When Anxiety turns into 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”.

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.

Wisdom from the past, and present…

“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”
― Robin S. Sharma

Robin Sharma is an author who deals primarily in business leadership. His resume of companies he has worked with is not only notable but extensive. He is not a main stream name, many people have no idea who he is and honestly would never need to read his material. Like all good authors he, from time to time gives us a pearl of a quote. Let’s discuss it a little bit.

The quote itself is pretty obvious, how do we parlay this wisdom into the present? We are coming off lockdowns and travel restrictions and the narrative is “let’s get back to normal”. Do you want to go back to the routines you maintained prior to covid? Do you want to live the same year again?

Perhaps for you this is the time to continue the disruption of covid in a positive way. Perhaps changing your “normal” is a good thing. I’ve lived the same year multiple times, it’s easy because routine breeds comfort and comfort swallows time. Think of ways you can change your old normal. Travel more? Get a pet? Volunteer? ?

It’s a great time to change your personal narrative and not fall back into the old normal you used to partake in. Before you know it you will be 75, take me for example… I am closer to 75 now than I am 25. Don’t live the same year over again. Try something new, force yourself, who knows it might be the thing that at 75 you look back on and smile.

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For those with Anxiety: How to tell if you have a great boss

If you are functioning with Anxiety bravo you are doing well. Given how crap the world has become with politics, covid on and on it’s a wonder sometimes any of us get out of bed. If you are now back to work (in the states) or have been going to work all along, or if you are in the midst of a huge surge like our friends in India are enduring you likely still have to deal with work stress. Number 1 cause of work stress? Bad Bosses, coworkers are a close second.

If you have a bad boss you already know it, but how do you tell if you have a great boss? There are of course so many in-between that make up the vast majority of work bosses. Everyone has good and bad days you have to understand that. Good bosses? They are out there and that ideally the norm for all of us, great bosses however do 2 things regularly. They ask the two questions below, with the following elaboration…

  1. “How you doing” – This isn’t just the passing in the hall greeting this is them coming to your work area and asking you. They elaborate by asking about your family, your personal hobbies (if they know it). This may seem like a superficial attempt to become your buddy and it may be but a boss that takes the time to ask this and does so consistently does so because they genuinely care about you. Sure it might be that they care you are doing well to better your work performance but they still care.
  2. “How can I help you win” – This, in context to the first question is in all candor likely in reference to winning at work. A great boss understands that in order for you to be very successful at work you have to be doing well in all facets of your life. This question may seem odd and again self-serving to the person asking but anyone that wants to help you win, even if it benefits them as well is an asset that you want to nurture.

Don’t confuse these two questions with some notion of attaining a deep relationship with your boss where you are having BBQ’s together and your families hang out that’s likely not to happen. It is within the context of you doing well at work. A great boss cares about you as a whole person and asks these questions genuinely to help and make your life better. As someone with Anxiety that is a huge win, we need more people in our lives that want to make things better for us, even if it means they gain as well. I’ll take all the positives I can get.

So ask yourself, when was the last time your boss asked you either of these questions? Do they ask regularly?

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What is the U.S. holiday “Memorial Day?”

Like many blogs I get traffic from all over the world. Russia, China, India, UK, Australia, Italy, Brazil and everywhere in between. I’ve learned a lot in my travels around WordPress. The diversity of cultures is great and it interests me a great deal. I often wonder about holidays in other countries, what event inspired it etc. Today in the U.S. is Memorial Day and its one of our most revered national holidays.

What is it? :  

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

Source:

To understand Memorial Day today and what Decoration Day in the past was it’s important to illustrate how profoundly the civil war changed American culture. It wasn’t just resolving the issue of slavery, it was in effect how we became one country instead of a group of states acting as one country. The social and economic ramifications of a strong central government are still reverberating today, prior most states enjoyed near complete autonomy from the federal government.

Moreover the death toll from the Civil War was staggering and it impacted nearly every American in some way at the time. It isn’t some event that is held in the abstract, most Americans have someone in their family tree who fought in this conflict. Even new Americans who have recently migrated to the U.S. see the statues in their towns, see the culture references still present today. I was in Alabama 3 years ago on business, one of the people I met with introduced me as “his Yankee friend from New England”.

Like most holidays its meaning and application have changed over time. As an example, this year there will not be many parades due to covid. Most Americans have this day off from work paid. Most of us will have a party or attend one. Many more of us will go to the cemetery and visit the graves of those we lost.

