How to turn your anxiety into a super power

For years now I have been doing posts on anxiety where I seek out articles and cite them for the purpose of giving people information. Inevitably many of these articles come boil down to a very simple proposition: change the way you think. I mean anyone with anxiety will tell you If they could do that they would. We get these over simplifications in many areas of life and its tiring. I found an article here that somewhat does this, but gets to the critical aspect of the identification process.

From the article: “Suzuki talks about “the superpower of productivity,” which you can tap into simply by listening carefully to the actual content of your worries. “A very, very common manifestation of anxiety is that ‘what if’ list that comes in your head: What if I get sick with Covid, what if I don’t get an A, what if I can’t remember what the professor said on this part of the test? The superpower that comes with that anxiety-induced what-if list is shifting that into a to-do list,” she explains to Newman. “ 

Chronic Anxiety is like having an itch that you can never scratch.

So the critical point here is identifying the source of the anxiety. Worried about an exam? Study more. I know simple right? The point here is identifying sources of anxiety and attempting to address them directly. This action begins the process of the infamous “change how you think” narrative and why this article is so valuable. You are likely never going to escape anxiety completely but if there are reoccurring issues that create anxiety, identifying them and working toward addressing them directly is going to bare a lot of fruit for your mental state.

Many of us, myself included have a multifaceted issue. Meaning it’s never just one thing, it’s an accumulation of many small issues that converge and lead to intrusive thoughts and debilitating mood swings. Take one issue at a time, if its work, well what part of work specifically? Try and drill down here, get into the weed and really figure out what is driving your anxiety. When you do this you create the conditions by which you can recover faster as you can in many cases address the issue directly and resolve it.

One down, hundreds more to go but its progress….

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

Justice

Job Advice: The U.S. Supreme court overturned the OSHA mandate. Now what?

This blog doesn’t give medical advice as a normal practice. In terms of covid, the vaccine, etc., my best advice to my readers is to visit your primary care doctor and ask their recommendation. I am vaccinated so is everyone in my family, by choice, not by mandate.

So for my foreign readers a quick background. In the U.S. congress (state and federal) passes bills that once signed by the executive (state or federal) become law. The executive branch, in this case the president of the united states can issue what is called an “executive order”. Every modern President does this, it’s not exclusive to democrats or republicans. This practice falls under our constitution, article 2 which essentially empowers the executive branch to enforce laws.

So here we are in 2022. The last high profile order was the OSHA mandate that required employers of over 100 people to require that their employees be vaccinated or submit to regular testing. This was challenged in court and the supreme court upheld the challenge. Meaning the order is now non enforceable. There are a lot of nuances here I am not going to cover but that is the gist of it.

I don’t get it

So now what? As a U.S. worker what do you do if your employer still mandates a vaccine? Really there isn’t much you can do. You can get it, or you can be terminated. Most employment in the U.S. is “at will” employment, meaning either party can terminate the relationship at any time. However, there is one caveat that has to be noted in the current economic climate. The U.S. job market is red hot, essentially there are not enough workers to cover all the jobs available.

Sure the high paying high profile jobs may not be in abundance but in this scenario job openings filter upward. Meaning a supervisor is going to have to fill in for workers if they don’t have enough, managers of those supervisors have to fill in for the supervisors if the supervisors are filling in for the workers, I think you get the point. So as a worker in the U.S. you are in a leverage position at this point in time. Any employer who places a mandate on you runs the risk of losing you as an employee.

So what do you do? Below are 5 things you should do now as a worker in the U.S. to maximize your labor return in the current job market.

  1. Get vaccinated: Being vaccinated makes you a more desirable candidate for a job right now. Companies don’t want to navigate this mine field. This is an asset, and you should be vocal about the fact you have this asset.
  2. Update your resume: Do it now.
  3. See what’s out there: Even if the vaccine mandate issue isn’t a big deal to you, there are a lot of opportunities out there. Now is the time to explore the job market it is a sellers’ market, and you are selling your labor. You might make up to 20% more just by flipping jobs.
  4. Sit down with your current company: Now is a great time to bring up your future with your company. What you want to do where you hope to be. Again remember they need you, this is your chance to make progress toward a professional goal. This labor dynamic will not last forever.
  5. Diversify your skill set: There are so many side hustles now, so many opportunities to pick up work on the side. Companies are desperate for help, diversifying your skill set and learning new industries makes your personal brand more valuable in the future.

