Anxiety: One of the hardest things to deal with

For those of us with anxiety we have good days and bad days. There are of course degrees of anxiety, some of us are in better places then others and that’s why every day is a crap shoot. Like anything in life the more you experience something the more adept you become at navigating its nuances. Anxiety is no different and for me I have had a few very hard lessons in my travels.

One of the hardest for me? The conversation you have been avoiding is probably the one you most need to have. If you are dreading it, chances are if it’s not already a trigger it’s going to be soon. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, the neighbor’s dog barking? The Amazon delivery person’s insistence in putting your packages on the side step instead of the front? This can be a wide range of subjects; we all have different triggers.

The worst part is not knowing, not knowing if having the conversation is the person going to think you are nuts? Will they reactive negatively? Violently? These emotions are real, and don’t let anyone minimize them. If you are talking to your roommate about the guy upstairs playing music to loud, don’t let their rational (or agreement) sway you from how you feel. The hardest part is making the decision to confront and “have the conversation

Some conversations you know going in, its going to be a horror show.

This is one of the worst parts of anxiety. Wouldn’t it be great for just a day to not care what other people think? Many of us find that relief through self-medication and I am not advocating that here. What I am saying is, there are options. Continue on and allow this to eat away at you and become another trigger. I’ve done it, you wouldn’t be the first to live with other people’s crap. Or have the talk and confront.

The downside is it can be a disaster, creating more conflict then you ever wanted. The upside is the person may provide relief, gain a measure of respect for you and in the future may be more aware of how their actions affect you. I advocate to have the conversation, with a HUGE caveat. That being you have to assess the risk posed by the other person. Example, a conversation about putting the cap on the toothpaste is likely to have less of an impact then asking a parent to have their child stop leaving their toys around.

Both may be triggers but the likelihood of one garnering a negative response is higher. Use your instinct and your experience as an individual with anxiety. Some battles (and for us, internally, that’s what these conversations are) are less risky than others. have those first, build a mental reserve of successful (or failures) outcomes to draw on as you consider attempting the harder and harder conversations as your life progressives.

If you are thinking about it constantly, its eating at you and emboldening your anxiety. It’s likely a conversation you should have sooner rather than later.

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Work Anxiety: A few ways to get relief

I know, I’ve done these before but these never get old and are critical for all of us who have anxiety issues. Let’s face it, work plays a huge part in our lives, we need income to survive and from plumbers to CFO’s we all get stress inputs via expectations from work. Maybe you thrive on it, or maybe you cringe from it. If you are having a bad day at work and need quick relief here are 5 things to try.

Maybe you have a bad boss? Maybe your coworkers are toxic? Maybe you have just checked out and just loathe going to work every day? Whatever it is you are not alone, tens of millions of people all over the world have work anxiety issues. It manifests itself in several ways. Maybe it’s too cold? Maybe it’s too hot? You get the picture. Below are 5 things you can do to fight anxiety at work.

Surviving 2020 & covid
A negative work environment can break you

1. Have plants: When you’re stressed at work, water your plant, prune it a bit, touch it. Often when we care for another entity, plants, people, pets we create positive feelings within ourselves. This can translate into a temporary emotional boost and get you through a tough moment.

2. Go home: I know; this is probably not on the top of peoples list but hear me out. Companies give people sick time and vacation time as a benefit of their employment. If things are horrible at work one day, bag out early. I mean this isn’t going to stop you from thinking about it, but you’ll be thinking about it in a comfort setting (your car, your home) rather than wallowing in thought at work, the source of the pain.

3. Call your parents: If your parents are no longer with us, call a family member. You don’t have to dump the stress on them but just call and say hi. If you call mom or dad they are going to figure out quickly something is wrong and comfort you, that’s what parents do, the great ones anyway LOL.

4. Indulge your sweet tooth: Look I’m not telling you to go on an eating binge here but have something to eat that you enjoy. Chocolate? Doritos? An apple… Doesn’t matter, sometimes eating provides comfort and while unhealthy eating and overeating can prolong and enhance negative emotions associated with anxiety there is nothing wrong with indulging once in a while.

