Posts Tagged ‘anxiety and worry’

Codependence

November 15, 2016

When a person is codependent, they are unable to define and meet their own needs in a relationship. This individual “loses” their sense of self because they are completely absorbed in the needs of the other person. This intense focus on the other person can jeopardize your health, safety, and success in life.

CHARACTERISTICS OF CODEPENDENT PEOPLE

There are many emotional characteristics of codependent people. They often experience low self-esteem and constantly compare themselves to others. They might have an overblown sense of responsibility for other people and fear abandonment. Often a person who is codependent finds it difficult to set and maintain boundaries in a relationship, and they also have a difficult time expressing their own personal goals or values as an individual.

HELP FOR THE CODEPENDENT PERSON

The following tips can help you or someone you know move from codependence to healthier relationships.

  • Identity – Embrace your own needs and emotions. Saying “no” to a loved one doesn’t mean you don’t care for them, and it’s healthy to set these boundaries. Tough love is sometimes the most loving thing you can do.
  • Self-reliant – What are some ways you could be more independent? When can you take responsibility for your own emotions and actions? Encourage others around you to do the same.
  • Stop “fixing” – It is not your responsibility to solve all your loved one’s problems. You can still support and love them without trying to “fix” their lives. Give them space to take personal responsibility for their actions and future.
  • Relax – Relieve stress, tension, and anxiety by practicing relaxation techniques. Yoga, enjoyable music, mindfulness, and activities you love are all things you can do to help dial down worry and guilt.

If you or your loved one is struggling with codependency, be courageous and seek help. A licensed counselor or therapist can help you explore how you began to act this way. Together, you can establish a plan to change your life’s direction and move from a codependent relationship to a mutually satisfying one.

Advertisements

Escaping Financial Stress

August 12, 2016

We know our minds and bodies are connected, but did you realize they’re also linked to our bank accounts? Financial stress can have a large impact on your physical health, thoughts, and relationships.

The largest obstacle between financial wisdom and lowering our stress is our attitude. In our quest to make the right decision, we can become scared about the wrong one. Sometimes we assume if we try to make wise financial choices we’ll just end up failing. However, it would be better to take the risk, and even possibly fail, than to never make a move.

Tips to Alleviate Financial Stress

The pinch on our bank accounts and the ever-changing market isn’t something to take lightly. The following tips may help ease the financial stress and strain on your wallet.

Adjust your perspective – Often times, when we have failed in the past, success seems farther out of reach than it actually is. Perceptions can easily be flawed. Our attitudes about what we have control over and what we don’t control can impact our level of success.

Stick to your budget – Knowing how to track your money is critical. Establishing a clear budget shows you exactly how much inflow and outflow you have. If you’re unsure how to make a budget, there are online tools and mobile apps available to teach you.

Identify unhealthy emotions – If you’ve made a poor financial choice this doesn’t mean you’re destined for failure. Guilt is rarely a helpful emotion. Instead, focus on what you can change  rather than beating yourself up for your prior financial mistakes.

Know your weaknesses – Avoid places, people, or situations that will tempt you to spend money you don’t have. For example, if you make impulse purchases after a stressful day at the office, try taking a walk and avoiding the mall. Practice saying no to people who pressure you to spend too much money.

Seek help – Look to the experts for help if you need it. Speaking with a legitimate professional can answer your financial questions and guide you toward a specific, attainable goal. Why not benefit from their expertise?

Stress Self-Assessment

March 14, 2016

Feeling stressed? While everyone reacts differently to stress, your body, brain, and emotions have a unique stress response. Understanding these reactions can help you fine-tune your stress-reducing strategies.

