Signs others opinions matter too much.

By David Joel Miller.

Are you paying too much attention to other people’s opinions?

Living your life based on other people’s opinions results in you living someone else’s

Self-confidence

Self-Confidence
Believe in yourself.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

life. Do you find yourself asking other people for their opinions on what you should do? If you find it hard to make decisions about your life without consulting others, the problem may be that you are paying too much attention to what others think and not enough attention to your own feelings. Here are some signs that what others think is running your life more than you are.

You measure yourself by other people’s opinions.

You are the expert on your life. No one else knows your particular struggles and challenges. Constantly seeking others approval results in a needy person. The person whose opinion most matters is yours. If your primary yardstick for measuring your self-worth is other people’s opinions, you are using the wrong ruler.

You ask what they mean by that a lot.

Do you find yourself questioning what others mean? If you’re asking “why did you say that” and “what did you mean by that?” a lot, it is very likely that you have become overreliance on other people’s opinions.

You let their opinion stop you.

If you find yourself not doing things that you enjoy or that might benefit you because of other people’s opinions, you’re losing control of your life. Other people’s opinions may be fine for them, but if you over-rely on their opinions, you are living their life and forgoing your own.

You worry about saying the right thing.

Healthy communication includes being able to tell others what you think and how you feel. You find yourself censoring what you want to say and searching for just the right words to say it you’re probably overly concerned about what other people think.

You try to please everyone.

If you try to please everyone, you’re likely to end up pleasing no one. In your effort to please everyone you will end up sacrificing your own opinions. No matter what view you take of things, some people will disagree, and some will not like what you say.

You put others needs before yours.

You must take care of yourself for you to be able to help others. It is not selfish to take care of yourself. Neglecting your own need in the process of caring for others robs you of the life you should have.

It is hard to say no.

Not being able to tell others no devalues you and your needs. You have the right to say no.

Taking credit embarrasses you.

Good self-esteem comes from recognizing the things you do well. When somebody gives you a compliment, accepted it.

You are ashamed of things you like to do.

Everyone has the right to have interests in life. Don’t be ashamed of your hobbies and interests.

You continue to do things that don’t make you happy.

If you find that you’re doing things that don’t bring you joy, weed them out of your life. Filling up your life with things that do not contribute to your happiness is sacrificing the life you should be leading to live

You let others set your goals.

 

Are you living your life pursuing someone else’s goals? That’s clear evidence their opinions are outweighing your own. You will only get this one life. Get clear on your goals. If our not clear on what you want out of life, you may be paying too much attention to other people’s opinions and not enough attention to your own.

 

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life.

Bumps on the Road of Life.
By David Joel Miller

Bumps on the Road of Life is now available in both Kindle and paperback format.

Bumps on the Road of Life.

Your cruising along the road of life and then wham, something knocks you in the ditch.

Sometimes you get your life going again quickly. Other times you may stay off track and in the ditch for a considerable time. If you have gone through a divorce, break up or lost a job you may have found your life off track. Professionals call those problems caused by life-altering events “Adjustment Disorders.” Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of Adjustment Disorders, how they get people off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Bumps on the Road of Life

Please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Casino Robbery. On Sale now for 99 cents.

The robbers wanted more than money; they planned to kill Arthur’s fiancé and her boss.

Photo of Casino Robbery book

Casino Robbery.

Arthur Mitchell was trying to start his life over with a fiancé and a new job. That all ends when the casino robbers shoot Arthur, kill his fiancée, and her boss. Arthur would like to forget that horrible day, but the traumatic nightmares and constant reminders won’t let him, and someone is still out to get him. When he tries to start over by running a rural thrift store, someone knocks him unconscious, vandalize the store, and finally tries to kill him. His only chance to find peace is to figure out what the killers want from him and why.

Casino Robbery is a novel that explores the world of a man with PTSD who has to cope with his symptoms to solve the mystery and create a new life.

Casino Robbery is available now in both Kindle and paperback editions.

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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6 Top Reasons to Go for Counseling.

By David Joel Miller.

Reasons you may want to consult a counselor.

Many people avoid going to see a professional counselor until their life falls apart.

Counseling

Counseling or Therapy
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

There’s been a growing acceptance of preventative medicine for physical health issues. Still, some people believe that going to see the doctor or the therapist is a sign of weakness.

