Which kind of sensitive are you?

By David Joel Miller.

Are you too sensitive or not sensitive enough?

Eye

How sensitive are you?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

There are at least two kinds of sensitive. One is generally considered good and the other is thought of as bad. Some people are just way too sensitive.  You know the kind of person I mean.  Other people are extremely insensitive. Have you ever thought about the two kinds of sensitive and why you need more of one and less of the other?

Some people are just too sensitive.

Have you met people like this?  With people who are way too sensitive, any little thing you might say they take as an insult. They are always experiencing slights and they are often looking for ways to get even for these slights, real or imaginary.  You have to be careful what you say around people who are so very sensitive.

I think of these people as being like someone who has been in a car crash, covered in blood and broken glass. The wounds need cleaning but even when you try to be helpful, in the most caring manner, they scream in pain.  You reach the point where you are just afraid to interact with them because of their extreme sensitivity

People who are extremely emotionally sensitive are like that, hard to be around. You are always on edge when near them. Say the wrong thing and you set them off. They are constantly touchy. You wish they were just not so sensitive. Their life is the center of the emotional hurricanes eye. Every day brings more drama and if you are not well grounded you can get swept away in their drama.

In fact if they want to stay connected to you what they really need to be is – well just be more sensitive, sensitive in a good way.

Some people are just naturally very sensitive.

These sort of folks just always seem to know exactly the right thing to say. They intuitively know how you are feeling and are supportive in every way.  Everyone needs a few people like this in their life.

Don’t you just wish your friend or partner could be more in tune with your feelings, if only they could be more sensitive?  Especially more sensitive to you and how you’re feeling each day.

What is the difference between the two forms of sensitivity?

If In the first variety, the too sensitive form, the person’s sensitivity is focused inward. They see everything as if it pertains to them. “Why did you say that to hurt me” is their mantra.  That other people have feelings and matter is beyond their understanding.

In the second form, the intuitive and sensitive, the sensitivity is turned outward. They are looking to see how what they are doing is affecting others. This kind of extra sensitive person is empathetic and attuned to others.

Which kind of sensitive are you?

Are you focused inwardly, expecting others to always say and do the right thing to make you happy? Or do you stay focused on others,  looking for ways you can be of service and helpful to them?  The topic of sensitivity justifies some thought.  Consider how you might work on becoming more sensitive to the needs of others and less sensitive to everything they say and do that might affect you

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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Lessons Anxiety teaches you.

By David Joel Miller.

What are your fears teaching you?

Anxiety and Fear

Lessons Anxiety teaches you.
Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha

Are you someone who suffers from high anxiety?  Have you learned the lessons that your anxiety is trying to teach you?  Anxiety can be a kind of bully, trying to scare you away from anything new and keeping you from the parts of life that might be beneficial. Or anxiety can become a good teacher and help you learn life lessons.

Below is the list of some lessons that anxiety might be able to teach you and ways that you could develop those lessons.

Just because it scares you does not make it dangerous.

A well-functioning anxiety system help you identify risks and warns you of danger.  Some people’s anxiety system is turned up way too high.  Overly sensitive anxiety systems give off warning sounds and flashing lights even when the danger is minimal.

An important lesson you should learn from your experiences with anxiety is that not everything that makes you fearful or scares you is in fact that dangerous.  Learn that your anxiety is a source of information not an absolute life ruler.

It is OK to feel scared.

Some people believe they should never feel scared.  One of the lessons about anxiety it is important to learn is that it is possible to feel scared and still have nothing bad happened.  Let anxiety teach you this lesson.  Just because you’re scared does not mean that anything terrible or awful will necessarily happen to you

It is OK to feel what you feel.

Are you one of those people who was taught that you shouldn’t feel whatever it is that you are feeling?  A valuable lesson that anxiety and many of our other feelings has to teach us is that humans use feelings as a source of information.  Information is neither good nor bad in and of itself.  Was is important is for you to feel what you’re feeling, decide what that means, and then decide what you wanted do with that information.

Feeling can be your friends.