5. Address the issue head on: this is the most challenging depending on your workplace but if the source of the stress is an individual, a project or the work in general talk to your supervisor or HR. Companies want productive employees and if you don’t tell people there is a problem, you can’t assume they know one exists. If you tell them at least you know they are informed.

Look none of these are wonderful catch all solutions to work stress, but you need something. I used to work in a high stress environment, I know I have anxiety issues and when I was in a stressful work environment it was a THOUSAND times worse. How do you deal with it? I had one woman that I worked with that every hour on the hour she dipped out for a smoke break. Really nice lady but her skin looks horrible, but I never criticized her, that’s what she needed to do to get through the day power to her.

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Work Anxiety: The worst kind of Co-Worker and how to deal with them

Most of us have to work. We do so to make money so we can survive and do the things we love. Now if you have been working, even for a week, you know you run into all kinds of people. It’s not just customers, it’s the people you work with and believe me there are some real idiots out there. A prevalent problem for many is problem coworkers. Even worse are the problem coworkers who are not dealt with by management.

The good news is we have a hot job market; it’s never been easier to get another job then it is right now. Leaving a job is no small thing though, particularly if you have anxiety. So what is this “worst kind of Co-Worker”? it’s the coworker who has no authority over you, but they have power. Let me explain with a few examples. You work in a dept. that produces widgets, you have been there 2 years your coworker has been there 12. You do the same thing, have the same title etc. but because of their tenure they have power, or at least they THINK they have power.

Another example is someone who has a narcissist or “strong personality” you know the type, the person who can never admit they are wrong, they never apologize. Maybe your company tolerates this person because they need bodies or your boss just sucks too. So this person isn’t necessarily in a higher position then you they just exert power because no one will put them in check. Including you, you have anxiety you don’t want conflict. These coworkers are the worst kind, they have no authority but they have power so how do you deal with them?

I work for money so I can live a good life and do the things I love.

There are a couple of ways really, but most create even more toxic situations. You can go to the boss, that may or may not be the best idea only you know if your boss is trust worthy. You can go to HR, which IMHO is always a mistake. HR departments are marketed to be for the employees but it’s actually the exact opposite. They are there to protect the company from legalities involving employees. It’s been my experience that when you go to HR you put a target on your back, don’t do this unless you are prepared for all sorts of B.S.

The last best solution? Is ignore the coworker. Now this will result in that person reacting, but again we are in a situation where this person has power but not authority. When you ignore them, you remove their power so you now put them in a position by which the only way they can enforce their power is by using authority (which they don’t have). This creates the situation where they are forced to over step, and then you have them.

Now by “having them” I mean they have created a situation where you are forced to either comply or there is a consequence. This is when you use one of the responses below:

  1. “Let’s go talk to the manager, if she says I need to do that, then I will”
  2. “I am going to do my job first, if I have time later I will do yours”
  3. “No”

Each one of these has the potential to create a serious melt down but you’ve done something remarkable here. You have changed the power dynamic; you are now the one with the power. You see the equation is simple, and human interactions are predicated on this simple equation. Someone wants something, they want you to do it, you do it because you benefit. Both people in the equation benefit, prior this person was the only one benefitting, with anyone of the response above you begin to benefit as well.

Work is work, these people aren’t your friends. They might want to be, you might consider them to be, but at the end of the day you do work to obtain a benefit (mostly wages). Don’t put up with any crap at work, particularly in this job market. YOU have the power (for now), companies need you more then you need them. Start flexing.

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BACK TO SCHOOL Anxiety

Are you a parent? Do you have younger siblings? Are you an aunt or an uncle? Chances are you have kids in your life at some level. If you suffer from anxiety you are keenly aware of some of the debilitating issues that comes with it. You are also uniquely qualified to help those kids BECAUSE you have anxiety.

If you recall your school days (or maybe you’re still, there) there are all sorts of social pressures around your peer’s. I’m not professing to understand the modern teenager at 50, but I have kids I do know what they go through. Things are different now, kids don’t meet at the mall (hi all my Gen X friends, remember those days? See you at Orange Julius) they meet online.

