Day 15 – Anxiety and our thoughts

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I have a passion for helping people who struggle with anxiety. I have dealt with my own difficulties with this in the past so it is important to me to try to pass along some of my own learnings to others. Today we’re going to address how our thoughts are connected to our anxiety.

I’d like to keep this brief since there is a lot of information already on this site in the Anxiety Series. I do feel it’s worth mentioning again though because our thoughts play such a huge role in our anxious feelings. Let’s look at a few of the ways they are linked:

1) Rumination – Yesterday’s topic, rumination, was described as a potential cause of depression but it can also create anxiety. If you’re spending an entire day or evening going over and over again in your mind a small mistake you made earlier in the day, it is likely highly if you aren’t feeling “down,” you’re feeling anxious. I have done this myself. Earlier in the week I accidentally forgot a coffee date with a friend and stood her up! I felt terrible! I apologized of course but it kept crossing my mind repeatedly throughout the night causing a great deal of anxiety until I finally, intentionally, decided to let it go.

2) What If? – There is a post about this in the Anxiety Series. Are you someone that always thinks about the “What Ifs?” What If’s are a huge cause for anxiety, as your mind absolutely spirals considering all the bad things that could potentially happen in a given situation. Yes, bad things can happen and they do happen sometimes. But worrying about every little thing that could go wrong won’t prevent them from happening nor will it give you any more control over the situation. It will only create stress and anxiety!

3) Do you focus a lot on what you don’t want or don’t have? Of course it’s good to have an idea of what we do and don’t want out of life. That helps provide structure and boundaries so we don’t say yes to everything but rather focus on that which really matters. However, if you spend the majority of your time concerned about everything you’re trying to avoid in life or prevent from occuring, you’re gonna miss what IS happening NOW. One of the major struggles for people dealing with anxiety is an inability to live in the present!

Like I said, I am gonna keep this brief. If you are interested in reading more about anxiety, check out the Less Anxiety in 21 Days on this blog. Topics include: types of anxiety, strategies to reduce anxiety, personal stories and more!

Questions? Comments?

Day 12 – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

We have covered a lot of material so far in this series so I want to veer away for a bit and break things up. Rather than continuing to delve into what healthy thinking looks like (and doesn’t look like) let’s remember why we’re even thinking about this stuff. It’s because we want to live long, meaningful lives right? We are trying to grow ourselves personally so we can become healthier people and make positive impacts on the lives of others.

Courtesy of Josephine Tesauro

So… today I want to affirm that by sharing a BBC News article on the benefits of positive thinking. Research is being done which reveals that worrying less could lead to a longer life! Not only is that great news but I can also promise that you will feel better every single day if you stop worrying.

Take a look at the article and let me know if you have questions or comments! Enjoy the weekend and I’ll see you next week!

Day 5 – Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Okay, on to the good stuff! The first technique known to decrease tension in the body is an exercise called Progressive Muscle Relaxation or PMR. This feels so good!! All it consists of is a process of tensing and relaxing your muscles one by one (or in larger muscle groups if you’re in a time crunch) in order to become fully relaxed from head to toe. (Well, really it’s toe to head which you’ll see in a sec). Anywho, here’s how you do it:


Starting with your right foot, inhale and squeeze your right foot muscle as hard as you can (be gentle with yourself but you really want to become aware of how tight your muscle gets). Focus on tensing up the muscle for 8 seconds. Once 8 seconds have passed, exhale, release the squeeze and all your stress at the same time! It feels great! After your right foot, it is suggested that you follow this progression moving up your body all the way to your head:

* Right foot

* Right lower leg and foot

* Entire right leg

* Left foot

* Left lower leg and foot

* Entire left leg

* Right hand

* Right forearm and hand

* Entire right arm

* Left hand

* Left forearm and hand

* Entire left arm

* Abs

* Chest

* Neck and shoulders

* Face

Some tips:

1) Once you have finished, relax with your eyes closed for a minute or two. If you get up too quickly you could faint.

2) Do this between meals rather than right before or after.

3) If you do this in bed there is a chance you could fall asleep so try it in a comfy chair instead.

5) Do PMR in a quiet place with no distractions.

* As always, seek medical advice if you experience discomfort while doing this or have a pre-existing condition.

This can become an awesome habit to get into and a great way to relax!! Try it and let me know what you think!

See you tomorrow!

Less Anxiety in 21 Days


I had a weird experience a couple years ago. Out of the blue, I began suffering from panic attacks. I had never experienced anything like that in the past and it really threw me for a loop. For one thing, I had just finished my master’s degree in clinical psychology and was in the process of counseling others regarding their anxiety. Therapists aren’t supposed to have these problems, I thought! I had also gotten married that year and was happier and more content than ever. So what was up?!

I still don’t know for sure what caused it but I have a theory… After reviewing some of my books about anxiety, I took a stress assessment which really resonated with me. My accumulated stress level was off the charts due to all the changes I had gone through in the previous six months. (The aforementioned among many others). I had been living my life at a speed of 100mph for a long time and hadn’t stopped to actually deal with anything, let alone smell the roses. There are a variety of causes for anxiety and whether stress caused mine, or some other reason I am unaware of, I knew I needed to do something!

I decided to become a student of my own situation. I researched and discovered some helpful tools to calm my anxiety and regain control of my life.

We all suffer from anxiety to varying degrees. Some people have all-out panic attacks like I did. Some simply get nervous before speaking in public or in certain social situations. I have discovered that anxiety does not have to be a bad or scary thing. It can simply be our body’s way of telling us something.

Now that I have gotten over my own bump in the road, I would like to help others in dealing with it as well. The next 21 days will be devoted to that.

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