptom) of something your brain is trying to work through.  Cognitive behavioral therapy has helped to treat anxious feelings and thoughts for many years because it has been effective to manage those uncomfortable emotions.  In CBT we notice the event, recognize the thought we have about that event, and connect it to the feelings that result from the thought.  Simply explained, the goal of CBT is to change the thoughts and feelings so that our response is different, and we feel better. Of course there is more to it, as we need to know what our triggers are and where these triggers came from to begin with.  I believe that is what you are asking.  Our goal in therapy is both an immediate relief of the current symptoms, but also a deeper dive at why we think and feel the way we do.  Self-actualization and self-reflection takes time with the help of a trusting professional, who knows how to guide you.  We may be dealing with patterns that have been established way back in your formative years, even before you reached full development of your hippocampus, which holds your memories.  But, the amygdala is your emotional response, and that is active right away.  This is the area in your brain that is responding to keep you alive when perceiving a threat.  This is the fight/flight/freeze/fawn response of your brain, that does not take the frontal lobe into consideration.  For this reason, you may be responding to things that are very difficult to understand on a rational level.  You ask the question here, "Why am I reacting this way?", and with time and investigation, we may get to the bottom of that question.  The goal in therapy is to investigate without judgement, and to create that safe space to process whatever comes up for you.  I hope you take a chance and find the right therapist to help you through that process.  Good luck!  :)   
Answered on 01/19/2023

Why I’m having panic attacks at night?

Our bodies are built with the capacity to function by automatically managing itself.  For example, you breathe faster when your body demands more oxygen in response to physical acceleration (heart beating faster) or chemical changes. You do not have to actively tell your body to do these things, thus they are automatic.  Many of the chemicals in your body are in place to help you be safe (for example, if you were in a dangerous situation, your body would release chemicals that help you to escape from that dangerous situation). Some chemical changes in your body may influence your heart rate.  These chemical changes may be a part of what is occurring as you prepare to rest.  Many times, the concerns that we have as we prepare to rest elevate these chemicals and our alertness is impacted.   Many people who have experienced panic attacks express that they become anxious or worried when they consider the potential of having another panic event. It is normal for these feelings to arrive from time to time.  Thinking about the example above, your body sometimes may 'feel unsafe' and produce chemicals to help you get to safety even when there is nothing actually threatening you. The majority of our human behaviors are developed over time and become habits.  I like to think about it like sports professionals who have worked really hard to perform well.  They developed habits over time and created "muscle memory" to respond to the challenges of the game.  We have to actively (instead of automatically) develop new "muscle memory" create new habits.  What would creating new habits in "muscle memory" have to do with having panic attacks (at night)? The truth is that behavior starts with thinking.  By that I mean that before we behave in any way, we think about it first and that thought leads to a behavior.  For example, I was walking into a building today that was new for me and felt some anxiety about being in a new location. In order to keep myself from feeling out of place, I avoided eye contact with people I was encountering.  I asked myself why I did that after the fact and found that I was likely feeling uncertain about this new setting and keeping my sense of self by not making much eye contact until I felt more comfortable.  What I learned from that is that I thought about feeling uncertain first and then acted accordingly.  I now have to choose to be more aware of my thoughts and actively choose different behaviors. Some things I would recommend in order to prepare yourself for rest is to practice good sleep hygiene by turning off electronics early, reducing the need to respond to emails or texts, reducing food, drink, and caffeine consumption to an earlier time in the day to prevent these from influencing your ability to rest, and practicing Passive Progressive Muscle Relaxation (link to a script on our partner site TherapistAid https://www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/progressive-muscle-relaxation-script).  As you actively do these things, you create "muscle memory" for feeling at ease automatically and experiencing a feeling of being in control and safe.  Remind yourself that you are safe and practice experiencing the things around you that are real to bring yourself to the present. 
Answered on 01/18/2023

How can I stop being so socially awkward and how can I make friends.