Feelings are not automatically your enemies.  They can be your friends.  Sometimes anxiety and fear are friends warning you of danger.  What you need to decide is how real and how important that danger it is.  Every so often the danger is very real and very eminent.  During those times you will need to do something about it.  Other times your anxiety is detecting something new and unfamiliar and you’ll need to learn how you are going to respond to that new and novel situation.

Walking towards fear makes it shrink.

Fear is a natural-born bully.  Fear wants to have its way.  The more you give in to your fear the larger the fear grows.  Many things that look scary and are fearful at first sight become far less scary as you begin to do them.

If you walk towards something that scares you, what you will often find is that it is far scarier from a distance than once you get up close.

The first time is always the scariest.

Many people are afraid of something new that they’ve never experienced, but once they’ve tried it for that very first time that may discover that they enjoy it.  Don’t let your fears and your anxieties keep you from trying something that might turn out to be a great deal of fun.

Scary experiences create lasting memories.

Despite the fact that many people avoid things that make them anxious or scare them, most of us are also fascinated by the scary.  Scary movies draw large audiences.  Haunted houses are perennial Halloween favorites.

Because of the heightened level of hormones in the body during scary events the brain thinks that it is important to remember these times.  In thinking about the times that some event made you anxious it is important to remember the times that despite the anxiety those things turned out very well.

You can’t be calm and scared at the same time.

Ever notice when there’s a loud noise everyone turns to look at it and ignores everything else that is happening?  Anxiety and fear are like that.  They distract your attention from what else is going on at the same time.

One way of reducing anxieties impact on you is to learn ways to calm yourself.  Stress reduction techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness, and meditation can all be very helpful in reducing your anxiety.  What you will quickly learn, if you try these techniques, is that it’s not possible to be calm, relaxed and scared at the very same time.

Learn to make this fundamental rule of emotions work for you.  Opposite sets of emotions don’t like to live together.  It’s difficult to laugh when you are sad.  People don’t seem to be able to be both excited and relaxed at the same time.  If you have found that your anxiety has gotten out of control, a quick way to reduce that anxiety, if is to learn ways to self-sooth and calm yourself.

The more skills you have the more you can handle.

In all aspects of life it is important to develop a good set of skills.  While initially it may be uncomfortable to work with strong emotions such as anxiety, the more you do this work the better you get at it.  Repeatedly putting yourself in situations that create a small amount of anxiety, which you discover you are able to handle, can result in increasing your ability to handle increasingly difficult anxiety provoking situations.

Whenever the size of your comfort zone, if you spend too much time cramped inside it, that comfort zone will prevent your personal growth.  Gradually work on stretching out that comfort zone.  Before long you will have the skills to handle situations they used to seem impossible.

When you do good self-care less overwhelms you.

Another lesson than anxiety will teach you is the importance of good self-care.  With poor self-care it’s easy to get stressed out and have everything overwhelmed you.  When you concentrate on taking good care of yourself you will be able to handle situations that you never thought possible.

You will handle most things better than you thought you would.

It’s normal to be very scared before something that you have never experienced. What surprises so many of us is how often we are able to handle far more than we ever believed possible.  Anxiety teaches you that you are capable of much more than you would have believed had you not been in those anxiety provoking situations.

Most of the things we worry about turn out better than we thought.

Many people discover that the majority of things they have worried about turn out better than they expected.  It is a human failing to expect the worst.  Let your anxiety teach you that many good things can happen.

You almost always have more options than you think.

One bad habit that makes anxiety far worse than it needs to be is artificially limiting your options.  Often we only see a couple of alternatives.  Make sure that you look for other options.  People will tell themselves they have to get something done by a deadline or they’re going to lose their job. Only seeing those two options results in not making use of the many more options that might have resulted in a better outcome.  Besides not finishing the report or getting fired, you may also have the options of discussing the deadline with your boss or requesting additional help in completing the project on time.

If you make anxiety your friend you may find that it’s a wonderful teacher.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

What is Separation Anxiety Disorder (F93.0)?

By David Joel Miller.

Separation Anxiety Disorder used to be strictly a children’s condition.

