In addition to my degree in clinical social work, I have a masters degree in public health. One important goal of public health is to prevent disease from spreading. I want to help you see the costs to you of broken (or non-existent) boundaries by using the analogy of vaccines. First you need to understand that prevention is often invisible unless you look at the prevented costs. Here’s an example of that.
The worry box technique is a simple skill used to help you manage when and how you worry. This sounds simplistic, and on its face it is. However, the results can truly help you place and pace worry better than simply allowing the random worries to crawl around in your head in the unending, unresolved circular pattern they tend to create.
Why Bother Using Coping Skills?
If you aren’t practicing coping skills you learn in therapy regularly while calm, there’s a good chance a skill such as deep belly breathing won’t be as effective as you’d like. When the nervous system dysregulates quickly to fight or flight, instantly really, that lets me know you may need to work on stretching the threshold for your fight or flight response, which requires practicing coping skills when calm.
How often do you dump your spam? If I asked you how often you get spam, I bet there would be a different answer. I could go to my spam folder daily and see dozens of useless offers, from site SEO “experts” to weirdo names like “instrut” or “esiff”, and many foreign language offers to do who knows what. I don’t know, and I don’t care. I never look at the content.
Not looking at the content is a normal behavior for those who receive a lot of spam emails. But what about those of you who receive lots of unwanted spammy thoughts, intrusive thoughts that make you cringe, or ones where you genuinely fear that you might carry out some heinous deed? Frequent, frightening, obsessive, or disturbing thoughts are the hallmark of obsessive compulsive disorder of the thought variety, aka OCD. I’m going to name some frequent fliers that occur for people with OCD, and give examples, because so much shame permeates this disorder. It needs to be said out loud to remove the stigma. You are not alone. Good, kind people have these tormenting thoughts, and I want to help them, possibly you.
Sooo many times, we need to complete a task, and the first thought is “I don’t feel like it!” Thinking in opposites is a strategy I want to offer you to challenge this thought. Here’s why.
Have you ever thought about this? Do you over-explain something when you are saying no to a request, or to an intrusive question? Did you know that you do not have to explain your thoughts to someone simply because they asked? And that the tendency to do this typically occurs with someone we care about, or someone that has power over us? Learning this is crucial to your ability to set a clear and healthy boundary.
Have you ever wondered why your partner triggers such an immediate response in you? Would you like to get curious not furious? Understanding your attachment style, or the way you related growing up to your primary caregiver, can provide a clue to the immediate, visceral reactions you have at times in your current relationships. Instead of getting furious, you can get curious!
Why so guilty? Or maybe I should ask ‘Why are you so afraid of being yourself?’
When I work with adult children who suffered from childhood trauma, the single most difficult thing to believe is also the most difficult to help them shift. Read more
If you have anxiety sensitivity, here are 10 factors that contribute to “Sticky Thoughts.” Sticky thoughts are the ones you just can’t shake loose. Sticky thoughts predispose your mind to anxiety and hyper-vigilance. They tend to keep you stuck in your own personal anxiety loop that is both unproductive and self-shaming. That is why learning to identify and talk back to them is critical to your good mental well being.
The 10 Sticky Thoughts Factors
- Sleep deprivation/insomnia
- Drinking alcohol
- [Some] OTC medications
- Steroids of any type, asthma meds
- Your genetic inheritance is a factor
- Any illness, a cold, for example
- Caffeine or sugar intake—notice what affects your body
- A natural cycle upon wakening that many feel as a sort of dread of the day, which lessens over the course of the day
- Hormone fluctuations
- Hyper-vigilance, or monitoring of the content of the mind is the most prevalent factor of all.
BONUS ROUND!!! Social Media! Devices! They are the trigger for so many of our sticky thoughts.
PAGE RUTLEDGE, LCSW, CHt | Couples Counseling
5006 Randall Parkway (close to UNCW)
Wilmington, NC 28403
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