Some may say this is taking advantage of the current situation with a pandemic. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it isn’t, I would be lying to you. I look at this as an opportunity. Let me put it this way. In life there are often people who are given a situation and will complain about it hoping someone will change it for them to make it more favorable. There are others who look at the same situation and figure out how they can best survive and excel.

Be the later in the context of your career. Believe me, if the situation was different and there were more people looking for a job then open positions these companies would squeeze you for as much as they could. The window on this reality is closing, Covid is almost played out. Carpe diem.

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

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”.

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

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.

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

Deltacron – The final product?

If you have anxiety covid has been a disaster. It’s one thing to have to worry about getting sick, its another to have everyone screaming at the top of their lungs about getting sick. It never seems to end either, remember YEARS ago (yes years) when the prevailing narrative was “a few weeks and we will be back to normal”. That’s not happening anytime soon. So we have a new variant discovered and the marketing has already begun. It’s being called “Deltacron” a combo of TWO variants to bring you even more mental anguish.

This ride never ends does it? I mean we can be getting new variants for decades. So is this the final product? I suspect it might be, or the next to last. You see part of this is marketing. Marketing to get you to get vaccinated (which you should) marketing to get you hooked and keep clicking and watching. It’s naïve to think that Covid hasn’t become commercial and political. The media loves this, it gives them an easy story every night which allows for them to run the full gambit of stories. Deaths, illnesses, mask mandates, on and on.

Even vaccinated people get covid.

I know this sounds cynical but this is our reality, I mean at this point you know what covid is you are either vaccinated or you aren’t. Harping on a new variant, how does that change the conversation? Answer = it doesn’t. It’s not meant to. It’s meant to CONTINUE the same conversation and keep tens of millions of people in a state of flux. What other reason could there be? “You’re an anti vaxxer!!!!! Burn it with fire” No I’m not I am vaccinated, lol.

I just see what’s coming, as we’ve seen this play out for a few years now. Don’t believe me? In the next few weeks “Deltacron” will be on the news regularly. Your political “leaders” will talk about it and how you “need to” do X, Y or Z. I hope I am wrong and if I am I will be happy to eat my words. For those of us with Anxiety? No reprieve. You get no rest from the covid onslaught.

You should get vaccinated, you should get a booster, you should wear a mask if other people are uncomfortable. You should also, shut off main stream media. Remove yourself from people who go on and on about covid and what YOU should be doing. Most importantly keep trying to do the things you want to do and try not to let covid permeate every aspect of your life.

Hang in there, the rollercoaster ride isn’t over yet.

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

Genetics

An article from India – Virus anxiety across the world

It’s no secret that many of the readers of my blog reside in India. All of you are most welcome and thank you for years of support of my blog. As a result of my readership demographics I started reading more articles about India and its culture. I will never be an expert but I think as average everyday Americans go I might have a better understanding of how things are going there than most. I found an interesting article here that discusses briefly some of the anxiety pent up around the world over covid.

How this pertains to my Indian readers is very simple. You have resources/news outlets in your nation that are giving alternative perspectives to the current main stream narrative. I’m not sure if you understand how fortunate you are in that regard. In the states as an example we have strict hard lines drawn socially on covid in the media. There is no objectivity anymore, and people are polarized as a result of it.

Same with Europe to a large degree and Australia? Have you read about what is going on in Australia? The more I read about India and its culture the more refreshing I find its candor. It’s by no means a perfect society but they seem to have this odd way of soldiering through these sometimes crippling social dynamics. I’ve come to appreciate it, I am not sure if it’s some form of macabre humor or their prevalence to be very self-aware (unlike many of your western friends).

Call it any name you want, Anxiety sucks.

The article itself does a decent job of illustrating the issue around the world that the virus (whatever variant/iteration you have currently) has become long in the tooth. Meaning, people are wary of covid and the residual effects of government lockdowns, society pressure etc. It’s an olive branch to the reader really. I took it as “we know it’s hard, take heart its hard everywhere”. I mean how refreshing is that to have your media not scold you on whatever side of the issue you are on and actually offer some empathy?

Maybe I am reading it all wrong, maybe I am super imposing my desired outcome on the article into some broad reaching social narrative that really isn’t there. I don’t know, I don’t live in India. In my neck of the woods? I live in a fairly libertarian part of the U.S. meyered in covid battles from the federal government all the way down to the day to day operations of mail delivery. It’s exhausting and everyone in my social circle (liberals and conservatives) have had enough.

