Anxiety Relief Technique

FEAR is an illusion

5 Why’s Technique

The 5 Why’s is a simple and effective technique for understanding the source of our fears and cognitive distortions (irrational beliefs) one why at a time.

Exploring the Unconscious Mind

An analytic (below the surface) strategy originating in the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

What’s Under the Fear?

Freud’s Iceberg Analogy : Click Here

Brief Instructions

  1. Write down on a sheet of paper something you beat yourself up for over and over again. (Related Post: Why Are We So Hard on Ourselves)
  2. State the anxiety provoking situation out loud.
  3. For example:
    • Why is it so overwhelming for me to spend time with ________ ?
    • Why do I repeatedly agree to do ___________ when I know it makes me uncomfortable?
  4. Ask Yourself Why in response to your question Five Times.
  5. Watch the psychology video below for a “live” example of this technique.

5 Why’s Technique on YouTube:

The goal is to discover the root source of what causes fear in a particular time, place, or situation.

With the ultimate intention of enhancing inner peace and understanding.

By differentiating what’s real from what’s not.

To Learn More

Watch my in-depth interview on situational anxiety with Dr. Katherin Garland: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=N7ttX6h_D8o

Enhancing well-being during the holidays

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Santa feels the pressure too.

Do you find Christmas holidays stressful?

If you’re anything like me (and Santa Claus), you answered yes.

Something I wrote about in the December issue of The DRIVE magazine.

Including the benefits of leaning into difficult emotions.

Because the more we try to fight discomfort, the longer it lasts.

“The root of all suffering is attachment.” Buddha

source.gifStop fighting. Start flowing.

Let your stress drift gently through you.

Without judgment or condemnation.

Breathe and release.

Embrace what is.

Moment by moment.

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Let go of what is outside your control.

Let go of expectations.

In doing so..

The pressure becomes lighter.

The joy becomes brighter.

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Create your own traditions.

Fall in love with the night sky.

Savour a walk in the moonlight.

Moment by moment.

We can handle just about anything.

It’s ok not to be ok.

As a positive psychologist, I often write about the bright side of life. Including harnessing strengths, enhancing motivation, and flourishing in the wake of adversity.

Not the whole picture.

While strengths are vital to realizing one’s full potential – it’s not the whole picture when it comes to living a balanced life.

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Embrace the downside.

We must also create a safe place to welcome the parts of ourselves (and our life) that weigh us down and cause us despair.

In doing so, we soften the grip of its pain. Whether it be suffering from years gone by or a hardship in current time.

Give pain room to breathe.

its ok to not be ok.

Give disappointments, conflicts, and lost dreams room to breathe.

You are not inadequate because you have depression. You are not unworthy because you’re divorced. You are not unloveable because you have anxiety. You are not undesirable because you’re unemployed. You are not undeserving because you’re broke.

You’re perfect just the way you are.

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Life ebbs and flows, comes and goes. Like the waves on the ocean shore. You are forever. Your potential grows. It’s ok not to be ok. What comes – also goes.

Welcome it all.

Who are you?

Self-awareness is the starting point for personal success. Until you know who you are, how will you know what truly motivates you?

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Reawaken your passion for life by reflecting on “Who you are“.

  • How would you describe yourself in one word?
  • What are 3 of your strengths?
  • What are 3 of your challenges?
  • When do you feel most alive?
  • What is your favourite movie? Book?
  • What is your dream job?
  • What is your dream place to live?
  • If you could have 5 minutes alone with anyone (dead or alive) who would that be? What would you ask them?
  • Do you prefer being indoors or outdoors?
  • What is (was) your favourite subject in school?
  • If you could own any car, what would it be?
  • What character trait is most important to you?
  • What makes your heart sing?
  • Do you prefer spending time alone or with people?
  • What is your favourite ice cream?
  • Are you a morning or a night person?
  • What is your favourite song? Band?
  • Finally… How do you define yourself at the very core of your existence?

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What’s your stress threshold?

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Recently, a fellow blogger asked an excellent question regarding tipping points and stress response.

They were curious to know if each of us has a tipping point when it comes to stress management.

And if so, how does it differ from person to person.

I love questions like this because they encourage me to dig deep, reflect, and imagine new ways of perceiving stress.

Stress Thresholds

Tipping points and thresholds are often used synonymously in the literature. Especially when discussing economic, historical, and ecological phenomenon.

That said, there is a clear distinction between thresholds and tipping points in psychological applications.

Thresholds are more individual (unique to each person), while tipping points are more universal (shared by the majority).

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Which is why I see each person’s stress response as more of a stress threshold than a tipping point.

  • Thresholds vary from person to person (e.g., Type A vs. Type B), situation to situation (e.g., Work vs. Personal), and are based on individual strengths, challenges, and personal history.

See diagram above to help understand how thresholds affect your individual stress response. This graphic also depicts why a certain level of stress (below threshold) can be good for you.

  • Assess when you cross the threshold from your optimal stress zone (eustress) into your overload stress zone (distress).

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Situational Stress, Anxiety, and Thresholds

We may be good at some things, but we are not great at everything.

For example, the more challenging academic work is for me (high stress threshold) the more I flourish. Mostly because this is my area of expertise.

While this is not the case with other areas of my life (low stress threshold) and thus I tend to react (too quickly) when under pressure in certain personal situations.

In addition to overall stress response patterns, thresholds differ from one situation to the next.

Situational fluctuations in thresholds reflect our strengths, challenges, and personal preferences.

I discuss the topic of situational stress and anxiety in more detail during my Mental Health Matters Interview with Dr. Garland.

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From Negative to Positive Stress

Finally, I believe that our ability to cope and thrive under pressure is a lifelong practice. Something that is never mastered – only strengthened.

And the more we learn about life and ourselves, the higher our thresholds will become. As the majority of our stress is beating ourselves up – long after the stressor is gone.

3 C’s of Thriving Under Pressure

Reflection Questions About Stress

  1. How does your stress threshold differ from others?
    • Compare your personal stress threshold to family members, friends, coworkers.
      • Are you the most high strung of your siblings?
      • Are you the most carefree teacher in the school?
  2. In what situations is your stress threshold higher vs. lower?
    • Compare your situational stress threshold across multiple settings.
      • When do you stress out at work?
        • Is it only during public presentations?
      • In contrast, when are you more relaxed relaxed and easy going?
        • Are you more relaxed during independent work?
  3. What are the benefits of stress and pressure in your life?
    • When has stress been good for you?
      • e.g., motivating and energizing
    • How has pressure helped you achieve your goals?

From Fear to Love.

How do you talk to yourself?

Have you ever noticed that the more challenging life gets the more critical you are of yourself.

And the more critical you are of yourself the more challenging life becomes.

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It’s a fearful, exhausting, repetitive loop that feeds on itself.

When you’re under extreme pressure, the last thing you need is another self-talk rant of why you’re not good enough.

What you do need is a boatload of unconditional love.

 Resilience is built on love.

And so are you.

Today vow to give yourself the gift of more love, more kindness, more generosity.

A gift that will keep on giving.

Long after the stress is gone.

Find an affirmation or a positive quote that makes you stop, take a breath, and feel your heart beating deep inside.

Something that reminds you of how magical you truly are.

Post it on your fridge.

Write it on your mirror.

Save it on your phone.

Stress is surviving.

Love is thriving.

The next time you start beating yourself up over the smallest thing, take it as a sign that you need some extra love and tender care.

The more love you give yourself, the more generous, authentic, and compassionate all of your relationships will be.

Including the relationship you have with your innermost self.

Related: Mirror Affirmation Exercise