An increasing number companies provide E.A.P.’s (employee assistance programs) for their employees. There are plenty of good reasons to see a counselor before your problems become severe.

Avoiding counseling appears to me like walking around town with a broken leg. See the doctor, and that leg might heal, keep walking on that broken leg you may do permanent damage to it.

1. There are things you can’t talk to your family and friends about.

Your family and friends may be sympathetic but if you keep talking to them repeatedly about the same problems you can burn them out. People close to you may judge you for what you think or how you feel. A professional counselor can listen to you nonjudgmentally.

2. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Professional counselors can provide you with the information you may need. They talk to many people with similar problems. They may be able to fill in gaps in what you know and refer you to resources where you can find answers to your questions.

3. They can mentor you on life skills.

If you didn’t have a knowledgeable adult or older sibling in your life, a counselor could fill that need. Even when you have great role models, you may not have learned every lesson. Counselors can help you with skills to reduce or manage your anger. They can help you cope with your anxiety. If there are feelings you find it difficult to manage, a good therapist can help you learn the needed skills.

4. When you get counseling, they can tell you the truth.

The smartest people sometimes get extraordinarily dumb ideas. Top executives need to beware of yes-men and yes-women. The people close to you may not want to hurt you or offend you by telling you the truth. A professional counselor can help you do something called reality testing. They can help you sort out your thoughts and separate the good ideas from the fanciful ones.

5. Prevention is cheaper and faster than cure.

Dealing with emotional problems in the early stage can prevent them becoming huge problems.

6. Counselors can give you another perspective.

Successful athletes have coaches. You can’t see your own swing.  A good counselor can give you a fresh perspective on the challenges you face.

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life is now available in both Kindle and paperback format.

Bumps on the Road of Life.

Your cruising along the road of life and then wham, something knocks you in the ditch.

Sometimes you get your life going again quickly. Other times you may stay off track

Bumps on the Road of Life.

Bumps on the Road of Life.
By David Joel Miller

and in the ditch for a considerable time. If you have gone through a divorce, break up or lost a job you may have found your life off track. Professionals call those problems caused by life-altering events “Adjustment Disorders.” Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of Adjustment Disorders, how they get people off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Bumps on the Road of Life

Please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Casino Robbery.

The robbers wanted more than money; they planned to kill Arthur’s fiancé and her boss.

Arthur Mitchell was trying to start his life over with a fiancé and a new job. That all

Photo of Casino Robbery book

Casino Robbery.

ends when the casino robbers shoot Arthur, kill his fiancée, and her boss. Arthur would like to forget that horrible day, but the traumatic nightmares and constant reminders won’t let him, and someone is still out to get him. When he tries to start over by running a rural thrift store, someone knocks him unconscious, vandalize the store, and finally tries to kill him. His only chance to find peace is to figure out what the killers want from him and why.

Casino Robbery is a novel that explores the world of a man with PTSD who has to cope with his symptoms to solve the mystery and create a new life.

Casino Robbery is available now in both Kindle and paperback editions.

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

Could your overthinking be an illness?

By David Joel Miller.

Overthinking leads to mental health problems.

Overthinking, that constantly turning problems over in your mind, sometimes called rumination, may be a symptom of an existing or developing

Overthinking

Overthinking.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

mental illness. Constantly second-guessing your past leads to depression. Having doubts about the future increase your anxiety. How many of these overthinking problems are you experiencing?

Am I good enough?

Continually wondering how you compare to others can be a sign of social or performance anxiety. Accepting yourself as you are while striving for self-improvement will increase your mental health. Constantly comparing yourself and judging everything you do results in the bias of only seeing your faults and never recognizing your strengths.

Should I have said that?

Extreme concerns over what you should say or didn’t say is another sign of social anxiety. For many situations, there is no correct response. In social situations strive to be your genuine self. You can reduce the number of social errors you make by pausing before speaking. Not every thought should escape from your mouth. Learn from any mistakes you make but avoid continually rehashing every conversation.

You have a bad case of the “what if’s.”

