Despite advances in neuroscience during the past several decades, sleep continues to remain mostly a mystery. We know we need it as much as water, food and air. We can go weeks without eating food, but what would happen if you went weeks without sleep? Maybe you have. Various degrees of insomnia, and official sleep disorders, are serious conditions. But, what about periodic anxieties that are significant enough to disrupt our sleep. Missing one night of sleep can disrupt our normal biorhythms enough to disrupt the next night’s, and the next!
Anxiety, for the most part, originates in the mind. The body sensations and feelings we have surrounding anxiety occur because of the psychosomatic nature of our mind-body system. In other words, when we think about situations, even if subconsciously, that appear to be in some way a threat or potential danger, hormones and chemicals are secreted from glands which then give rise to the physiological experiences of tension, tightness, constriction.
These are useful in fight or flight situations, which we believe, at a subconscious level, exist — even if they don’t. The perceived threat or danger is mostly psychological and consists of “what if” statements and pictures in the mind, that are at best unpleasant, and at most, lifestyle threatening. Most all, anxiety is about a future that is, factually, unknown. Anxiety is based on a lot of conjecture.
If you’re too anxious to sleep, there are things you can do to help set up an environment, both internal and external, more conducive to sleep. Consider these tips: Continue reading Sleeping With Anxiety: 5 Tips to Stop Sharing a Bed With Your Worries
Many people strive for some form of perfection. Whether in their work, in their appearance, in their relationships, in their expectations of others. There are a number of problems with perfectionism not the least of which is that it is simply not possible. Perfection is an ideal, which, almost by definition, is unattainable. Like trying to stand in the middle of a rainbow; as it’s approached, it recedes.
The other problem is that the criteria used to gauge perfection are suspect. How did we arrive at the criteria? Is the criteria valid? And, even if we were to judge the criteria as valid, will it remain so through time? If our expectations change, then how perfect could the criteria have been in the first place? Perfection suggests no room for improvement. It’s the ultimate, the top of the line, can’t get any better. It’s perfect! The irony of perfectionism is that to hold such a high standard, as an ideal, is an imperfection; it is an irrational and illogical standard by which to gauge and determine success or happiness. Continue reading The Imperfection of Perfectionism
We hear a lot about physical fitness. Every town has at least one gym. You see people jogging around, and television infomercials are filled with the latest workout program or gadget to help you get into shape. There is no question that physical fitness is important.
But what about psychological fitness? Continue reading What About Psychological Fitness?
Falling in love and building a relationship is wonderful, but it can destroy individuality if you’re not careful. Expressing boundaries will help you maintain your individuality and a healthy relationship.
A relationship can create an all-encompassing, overwhelmingly positive feeling. During the initial stages people often call an “infatuation phase,” boundaries melt and dissolve. We merge together. Our life becomes theirs, theirs ours. We lose ourselves. Continue reading Use Boundaries to Keep Your Individuality When You Fall in Love
We often believe we are at the mercy of situations and events. The long line at the bank made us upset. What that person said got us depressed. There are so many situations in our lives that have the power to make us feel happy or sad, angry or calm.
And yet, is that really what is happening? Does the situation actually control our moods and emotions? Continue reading Take Control of Your Emotions with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Weight loss/fitness is the most popular New Year’s resolution and the one the highest number of people give up on soon after they proudly declare it. Wouldn’t you rather pick a New Year’s resolution that’s easy to stick to?
Do you want your resolution to make you happier in two seconds or less? You can, right now. But you need to do something very simple:
SMILE! Continue reading This Easy New Year’s Resolution Will Make You Happier
We look forward to the holidays with anticipation and, perhaps, some trepidation. There can be a lot of stress and pressure during holiday activities. This short article will present some thinking tips for the holidays, some ideas you can use to make the holiday season less stressful and more pleasant.
Thinking Tip #1: Get Away from “Should” Thinking and Into Preferences
One of the most common ways in which we get ourselves upset is by thinking other people ‘should’ or ‘must’ behave or act certain ways. If a family member is being selfish or shortsighted, we will be upset with them. It would be nice if they were less selfish and more thoughtful, but there is a big difference between thinking they should versus a preference of it being nice if they would.
When we acknowledge it as a preference that is not happening, we are mildly and temporarily disappointed. When we believe they should act a certain way, we can be upset, sometimes enraged for extended periods of time.
The tip here is to shift your thinking that others ‘should’ or ‘must’ act a certain way to thinking it would be nice if they did but certainly not a requirement for your enjoyment and peace of mind. Continue reading Holidays Stressing You Out? Change Your Thinking with 3 Tips
The poet John Milton, in his epic poem “Paradise Lost” (1667), stated — through the voice of his character Satan — “the Mind is its own place and, in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”
I can think of no better or more eloquent statement to summarize the teachings of cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT]. CBT operates on the premise that our thinking is the precursor to moods and emotions, which is then the basis for a lot of behaviors, both heavenly and hellish. It is not the outer event that makes us feel any particular way but how we interpret and evaluate that event that makes us feel happy or sad, depressed or joyful, frightened or safe, energized or lethargic.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is not positive thinking. It is more about realistic thinking. Continue reading Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Are You Making A Hell Of Heaven?
When we worry, we engage in debilitating mental and physical processes. This is the last thing our minds and bodies need.
It’s time to win the war on worry.
We like to go to war when we consider something to be wrong or bad: the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war against crime. But here’s a groundbreaking idea for you, how about we wage a war on worry — and win. Unless of course, you really, really enjoy worrying. Continue reading Win The War On Worry
Simply put, anticipatory anxiety is a discomforting and disquieting mind game you play on yourself. Do I have your attention yet?
You’re going to the dentist and you feel anxious. You’re about to go take a test and you feel anxious. You’ve been asked to have a meeting with your supervisor and you feel anxious. Do you see a pattern forming?
Anticipatory anxiety is a common discomfort experienced by millions of people. Continue reading The Dirty Lowdown on Anticipatory Anxiety