Category Archives for "Anxiety"

Ten Tips for Anxiety Relief

By Janice Stuart

Managing anxiety can be tough. We’re hard-wired for it because its job – to warn us of danger, and to keep us out of it – is nothing less than survival. Think of a fire alarm that goes off on its own, ringing when there’s no fire. It can eventually make you feel as though you’re at its mercy.

In order to reduce or manage your anxiety, consider two main areas – your body and your thoughts.

Help for your Body

1. Breathe deeply – take a long inhale, hold it, let it out slowly. Do this 2 or 3 times. You want a long slow exhale. This helps to activate the part of your nervous system that calms you down (parasympathetic**).

2. Reduce or eliminate alcohol and caffeine – coffee, energy drinks, sodas.

3. Exercise, move your body, regularly. I also recommend restorative yoga for its effect on the parasympathetic nervous system.

4. Sit and “ground” into what you are sitting on — notice and feel how your back is supported by the couch or chair, notice how your seat is supported, how your legs are supported. Just notice your breath – in and out.
5. Get enough sleep with a regular and consistent sleep schedule.

Help for your Thinking

6. Learn to notice and watch your thoughts while focusing on your breath. Our thoughts will often feed the anxiety – it’s like throwing wood on a fire. Work at just noticing your thoughts, not getting attached in any way. They’re just thoughts and not necessarily facts

7. Identify and name what is happening. Tell yourself you are experiencing anxiety

– whether anxious feelings or anxious thoughts. It can be terribly uncomfortable but remember that thoughts and feelings can’t hurt you.

8. Change the story of your thoughts. When anxious thoughts weave a theme of catastrophe, change the story to something realistic.

9. Learn to ignore anxious thoughts about the future. They usually get blown way out of proportion. Always try to mindfully focus on the present.

10. Every day try to spend some time away from your screens (tv, phone, desktop, ipad…). Get the news in small doses if you really feel the need to know.

Don’t fight your symptoms. The more you fight them, the worse it gets!

 

**Some people need a bit of coaching on how to effectively use the breath.

 

© Dr. Janice Stuart
All Rights Reserved.

Working With Anxiety

By Janice Stuart

 

It’s scary to feel powerless over an experience that seems to take over your life. You can feel overwhelmed and fearful with the lack of control and sense of unpredictability.

Anxiety and anxiety attack symptoms vary from person to person. Anxiety can be triggered by something very specific (e.g., like a phobia) or it can feel like it comes from out of nowhere.

 

 

Here are some of the most common anxiety attack symptoms.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trembling, shaking, feeling tingly
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Fear of dying
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Chest pain
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy

There are other ways anxiety shows up as well:

  • Excessive worry
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Racing thoughts about all these bad things that are going to happen
  • Uncertainty about the future

One of the hallmarks of anxiety is avoidance. Anxiety compels you to avoid certain tasks because when you attempt to undertake the activity the angst is so uncomfortable you would rather avoid that feeling.

Sadly, the long term effect is that your life becomes small. You end up living outside the life you really want.

This is how my clients describe their experience of anxiety. Do you recognize them?

  • “I felt like I couldn’t breathe.”
  • “I just had this feeling something awful was going to happen.”
  • “I just get gripped by this sense of panic.”
  • “My thoughts just kept going and going and going about how all these bad things were going to happen.”

It doesn’t have to be that way. There are many ways to approach managing and reducing anxiety. I’d be happy to show you how.

Call Me Now for Help with Anxiety

Anxiety Relief

By Janice Stuart

Anxiety…it’s a personal matter.

Yeah, anxiety is a personal matter for me. My Dad struggled all his life with it. And, he laboured with it at a time when you didn’t talk about “those things” especially as a man.

He went through life with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. And I watched him suffer.

Naturally, he passed it on to me.  And for a long period of time I also struggled.  It required discipline and commitment to get past it.

Anxiety Symptoms

Did you know one in four people suffer with anxiety?

And many don’t recognize it.

As an anxiety psychologist I see firsthand the different ways my clients experience anxiety. Its different forms range from physiological symptoms such as tension, tightness, shortness of breath to that cognitive chatter that focuses on worry and disaster and won’t let go.

Here are some facts about anxiety that psychologists and counsellors know…

  • It’s normal – we are hard-wired for it. Sometimes we even seek out activities that trigger that anxious arousal– the thrill of riding a roller coaster or watching a suspenseful movie.
  • It’s adaptive – sometimes you are supposed to feel anxious – like when you are writing an exam.  And a little bit of anxiety helps you perform better.
  • It acts like a warning system for danger. But it’s not dangerous. It is however, uncomfortable – sometimes really uncomfortable.
  • It’s a problem when the warning system tells us there is danger when there isn’t.  It’s like a smoke detector. You want that smoke detector to go off when there is a fire. But there is a problem when it’s going off and there is no fire.

The challenge with treating anxiety is that you have to first explore how the anxiety symptoms show up. For many of my client it shows up as anxious thoughts.

“What if……”

“I should ……”

“I shouldn’t have ….”

It’s that chatter in your head that creates doubt and feeds that feeling of fear.

Then there are the physiological symptoms that

  • create a sense of foreboding
  • leave you feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed
  • leave you wondering if you are having a heart attack and dying

Anxiety symptoms and attacks are common yet many people don’t recognize anxiety.   Fortunately psychological counselling can offer solutions.

It can help you learn strategies for what to do with anxious thoughts.  And even more importantly what to do to help your body let go of built up anxious arousal. There are some basic things you can start to do on your own. You can see my “top ten checklist for getting relief from anxiety”. Those strategies are a good start.

I wish my dad had known about them.  And I wish he would have gotten the help he needed and deserved. His life would have been a little easier.

And me – well, I did get help. It took time for me to get the results I wanted. But it was worth it. So if you are in that place where you might need a helping hand from someone else to support you taking the next step down that road to relief  feel free to give me a call. I have years of experience as an anxiety psychologist and counsellor and I’d be happy to help.