What a wonderful thing it would be to see in the States a major publication takes a conciliatory view and throw everyone a bone like this article does (or what I think it does). I wish my readers and friends in India well, I hope wherever your path leads. I bow to the divine in you, or more simply, Namaste.

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

Am I contagious?

A Follow up to my post – Comply or Else

So this is a bit of a side track for this blog as I don’t normally do follow ups on recent posts. The post I am following up on can be found here. I have received more feedback than anticipated via email and direct message. A quick aside, it’s interesting as a creator to see the amount of people who actually look at your material far surpasses the likes on any given post. J

Let me say first there was one hostile person out of 6 who contacted me. The majority agreed with my post but wanted to emphasize a specific point. I’m going to make some blanket statements below that are meant to address the issues that were raised to me without compromising individual’s anonymity.

To the hostile person: I will never take responsibility for another adult’s emotional response unless I am specifically trying to harm them. I don’t know you. You were not a consideration in the post I made, how could you be? Again I don’t know you. I would encourage you to eliminate those people in your life you believe to be negative influences, if that includes my blog so be it.

To my friends in Australia: I only know what I see in the news and read online. I don’t in fact know how bad it is so it wouldn’t be responsible for me to pontificate about it. I hope you take some solace in the fact that there are millions of people around the world who are compliant out of convenience not out of agreement. The fact I chose vaccination was personal but as a gesture for you I will offer a brief explanation on my reasons. I have elderly people in my life who rely on me to help them. Putting them at risk of Covid would have been irresponsible, so I got the vaccine.  I had the choice, I was not forced (unlike you) if I had been forced perhaps my decision would have been different but months later, I am no worse for the wear. Get the vaccine, but keep the fight for liberty going.

To those who saw my comments on another blog: No “Comply or Else” is not a result of that interaction. Yes, that interaction influenced the post. My blog speaks for itself, I have been pro liberty since day 1 and If I see others who are not, I will give my opinion on it. I don’t regret any language used, I do regret that I was unable to articulate the point clearly enough so others couldn’t conflate some of the terms to inflame a narrative but I cannot control how other people think. This post and its context appear regularly on this blog, liberty is paramount, IMHO. We all use terms to emphasize a point, and when people chose to fixate on one term rather than the point it was trying to emphasize it’s a waste of time trying to convince them otherwise. More often than not, their mind is made up anyway. If I point at the sky and say “it’s blue” and the rebuttal is “no it isn’t, and “it’s” not an it” spending the next hour discussing what an it is, doesn’t change the fact that the sky is blue….

Am I being hyperbolic? Well yes to a degree, I won’t deny that. Nothing is absolute and sure “Comply or else” is clickbait but I stand by my prose. I think the cavalier attitudes around others freedoms is dangerous. I think healthy debate and a good examination of the issues, including nuances should be done. The environment (particularly online) is not conducive to that end so we do the best we can. This is the strength and weakness of dwelling in an online world.

My body my choice: This is specific to one person. I have no issue with this argument but correlating it back to an abortion argument is a fool’s errand. You are attempting to remove people’s emotions and argue logical points. I don’t dispute your argument; I think you are spot on but trying to convince an irrational person with a rational idea is a waste of time. I don’t have the energy for it anymore, good luck.

Conclusion: I’m not going to carry on with this beyond this post. I will read any messages you send me and comments here but I will never compromise your anonymity. If you are one of the people who contacted me privately you fall into one of the categories above and this should address the issues beyond our personal interaction.

I believe you should get vaccinated, but I believe you should get the right to choose to have it. Just like businesses should have the right not to serve you if you aren’t or chose not to serve you if you are. I believe we have become too reliant on “authorities” to tell us how to act and how to behave. Remember “no shirt, no service”? It was clear, concise and to the point and it was an agreed upon social contract. Be careful who you empower, it’s all abstract until you are the one who disagrees

Your Pagan Friend,

Karac

Remote work and Anxiety

Welcome to the new normal, whatever that is where you are, for this particular moment…. I know that’s ridiculous semantics start to the blog but the “New Normal” won’t be normal for long. However we have picked up some material changes along this Covid journey we are all on. One of them is the New Normal of working from home. As an example, myself, I haven’t been back to my office since 3/18/20. I work in a capacity now where I do a lot of meta data crunching, analytics and budget forecasting. As long as I have the data I can do this anywhere and my company as deemed people like me to be “flex staff” that means I can work from home, indefinitely. I’m happy about this, but many people out there aren’t.

