anxiety support group murrieta

Could gratitude help your anxiety?

One of my favorite sayings is "When you focus on the past, you get depressed. When you focus on the future, you feel anxious. But when you focus on the present, you will be okay." And it really is true. If you have anxiety, you probably spend a good amount of time thinking about the things that could go wrong with your day or worrying about how you are going to handle different situations. In some cases, the worry becomes so awful that it weighs you down and your thoughts just don't stop. Anxiety could also trigger muscle aches and tightness in your neck, shoulders and back. Some people worry so much that they end up with ulcers.

But what if I told you that focusing on the things you're grateful for could probably reduce your anxiety a little bit? You see, when your mind is filled with worry, it can quickly spiral into anxiety, and full blown anxiety can be tough to kick.

The first step is to get yourself a little notebook. Just something light that you can keep by your bed side or carry around with you. Some people like notebooks with encouraging quotes on them or pictures of peaceful scenes. Those are fine too. Each day, when you wake up, think about one thing that you are grateful for. It can be as simple as the trees in your yard, clean, running water, or the yummy sandwich you ate for dinner the night before. I'm sure you're thinking "This sounds too easy." Well it's not super easy if you're used to worrying about everything that could go wrong and beating yourself up for the things you messed up on. But gratitude is truly a practice that gets easier with time. I call it a practice because it takes works. Naturally, most of us would rather focus on the bad-like a glass half empty kind of situation. But make yourself think up something different each day.

Does this mean that you should never think about the things that are going wrong in your life? No. But honestly how many problems have you fixed by thinking about them 100 times a day? What you should focus on is what you can do in the moment to make the problem better, rather than just reminding yourself that you have a problem. The truth is that majority of the fears you have will never come true. So don't bother spending all of your energy wondering if something bad will happen to you. 

Use your energy wisely. Use it for gratitude and use it to actually solve a problem. If you cannot solve the problem, then use your resources. Find someone who can either help you or introduce you to somehow who will help. Try using gratitude for 30 days and you'll see how different your life will be after a month.

And if you are a woman who still struggles with anxiety, but you just don't know how to manage it on your own, consider seeking therapy. Sometimes a trained, neutral party is who you need to get you from anxious to calm. If you are near the Temecula/Murrieta area, you can click here to schedule a free 15 minute consultation call. We will talk about your struggles and how we can work together to get you from anxious to calm and in control. I also provide online therapy within California if you live too far away from my office or you would just rather be in the comfort of your own home when we work together.

This is how your friends are increasing your anxiety

You love your friends. They have been with you through thick and thin. They are always there when you need them. You trust them with all of your secrets and you can't imagine a life without them. But is it actually possible that they are a trigger for your anxiety? As the old saying goes- "Show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are."

No matter how much you love your friends, it's important to pay good attention to their words and actions. Sometimes your friends are toxic, other times, they're just Debbie downers. But you would never actually notice their effect on you until you pay attention.

Here are some steps to determine if your friends are triggering your anxiety:

1) Are they negative? When you have a typical conversation with your friends, are their words more negative than positive? Let's say you talk about the news or the weather, are your comments met with optimism or is there an underlying negativity in their words? Pay attention to see if your friends spend more time talking about others and putting you down than actually discussing ideas that will build you and them up. If they are not spending more time asking you how you're doing, encouraging you and making sure they are helping you get to a better place in your life, then you're in big trouble.  The more time you spend around Debbie downers, the higher your chances of feeling bad about yourself and the world around you.

If you'd like to take it a step further, just casually go through your closest friends' social media posts. Are they spending most of their time complaining about the world around them or are they posting about finding solutions to problems around them? There's a clear difference between the two. If you're always reading and listening to complainers, pretty soon, you'll become one yourself. 

2) Are they a source of encouragement to you? Are you able to talk to your friends candidly about your hopes and dreams? A good friend should be able to provide empathy and support even when she does not quite understand your process or situation. So for example, if you say to your friend that you're going to follow your dreams and start a real estate business, will she help you feel more confident or will she actually make you feel like you will fail? If your friends are not on the encouragement train, maybe you should get off on the next stop.

3) How do you feel when you're with them? Sometimes you intuitively know that certain friends have too much drama or are no good for you, but you feel a sense of obligation towards them and you keep them around because you think you have to. Do your friends fill you with joy and confidence or are you left feeling jealous, small and inconsequential when you are with them? When you are hanging out, ask yourself if you feel truly comfortable or if you have to put up a show or a front around them. After the interaction is over, is your self esteem increased or do you feel less than? That's a tell tale sign that those friends are not your people. And trust me, everyone is NOT your person.

