It’s been a hell of a year and I think a lot of us could use a breather. In this episode, I take you through a guided meditation to help you get through the holidays, drop your baggage from 2019, and move confidently into 2020. Let’s do this.
Anxiety is an exceptionally common mental health issue to struggle with. In this day and age, it is much less taboo to talk about anxiety on social media or during in-person conversations. I see people talking about tips and tricks to help manage anxiety symptoms all the time. A lot of techniques to help with anxiety are intuitive such as taking deep breaths or figuring out your problematic thinking patterns. However, as a psychologist that focuses on treating anxiety disorders, I also see a lot of mistakes. In this post, I’d like to walk you through a few common mistakes that could end up limiting your progress or even making your anxiety worse.
Your eyes are closed. You can hear the hum of a crowd around you. Your face is flushed from the heat of the lights bearing down on you. You forcefully exhale the breath you didn’t realize you’ve been holding and open your eyes. You are on stage looking out at the crowd in front of you waiting for you to begin your performance. There’s only one problem… you never practiced. Well shit. That’s not good.
Sounds like a nightmare right? Most people would never try to perform something, whether it’s a musical act, a sport, or a comedy routine, without first practicing the heck out of it. So why do you do it when you try to cope with your anxiety symptoms?
You are lying down to go to sleep. Things are progressing well. You close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. You try to think of happy things instead of the stressful things that you need to take care of tomorrow. After a few minutes, you’re just about to slip off into happytime dreamland and BAM. Suddenly your whole body jolts for no reason. Well that was weird. Why did that happen? You start scanning your body for signs of trouble, because that’s too weird to ignore. Sure enough, there’s some weird shit going on. You notice your heart feels like it’s beating faster and faster. Uh oh. But wait, now it skipped a beat. Oh god… Now your breathing is starting to catch up with your heart, but no matter how hard your breathe, you can’t seem to get enough oxygen. Your fingers and toes feel tingly and you are getting weird random pains. Putting two and two together you think that it has got to be a heart attack, right? Hurry, take an aspirin and call 911! Whoa whoa whoa… slow down. You aren’t dying. You also aren’t the only one who has gone through this sort of progression before.
In recent years, the stigma behind discussing anxiety and other mental illnesses has lifted quite a bit. Sure there is room for improvement, but I can’t tell you how much I see anxiety being talked about on social media and in “real life” exchanges. However, I have also noticed that, despite the increase in discussion around anxiety as an issue, there is still a lot of confusion about what anxiety actually means.