I found a good article here That discusses some of the nuances with working from home and a new anxiety paradigm around the issue.

From the article: “Just as offices begin to reopen or at least contemplate doing so, a new study suggests that remote work is taking its toll on our collective nerves. Nearly half (47%) of workers say they are experiencing anxiety because of remote working — and among those, two-thirds (66%) say it has crushed their productivity.

The findings, based on responses from more than 1,000 remote workers in a survey by the Omaha-based insurer Breeze, is yet one more bit of concerning news for employers already working overtime to stay on top of the well-being of their people as the pandemic persists. Among other findings in the survey, 52% reported depression, while nearly as many (46%) experienced panic attacks. As a result of remote work anxiety, 57% have sought out professional and/or medical help. More than four in 10 said they suffered from remote work anxiety because they were working too hard or too many hours — worried their employers might think they are slacking off. Of those suffering from remote work anxiety, 43% said they planned to return to the office because of it.”

That’s a big quote and it says a lot. Now the sampling for this survey was 1000 workers which is a decent sample but I would have preferred 10K then we would have some very valuable statistics. One of the things that work does provide you with is an additional social outlet which is now, for many of us gone.

When life gives you Lemon’s, make Lemonade

Now I understand there are plenty of negative social interactions at work, it is a hub for humans to get together and interact. For those of us with Anxiety, work places can be a very safe place to be. You have social rules, there are many rules of engagement, you have clear expectations as to your role etc. We can’t minimalize this as a benefit as many with Anxiety thrive in structures social environments and work is one of those key venues.

For the last nearly 2 years now that has either been removed or altered and that has placed many of us in new situations which is uncomfortable. The article does a decent job of illustrating the issue and providing some guidance as to how to combat it. Couple this with the “Great Resignation” and companies scrambling to fill roles and the work dynamic has changed dramatically.

Is this the “New Normal?” I don’t know but I do know that the upheaval caused by Covid 19 is going to be with us for some years to come. As individuals with anxiety it is paramount for us to find a way to cope, survive and thrive. You can do this, remember, one day at a time.

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

Warning signs from your child about anxiety

Another anxiety piece on the blog today. We have discussed this topic at length here and one of the many issues in the anxiety sphere is how anxiety impacts children. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a child today, when I was a kid there was no internet everywhere, no smart phones, heck we just got cable but I concede I am ancient. Now? Any news you want, framed the way you want to see it is available 24-7. I wonder do the adults in the room who create these silos of affirmation and fear consider the impact on the very young?

I found a good article here that may help you recognize in your child some of the common behaviors for childhood anxiety.

From the article: “Basically, what we have found is that childhood anxious behaviors related to social isolation and sadness appear to carry risk for developing an anxiety disorder in later life” says Mr. Monk. “In contrast, behaviors related to situational fears and anxiety around adults do not appear to carry the same risk.”

The article does give examples of said behaviors but the gist of the article is the increased isolation of younger people has increased the likelihood of social anxiety disorders later on in their adult life. We already had isolation issues due to our increased reliance on the internet but we now have Covid 19. It’s reasonable to be fearful of the consequences of Covid, it’s a serious issue. The kids? They were out of school for months, many places don’t have group activities (sports, school functions, dances) and they are bombarded constantly with fear.

The poke for millions of people = Anxiety

Enter environmental issues, social issues, body issues, racial issues, gender issues… on and on and on and on. It’s no wonder kids are starting to isolate, what else are they supposed to do? They don’t have the resources, material and emotional to handle things any other way. Yes, they do have adults in their life that are supposed to help but where are we? Online in the social justice war arguing with anon people on twitter?

Maybe that isn’t you and that’s great, your kids are still exposed to toxic levels of information that are shaping their perception of others and the outside world. We used to be able to shield them better, now? They have access to everything instantly, it’s a scary new world and they lack the experience and wisdom to navigate it. Of course their anxiety is spiking. There are no easy answers here, no matter what though you have to keep talking to your kids and providing them a safe place to talk about their fears. In the end that’s one of the best things you can do, for them and for you.

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

Work Anxiety: Your colleagues may be in trouble.