What is? Series

Separation Anxiety Disorder
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

In the past Separation Anxiety Disorder was listed in the section of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) under the category of Disorders First Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood and Adolescence.  Recently in the reorganization of the DSM, this disorder was moved to the chapter on anxiety disorders.

Increasingly we recognize that there are adults who suffer with Separation Anxiety Disorder.  In children, if they have the symptoms for four weeks or more, that meets criteria.  But when we see this disorder in adults we expected it to last at least six months.  This is a disorder which may come and go throughout the lifespan.  It is likely to begin after, or to be triggered by, stressful events.

Separation Anxiety Disorder is about a fear of losing the major attachment figure.

In Separation Anxiety Disorder there is a fear of leaving home or being separated from a major attachment figure.  This is very different from people who are simply afraid of going out of the house, being around crowds, or meeting strangers.  In Separation Anxiety Disorder it is the fear of losing that significant person which causes them extreme distress.

This fear is clearly far more than life circumstances would warrant.  People with this disorder need to know where that important person is it all times.  And they may have an excessive need to stay in constant contact with their major attachment figure.  These people may be given to constantly texting, and may become quite upset if they’re communications are not immediately responded to.

You may also fear being taken away.

Separation Anxiety Disorder is also the fear that something will take you away from that major attachment feature.  People with this disorder worry about an illness, kidnapping or being forcibly taken from a major attachment figure. Some people with this disorder are unable to be in a room by themselves.

Separation Anxiety Disorder can make you refuse to leave home.

The classic example of this is the child who is terrified of leaving their mother to go to kindergarten on the first day of school.  In normal children if we expect them to get over this fear after a few days.  But in those with Separation Anxiety Disorder that fear continues for long periods of time. We may continue to see this behavior as children get older.  They may have frequent illnesses which keep them at home with their important attachment figure.

Like most other anxiety disorders, Separation Anxiety Disorder typically begins in childhood, but it may well continue throughout adult life.  In diagnosing this disorder the professional looks at the developmental stage of a person to see if what they are going through is appropriate.

Some adults are so afraid of leaving their significant family member that they are unable to venture out into society alone.  They will only be willing to go outside the house, to the store or an appointment, if that major attachment figure accompanies them.

That huge fear of being alone maybe Separation Anxiety Disorder.

An abiding characteristic of Separation Anxiety Disorder is the extreme level of fear of being alone.  Any time this person is separated from their major attachment figure, they become anxious and may even become terrified.

In children the attachment figure is likely to be their parents or caregiver.  In adulthood people with this disorder are likely to become very anxious when separated from their spouse, partner or their children.

If that important person is not home, then you can’t sleep.

People with Separation Anxiety Disorder find that they are unable to sleep when the major attachment figure is not in the house.  They may stay up all night on those occasions when that person they’re attached to needs to be gone overnight.

The person with Separation Anxiety Disorder will have a constant need for reassurance.  This need may result in frequent phone calls or other efforts to contact the attachment figure who is not there.  This constant need for reassurance may begin to interfere with their partner’s ability to work.

Separation Anxiety Disorder causes nightmares about being separated.

In this disorder the content of the nightmare is that the important person will be taken from you or you from them, and that you will never ever be able to see them again. These nightmares can be recurrent and play a role in maintaining the other symptoms.

Separation Anxiety Disorder can make your physically ill.

Symptoms of this disorder can look just like a physical illness.  These symptoms may include headaches, inability to eat, nausea, or even vomiting if there’s a chance that you’ll be separated from this major attachment figure in your life.

People with Separation Anxiety Disorder are likely to be described by others as needy and insecure.

There is help for Separation Anxiety Disorder.

While this condition often begins in childhood and may continue well into adulthood, someone with this issue does not have to continue to suffer.  There are treatments available.  If you or someone you love suffers from this condition, consider getting professional help.

More on this and other anxiety disorders see:  Anxiety

FYI These “What is” sometimes “What are” posts are my efforts to explain terms commonly used in Mental Health, Clinical Counseling, Substance Use Disorder Counseling, Psychology, Life Coaching and related disciplines in a plain language way. Many are based on the new DSM-5, some of the older posts were based on the DSM-IV-TR, both published by the APA. For the more technical versions please consult the DSM or other appropriate references.

