Anxiety Snapshot

One of my many reasons for working with individuals with Anxiety, Panic Attacks and PTSD is that they all carry a very good prognosis. Meaning that, when treated properly, we can expect positive results and we can expect them to last.

When I hear of someone or meet someone who has suffered from long-term generalized anxiety or Panic Attacks I feel a sense of urgency to make changes early on. There is simply no reason why a person should suffer with either of these debilitating clusters of symptoms.

Anxiety and Panic are expressions of a problem at a deeper level. Much like pain in the body, anxiety is a signal that something needs to change. Part of the work is discovering what change needs to occur, part of the work is finding behaviors to manage, reduce or eliminate the attacks/anxiety and part of the work is trusting the change that occurs over the long run.

That being said, treatment approaches can involve emotional, behavioral, environmental, familial and spiritual aspects of a person’s life. While the work to minimize the suffering is primary, the secondary changes that occur in this exploration enrich every aspect a persons’ life.

I work with individuals with problems with anxiety, PTSD, trauma as well as with couples and adolescents.

Biggest Weapon On Board

anxiety_causesAnxiety is one of the most common and debilitating issues on the planet. Anti-anxiety medication is a multi-billion dollar industry and appears to be epidemic partly due to cultural issues as well as personal/experiential issues.

The intervention list for Anxiety is extensive. Treatment can include medications from the SSRI class or benzodiazepine class. The former manipulates the chemical and electrical impulses of the brain, the latter have both a sedative and addictive quality. When in crisis, or, when indicated in working in treatment with severe traumatic history or PTSD, both of these classes of medication have their respective place. They can provide a behavioral window of opportunity to allow treatment to occur while resolving highly charged memories or triggers.

There are also many non-medical interventions of which I will name a few; yoga, meditation/mindfulness practice, T’ai Chi, vigorous exercise, life-management, boundaries work, nutritional and homeopathic approaches and the list goes…….

In my experience the most effective interventions are the simplest and the most mobile. While we have no certainty how one medication will work for us based on our own chemistry, and we don’t all have the time or the funds to access a yoga studio or a Naturopathic physician….we all have our breath.

Our breathing patterns are our first physiological response to a perceived threat in our environment. A hastening amount of oxygen coming into our lungs causes a cascade of changes in the body i.e. increased heart rate, a change in our perception of our self and our environment as well as hormonal and adrenal surges.

By learning simple and brief breathing techniques we can prevent and/or intervene and ‘short-circuit’ an episode of anxiety and Panic Attacks as well. Regular practice can immediately reduce the overall level of anxiety in your life as well as increase a sense of peace and groundedness.

While learning these skills will be invaluable, they may be the first step in resolving the root cause of the anxiety/panic attack. If this is the case for you, please seek professional help. Anxiety, panic attacks, trauma and PTSD all have a very good prognosis if treated correctly.

I work with Anxiety, Panic Attacks/Trauma/PTSD, couples and adolescents. Please see my ‘About Lee’ page.

“Being” Our Wanted Thoughts

second thoughtsThose of us on the path of personal and spiritual growth have a tendency to analyze our unhappiness in order to find the causes and make improvements. But it is just as important, if not more so, to analyze our happiness. Since we have the ability to rise above and observe our emotions, we can recognize when we are feeling joyful and content. Then we can harness the power of the moment by savoring our feelings and taking time to be grateful for them.

Recognition is the first step in creating change, therefore recognizing what it feels like to be happy is the first step toward sustaining happiness in our lives. We can examine how joy feels in our bodies and what thoughts run through our minds in times of bliss. Without diminishing its power, we can retrace our steps to discover what may have put us in this frame of mind, and then we can take note of the choices we’ve made while there. We might realize that we are generally more giving and forgiving when there’s a smile on our face, or that we are more likely to laugh off small annoyances and the actions of others when they don’t resonate with our light mood.

Once we know what it feels like and can identify some of the triggers and are aware of our actions, we can recreate that happiness when we are feeling low. Knowing that like attracts like, we can pull ourselves out of a blue mood by focusing on joy. We might find that forcing ourselves to be giving and forgiving, even when it doesn’t seem to come naturally, helps us to reconnect with the joy that usually precedes it. If we can identify a song, a picture, or a pet as a happiness trigger, we can use them as tools to recapture joy if we are having trouble finding it. By focusing our energy on analyzing happiness and all that it encompasses, we feed, nurture, and attract more of it into our lives, eventually making a habit of happiness.