We all get upset from time to time. And sometimes, we let things roll off our backs. Other times, especially when we’re overtired, stressed, or vulnerable – it’s not so easy. Here are three examples.
Maybe you’re feeling a bit stressed and someone says, “Those are interesting shoes.”
Pretty benign comment right, but the shoes you are wearing are sort of weird and you’re feeling a bit off. So whether or not the comment was meant to be positive or neutral, suddenly you’re filled with feelings about your now ugly shoes. You might spend the rest of the day trying to hide your feet from others and you’re distracted with thoughts about what sorts of shoes would be “less interesting.”
People with all sorts of anxiety disorders worry a lot. Frequently, they spend inordinate amounts of time trying to anticipate and prevent negative outcomes. They fret for hours about possible risks like MRSA, heart attacks, traffic accidents, and airplane crashes. Sometimes they also spend lots of time trying to minimize these risks by excessive cleaning, avoiding traffic at all costs, taking a train instead of a plane, exercising to excess or dieting beyond all reason.
It’s as though they think that their worries and/or compulsive actions will truly help keep catastrophes at bay. In other words, spend enough time and effort and you’ll be safe from harm. Oh, it only it were so.
If you have anxiety, be glad! Appreciate your anxiety for all the ways it helps you. Think not? Think again.
Imagine what your world would be like without any anxiety at all. Sounds sort of nice, doesn’t it? You awaken each day with no fear or negative anticipations. No nightmares the night before. You anticipate only joy and pleasure. Your future looks mellow, secure and serene. No problems to worry about. No need for tranquilizers and probably not for sleeping aids. What could be better than that?
People who suffer from anxiety tend to worry a lot, especially those who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which is a common type of anxiety involving excessive worry on an almost daily basis. It is generally accompanied by various physical symptoms such as fatigue, restlessness, and tension. Those with GAD often seem to believe that worrying can protect them from harm–as though their worry will help them see and avoid any number of potential calamities that may lie ahead.
Unfortunately, worry has a terrible cost/benefit ratio.
I admit, I can be a bit of a news junky—sometimes when I’m supposed to be working at home, I can’t resist a look at online news or a quick video of some current story. I confess, the oil spill has got me riveted. That’s not good when there are outlines to finish, blogs to write, bills to pay, or articles to read. Okay, so the laundry needs sorting so I can turn on the news while hanging and folding. Those pictures of black oil gushing into the gulf make me nervous. How about you?
The current controversy is about how much oil is actually spewing out. The company originally guessed about 5,000 barrels a day was leaking, but estimates now have grown from maybe 20,000 barrels to possibly 100,000 barrels. A barrel of oil produces about 19 gallons of gas (among other things). Hey, when I fill my car up at the gas station, I usually put about 19 gallons in my tank. So, for me if the lowest estimate (5,000 barrels) is correct, I could fill my car up about 5,000 times from one day’s worth at the lowest estimate. I usually fill up about once a week—5,000 weeks, that one day’s worth of leakage will take care of my car for the next 96 years. Now, I do drive a reliable car, but…
We have written extensively in this blog and in our books about the strong scientific evidence that supports cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as one of the most effective treatments for both anxiety and depression. CBT is so well studied and validated that frankly, we can’t imagine why it shouldn’t be the foundation of most treatment plans.
At the same time, we’ve regularly recommended mindfulness techniques such as meditation, yoga, and mindful acceptance to our clients (and we practice what we preach). Mindfulness oversimplified involves focusing on and accepting the present moment. Throughout the years we’ve attended numerous continuing education classes to learn more about mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness is a part of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBST). Wow, that’s a bunch of initials.