The digital world is cruel, people hide in anonymity with screen names and post messages to others they would never say to someone’s face. Remove the adult filter and kids are worse. On top of that teenagers are starting to experience hormonal shifts that come with puberty and these swings can amplify anxiety.On top of that, kids today are more tapped into the real world because they are online so much. Mass shootings? Your teenager knows all about it. Opioid epidemic? Your kids have seen it online. All of this can trigger anxiety and if you have it and these are your children its likely they inherited some of their issues from you.

The digital age is brutal for kids

There is no “fix all” but there are 3 important things you can do with kids of any age that will help them navigate anxiety.

  1. Talk to them: I know every says talk to your kids. Really take the time to do this, particularly on current events. Its critical they have a venue other than their peers to talk about the issue.
  2. Invest in what they love. If your kid is a gamer, try playing some games yourself. If your kid is a soccer player, take them to the soccer field. Whatever they are into, start investing your time into it too.
  3. Listen and watch them when they are online: This is critical as so much interaction happens online now.

School is right around the corner and kids will get anxiety. Start building the foundation now so if needed you can help the child later. You can do this; they are totally worth it!

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Justice

Politics & Anxiety: More is coming

This blog isn’t a political blog, so have no fear I am not going to go on a political rant here. We do however cover Anxiety issues a lot and in the U.S. we are entering a new political season. You could argue that politics is always in season in the U.S. As an example in the community I live in, we have people with signs in their yards regarding politics, it comes up in conversation regularly. For my non U.S. readers a quick aside so you have a more accurate picture of the political climate in the U.S.

The narrative of political divide, the splintering of the culture etc. is partially true. People here are more galvanized then ever politically but we are not at each other’s throats. The overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens are normal, quiet people who go about their business and take care of their family and friends. They aren’t light flags on fire, at protests, storming the capital. Those are the exceptions not the rule, but if you were watching news on the U.S. that’s what you would see. The U.S. is in a transition period; this has happened many times before.

Back to the anxiety. So what is happening now is you are seeing the political apparatus in the U.S. “Heat Up”. You will see more arrests, more investigations, more foreign policy moves, more scandals. This is par for the course really, our mid-term elections are coming soon and the heat will be turned way up. Soon we will know if Trump is running for President or not and that will likely make things even hotter.

Vote
Liberty is paramount

I wish I had great news for you. I wish I could say there is a remarkable candidate who will unite American’s under one platform and a reconciliation and rebirth is to follow. If I did say that I would be lying to you. I think things are going to get more stressful and anxiety is going to spike. This won’t resolve until the presidential election of 2024 and even then one side will be unhappy. Expect viral protests, some violence, gas lighting, fear mongering… Everything will be on the table.

How you deal with all of the noise is really subjective. I stopped listening myself. After 52 years on the planet I have lived through Democrat and Republican regimes neither have been great. I would encourage you to invest your time into those who are important to you first. Your civic energies should be focused on your locale. Get involved in your town or city politics, this is the most effective way to steer changes that immediately impact the people you know. National politics is theatre; dangerous theatre I concede but it’s designed to anger you to affect a specific outcome. Once that outcome is achieved, they don’t want to hear from you anymore.

You are going to be fine, things will heat up. Things will look dyer for a time. Large scale upheaval is highly unlikely its only happened a few times in U.S. history. I realize this post isn’t painting a particularly rosy picture but knowing what is coming is at least one advantage. Hopefully it helps you prepare for the inevitable. The political season in the U.S. is on its way, buckle up.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Justice

Politics & Anxiety: More is coming

This blog isn’t a political blog, so have no fear I am not going to go on a political rant here. We do however cover Anxiety issues a lot and in the U.S. we are entering a new political season. You could argue that politics is always in season in the U.S. As an example in the community I live in, we have people with signs in their yards regarding politics, it comes up in conversation regularly. For my non U.S. readers a quick aside so you have a more accurate picture of the political climate in the U.S.

The narrative of political divide, the splintering of the culture etc. is partially true. People here are more galvanized then ever politically but we are not at each other’s throats. The overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens are normal, quiet people who go about their business and take care of their family and friends. They aren’t light flags on fire, at protests, storming the capital. Those are the exceptions not the rule, but if you were watching news on the U.S. that’s what you would see. The U.S. is in a transition period; this has happened many times before.

