speed of want

The Speed Of Want is a chapter title I read in the recent (great) book by therapist Lori Gottlieb Maybe You Should Talk To Someone (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019). In it she alludes to what I think of as the human evolutionary trait of finding faster, easier ways to the goal, with none or less of the hard work necessary to accomplish it. Witness the recent college admissions cheating scandal. In modern times, think of the changes that have occurred simply between the start of the industrial age and the present that have impacted our lives with mass production, instant worldwide communication, and outsourced labor due to advanced robotics alone.

But there are unintended consequences to this ‘need for speed.’

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blushing

First, why do we blush? The feeling accompanied by blushing is an exquisite sensitivity to the feeling of embarrassment. Embarrassment is often tied to shame. Blushing is an automatic, uncontrollable response to these feelings. It happens in humans because our facial veins react to this adrenaline. So when the limbic system is triggered, the blood rushes to the face causing the redness to appear. There is a lot of basic (scientific) info on this reaction here, here and here if you are interested.

But what you really want to know is how to control blushing. Right?

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social anxiety

A concerned mother wrote and asked me for suggestions for her son who was in his first semester at college in a different state. She was feeling helpless from afar, and wanted to know how to advise him about his long-standing social anxiety and depression, which had flared in his new environment. This is what I told her.

Dear Worried Mom,

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talk therapy

What better time than the start of a new year to make change that can positively affect the rest of your life? Let’s assume you have made that brave decision, and talk therapy is part of your plan. What do you expect when you are expecting talk therapy? If you want to know how I do it, read on.

People that have never experienced talk therapy often feel a tad apprehensive about getting started. There are lots of reasons. Some wonder if it will do any good at all, and others have the odd fear they won’t be able to ‘do it right.’ Some people simply don’t know how it proceeds or what is expected of them, and they are anxious about that. Still others believe they will receive all the instructions from the therapist about how to change and be on their way—with no real understanding of the courage, persistence, and work that real change takes. And some believe a pill is the answer.

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breath work

Most therapists who treat anxiety disorders will teach you breath work. They also call it diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. But I don’t think that many teach you why this is so important in managing anxiety.

Why does the why matter? Because if you understand a little more about the positive effect this can have on your body during panic and anxiety, you are more likely to use it.

There are three solid reasons to do breath work.

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focus with hypnosis

I use hypnosis in treatment when the client agrees it will be helpful. It is part of the sessions, not the entire content. In order to learn hypnosis, I trained specifically with different instructors who teach different methods. In this way I developed my own style. And I don’t care what you call hypnosis: mediation, guided imagery, or hocus-pocus, it works. When you focus with hypnosis, you are quieting and stilling the mind with a gentleness that allows the solutions already within you to surface.

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talk therapy

It’s pretty standard knowledge that you go to therapy to change something. But changing a way of thinking or a behavior we don’t like is just not that easy, is it? And it is especially difficult to change our reactions to other’s mayhem. If it was we’d all do it and be on our merry way. Let me share three signs you need therapy.

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panic attack

I can’t stand feeling this way! My heart is racing. My stomach is churning. I’m sweating like a racehorse. I can’t stop! What if it never stops? Your thoughts are meanwhile trying to keep up with your racing heart at 160 beats a minute and you are well on your way to a panic attack.

This is what is happening in the more extreme moments of panic. And the first thing you must learn to do is neutralize these BIG feelings, and deflate the strength of those thoughts. It is the first step in quieting the limbic system, your central nervous system, so that you can stop a panic attack before it becomes full blown.

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connection

Let’s start with the bad news, but with the knowledge this is all PREVENTABLE! I struggle so much with how to make this important topic more palatable, but feel strongly that knowing the SUPER-power of connection is critical to good mental health. Did you know you have an inborn ‘connection neediness’ level? It is different for each individual and varies widely among us.

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stop OCD thoughts

How to stop OCD thoughts becomes more doable when your recognize them (obsessive compulsive disorder thoughts) as just like spam. They pop instantly into your inbox with catchy titles and tantalizing “solutions.” Of course you supply those solutions, which allows a new email to pop up! Yay! Another problem to “solve” and you’re off to the races. 

OCD thoughts are fearful, stubborn, repetitive, time consuming little squatters in your brain. Would you like a little help to quell them? First you have to understand them.

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