See Recommended Books.     More “What is” posts will be found at “What is.”

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

What is Selective Mutism (F94.0)?

By David Joel Miller.

Selective Mutism is the failure to speak at times when speech is necessary.

Can't talk

No speech. Selective Mutism.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Selective Mutism is an interesting disorder. It is one of the less common anxiety disorders and one which commonly first appears in childhood.  This disorder often co-occurs with Social Anxiety Disorder.  As with all the anxiety disorders Selective Mutism may continue well into adulthood.

Selective Mutism is not the inability to speak or the willful refusal to speak.  Selective Mutism occurs when someone chooses not to speak in a particular situation even when not speaking may cause them difficult.  Children with this condition will avoid starting a conversation with other children.  When spoken to they will fail to respond.

Selective Mutism gets noticed when children begin to attend school.

Children was Selective Mutism do poorly in school because they do not respond verbally to the teacher and do not read out loud.  Those with this disorder may use other ways of communicating rather than speaking.  Sometimes they will point, grunt or used personally significant gestures.  They may also be willing to engage in social activities when speech is not required.

Children with Selective Mutism are able to speak normally at home with their parents or primary caregivers.  They may be unwilling to speak in the presence of close relatives including cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents.

Risk factors for Selective Mutism.

Children who are shy are at extra risk to develop this disorder.  Having parents who are withdrawn or growing up in a socially isolated environment may also be risk factors.  It is possible that having overprotective or controlling parents increases this risk.  There’s some evidence that children with this disorder has difficulty understanding the things that are said to them.  Having Social Anxiety Disorder or a family history of it may also increase the risks.

Other problems may accompany Selective Mutism.

People was Selective Mutism also frequently are shy and experience social embarrassment.  They may be isolated and withdrawn.  Children with Selective Mutism may be clingy and become easily upset.  They many also exhibit temper tantrums and oppositional behavior.

Having this disorder early in life and not getting treatment for it puts the child at extra risk for poor development and failure to learn needed social skills.

Things that are excluded from a Selective Mutism diagnosis.

To get this diagnosis, this condition of not speaking even when you need to speak, must go on for at a month or more.  If the thing keeping you from speaking is result of not knowing the English language or being bilingual in some way, this is not a case of Selective Mutism.

Also excluded from the definition of Selective Mutism are things related to speech fluency.  If the person involved is experiencing an episode of hearing voices, if being psychotic, or a schizophrenia like condition, this also is outside the definition of Selective Mutism.

FYI These “What is” sometimes “What are” posts are my efforts to explain terms commonly used in Mental Health, Clinical Counseling, Substance Use Disorder Counseling, Psychology, Life Coaching and related disciplines in a plain language way. Many are based on the new DSM-5, some of the older posts were based on the DSM-IV-TR, both published by the APA. For the more technical versions please consult the DSM or other appropriate references.

More “What is” posts will be found at What is.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

What is Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) F94.1?

By David Joel Miller.

Reactive Attachment Disorder begins early in life.

What is? Series

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is one of those disorders which was moved in the DSM-5.

It used to be included in the chapter on Disorders First Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood and Adolescence. RAD now appears in the chapter on Trauma- and Stressor Related Disorders.

Reactive Attachment Disorder is the result of deficiencies in early life care.

Reactive Attachment Disorder is an internalizing disorder. A related disorder called Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder, involves externalizing behaviors.  Both conditions are thought to be caused by poor caregiving early in life. RAD involves a consistent pattern of shutting down, withdrawing and inhibiting emotions. This disorder starts before age five and is rarely given after that age.

While this is a diagnosis primarily applied to very young children, in working with adults we often see conditions that probably began as Reactive Attachment Disorder.  A common statement is that they “just don’t get close to others.” This condition involves an inability to regulate emotion and unexplained anger, both issues we frequently see in adults who came from dysfunctional homes.