If you are constantly on the alert for any presence of threats, you may have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Some people develop this condition because of past stress or trauma. But if you instinctively look for every possible way in which something could go wrong, you’ve developed the overanxious condition professionals call Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Most time spent on what if’s will be time wasted on thinking about unlikely possibilities. Focus your efforts on high probability events.

You worry about having an undiagnosed illness.

Worry about having an illness that hasn’t been diagnosed can be the result of a Somatic Symptom Disorder or an Illness Anxiety Disorder. When you have concerns about your health see your Dr. If your symptoms are severe, you may want to get a second opinion. Continuing to worry that you might develop an illness robs you of the opportunity to enjoy the life you have.

You worry about leaving the house.

This condition is called Agoraphobia, which translates to fear of the marketplace. People who worry constantly and excessively about leaving the house can also be afraid of crowds and meeting strangers. If you have this worry, seek professional help before your fears hold you prisoner in your own home. Agoraphobia can hold you hostage and deprive you of your family, friends, and your job.

You worry about having another panic attack.

People who are prone to panic attacks often know that the symptoms they have are from a panic attack. Still, during a panic attack, you may worry that this time you actually are having a heart attack or that you will not be able to catch your breath and will suffocate. It’s common for people with panic disorder to fear being somewhere where they will not be able to get help.

You fear something bad will happen and you need to do a ritual to prevent that.

This type of repetitive overthinking is characteristic of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. While the person with this disorder may know, the fear is irrational; they still feel compelled to do a repetitive behavior in the belief that this will prevent the danger.

Overthinking, or rumination can be both a cause of and a symptom of a serious mental health problem. If your overthinking is undermining your happy life, seek help.

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life is now available in both Kindle and paperback format.

Bumps on the Road of Life.

Your cruising along the road of life and then wham, something knocks you in the ditch.

Bumps on the Road of Life.

Bumps on the Road of Life.
By David Joel Miller

Sometimes you get your life going again quickly. Other times you may stay off track and in the ditch for a considerable time. If you have gone through a divorce, break up or lost a job you may have found your life off track. Professionals call those problems caused by life-altering events “Adjustment Disorders.” Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of Adjustment Disorders, how they get people off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Bumps on the Road of Life

Please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

 

Casino Robbery.

The robbers wanted more than money; they planned to kill Arthur’s fiancé and her boss.

Photo of Casino Robbery book

Casino Robbery.

Arthur Mitchell was trying to start his life over with a fiancé and a new job. That all ends when the casino robbers shoot Arthur, kill his fiancée, and her boss. Arthur would like to forget that horrible day, but the traumatic nightmares and constant reminders won’t let him, and someone is still out to get him. When he tries to start over by running a rural thrift store, someone knocks him unconscious, vandalize the store, and finally tries to kill him. His only chance to find peace is to figure out what the killers want from him and why.

Casino Robbery is a novel that explores the world of a man with PTSD who has to cope with his symptoms to solve the mystery and create a new life.

Casino Robbery is available now in both Kindle and paperback editions.

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

Get rid of fear.

By David Joel Miller.

Don’t let fears control your life.

Fear has a role in our lives. If you’re in a dangerous situation, fear can warn you to be

Fear

Get rid of fear.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

cautious. Fear is an early warning system. It becomes a problem when you have the volume on your fear system turned up too high. It becomes like that burglar alarm system which goes off constantly and stops being useful. Often the fears people experience turn out to be false alarms. Here are some of the exaggerated fears that may be taking over your life.

Types of unhelpful fears.

How many of these types of unhelpful fears do you experience? If you could, would you be willing to give up those fears?

Fear of what others think.

Being afraid of what others might think of you, can leave you paralyzed and unable to act. There may be a few people, your boss, or your partner, whose opinions matter. But most of the time, what other people think about you is none of your business. Don’t let your fear keep you from doing things that might be beneficial and enjoyable.

Fear of not getting what you want.

Being afraid that you won’t reach your goal can prevent you from enjoying the process of growing and living. Don’t let your fear of failure and disappointment prevent you from trying. When you stay in the fear of not getting what you want, you devalue what you have.

Fear of losing or being out of control.

The idea that we’re in control turns out to be an illusion. Humans don’t control very much in life, we adapt. You can’t stop the rain; you can carry an umbrella. Life becomes more enjoyable when you stop trying to control people and situations and learn to adapt to a changing world.