Many of us are still working from home and with the new delta variant (or is it Delta+/Omega/next version) more will be back at home I suspect. It’s funny how we used to go to work see people there and interact all within the context of the business. Meaning, we were all there for the same shared purpose to work. Meantime everyone has their own lives, marital issues, sick parents, pain in the ass kids (hi kids, lol) on and on. I found an interesting article here about the new realities of a covid world in the context of working.

From the article: “In the U.K., a quarter of employees feel as if they have hit a psychological breaking point. According to a new study by health insurance company Lime Group, over half of those surveyed feel a pressure to disguise to their colleagues the sinking feeling that accompanies their difficulty in coping with both the stresses of the job and the stresses of the pandemic.”

This was a UK study but I would venture to say that its applicable really everywhere. We are in year 2 of this pandemic and the fear mongering by the press, government and social media shows no sign of winding down. You bet people are stressed. Maybe you are someone who copes well with stress and anxiety, that’s great. Imagine a moment someone who prior to covid was already in a bad spot, what do you think the last 2 years have been like for them?

A poke doesn’t appear to be enough for some people.

The article does a decent job of sounding the alarm for businesses to start working on better environments for their employees. In the U.S. we have a fairly unique republic where States actually have legal authority over much of labor laws. The federal government can’t lock the country down, this is why you have some states open and thriving (and having increased covid issues) and others still locking people down. The U.S. right now is in a unique situation where we don’t have enough workers to fill jobs.

I don’t know if that’s the reality in other places. The onus is now on employers to offer more options for work and benefits that accommodate workers with anxiety. Imagine a moment you are an employer who needs a web designer and there is a spectacular one available, but she only wants to work from home she has anxiety. Would you not hire her for that? You would be losing out and making a horrible business decision.

One of the side effects of the covid pandemic is the enormous effect it’s had and will continue to have on the work place. More people will be working from home permanently than ever before. More people will be working as contractors than ever before. If companies truly want to set themselves apart and thrive in the next 5-15 years they are going to have to shift from profits first at any cost to profits with an eye on investing and enhancing the employee experience. You want top talent you are going to have to pay more for it, and provide more options for that talent to want to work for you.

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

You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

The current climate online has become more toxic than ever and I have been here since the beginning. I wanted to give you an example of an experience I witnessed a few days ago in a reddit thread. You see when you become a complete hypocrite you really only have one avenue in which to survive and that is to be extremely nasty to anyone who challenges your hypocrisy. In the end the only person harmed is you as people stop listening and dismiss your point of view completely.

I was not a participant in this back and forth but I witnessed a dog piling on someone. They asked a pro-choice (abortion) person who was pontificating about how people should be jailed for not getting the covid vaccine, how they can support “my body, my choice” in one instance and in another demand incarceration for someone advocating the same principal in another.

The responses were fascinating, it was one of the more vitriolic and sad exchanges I have seen in a long time. Essentially it boiled down to feelings, that the correlation between the two was irrelevant because of said feelings. It didn’t seem to matter how the other person (and persons, others came to the defense) felt. It was, you get the vaccine or you are a “racist, fascist, sexist” there were a few more labels thrown out it was surreal.

I’ve already left Twitter, is Reddit next?

First, anyone who calls you or anyone else a fascist likely has no idea what fascism really is. Second, this is a yes or no answer. It’s very simple, if you believe in liberty and people’s rights to do with their body whatever they want then you can’t have it both ways. As an example, I believe a woman has the right to decide what happens to her body, so abortion is fine if that is her choice. She also has the right to decide if she wants that vaccine or not by that same logic.

I read the thread a few times and then realized many of these key board warriors are typing these things under the illusion of anonymity provided by the internet. It was still both sad and fascinating to read. Maybe you, dear reader, are one of these key board warriors? Maybe you are a blatant hypocrite in this vein? I don’t know you or how you feel but I would say to you that, canceling or “jailing” someone for not agree to do what you think they should is a slippery slope, its actually fascistic… And it is all abstract until YOU are in the next group who may run afoul of the next popular theory.

Try to be kinder to be people, less hostile and if you believe someone is putting you at risk remove yourself from their ability to do so rather than attempt to silence them and shout them down. They will be quiet sure, but they will seethe and loathe you quietly. The last thing you want in life is people waiting for your weakest moment to exact some kind of revenge. It’s not worth it, your energy is better spent working on things you care about.

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