And of course there is the national wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington national cemetery. This is to honor those who fought and died for the U.S. whom we could not identify or who never came home.

Memorial Day in the U.S. is important to us on so many levels. Kids can begin to plan their summer vacations, warm weather begins to take hold across the country, and we get a day to reflect on why we are proud to be American.

I know the later sentiment isn’t a popular one these days. Any hint of nationalism is often met with a skeptical eye. For me, I’m glad I live in the U.S. and I am proud of my heritage and my country, as I am sure you are as proud of yours.

3 questions you have to answer before you invest in Crypto Currencies

Yes, today is another finance piece. As with all financial information given on this blog I want to stress that these are my opinions only. You should do as much research as you need to make sure you are educated and comfortable before making any financial decisions. I have been working in finance for nearly 30 years, I have a lot of experience and knowledge but I am one person, and I don’t know you.

Now disclaimer out of the way let’s talk a minute about crypto currencies. Unless you have been living under a rock you know generally what these are. Let’s get the formal definition out of the way first.

  What Is Cryptocurrency?

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. Many cryptocurrencies are decentralized networks based on blockchain technology—a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. A defining feature of cryptocurrencies is that they are generally not issued by any central authority, rendering them theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation. Source:

What does that mean in actual application? It means simply that groups of people agree that a virtual currency is worth “X” that group can be you and I, or you, me and your friend Rachel, or the 3 of us and 8 million other people. We can then exchange this currency for goods and services like you would any other currency (like dollars or pesos). It is virtual though, you don’t carry it in your wallet and it is not backed by a government.

Is this guy serious?

That’s how crypto is used, as an investible commodity though should we begin to entertain the notion of investing in crypto’s to diversify our portfolios? The answer is yes, with caveats, three questions need to be answered first.

  1. Are you risk averse? Simply put, does the risk of losing money scare you? Cryptos are a new asset class, unregulated and highly volatile. Yes, you can make a lot of money, you can also lose a lot.
  2. Do you already have a diverse portfolio? Are you just starting to invest, or have you been investing for years with a good spread of mutual funds, cash, other assets?
  3. Do you understand what Crypto is and how it works? Beyond my article have you used it yourself and understand its current application and can logically think about its future application?

These three questions are critical. If you answered yes to question 1, you should not invest in crypto. If you answered no to question 1 move on the question 2. If you answer no to question 2, you should not invest in crypto build up your other asset classes first. If you answer yes to question 2, go to question 3. If you answer no to question 3, do not invest in crypto. If you answer yes, green light go for it.

Summary:

Question 1: Yes Answer = Do not invest in Crypto. No Answer = Move to Question 2

Question 2: Yes Answer = Move to Question 3, No Answer = Do not invest in Crypto.

Question 3: Yes Answer = Go ahead and invest in Crypto. No Answer = Do not invest in crypto.

This is a very simple formula/questions that should provide you with very basic guidance to whether or not you are ready to invest in crypto. Like any financial advice, do as much research as you can and always trust your instincts.

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Dressing to feel good !

How to be a good Husband, Boyfriend, Man – 1 critical tip

While the title might be targeted toward my male readers this tip is actually most useful for females, or other males, who need to gauge a man in their life. I don’t care what your sexuality is, what you identify as or how you view relationships. I can say that that this one critical tip can be applied to anyone really but as I am male, a husband and have been a boyfriend that’s what I can speak to with a great deal of experience.

The Tip? Be honest, be direct, be kind.

“Karac that’s three things” Its three concepts but it’s one tip. When you talk to people, particularly your partners with whom you maintain an intimate relationship with you need to evoke these concepts as universally as possible. We see all over the web people being “direct” now, behind their VPN’s and made up names. What about in the real world? How about when you are in the car driving home from a movie and you are asked “do you think she is prettier than I am?”

That happens, so how do you answer it? Particularly if you do in fact think she was.

Be honest “Prettier? Yes, she’s beautiful”

Be direct “Prettier? Yes, she’s beautiful” this is both honest and direct

Be Kind “Prettier? Yes, she’s beautiful, just like you” this is all three

The person asking likely knows the woman is prettier, the movie star has a team doing her make-up and hair for the filming…. Questions like these are integrity tests really. What if you said “no you are way better looking than she is”? You are sending the clear message that you are willing to lie to make someone feel good, even when you both know it’s a lie. The damage of doing this is hard to measure in the short term but over time it is crippling.