With children we usually know that the symptoms are caused by neglect and poor parenting.  With adults, similar symptoms show up as depression, chronic sadness, anxiety disorders or even personality disorders.  Our understanding of reactive attachment disorder is pretty much an all or nothing condition.  I can’t help wonder about the effects which varying degrees of neglect or failure to meet the child’s emotional needs might be causing.

Reactive Attachment Disorder involves a consistent behavioral pattern.

Most of the Trauma- and Stressor Related Disorders are related to anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders and are fear based. Reactive Attachment Disorder is about shutting down and internalizing. In Reactive Attachment Disorder there is chronic sadness, depression, and loss of the pleasure.  There may also be accompanying anger, aggression and dissociation. This involves a lot of withdrawal and inhibited emotion.

Reactive Attachment Disorder involves social and emotional problems.

Children with RAD are unresponsive to others.  They’re rarely happy or positive.  RAD involves frequent irritation, sadness and sometimes being afraid. Children with this disorder often react to adult caregivers in a negative way for no apparent reason. These patterns of poor relationships with adults continue even when caregivers change.

In adults we see similar patterns with those people who get diagnosed with Persistent Depressive Disorder.  They often say they do not ever remember being happy.  What we often don’t know is if this person really had deficient care as a child or if they had a temperament which make them difficult to parent.  Sick, or irritable temperamental children are harder to parent and more likely to be abused or neglected.

Extremely deficient care results in Reactive Attachment Disorder.

Characteristics of this less-than-adequate care include emotional needs not being met, frequent changes in caregivers, and being raised in impersonal institutionalize settings.  Mostly this deficient care results in poor relationships with caregivers and other adults, but it may also affect peer relationships.

Sometimes other things look like Reactive Attachment Disorder.

Sometimes children with Autism or developmental delays exhibit symptoms that can look like Reactive Attachment Disorder. In young children it is important to be sure the problems were caused by poor caregiving.  In adults we see behaviors that we suspect began as Reactive Attachment Disorder, but without a prior diagnosis we can’t be sure. RAD may affect many other developmental areas.

Some cautions.

As with the other things we are calling a mental illness this RAD needs to interfere with the ability to work, or in children, go to school, relationships, or other enjoyable activities or cause personal distress. Otherwise there may be issues, but the diagnoses will not be given. If the only time this happens is when someone is under the influence of drugs or medicines or because of some other physical or medical problem these problems would need to be more than the situation otherwise warrants. These other issue may need treating first, then if there are still symptoms, the diagnosis will be given.

Treatment for Reactive Attachment Disorder.

For children getting into a situation with a caring, responsible, caregiver can make all the difference.  For adults with problems now, which may or may not be the result of early childhood experiences, there are several therapies which may be helpful.

It is imperative that children who have Reactive Attachment Disorder get treatment early to prevent lifelong difficulties.  Adults who struggle with emotional difficulties may find that they still have early childhood issues that need to be addressed before their adult problems will resolve.

FYI These “What is” sometimes “What are” posts are my efforts to explain terms commonly used in Mental Health, Clinical Counseling, Substance Use Disorder Counseling, Psychology, Life Coaching and related disciplines in a plain language way. Many are based on the new DSM-5; some of the older posts were based on the DSM-IV-TR, both published by the APA. For the more technical versions please consult the DSM or other appropriate references.

See Recommended Books.     More “What is” posts will be found at “What is.”

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Things that will make you anxious.

By David Joel Miller.

How many of these things make you anxious?

Pain, Anxiety, Depression, Stress

Anxiety, Fear and Stress
Photo courtesy of Flickr (marsmet481)

If you are high in anxiety and your life is full of stress, some of the things you have surrounding you may be adding to the tension and pressure you are struggling with. Take an inventory of these worry producing factors and see which ones are part of your life. Consider cutting back on or eliminating things that are fueling your anxiety and stress and see if your life does not become far more pleasant.

Unsupportive relationships increase anxiety.

Having people in your life who like, respect and support you as a person and friend can be protective when it comes to anxiety and stress. Having to spend a lot of time around those who are uncooperative wears you out and leads to that stressed out feeling. Consider taking a look at your relationships and decide which ones add to your well-being and which ones need to be curtailed.

