Category Archives: Mental health

Behavior change not behavior explanation

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), often called attention deficit disorder (ADD), begins in childhood and can persist in adulthood.

It can affect your everyday and job and employment life but don’t make excuses if you’re diagnosed with it.

The diagnosis of ADHD may be a life-changing explanation for you. It is not an excuse, however, in the real world, which requires behavior change not behavior explanation. Although some may sympathize with you because they know someone with disorder, others most likely are disinterested at best or do not care.

People in the real world set goal plans, timetables and carry out tasks on schedule.

Make your life easier: accept this truth.


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


Try a little self-help

Sixty percent of DC-area residents believe psychologists can help them cope with mental health issues.

Here’s a self-help method to complement therapies!


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.

Feeling shame or guilt?

Did you say or do or even think of something that made you feel queasy or even sick?

Did you just want to hide?

The feeling of shame inside affects you physically.

Shame results when a person receives negative messages, internally or from others, leading him to believe he’s a bad or defective person who is helpless to change.

Adding feelings of helplessness and powerlessness that often accompany shame, the feeling of shame produces high levels of stress-related hormones.


Mindfulness for modern living

Metro mindfulness, commuter-train guided meditation, peacefulness in express bus busyness or subway silence.

Take a step toward clarity.

20130411-082721.jpgPhoto courtesy @Umo_Reyes.

A new step-wise program for men

The road to happiness in five simple

+ Become aware.
+ Express your gratitude.
+ Focus on your emotions.
+ Focus on feelings.
+ Look toward tomorrow.


Recognizing vs. managing stress

Although 54 percent of DC-area residents say they do an excellent or very good job of recognizing when they are stressed, only about 26 percent believe they are doing an excellent or very good job of managing stress when they experience it.


Enjoy mindful walking, strolling or rolling

Today, no matter what the weather, go out and walk, stroll or roll alone, on a sidewalk, a park or a nature trail.

Mindful walking, strolling or rolling.

Let your thoughts come to your body and its movement, to your breath and to the environment around you.

Feel your feet or your wheels in contact with the ground, notice the swing or push of your arms.

Play with your gait or stride and gait to bring your full attention to the sole purpose of walking, strolling or rolling Your purpose in this mindful moment is simply to walk, stroll or roll.

Now after a bit of this mindful exercise, notice what thoughts arise from this place.

Your thoughts will eventually intrude on your presence — what are you saying to yourself? Are you having positive, affirming thoughts?

Pay attention to the automatic negative thoughts or negative beliefs or the self-criticisms about yourself, your ANTS, inner bullies and gremlins.

Become aware.

It is an important first step in reducing the power that ANTS can have to ruin the bounty of your life’s picnic. Allow new possibilities to arise. It opens the space to use affirmations as antidotes to negativity.