Lies are not an option

Look at it this way, if a woman knows you will lie to her to make her feel better how can she ever respect you? Women, in my experience, want their partners to be honest. It’s one of the most important traits they look for in a good man even if, sometimes, that honesty hurts. I can’t speak to how other non-heterosexual relationships work but I don’t think I am going out on a limb here when I say everyone desires honesty.

Honesty allows for deeper intimate relationships. Without it, the lines of what is or is not truth become blurred and it’s a never ending game of trying to keep up the appearance of a reality that’s based half-truths. Eventually words stop having impact “you look great” you might say to her. Do you mean it? Does she think you mean it? Being honest, direct and kind is challenging. You will have relationships that crumble because of it because there are many people out there who don’t want honesty, they want an illusion of honesty to fit the narrative they have created in their mind.

In the end, your most successful relationships will be with people whom you can be honest with. Who can be honest with you and can do so directly and with kindness. This takes time to hone as a skill, I am not suggesting you share your honest feelings about every little thing that comes up. If you are asked though? Yes, you must. You will begin to build the foundations of a relationship that can start to employ trust through your ability to be honest, direct and kind.

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The new CDC guidelines and your Anxiety

In the U.S. we are at a major turning point in the fight against Covid. The CDC has released new guidelines regarding masks and when and whom should wear it. This post isn’t going to delve into the arguments for or against mask wearing, each side has valid points to make. I am also no going to get into the politics, how the media has used the pandemic or anything else highly cynical and believe me there is plenty of meat on those bones to chew on. I am going to talk about the very real (and completely valid) anxiety associated with “getting back out there”

First let’s see what the CDC actually said: “Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” SOURCE

The key here is “Fully Vaccinated People”. If you have looked on the web over the last few days you would think everyone is now given the green light to go out and get back to “normal”. Again this post isn’t to argue for or against government mandates it’s to discuss anxiety issues around the new reality. People are going to be out and about without masks, some of those people won’t be vaccinated.

The Sun will come out again.

How exactly are you going to know if they are or are not? Will they need to carry a card? Have a symbol on their shirt designating them as vaccinated or non? The quick answer is it’s going to have to be on the honor system because in the U.S. we have a very potent law called HIPAA. This law, unless changed, prohibits your personal medical information from being released without your consent.

Here in lies the trap for people with anxiety. Maybe you felt better or less anxious when people wore masks. Maybe you felt compelled yourself to wear one even though you did not have covid and were not at a high risk of getting it. You are now thrust back into a situation pre covid but with covid knowledge. More accurately, for the last year you have been bludgeoned by media, friends, family, politicians on Covid.

Its omnipresent and now the CDC says mask mandates can be lifted. It’s okay to be anxious, it’s okay to still wear a mask if you want to, it’s okay to still be extremely cautious. What isn’t okay is if you chose to inflict those feelings on other people who, don’t feel the same way. What if someone isn’t wearing a mask or social distancing what will you say or do now that the CDC says it’s okay? Will you demand proof of vaccination? What if the person refuses or worse challenges your authority to even ask?

This is going to be a tense period for many of you, the best possible way to combat covid anxiety is to get vaccinated. Minimally you’ll know you’ve done everything you can to protect yourself. You can’t make other people do anything, particularly with government mandates evaporating daily. You are going to have to find a way to navigate back into the old normal, with Covid fears hammered into your head.

You can do it, I think you are doing awesome as it is and you just need to take this one encounter at a time, one day at a time. Hang in there.

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Important financial tip for my younger readers (in the U.S.)

Politics in the U.S. is more vitriolic than ever, funny how getting rid of Trump didn’t change much did it? I know it was all him it wasn’t anyone else… lol. To the point, our government is still working or trying to work it is the government after all. Sarcasm aside, there is something on the radar that maybe very impactful in a positive way. It pertains to the horrific government policies on student loans. They are finally doing something to remedy this problem and it’s a very good proposal.

There is something floating around congress right now called the “Secure Act 2.0”  You can find a decent summary here Without going into great detail on the legislation, what it does is beef up retirement options for all Americans. Specific to the topic there is one provision that can help younger workers with student loan debt.

“5. Student Loan Payments and Employer Matching

The Secure Act 2.0 permits an employer to make matching contributions under a 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan or SIMPLE IRA with respect to “qualified student loan payments.” The provision is intended to assist employees who may not be able to save for retirement because they are overwhelmed with student debt, and missing out on available matching contributions.”

Many people with student load debt are unable to save for retirement while they are paying off these debts eliminating the single biggest multiplier of compounding interest over time. What this provision allows is for companies to provide a % match of your loan payments to their retirement plan allowing for some retirement savings. This is huge because it allows you to forgo the 401K contribution but still get the match. You’re going to pay your student loans anyway so while not perfect it way better then what we have now.