4) Can you truly be yourself when you are with them? Like I said previously, sometimes you have to put up a front when you are with certain friends. Maybe you're actually an intellectual nerdy type, but many of your friends prefer superficial conversations. Do they give you the space to express yourself or are you forced to conform to their values? Do you find that you dress, speak and act differently around certain friends? Are you concerned about being judged? A true friend accepts you for who your truly are and doesn't make you become a clone of herself.

And if you find that your friends are a trigger for your anxiety and insecurity, all you have to do is accept this as the truth, then try to talk to them about it. Watch your tone. Don't be mean or shouty. Take responsibility for going along with this type of friendship. Then also tell them what you need emotionally from them. If you don't know what you need, take a moment to reflect and write it out. People really will treat you how you allow them to treat you. So if you are not letting them know your boundaries, they will walk all over you.

What happens if a certain friend isn't willing to change the friendship dynamic? Well then it's time to reevaluate your friendship. 

Are you ready to start setting clear boundaries with the people in your life so that you can build your self esteem back up and stop feeling so anxious and worthless? Click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation so we can talk about how to get you from hiding in the shadows to standing boldly in who you really are. You deserve great quality friends that build you up.

How your thoughts are making you anxious

You spend a lot of time trying to keep the butterflies in your tummy at bay. You've tried breathing, yoga and reading every self help book out there, but nothing is working out for you. Your anxiety is off the rails. You wonder if you are broken, because every day is a challenge. You think to yourself, "Why am I the only one who struggles so much?"

Well, maybe your thoughts are holding you back. There is a belief among therapists that your thoughts, your feelings and your behavior are all linked. If you change one, you can change the others. Let's say you really want to begin a new, exciting career. If you say to yourself, "I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to succeed in this new career," those thoughts would lead to feelings of frustration, sadness and maybe even insecurity. In essence, you've defeated yourself before the battle has even begun. The feelings of frustration, sadness and insecurity would lead to procrastinating on filling out applications, staying up late while worrying about your future, and just generally feeling sorry for yourself. And even if you're able to break into that new career, when you have a defeatist attitude, you will not be bold enough to pursue your career fully and put in all your effort.

You get it? Your sucky thoughts might be dragging you down.

So how do you begin to change this downward spiral?

Start by challenging your thoughts. First figure out if indeed your thoughts are true. If they aren't, figure out what the truth is. So if you're saying to yourself, "I won't succeed in my new career," what is the proof that this is actually true? Have you ever tried that career? Have you ever succeeded at a career or job in the past? Do you have skills that could help you succeed? Is it really truly that you won't succeed? How do you know that you won't succeed? Where's the logical proof? You see most of us think irrational unhelpful thoughts but we convince ourselves that these thoughts are true.

Next, what is the proof that your thoughts are false? Think of the reasons why your thoughts are false. Think of all the times you've succeeded at a job. Actually write them down so that you can remind yourself that you do well at some tasks. It might be helpful to write your thought at the top of a piece of paper, then draw a line right down the middle of the paper. On the left write out 'Why my thoughts are true.' Then on the right, write out 'Why my thoughts are false.'

Once you're done with both columns, come up with other thoughts to support your conclusion. So if you realize that you do have what it takes to break through in a new career, you can tell yourself, "Even though this career change will be difficult, I have succeeded in other things before and I have a great chance of succeeding now." Say this to yourself as often as possible. This will help you feel more motivated to take action. So do not discount the fact that you will face difficulties. Acknowledge that and then include your reason why you will be okay. 

Don't get it wrong. Positive thoughts alone will not get you anywhere-you must also take the necessary steps to set yourself up for success. In our example above, if you're not trying to learn about the new career, you definitely will fail.

So try this out and let me know how it goes. You can comment below. If you have been struggling with anxious thoughts and you're sick and tired of feeling like the world is about to crumble around you, now's the time to get help. I help anxious women regain their sense of self esteem and live boldly. Click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation. Let's get you from frazzled to calm.

Could you have separation anxiety?

If you've been watching the news lately, there has been a lot of spotlight on the thousands of immigrant children who have been separated from their parents. Whatever your political ideology is, we can safely agree that no child wants to be away from her caregivers for a long amount of time. Many of these kids might go on to develop something called Separation Anxiety Disorder.

To put it in simple terms, Separation Anxiety Disorder occurs when an individual experiences excessive feelings of anxiety when he or she has been separated from a caregiver. Now it's quite normal for a little child to cry when she is dropped off in a strange environment or to be nervous on her first day of school-everyone is nervous in a new environment. But when a child younger than 18, has been experiencing extreme anxiety-and sometimes even panic attacks, when he or she has to be separated from a caregiver, then that child might be diagnosed with Separation Anxiety Disorder.