Thank you for reaching out with your question. I am sorry that you are experiencing some difficulties in your life right now. Making new friends is absolutely hard! Science has actually proclaimed that we are in the midst of an epidemic of loneliness and isolation. And this was before the pandemic swooped in and exacerbated that trend even further. So, you are very much not alone in feeling alone. Yet, it’s worth making some friends. Because friendships can uplift our mood and help combat stress. Honestly, it’s much easier to make friends when we are younger and in school. As we age, it does really become more challenging. In order to make friends organically, it takes a combination of repeated and unplanned interactions, in addition to some mutual vulnerability. In school, we get kind of forced into this on a regular daily basis. But then after we graduate, it’s not so easy. However! That does not mean it’s impossible. The key is to not just rely on chance. We have to become more deliberate about it. That might look like joining a book club, attending a bible study, or participating in some sort of class (perhaps athletic and/or academic and/or creative). And we have to be patient as well as persistent. It is important to note that we all feel a bit nervous and awkward around new people. Yes, it will require a bit of courage. And while you might feel reluctant to engage in a conversation, the reality is that we all think we are far more likely to be rejected than we ever will be. Of course, not everyone we try to be friends with will reciprocate. But we’re just playing a guessing game we can never win if we try to determine why. It could literally be anything! It could have absolutely nothing to do with you and it’s just that they’re super busy. So never try guessing because you won’t know and you’ll likely come up with a reason that discourages you. Your situation has the added element of social anxiety. There are strategies you can practice to help you overcome this and to ease the difficulty it is causing you. Notably, you can begin working on challenging your anxious and negative thoughts. We think thousands of thoughts every single day. And most of them simply aren’t true. The first thing to do is to note what the thoughts actually are. I often recommend clients keep a “thought record.” When you start feeling nervous, for example, stop and consider what the situation is, what you’re feeling emotionally as well as physically, and consider what thoughts come into your mind. From there, we can begin to question those thoughts. What caused it? Is it true? What evidence do I have for and against it? Could something else be true? Our minds are amazingly powerful. But we can begin to believe a lot of false things that filter through. The good news is that we can catch and change those thoughts. Over time, we can rewire our brain and become more adept at noticing all of those negative thoughts which are simply not true. We can identify them quicker – and discard them. Also, get out more. You don’t have to go with the expectation of talking to anyone. But push your boundaries a bit. Like to read? Take your book and go sit at a nearby coffee shop. Match an activity you enjoy with a place that perhaps makes you a bit anxious. You will have the comfort of a familiar, liked activity and you’ll start practicing getting out of your comfort zone a bit more. Another thing – stop focusing so much on you. When we have anxiety, we tend to turn inward. We get overly focused on ourselves and begin worrying about what others are going to think about us. And we usually believe they will think something negative. But guess what? You are just guessing at what they may be thinking! And here comes an opportunity to work on the skill of “so what!” Maybe they don’t feel they connect with you. So what! That says nothing about you. Over the course of your life there will likely be many people you just don’t feel a strong connection with. You will likely acknowledge they are nice people, but you just don’t have a lot in common with them perhaps. That happens. It says nothing bad about you or about them. Switch the focus from yourself to other people. Try your best to be present in the moment. Pay more attention to what they are doing and what they are saying. Asking questions is a great way to interact when we have some anxiety. People typically like talking about themselves, so leverage this. Ask them lots of questions. It puts the focus on them and takes the pressure off you. And they’ll likely feel a boost from being the center of attention, which can itself make them feel more positive about talking to you. It is important, too, to remember to be compassionate and kind towards yourself. Social anxiety can be overcome but it will take some time and some effort. It will take practice to improve your skills. The more you practice, however, the easier it will become. So to some degree it involves just showing up over and over again, doing your best to face your fears. Working with a therapist is a great way to improve social anxiety. It really is possible for things to get better and it is truly worth the effort and energy. It can initially seem like such an impossible obstacle. But with some support and with some effective strategies, so much positive change can happen for you.
Answered on 01/18/2023

How can I stop worrying excessively, all the time?

Hi, I want to thank you so much for reaching out and asking for some additional support/guidance with your question. It sounds like you have a bit of anxiety occurring which is interfering with your general life experience and satisfaction.  This can stem from various sources and often times our thinking patterns can be directly impacted by anxiety, making us experience having racing thoughts, preoccupied thoughts, and can also make us feel like we are worrying more than appropriate.  Of course all of these thought styles can get in our way and impede our otherwise healthy functioning.   It sounds like this is partially what is occurring for you in terms of feeling overwhelmed and potentially shutting down as a result.  You mentioned excessive worrying.  Sometimes we can get into a head space where things seem much more daunting than they factually are or we feel off kilter or out of balance between our emotional side of our experience in comparison/contrast to that of our logical knowing.  We can start to make connections between things that otherwise don't need to be connected and can sort of fuel our own worry cycle as a result. This can quickly lead to a feeling of being unsettled, uncertain, or even the feeling we or others are not safe.  The good news is that anxiety can be treated well through therapeutic skills and techniques.  Additionally there are very effective medication options that can also help in these regards. One of the first things I assess with people who are experiencing challenges with their mental health is how they are doing with the basics of self care.  Sleep is most directly tied to our mental well being and when we are not sleeping well it can lead to many different challenges, including an increase in anxious symptoms and worrying.   Additionally, what we put into our bodies matters.  Healthy and adequate nutrition is so important for our brain functioning.  Hydration is also super important.  Did you know that our brains are over 80% water!? That means if we are not well hydrated we are not getting adequate blood flow and Oxygen to our brains for it to be able to operate properly!  Physical activity is another overlooked component of our well being and has direct links to our mental wellness and brain functioning as well.  So just to begin, there are some very basic things we can do to improve our mood, thought processes, and emotional management without even having to leave our homes! However, sometimes just taking adequate care of ourselves is not sufficient and we need some additional support and guidance to help us find our way through. Self confidence and self compassion are very important components to our success and enjoyment from life.  It sounds as though you are very capable in your career and have been rather successful in that regard.  However it sounds as though you still have a very strong inner critic that is fueling a good deal of self doubt and insecurity in your inner dialogue and thus is interfering in your daily life functioning.  Often these voices and messages we hear internally initially started with an external source which we ultimately absorbed as our own thoughts and feelings.  If we can trace that back we can often discover where our self doubt stems from and with the help of a guiding professional can become more aware of how we learned maladaptive ways to navigate the world and thus can learn healthier and more fruitful methods of functioning going forward. We can actually change our inner voice to something that is much more helpful, compassionate, and encouraging.   I would encourage you to consider working with a therapist who could help with CBT and DBT skills to help you build a healthier relationship with yourself as well as others and to help navigate your way to a more healthy thinking style.   It can take some time, but this can be highly effective and can thus help you with increasing your self confidence, lowering your inner criticisms and helping to better manage the anxiety and worry you are describing.   I hope this helps in some small way!  You are worth choosing and showing up for.  Glad to see you found your way here in that regard and I hope you continue to follow that path.  Warm Regards
Answered on 01/17/2023