Fear of the unknown.

This fear is based on the belief that the things you can’t see or don’t know must be dangerous. Often the unknown turns out to be enjoyable experiences you just haven’t yet tried. Many children resist trying new foods. The things we enjoy as adults were new experiences the first time we tried them.

Fear of feelings, sadness, loneliness.

Fear tells us we shouldn’t feel. Some people spend their whole life cut off from feeling, numb. Feelings can provide us with valuable information. Loneliness encourages us to seek out relationships with other humans. When you lose someone in your life, it is appropriate to feel sad. By avoiding loneliness and sadness, you also avoid being able to feel happiness and connection.

Fear of losing what you have.

Don’t let the fear of losing something take away the pleasure of having it. People are often afraid that a relationship will end, and so they avoid ever enjoying the companionship of that other person. Don’t lose out on the pleasure of doing things because you are afraid that eventually what you’re doing may come to an end.

How do you cope with fears?

Try some of the simple fear reducing techniques.

Take action.

Many things you fear become less scary as you approach them. If you think about something, you want to do, act immediately. People who act in the first five seconds are engaged in action. Wait too long, and nothing happens.

Tell yourself positive things.

Tell yourself you can. Remind yourself that you can choose to do things. Avoid saying to yourself that you can’t or won’t. People who think negatively create unfavorable outcomes. People who believe that they can, accomplish many things others thought were impossible.

Make self-care, time for yourself, a priority.

Being constantly stressed out increases your fear. Not enough sleep makes you more anxious. Get plenty of rest, healthy food and allow yourself to make self-care a priority.

Do more things that scare you.

A great way to reduce fear is to stretch your comfort zone. Each day try to do something that makes you uncomfortable. Tackle things that scare you and notice how that fear loses its hold over you.

Learn more about the things that scare you.

The unknown is often scary. Make the unknown a known. As you have more information, what used to scare you begins to feel less dangerous.

Get better prepared, have the right tools and education.

You can reduce your fear by getting the education and learning the skills you will need to be able to accomplish whatever you set out to do. Having the right physical and mental tools can make the task less daunting.

Allow yourself to look and be silly.

Put yourself into situations where you can take a chance. Put on a costume, act, sing or dance. Take a chance and let others see you in a new light.

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life is now available in both Kindle and paperback format.

Bumps on the Road of Life

A Non-Fiction Self-help guide.

Bumps on the Road of Life.

Bumps on the Road of Life.
By David Joel Miller

Your cruising along the road of life and then wham, something knocks you in the ditch.

Sometimes you get your life going again quickly. Other times you may stay off track and in the ditch for a considerable time. If you have gone through a divorce, break up or lost a job you may have found your life off track. Professionals call those problems caused by life-altering events “Adjustment Disorders.” Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of Adjustment Disorders, how they get people off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery.

Casino Robbery is a novel that explores the world of a man with PTSD who has to cope

Photo of Casino Robbery book

Casino Robbery.

with his symptoms to solve the mystery and create a new life. Casino Robbery is available now in both Kindle and paperback editions.

The robbers wanted more than money; they planned to kill Arthur’s fiancé and her boss.

Arthur Mitchell was trying to start his life over with a fiancé and a new job. That all ends when the casino robbers shoot Arthur, kill his fiancée, and her boss. Arthur would like to forget that horrible day, but the traumatic nightmares and constant reminders won’t let him, and someone is still out to get him. When he tries to start over by running a rural thrift store, someone knocks him unconscious, vandalize the store, and finally tries to kill him. His only chance to find peace is to figure out what the killers want from him and why.

Please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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

Is it Anxiety, Stress or PTSD?

By David Joel Miller.

Just how stressed out are you?

Stressed

Feeling stressed out?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Everyone experiences a little stress in their day-to-day life.  Having anxiety in your life is considered just a part of modern life.  But sometimes that stress and anxiety overwhelm people.  The things that get called trauma come in all shapes and sizes.  Many times these traumas resolve in a short period of time.  Traumas that don’t resolve, that hang on for long periods of time and interrupt your daily life, can turn into a serious mental illness such as an anxiety disorder a stress related disorder or even Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

If you’re struggling with difficulties, anxieties, stress or even some traumatic events it is helpful to know just what kind of problem you’re dealing with.  Some things will sort themselves out on their own.  Other times anxiety, stress, and trauma need professional help.  Here are some of the problems that you might be experiencing and some thoughts about how to tell the different problems apart.