Back to the anxiety. So what is happening now is you are seeing the political apparatus in the U.S. “Heat Up”. You will see more arrests, more investigations, more foreign policy moves, more scandals. This is par for the course really, our mid-term elections are coming soon and the heat will be turned way up. Soon we will know if Trump is running for President or not and that will likely make things even hotter.

Vote
Liberty is paramount

I wish I had great news for you. I wish I could say there is a remarkable candidate who will unite American’s under one platform and a reconciliation and rebirth is to follow. If I did say that I would be lying to you. I think things are going to get more stressful and anxiety is going to spike. This won’t resolve until the presidential election of 2024 and even then one side will be unhappy. Expect viral protests, some violence, gas lighting, fear mongering… Everything will be on the table.

How you deal with all of the noise is really subjective. I stopped listening myself. After 52 years on the planet I have lived through Democrat and Republican regimes neither have been great. I would encourage you to invest your time into those who are important to you first. Your civic energies should be focused on your locale. Get involved in your town or city politics, this is the most effective way to steer changes that immediately impact the people you know. National politics is theatre; dangerous theatre I concede but it’s designed to anger you to affect a specific outcome. Once that outcome is achieved, they don’t want to hear from you anymore.

You are going to be fine, things will heat up. Things will look dyer for a time. Large scale upheaval is highly unlikely its only happened a few times in U.S. history. I realize this post isn’t painting a particularly rosy picture but knowing what is coming is at least one advantage. Hopefully it helps you prepare for the inevitable. The political season in the U.S. is on its way, buckle up.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Anxiety: 5 Quick tips to reduce stress and anxiety at work

I know, I’ve done these before but these never get old and are critical for all of us who have anxiety issues. Let’s face it, work plays a huge part in our lives, we need income to survive and from plumbers to CFO’s we all get stress inputs via expectations from work. Maybe you thrive on it, or maybe you cringe from it. If you are having a bad day at work and need quick relief here are 5 things to try.

1. Have plants: When you’re stressed at work, water your plant, prune it a bit, touch it. Often when we care for another entity, plants, people, pets we create positive feelings within ourselves. This can translate into a temporary emotional boost and get you through a tough moment.

2. Go home: I know, this is probably not on the top of peoples list but hear me out. Companies give people sick time and vacation time as a benefit of their employment. If things are horrible at work one day, bag out early. I mean this isn’t going to stop you from thinking about it, but you’ll be thinking about it in a comfort setting (your car, your home) rather than wallowing in thought at work, the source of the pain.

3. Call your parents: If your parents are no longer with us, call a family member. You don’t have to dump the stress on them but just call and say hi. If you call mom or dad they are going to figure out quickly something is wrong and comfort you, that’s what parents do, the great ones anyway LOL.

4. Indulge your sweet tooth: Look I’m not telling you to go on an eating binge here but have something to eat that you enjoy. Chocolate? Doritos? An apple… Doesn’t matter, sometimes eating provides comfort and while unhealthy eating and overeating can prolong and enhance negative emotions associated with anxiety there is nothing wrong with indulging once in a while.

5. Address the issue head on: this is the most challenging depending on your workplace but if the source of the stress is an individual, a project or the work in general talk to your supervisor or HR. Companies want productive employees and if you don’t tell people there is a problem, you can’t assume they know one exists. If you tell them at least you know they are informed.

Look none of these are wonderful catch all solutions to work stress, but you need something. I work in a high stress environment; I know I have anxiety issues but I am dealing with it. How do you deal with it? I have one woman at work that every hour on the hour she dips out for a smoke break. Really nice lady but her skin looks horrible, but I never criticize, that’s what she needs to do to get through the day power to her.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Surviving 2020 & covid

Anxiety or a Panic Attack ?

If you have anxiety you might be exposed to, or have had a panic attack. This is the physical manifestation of your anxiety. Often it doesn’t play out as the person think’s it will, meaning the “panic” doesn’t nearly equate to the situation more often than not. However, that doesn’t minimize or negate what is actually happening to you. Panic often delves into physical conditions that impact you negatively. Examples:

  • Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
  • Heart palpitations or racing heart
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Choking feeling
  • Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy

The real problem is these attacks can happen at any time. Literally ANYTHING can be a trigger and this is, for a lot of people where anxiety ends up. They live in fear not of, I don’t know, let’s say spiders, but the PANIC that seeing the spider will invoke. I’ve never had a serious panic attack, I have heard in my life when the subject comes up in my social circle there is an immediate dismissal. “It’s not that bad” or “They made a mountain out of a mole hill”.

