Connection or protection? How are you wired? Did you know that love wires us for connection but trauma wires us for protection? Sometimes over-protection. Sometimes under-protection. Here’s how.
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.
Here’s a thought: You can be “blessed” and still be hurting. Don’t give in to polarized thinking, that if you’re fortunate then you’re wrong to feel bad about anything. I also think of it as binary thinking, or thinking in polarities. You’re finding yourself saying it’s either this or that, when in fact most things occur on a spectrum.
Here’s what micro self-care is not: Work out 4-5 times a week. Get a massage. Book a spa day. Take more vacations. Meditate. Garden. Take up a new hobby: paint, draw, crochet. Get out into nature. Get more sleep. Practice gratitude. Arrrrrggggghhhh! Yes, all of these are effective self-care ideas, but what can you do RIGHT NOW that does not take up big blocks of time, money, and that don’t require a substantial commitment from you? And that also help you to get through a stressful day at the office? Micro self-care, that’s what. So here’s a short post for some quick ideas.
I work with people who just can’t stop worrying. They tell me about the awful panic attacks they have, which can feel devastating. Many show up in the emergency room, only to be told there is nothing wrong. Being stuck in the panic loop stinks, but you can learn how to manage it so it doesn’t take over your life. The body doesn’t lie; when it shouts, you have to listen—but maybe in a whole new way.
Managing intense emotions is tough. And if you live with someone that constantly worries about everything, and constantly seeks reassurance, you may wonder “How do you help a reassurance junkie?” You know what it is like to experience their anxiety.
Worry as a way to problem solve feels useful. Big hint: It isn’t. How to stop worrying becomes more doable when you think of it as spam. The worry thoughts pop instantly into your inbox, aka brain, 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. It actually could be conceived as looking like a zig zag pattern in your mind. You go up with a problem, down with a “solution” so it feels like you are accomplishing something with the “action” of worry. And that zig zag can be infinite.
Is it narcissism or confabulation? It can be a difficult to tell these two apart as distinguishing sarcasm and “humorously delivered” criticism. Is a person deliberately lying when they confabulate? Here’s a quick definition of confabulate.
In the formal version, confabulate means to talk, with roots found in the words ‘fable’ and ‘fabulous.’ In the world of psychiatry, it means to fabricate imaginary experiences as compensation for loss of memory. This is common in alcohol induced dementias aka Korsakoff syndrome (a type of dementia often associated with alcohol abuse), but it also has been observed in cases of Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.
I thought that today would be a good one to round up a few simple facts about feelings, so here goes. This image is a feelings wheel that can expand your emotional vocabulary. The purpose of feelings and emotions is to get you to act. However, sometimes we don’t choose the best course of action.
Word. This is the number one anxiety related sleep issue I hear about: “I wake up and can’t get back to sleep.” That is closely followed by: “I can’t get my monkey mind to stop at night when I am trying to get to sleep.” I am going to help you with both issues. It’s up to you to actually implement the help. Horses, water, drink…well you know the drill.
First we are going to get the blah, blah, blah, sleep hygiene talk out of the way. You have heard it all before, BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT, duh. If you can’t get these principles under wraps, you may as well stop here, even if I am going to give you some mostly secret knowledge later on.
PAGE RUTLEDGE, LCSW, CHt | Anxiety Therapy
5006 Randall Parkway (close to UNCW)
Wilmington, NC 28403
Free parking at office