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.
I am a member of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), and they often publish articles of value that I like to share with you. The following “Ten Tips For Dealing With Mental Exhaustion” is one such article.
Isn’t it interesting that some of life’s most paradoxical challenges have simple solutions that are tough to execute? The takeaway? You are far more resilient than you think.
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.
Humans are a problem solving species. We are wired for it, beginning perhaps with the evolutionarily imperative to find food. And boredom is a problem we are driven to solve.
In modern times, boredom can mean many things. Generally there are plenty of things to do, just nothing you want to do, or feel like doing. It’s the uneasy feeling of being unstimulated with nothing to occupy your mind. It’s one reason social media thrives. It’s the fastest feel-good balm we can turn to for that ping of instant gratification.
What Is Your Inner Critic And Where Did It Come From?
To answer that, here is a story for you. Read more
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.
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.’
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,
PAGE RUTLEDGE, LCSW, CHt | Anxiety Therapy
5006 Randall Parkway (close to UNCW)
Wilmington, NC 28403
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