Stress.

Stress is that reaction the body has to challenges from the environment.  Stress can be small and repeated or large and dramatic.  Even good things can be stressful.  That first day on a new job can be full of stress even when you really want that job.  Many people get sick the first week on a new job.  Weddings or the birth of a baby can be stressful also, even when these have been something you have looked forward to.

Most of the time people have stress and it goes away.  But over time people can accumulate a great deal of stress, and this can result in physical, emotional and mental illnesses.  One very important life skill is learning how to manage and reduce stress.  Take a look at the other posts on counselorssoapbox.com about stress and stress management.

Animals get stressed and so do people.

Humans are not the only creatures to get stressed.  Animals in the wild can have a very stressful life.  Sapolsky wrote a very interesting book called Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.”  The main difference between humans and animals seems to be how they adjust to stress after it has come and gone.  Animals who were stressed returned to a low-stress state very quickly.  Humans get stressed and years later they are still experiencing that stress.  For humans, this accumulation of stress over time can result in chronic illnesses.

Anxiety.

Anxiety is a normal human response.  But when it gets out of control it can become a disease.  If you’re in a dangerous situation, anxiety and even fear can help you stay safe.  If the volume on your anxiety is turned up too high, it can cause you to overreact to many everyday situations.  Sometimes people have what they call anxiety attacks.  For a brief period of time, they feel excessive anxiety but eventually, these anxieties attacks subside.

When this high anxiety continues too long and begins to interfere with your daily life, your job, or your relationships, it is excessive and may be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder.  There are a number of different recognized Anxiety disorders depending on the particular features of your anxiety.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a diagnosable mental illness.  Sometimes in life people experience overwhelming traumatic experiences.  They may witness a violent death, a tornado, hurricane, or other natural disasters.  In these events, the person may fear that they or someone close to them is going to die.

This condition was originally identified in the veterans returning from war zones.  It has since been identified in civilian populations who have been exposed to traumatic events and feared for their lives.

As a result of this trauma, people begin to develop difficulties functioning.  Some people will struggle with these problems for short period of time a month or so.  Other people will very quickly return to normal function.  In some cases, as a result of these traumatic experiences, people will continue to have symptoms for years afterward.  These continuing symptoms may be PTSD.

Complex trauma.

Repeated traumatization becomes more difficult to heal from.  There has been a good deal of research and writing about a condition that is sometimes called complex trauma.  While it’s not an official diagnosis, is helpful for many people to think about it this way.  Someone may be able to experience a trauma and recover from it.  If that same person experiences the same trauma repeatedly, each time it becomes more difficult to recover.

If you are struggling with anxiety, stress or PTSD consider getting professional help.

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

Your thoughts making you anxious?

By David Joel Miller

9 ways to tell if your thoughts are causing your anxiety.

Anxiety and Fear

Anxiety and Fear
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Is anxiety a constant feature in your life? Anxiety has its place. It tells you if you are in a dangerous situation and keeps you alert. But if you are always in an anxious state you will wear yourself out and anxiety no longer becomes protective, it becomes your tormentor.

If you have a pattern of thinking anxious thoughts even when they are not necessary then you may be training your brain to maintain an anxious state at times you should be relaxed and calm.

How many of these over-anxious thoughts are you practicing?

1. Your negative thoughts have become a habit.

Is your default brain setting to look for the danger, for what could go wrong? Have you made looking for the negative a habit? Start looking for the good, the unexpected. Meditate on the positive things in your life and challenge yourself to stop ruminating on what could go wrong and begin looking for all the constructive things in your life.

Developing a list of things you are grateful for can increase the habit of seeing the good and reduce the tendency to look for the anxiety provoking cues in your environment.

2. A recurring thought interferes with your life.

Do you have a recurring fear that you are or will get sick? Do you worry about finances and think you will go broke? Do you practice the thoughts you will have when something bad might happen?

Look for the facts in these situations. See a doctor. Get your health checked out. Work on your finances. Look for ways to earn more, spend less and save some. Buy some insurance.