Judgmental people surrounding you increase anxiety.

People who are constantly judging you rather than accepting you are guaranteed to increase your anxiety. If you keep getting the message that you do not measure up to others standards, take a look at yourself. Improve what you can and distance yourself from those you will never be able to please no matter what.

Having to constantly be on guard to do and say just the right thing is exhausting. Having people in your life who can accept the real you lets you relax and recharge.

Not getting enough sleep results in anxious days and stressed out nights.

Do not start thinking that sleep is time wasted. Those hours asleep each night help your brain clear the mental wreckage from the day before. Your brain burns a lot of calories each day and that mental exercise creates waste. You need some sleep for the brain to repair.

Chronically sleep deprived people become grouchy, have difficulty thinking, getting along with others and begin to make mistakes. When thinking is hard you can easily become overwhelmed and anxious. Increase your sleep to reduce your anxiety and fears.

Your diet is emotionally burning you out.

Poor diet results in trying to run your body on less than adequate fuel. Make sure you get enough to eat. Look to improve your diet in small ways. You do not need to become a healthy diet fascist to learn to eat better.

A healthy balanced diet needs to include plenty of water and less in the way of sugar. Look for ways to make small sustainable changes that help you have the energy to cope with life. When you feel healthy you can better cope with stress.

If exercise has become a spectator sport anxiety increases.

Make sure your body is capable of responding when the challenge comes. Get up and move around. Sever that connection between fear and moving. Dance, walk, play to keep the body use to beneficial movement. Not being fit increases the stress when you do have to move for a reason.

Forgetting to breathe expands anxiety.

When the body is deprived of oxygen it sends out distress messages. Most people only breath deeply when they are already in a panic. Learn to control your breathing rather than letting anxiety take your breath to unknown places.

Having a job not a life purpose stresses you out.

If you do your work with a purpose it rewards you twice, once when you enjoy what you do and again when they pay you for having done what gives you pleasure. People who have to endure the work day become progressively more worn out.

Seek out work that gives your life meaning. Look for something you can feel proud you do. Make your daily occupation a means to an end not the end of your existence.

Living to meet others expectations increases anxiety.

If you are mostly motivated by trying to please others you will find it difficult to please yourself. Do each daily task as if you were the boss and do it well enough that you would be happy with an employee that worked this hard.

Being on the lookout for what could go wrong magnifies anxiety.

Do you spend most of your day looking for what might go wrong? If you are on the constant look out for problems you will find them. In that process you may miss the possible solutions and the happy moments between the problems.

All you do is work, too many miles without down time adds to anxiety.

If life becomes a grind then it will grind you down. Some people love what they do and it energizes them but other people work to exhaustion and spend their off time worrying about work and teetering on collapse.

You spend more time in the past and the future than in now.

The more time you spend visiting the past and the future the more anxious or depressed you may become. People who anticipate the future with dread, looking for what might go wrong, grow more anxiety than accomplishments.

Ruminating about things, not let things go increases anxiety.

Rumination is that habit humans have of just not being ready to let anything go. You worry, you obsess and then you worry some more. If most of your thoughts are about things that need worry, your life has been taken over by the anxiety monster and you are doing his biding.

Taking things way too seriously grows anxiety.

Is everything in your life deadly serious? Do you need to be right about everything? Then you have lost your perspective and are ripe to be absorbed in your anxiety. In terms of humans history not much that happens in most of our lives will matter next week let alone next year. But your effort into the things that will really matter.

For more on this topic see:      Anxiety

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

How to scare an anxious person.

By David Joel Miller.

How many of these things scare you?

Pain, Anxiety, Depression, Stress

Anxiety, Fear and Stress
Photo courtesy of Flickr (marsmet481)

People who are high in anxiety are easily frightened. A great many things can scare someone with high anxiety. Unfortunately it is often the person who is high in anxiety who is scaring themselves. How many of these thoughts do you entertain that result in feeding your anxiety monster until he is out of control?