Sometimes the smallest thing can become a huge explosion.

What that narrative does is it creates the conditions by which someone who might have panic attacks has even more anxiety about it. Our culture celebrates strength and fortitude in essentially all ethnic backgrounds for each gender. Having anxiety that leads to a panic attack doesn’t make you weak, it’s not something you should be ashamed of and if you have people in your life telling you it’s not a big deal you should consider strongly limiting your time with them.

In extreme cases a panic attack can lead to death, either by suicide, heart attack or loss of control of your faculties. BREATHE!

I am not patronizing you, it sometimes is that simple. Even if you are in the middle of a grocery store and you think people are staring at you and you are in full panic, take slow deep breaths. 10 slow deep breaths is a minute of your life, you can do this and any social anxiety you may derive from that 1 minute where you think people are staring at you will dissipate quickly as your panic starts to decrease with every breath.

You aren’t alone, you are not abnormal. You have anxiety and you need to be honest with yourself about it. When in doubt, take a deep breath.

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Anxiety: The benefits of having Anxiety

In my travels I have come across all sorts of articles on anxiety. To be blunt most of them are “change how you think” rehashes. I found an article here that is a little odd, as it talks about the “unexpected benefits” of stress and anxiety. Of course I had to read it and its honesty not a bad read.

From the Article: “You have probably noticed that when you’re anxious about something, you can’t sit still. That reflects that short-term stress and anxiety are energizing emotions. They are your body’s way of preparing you for action.

Although most work problems don’t require physical strength, they do require mental energy in order to put in the hours required to address the issue. The motivational lift that a little anxiety can provide can be harnessed as you get to work. Your energy may also engage your teammates to help dig in.”

Now that is actually a valid point. Anxiety can often make you focus on the issue you are anxious about. This can lead to positive outcomes and a resolution to that issue. This article is short but it is absolutely worth a read because it does something that very few articles about anxiety do.

Anxiety can make your whole life a mess.

It tries to focus on potential positive outcomes of HAVNG anxiety. It’s not telling you to think differently, its telling you that while anxiety can be crippling and horrible for your health there are from time to time positive outcomes.

I’ve read many, many articles about anxiety and this is one of the few that I read a few times because I was astounded at its tone. This article is really applicable to people like myself (and maybe you) who are not on the extreme of the spectrum. It’s meant for those of us who function at a high level with anxiety and it gives specific examples of positives outcomes from anxiety.

It’s worth a read but remember, anxiety can be volatile. This isn’t a catch all solution to anxiety you should take it for what it is. A good illustration of how positive outcomes, occasionally can be had when you have anxiety.

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Wisdom from the past: “Be like water”

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” Bruce Lee

The above is a famous quote from an interview from the 60’s. He was asked to encapsulate his philosophy etc. and of course that’s nearly impossible for anyone to do in a 40s sound bite. Its important to understand the context here as well, Bruce Lee was a martial artist (perhaps the most famous one) and an actor.

What can we glean from this bit of wisdom from the past?

Water has the ability to adapt to nearly any situation. As Lee says, “put it in a cup, it becomes the cup”. For those of us with anxiety this might not make a whole lot of sense. It requires a mind set and personal mental flexibility to allow yourself to “fit” into any situation. For us, again, those with anxiety I think the key take away here is we are both the water and the cup.

Many of us are struggling to be comfortable in our own skin, in multiple situations. Its far more important to be comfortable with yourself then with everything else around you, that comes later. You are the water and the cup, you have anxiety, you have to acknowledge and accept it. You have to forgive yourself for feeling the way you do, you have to accept yourself as you are and understand you are not deficient.

Once you accept yourself, you will more easily be able to employ this wisdom from the past and be like water. You will be able to navigate social situation, you will be able to function out there in the world with other people with all the mental exercises that go with it.

You are doing great, one day at a time.

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