How much do I owe again?

If you have student loan debt you should be contacting your federal representatives and telling them, you want the secure act to pass. This will enable you to now and in the future select workplaces that offer this benefit, and they will, they will have to to be competitive. One of the biggest factors in accumulating wealth is dollar cost averaging or simply put, the accumulation of principal + interest reinvested over time. IF you are spending all your money on debt you lose out on this critical aspect of investing, you lose time.

This is a great addition to the retirement 401K,403B portfolio of offerings and should really help some of our younger workers see some light at the end of the student loan tunnel. Watch for this, if it is passed you should be asking your employer if they will be adopting this benefit and extending it to you. This is an example of good governance and a good law. This should help millions of young workers, its welcome news.

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stressed-out-woman

Anxiety: A quick tip for my friends with anxiety

Attacks in Afghanistan are up, Israel and Hamas are fighting, Inflation is rising, Covid is still a thing. Anxiety is still running rampant; it never really ebbs does it? How do you clear the fog of the information wars? How do you escape all this negativity which is fueling your anxiety? The truth? You can’t. I know that’s not what you were expecting was it? I would be lying to you if I told you there was some magic elixir to shut your anxiety off.

Stop looking at screens? Ya sure that will cut it down. Sleep more? You bet you will feel fantastic. There will always be something or someone who is able to contaminate your state of mind with anxiety. They don’t even mean harm most of the time, many of them are anxious too so they talk about some of these issues NON STOP. “Well that wasn’t very helpful Karac, what’s the tip then?”

The tip is to spend more time focusing on your positives. I know that’s broad but let me give you an example. Everyone has something they really enjoy doing, mine is gaming it’s an old hobby that I have loved for nearly 40 years. Do I let it consume all of my time? No but when I focus on it and spend time with it I am able to wall off negativity from other sources.

Glogg
How about learning how to make Glug?

Maybe your thing is golf? Maybe it’s gardening, maybe it’s walking the dog…. Whatever it is accumulate as much energy as you can to identify what it is that you like to do that makes you happy. It can be anything, honestly, staring at fish in a bowl, ANYTHING. Once you identify it you have to commit to making more time for that activity. This begins the long journey of reprograming your mind to start to gravitate toward things you like, instead of absorbing things that make you anxious.

Once you find one thing, look for a second, then a third. Before you know it you will have multiple things you are doing that engender positive thoughts not anxiety. It takes years to accumulate multiple positive activities, maybe a life time. Start working on this today and start fighting back against anxiety with positive actions, deeds, activities and thoughts.

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

stressed-out-woman

Anxiety: A quick tip for my friends with anxiety

Attacks in Afghanistan are up, Israel and Hamas are fighting, Inflation is rising, Covid is still a thing. Anxiety is still running rampant; it never really ebbs does it? How do you clear the fog of the information wars? How do you escape all this negativity which is fueling your anxiety? The truth? You can’t. I know that’s not what you were expecting was it? I would be lying to you if I told you there was some magic elixir to shut your anxiety off.

Stop looking at screens? Ya sure that will cut it down. Sleep more? You bet you will feel fantastic. There will always be something or someone who is able to contaminate your state of mind with anxiety. They don’t even mean harm most of the time, many of them are anxious too so they talk about some of these issues NON STOP. “Well that wasn’t very helpful Karac, what’s the tip then?”

The tip is to spend more time focusing on your positives. I know that’s broad but let me give you an example. Everyone has something they really enjoy doing, mine is gaming it’s an old hobby that I have loved for nearly 40 years. Do I let it consume all of my time? No but when I focus on it and spend time with it I am able to wall off negativity from other sources.

Glogg
How about learning how to make Glug?

Maybe your thing is golf? Maybe it’s gardening, maybe it’s walking the dog…. Whatever it is accumulate as much energy as you can to identify what it is that you like to do that makes you happy. It can be anything, honestly, staring at fish in a bowl, ANYTHING. Once you identify it you have to commit to making more time for that activity. This begins the long journey of reprograming your mind to start to gravitate toward things you like, instead of absorbing things that make you anxious.

Once you find one thing, look for a second, then a third. Before you know it you will have multiple things you are doing that engender positive thoughts not anxiety. It takes years to accumulate multiple positive activities, maybe a life time. Start working on this today and start fighting back against anxiety with positive actions, deeds, activities and thoughts.

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