Threaten them. 50% chance of earthquake in the next few years.

Lots of bad things MAY happen. Particularly in the realm of nature and the environment. That earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and other weather phenomenon may happen does not guarantee they will.

Even in those places where these catastrophic events take place the chances that you and yours will get through unharmed are better than the chances you will be injured. Don’t waste a lot of effort considering low probability events when there are high probability events around the corner.

Does the chance something may happen justifying your using up space in your brain worrying about what may happen at some point off in the future. Eventually we humans all die but happy people live their life based on positive beliefs.

Asking “what if” questions will scare you.

Putting doubt in your head is a proven method to increase anxiety. Ruminating about the future is a sure-fire way to crank up your anxiety. Ask repeatedly “what if” questions about the future and you will discover plenty of possibilities to go wrong.

Attitude towards waiting, traffic jams, lines, being late, can increase anxiety.

For people high in anxiety any waiting is anxiety provoking. Where someone with less anxiety might interpret the wait is a chance to relax and destress the anxious person will use the time to worry about what might happen, how this is not the way things are “supposed” to go. Anxious people can catastrophize about any delay in plans.

Remind yourself everyone is watching. Public speaking, presentations, inspections.

There are lots of situations in life where people might be watching you. Giving a bad talk or presentation might get you noticed in an unfavorable light.

The best remedy for that kind of unfavorable attention is to know what you are talking about and to thoroughly prepare that talk. Most of the time you will find that people are paying far less attention to you than you might wish. Even worse than doing a poor presentation, for the person who speaks a lot, is giving a good one and having no one notice.

One thing you will discover, if you investigate what others think about you, is that most of the time, those other people are far too preoccupied with their own lives to notice what you did or did not do.

Tell them to “dress appropriately.”

Fuzzy directions can create immense anxiety. Planning to be on time only works if you know what is “on time” for the particular function you will be attending. What is appropriate for one situation and group of people can be very inappropriate for another.

The best way to quiet this fear is to do your homework or ask what is the proper time or attire.

Ask if they noticed that mole, rash, lump, itch.

You can spend countless hours of frantic involvement with your worries as you go over every inch of your body looking for imperfections to diagnose. Stop stressing and head for the doctor. They should be able to tell you what that mark is and put your mind to rest.

You are not wrong to ask a friend about some new mark you see on their body, just do it in a gentle way knowing that the high anxiety person may anxious themselves beyond belief at your question.

Have them work in a place with sudden unexplained noises.

Someone with high anxiety is always on the lookout for sudden unexplained events, noises and movement. Put that person on a work site that has random unexplained sights and sounds and by the end of the day they are ready to become the proverbial basket case.

Worse than ending up in that sort of environment by chance is the person with high anxiety who ignores their mental health needs and takes on an unsuitable job or those anxious people who are living in a situation with those random sight and sound triggers.

Wait till the last-minute, for appointments, gas or essentials.

If you are a high anxiety person you know how unnerving last-minute changes of plans can be. You have planned things out in advance to prevent unexpected occurrences and suddenly plans get changed with possible “catastrophic” results.

If you have to live or work with an anxious person, plan ahead to avoid these last-minute emergencies. Stopping for gas on the way to the appointment many be no problem for you but the high anxiety person will come unglued at the thought that you may run out of gas or that you might be late for that appointment and then they would not be seen by the doctor and their cancer would go undiagnosed and they might die as a result —- See how that anxiety train picks up speed as they ruminate about unforeseen plan changes?

Take them for a drive along the cliff when the river floods.

There are a number of things that trigger anxiety so commonly these items made it into the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in the section on specific phobias. While people can be specifically afraid of these things they can also be triggers for high anxiety even when the person with the fear attack is unaware of the phobia.

The list of Specific Phobias include, animals, nature, blood and surgery, close or confined places, choking, vomiting and even costumed creatures.

If you have a person with anxiety in your life, try to avoid doing these things and triggering that person’s anxiety. If you are the anxious person, how many of these things are you creating for yourself and are you willing to try some counseling to get past those anxiety triggers?

For more on this topic see:   Anxiety

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books