With Separation Anxiety comes a fear of being left alone, a recurrent fear that one's caregiver will be harmed, constant and extreme worry that one will be separated from a caregiver or loved one. Sometimes the child will have nightmares regarding separation from her loved one, and these nightmares are so terrifying that the child cannot sleep separately from the caregiver. So you'll see kids wanting to sleep on their parents' beds or in their parents' rooms.

Often times, kids with Separation Anxiety are pretty much attached at their caregiver's hip. They'll follow mom, dad, grandma, around the house, they carefully watch to ensure that their caregiver isn't going to leave them and they have painful anxiety. Sometimes the anxiety gets so bad that the child could fall ill.

Although Separation Anxiety is much more common in children, sometimes, adults experience Separation Anxiety. Sometimes an adult is overly attached to another person (it could be another adult or a child). They worry when the person leaves their sight, they ask tons of questions about the person's whereabouts, they might insist that they go everywhere with the loved one. To the person who is on the receiving end, he or she might tag the person as "Controlling, nosey or needy." There is a constant worry that something bad will happen to their loved one, which is why they want to know so much information about the person.

Now remember, we aren't talking about normal concern. I'm talking about concern so big that the person is worried sick all the time. There is an overarching fear that something bad will happen to their loved one. This might have been triggered by having lost a loved one in the past or some other traumatic experience.

Do you ever find yourself worrying constantly about a loved one? Are your friends or loved ones always complaining that you keep tabs on them all the time? Do you find that you can't go to bed alone? Perhaps you might have some symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder. Although more common in kids, it could happen with adults. If you're tired of experiencing anxiety, worry and you're always sick to your stomach, give me a call.

I provide counseling services for women in the Murrieta area who experience various forms of anxiety. The first step is calling me on 951-905-3181 for a free 15 minute consultation call. During this call we'll talk about what you've been experiencing and how we can work together to help you find your calm. I also provide online counseling and therapy to women who live in California. You don't have to feel stuck. Help is a phone call away.

Anxiety: Is your worrying normal?

Let me just start by saying, it is not normal to be worried ALL THE TIME. Sure we all get concerned about different things throughout the day- traffic, getting the kids to school on time, completing your to do list and what you're going to eat for lunch. But when these worrisome thoughts become a lifestyle, then you might have crossed into the anxiety zone.

There are several different types of anxiety disorders. Previously, I've broken down the different types of anxiety disorders, and I've also written about panic attacks and Social Anxiety. You can click the links to read about them. Today I'm focusing on Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

So what's GAD? To put it simply, it's the presence of constant, daily, excessive worry over a period of 6 months or more. The worry becomes so much that it actually disrupts your lifestyle. Perhaps you worry so much that your friends begin to be concerned about you. Or you worry so much that your performance at work begins to slip. Or you're so worried that you become a lot less social. 

In some cases, you know that your worry is excessive, however you feel like you have no power over it. This could cause a dip in your self confidence and leave you feeling demoralized. Your mind races from one topic to the other and sometimes it affects your sleep. You lay in bed, but your mind refuses to shut off. You think about all the possible things that could go wrong tomorrow and you just can't get a grip on your mind. Your thoughts constantly shift from one thing to the next. Because you're worried all the time, you lose concentration, you're excessively tired, irritable, you might get headaches or other pains in your neck, shoulders or back. So it isn't just a mental game, it's also physical. 

You see, your mind and your body are deeply connected, and usually, when your mind is not at peace, it sends a signal to your body, which will then stop being at peace. So I always say "Listen to your body. Know what it's telling you." If you're experiencing tension in your muscles, it could be a warning sign that you're anxious.

If you think you might be struggling with GAD, the first step (as I always advice) is to go to your primary care physician to ensure that it isn't being caused by a physical health condition. Once he or she rules that out, then step two is to contact a mental health professional such as a counselor or a therapist. There are lots and lots of therapists throughout the Murrieta and Temecula area. 

I happen to really love working with individuals who are struggling with anxiety disorders. I'll ask you a series of questions to determine if indeed you are struggling with anxiety. Then we will begin to dig in to figure out what triggers your anxiety, what's maintaining it and how to gain better control over it. GAD and other anxiety disorders (don't be scared by that word) are totally treatable. If you're ready for some relief, you can call me at 951-905-3181 to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation so we can talk about how we can work together to get you some relief. You can also email me here.

So are you ready to get help?