Category Archives: Emotions

Anxiety and you

Have you felt anxious at some point in your life?

Frequent worrier?

Have illness, being fired, feeling discriminated, unemployment, job searching, new job, moving to a new city— made you feel stressed and overloaded?

Have you had full blown panic attacks – chest pain, palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath and dizziness?

Is your anxiety becoming part of a cycle of doubt, worry, fear, inaction, paralysis, depression?

“You need some anxiety in your life and it’s there for a reason. It’s what motivates us to work and keeps us out of trouble,” says Dr. Tom Rebori, medical director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Center at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare in Illinois.

If anxiety is interfering with your daily life – disrupting sleep or concentration – it could mean that you have an anxiety disorder. New treatments and research offer good news: anxiety disorders are highly treatable.

Here are the four main anxiety disorders, plus tips and techniques to cope with them and learn to deal with them.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

In the last six months, have you spent half of the days worrying?

Excessive worrying — which interferes with daily life — also causes physical symptoms like low energy, sleep disturbances, muscle tension, sweating, nausea and difficulty concentrating.

Here are two ways of coping.

Keep a worry log so you see patterns and learn to replace negative thinking with another thought until you gradually change your inner dialogue.

Set up “worry periods.” Dr. Dave Carbonell at Anxiety Treatment Center in New York tells patients to set up two 10-minute worry periods every day where they can isolate themselves. By giving their full attention to the worry, it becomes boring because there’s not that much content to it.

Panic Disorder

Scared of losing control, that you’re dying or fearful that you’re going crazy?

Panic attacks occur in certain settings—a crowded mall, elevators. You can associate a situation with that reaction and start avoiding certain situations. Just because you’ve had a panic attack doesn’t mean you have panic disorder, though, unless you’ve had at least two unexpected panic attacks, followed by at least one month of concern about experiencing another attack.

Getting to understand what’s happening is key to treating the disorder: facing (not avoiding certain situations), accepting (not fighting the panic attack, but welcoming it), floating (relaxing through the anxiety without resistance, like floating through water) and letting time pass (knowing that the attack will pass).


Social phobias involve an intense fear of situations – usually social or performance-related settings – for fear of having a panic attack.

Specific phobias involve an excessive fear of an object or situation that causes anxious symptoms similar to a panic attack.

Social phobias are treated the same as panic disorders. For specific phobias, the common treatment is gradual exposure.

The first step is to talk about the fear to begin to understand that you won’t die or go crazy when in contact with object or situation.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Whereas GAD patients worry about the future, PTSD involves worrying about something that happened.

PTSD is a condition where sufferers have been through some kind of traumatic experience. The symptoms are a heightened degree of arousal, nightmares or recurring thoughts, feelings of detachment, sleep problems, high startle response or jumpiness, flashbacks and depression.

Treatment is learning how to live in the present through relaxation.

Anxiety disorder symptoms can come and go. Yet it makes common sense to ease stress, eat healthier and exercise – lifetime habits that will help in the long run.

Set aside time every day for relaxing – use aPrayer, meditate, go for a mindful walk, enjoy a hot or naked yoga session, listen to music, soak in a hot bath – anything where you’re just being you.

For more information:

Edmund J. Bourne, The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, New Harbinger Publications: 2000.

Anxiety Disorders Association of America

National Institute of Mental Health


Are you a good judge of people?

The most critical choices we make relate to people.

Being a good judge of people, however, is difficult – particularly when you throw in eons of biological prejudices or cultural biases, stigmas and discrimination.

How do you get better at sizing up first impressions?

Do you focus on extrinsic markers?


How do you love?

What is the bond?

What do you feel toward family and friends?

Do you feel affection, loyalty and strength?

Is the relationship essential to your well being?



How do you love?

Is your love unconditional love?

Is your love altruistic love?

How does your love as a spiritual man challenge you to “love your enemies,” or to “love without thought of return?”

How does your love flow out to others?

Is your love filled with compassion, kindness, tenderness and charitable giving?



Keys to personal improvement and development

Break free from unconscious, habitual ways of reacting to life that were born thousands of years ago.

Embrace higher ways of being.

You will discover ways to see things as a celebration, by being gracious and doing things that fit your higher purpose.


Keys to personal improvement and development

Allow yourself to discover and to gain insight into your life at four levels of your human capacity:






What’s your color?

What’s your color?

Blue, does it represent you highest spiritual aspirations?

Red, does it symbolize greed, lust, avarice, jealousy? Can you even see red?

Yellow, does it stand in for rationalism and the intellect?

Green, your natural self, your hopes?


What is a reflection journal?

Journal writing is unstructured and personalized writing and key component of experiential learning.

Look at yourself as an experiential learner. You are a participant and observer. As a participant, you promote your own growth. As an observer, you look at what is going on around you.

A well-written journal is a tool that helps you practice the quick movements back and forth from your environment to abstract generalizations of thoughts, emotions, feelings and actions.

For more, Mark Cooper, Reflection: Getting Learning Out of Serving, Florida International University

Is there good stress?

Eustress is “good stress!”


Meeting or engaging in a challenge.

Coming in first place in a race or winning a match.

Getting a promotion at your job.

Watching a suspenseful or scary movie.

Love, marriage, sexual intercourse or childbirth.

Riding a roller coaster.

Holidays and vacations.

Engaging in exercise, especially weight training.

Playing Nintendo or Wi-i!


Photo courtesy of Neven Žugaj

Are you developing coping skills?

Developing good, strong, effective coping skills is important for you.

And for men who harbor self-derogatory thoughts, therapy is key in helping reverse negative beliefs and in developing coping strategies to deal with shame, powerlessness and helplessness.


Photo courtesy of Manny Fernandez.