Stop practicing that fearful, anxious thought and begin to take action. Include in those actions learning to relax and to look for the positive. Give yourself credit for the things you have accomplished.

3. You worry about things that don’t really matter.

Do you worry that something will happen, somewhere, to someone, and you do not even know why? Do you worry that characters on shows will die or fictional couples will break up?

When you find yourself worrying, ask yourself, does this matter? Does it matter to you? Does it matter right now?

Do you worry about whether to buy one kind of vegetable or the other? Make a choice and the worry ends. For many of life’s choices, there is no correct answer. Pick the thing you want and move forward.

4. Your need for everything to be perfect makes you anxious.

You are a human, aren’t you? No human is perfect. We learn from our mistakes. Learn from your mistake and do better next time. Everything can never be perfect. Your perfect will not be someone else’s.

5. Your worry about things that are out of your control makes you anxious.

Some things are your job. Some things are not. Worrying about someone else’s job is unproductive. You may think about what would happen, you may even make contingency plans, but let others worry about their stuff.

Worrying about things over which you have no control does not protect you from danger. It diverts resources from doing the things you need to do into unproductive worrying.

6. You beat yourself up about things everyone does – normal behavior.

Accept your humanness, embrace it. Sometimes you will burp, sometimes you will pass gas, possible at the most embarrassing moment. All humans sometimes trip or fall.

We all make errors and do uncomfortable things. Try to minimize your number and the nature of your embarrassing moments but do not beat yourself up.

Hint here. Turn your cell phone off during church services and do not eat beans just before an important meeting. Do things proactively to reduce your embarrassing moments, but once they happen, accept that you to are blessed with those normal human moments.

7. Calling yourself names increases your anxieties.

Call a child stupid often enough and they believe you. Eventually, they will stop trying to learn. You can do the same thing to yourself. Calling yourself names is not helpful. It will result in anxiety over your self-worth. You are worthwhile simply because you are you.

8. Second guessing decisions will paralyze you with anxiety.

Once a decision is made move forward. There are times when situations change when you get new information, and you need to reevaluate. If you find yourself rethinking every decision realize that this is wasting time looking back over your shoulder at the past and you should be living in the present.

9. Telling yourself that good things will never happen for you feeds the anxiety.

What you tell yourself over and over your brain believes. If you say you can’t your brain will avoid trying. If you repeatedly tell yourself things will never get better, they won’t. This is a negative affirmation. Negative affirmations like positive ones work. Try telling yourself that you can do things and good things become possible.

Do you practice any of those 9 thinking patterns that cause anxiety? Would you be willing to part with some of your fearfulness? Try practicing more positive and more helpful ways of thinking. Practice helpful thoughts over and over and see if your anxieties don’t melt away.

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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

Start today changing your thinking to reduce your anxiety.

17 Ways to de-stress

How do you manage stress?

By David Joel Miller.

Stress can overwhelm you at any time or anywhere – Here are some suggested ways to turn down the stress volume.

1. Breath.

Pain, Anxiety, Depression, Stress

Pain, Anxiety, Depression, Stress
Photo courtesy of Flickr (marsmet481)

Under stress, most of us forget to breathe. The result is fewer shorter breathes and the overwhelming sense of panic that can follow a lack of air in your lungs.

Slow your breathing down. Take deep breaths from the diaphragm. You should feel your stomach moving in and out. Short fast breaths from high up in your chest can increase the feelings of stress.

Breathe slowly and deeply, pause between breaths. Watch your stress move out each time you breathe out and pause before taking in that next deep breath.

2. Make friends with silence.

There is noise everywhere. We have our radios and our televisions, our iPad’s and other electronics all screaming away at once. Add on people talking at you all day long and a few people screaming for whatever reason and you are bound to feel the stress meter rise.

Think back to that last time you felt really relaxed and distressed. Maybe a vacation in the mountains or at the beach. One thing you are likely to remember about that time is how quiet it was.

Those voices in your head can get awfully loud some days. Learn to quiet your mind down and embrace the silence. I keep a set of headphones at my desk to minimize the noise. Soft nature sounds help, sometimes no sound at all helps even more to reduce my stress.