How can I become better at managing my emotions specifically when I am trying to learn new things?

Thank you for reaching out with your question. I am sorry that you are experiencing some difficulties right now in your life. First, congratulations on your new assignment in your workplace. What a great new adventure and best of luck with it! You note that you sought out a new challenge, particularly in order to grow yourself. You are demonstrating great initiative in this and that indicates you possess strength and fortitude. These are attributes worth reminding yourself of as you’re thinking about what you’re dealing with at present. You have the ability to take on challenges and meet them head on! All change, even good change, can be stressful. So, it is totally normal and expected to feel these feelings right now. It would be unusual to not be nervous and unsure and a bit overwhelmed. It’s a natural human reaction. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help you get through all this newness and overwhelm. From your description it sounds like you tend towards being a more sensitive individual. There are many positives to being this type of person. In particular, such persons usually have a complex and rich interior life. Also, they tend to be more aware of subtleties and certain nuances which other people might not even recognize. And they are usually highly empathetic, meaning they are also far more in tune with and impacted by the emotions of others. Hence, there is a tendency towards becoming over-stimulated and overwhelmed. A more sensitive person will process far more information from the surrounding environment and from other people they come in contact with. As such, you are trying to process things others never even give a thought to. So, yes – that can certainly be overwhelming! Consider some of the following suggestions. Focus more on the things you can control. It is very easy for your mind to gravitate towards all the very many things which are out of your control. Our minds are heavily wired towards a negativity bias. In other words, your brain and body are constantly on alert for anything and everything that could harm you. This alarm system is great in that it works to keep you safe. But sometimes it becomes too much of good thing. So, make an attempt to think about what you’re facing. Decide what you can control versus what you cannot. Make a conscious decision to focus on the things you have power over. It can, at first, seem to be an easier said than done task. But practice will be key. The more you practice letting go of the uncontrollable, the better at it you’ll become. Another idea is to try challenging your assumptions more. We tend to have thousands of thoughts running through our minds each day. Many are not true. What you can begin to do is, first, start paying more attention to what thoughts you’re having. Maybe even keep a thought record for several days. When you feel some anxiety come up, for example, pull out your record. Make note of what the situation is, what emotions you are feeling, note any sensations in your body, and then also consider what thought pops into your head. Then, once you have identified them, you can begin the process of challenging and potentially debunking those thoughts. Ask yourself “what is the thought?” “Is that thought true?” How do I know it is or isn’t?” “What’s my evidence for it?” And then “could something else be true?” It’s like putting your thoughts on trial in a courtroom. There’s also a grounding technique you can also practice in the moment when you’re overwhelmed. It’s a method that can help distract you and calm you down. It’s the 5-4-3-2-1 strategy. You will account for all five of your senses. Wherever you find yourself, take in the environment and then do the following:  Label 5 things you can see in the room (notice color, shape, size, etc) Label 4 things you can touch (and actually touch them if you can, noticing their texture)label 3 things you can hear (stop and give a listen) label 2 things you can smell (is the smell pleasant or not?)label 1 thing you can taste (if you have the opportunity to taste what catches your notice, then go for it and describe what the taste is)Pay attention to your posture, too. Our body position can send lots of differing signals to our brain depending on our stance. There is actually an entire segment of psychology which is entirely focused on studying the interconnectedness of mood, brain, nervous system, and the body. Notice how your mood can shift when your shoulders are slumped forward and inward versus when you stand tall with your shoulder down and pulled back. Take a moment and give it a try. Throughout your day, aim to engage in more “powerful” postures. Try to keep your head up and your chest out. Stand tall and do your best to put yourself in a more confident position. It will send a signal to your brain. Finally, engage in some self-care. This will look different for everyone. For one person, it means taking a hot bath and reading a good book. For another, it will mean putting on energizing music and going for a walk in the park. Or it could look like meeting up with a friend to talk things out while indulging in a nice meal. Whatever you decide on, this is an extra stressful time for you. Plan out what you’ll do and when to take care of yourself. Be mindful of the basics, too, like getting enough sleep, exercising, and making sure you are eating well. If you continue to struggle and feel you need extra support to work through these habits, then consider reaching out to a therapist. A therapist will work with you to gather more details about what’s happening for you and will help you come up with and practice some new skills and strategies.
Answered on 01/17/2023