3. Say a positive affirmation.

Affirmations are those little saying you tell yourself that help you to cope. Don’t lie to yourself or the whole affirmation will backfire. Tell yourself that this may be stressful but you can handle it. This too shall pass or whatever other saying works for you to put this current stress in perspective.

4. Make a list of the good things in your life.

If you keep thinking about all the problems your life story gets soaked through with problems. Most of us have lots of positive things going on. Take those little sparkling moments and hold on to them.

Writing out a list of things that are good, things you are grateful for, can put the rest of your life in perspective. This list, sometimes called a gratitude list, can be a reference guide when things get tough.

The very act of writing down positive things in your life reinforces those things. Thinking saves the thought briefly in one part of the brain. Writing stores these blessings in a second part of the brain. Sharing them out loud with a friend stores them in a third part of the brain. The more of your brain that is full of happiness the less room there is for stress.

5. Stand more.

Stand and get the body moving. Stretch and relax those tense muscles. Tight muscles can be a result of stress but they can also be the cause of your body thinking that the stress is worse than it really is.

People who stand burn more calories than those who sit. Standing is a quick easy ways to relax and reduce the stress of the moment.

6. Walk more.

Walking can be very effective in reducing depression. When the body shares the load the mind can get a rest. A quick walk to the end of the hall, the water cooler or the bathroom can refocus the mind and move the stress off the front burner.

7. Make prioritized lists.

The human brain has a limit on the number of things you can keep in conscious memory at any one time. The more you try to keep in the front of the mind the less space is available to work on the current task.

Writing down a “to do list” can free up space in your brain to get this task done. It also reduces the anxiety you may be feeling that you might forget something.

Once the list is down on paper, prioritize those things. Do one big hard thing first and leave the long list of quick things for later when you may only have a few minutes left.

Check those items off your list as you do them and by the end of the day you may find that you are far more productive and less stressed than when you were spending all that time trying to remember all those things you needed to get done today.

8. Feel what you’re feeling.

Feelings are not the enemy. They can convey needed information. Feelings like human friends are not always right. Because something scares you does not mean it is dangerous. Listen to the feelings but then make informed decisions on how you will handle those feelings.

See the post Making Friends with Feelings

9. Look at things that make you happy.

If you run from place to place with no time to take in the joys of life you will only accumulate more stress. Slow down sometimes and notice the pleasant things. Take an extra second or two and taste the thing you are eating. Pause to notice those flowers growing outside your office.

Accumulating those brief doses of pleasure can make the rest of the day less stressful.

Ever stop to really look at the pictures your workplace put up in the hall?

10. Carry a worry stone

A worry stone, religious symbol or other personal object carried in your pocket can absorb a lot of that stress you are holding onto.

11. Make time for family and friends.

When you don’t have friends and family around you, then you are all alone. Seek out positive people for a role in your stress reduction plan.

12. A pet can help you reduce stress.

When no one else listens, when you feel all alone, that pet, a dog or cat, is waiting at the door when you come home. A pet is a great example of unconditional love.

13. Be an indoor explorer – look for new experiences.

Check out a new deli or other places to eat. Visit a new store or library. Keep an eye peeled for things you might try that you have never done. A local adult education or college class may offer all kinds of opportunities for new experiences.

There are lots of resources on the internet these days to allow you to take a class at a far off university or learn about something that interests you.

14. Develop a skill.

Is there a new skill you might develop? Something you always wanted to do but never got around to? Take the time to develop that skill and see where it takes you. Those breaks while you practice that skill reduce stress and challenge you to keep working on your self-improvement.

15. Do self-care.

The more stressed-out people get the less time they take for self-care. Do something nice for yourself. Look for ways to treat yourself well.

16. Practice your spirituality.

If you have a faith practice it. Religion or spirituality are comforting when times are tough. If you have a belief make sure that your actions are consistent with that belief. Pray, meditate or engage in other spiritual practices. Those moments of faith can get that stress volume down to a realistic size.

17. Express Yourself.

Write not because you have to but because you chose to. Draw if that interests you. Do this for yourself, not for the approval of others. Dance, pantomime or practice any other expressive skill.

There are my suggestions of 17 ways to reduce stress. Do you have other ways you have found to help you manage your stress?

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.