STEP 1: EVALUATE YOUR RESPONSES
  • Pain – Stress can bring on immediate or chronic pain, such as back pain, headaches, nausea, jaw or fist clenching, muscle tension, etc.
  • Depression – Extreme amounts of stress can lead to symptoms of depression, including feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty.
  • Anger – Arguing and feeling short-fused with coworkers or loved ones is a common reaction when under stress.
  • Anxiety – Stress can trigger you to feel anxious, worrying or fearing the worst possible scenario.
  • Substance Use – Smoking, drinking excessively and drug use are all unhealthy ways of self-medicating your anxiety.
  • Eating – Overeating, skipping meals, and eating junk food with little nutrition are all ways people change their eating habits when under extreme stress.
STEP 2: EVALUATE COPING METHODS

Ask yourself the following questions to understand how you’re managing your stress load.

  • Do you have a support network in place?
  • Are there activities you enjoy?
  • Do you regularly get enough sleep?
  • Are there responsibilities you can delegate?
  • Do you practice relaxation exercises such as mindfulness, yoga, or meditation?
  • Do you have access to professionals who can help you?
STEP 3: TAKE ACTION

After you’ve evaluated coping methods, here are a few action steps you can take.

  • Address physical concerns – See your physician to assess any immediate physical concerns or questions you might have. Seek their recommendations for changes in your diet, exercise, or other habits.
  • Start small – Start with simple tasks, such as turning off screens or electronics earlier before bed or taking five minutes for deep breathing.
  • Recruit a friend – Accountability is key, so choose a friend or family member to encourage you on the path to positive changes in your life.
  • Take notes – Everyone responds differently to relaxation techniques or organizational tools. Keep a journal or use an app to track the strategies working for you. Seeing your progress can be just the motivation needed to continue good self-care.

Stress Less

October 2, 2015

You’ve probably heard countless ways to manage stress: exercise, get enough sleep, talk to a friend, meditate, write things down – the list goes on. But according to Huffington Post blogger Jon Wortmann, before you can even thing about managing your stress, there are three things you must do first.

Notice Stress

This seems obvious, but sometimes we’re so busy or distracted we completely miss our body’s signs that we’re feeling stressed. Have you been getting a lot of headaches or stomachaches? Does it fee like your having a panic attack? Has your appetite or sleep schedule changed? Your brain may be telling you something needs your attention. Instead of shaking off or ignoring these signs, consider if they’re connected to stress.

Admit You’re Stressed

This doesn’t mean you can’t handle what’s on your plate. Once you admit you feel stressed, you can begin to focus on what’s most important at that moment. Making these kinds of choices can tell your brain to turn down the alarm as you work to get things under control.

Focus on One Thing You Want to Think or Feel

If you find yourself in an immediately stressful situation (heart is racing, palms are sweating), focus on the emotion you want to be feeling. Imagine yourself in your favorite location, eating your favorite food, next to someone you care about, or anything that can help you feel calmer quickly. Being able to recall these calming memories in a time of stress can help you work through it and focus instead on what need to get done.

All About Assertiveness

July 16, 2015

Do you have a difficult time saying “no” even when you know you should? Are you frustrated because you are so busy attending to the wants, needs and desires of others that your own go unfulfilled? Have you ever walked away from a situation and wished you had handled it differently? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may feel challenged in the area of assertiveness.

What is assertiveness? What is the difference between being assertive and being aggressive? Will people think that I’m being pushy? These are common questions and concerns. Here are some pointers to help clarify what assertiveness is really all about.

Assertiveness is…

Assertiveness is expressing our thoughts, feelings and beliefs in a direct, honest and appropriate way. It means that we have respect both for ourselves and for others. We are consciously working toward a “win-win” solution to problems. A win-win solution means that we are trying to make sure that both parties end up with their needs met to the best degree possible. An assertive person effectively influences, listens and negotiates so that others choose to cooperate willingly (or feel safe to assert their own point of view).

Assertiveness is not…

Assertiveness is very different from aggressiveness. Aggressiveness involves expressing our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in a way that is inappropriate and violates the rights of others. It can be either active or passive, but no matter which, it communicates an impression of disrespect. By being aggressive, we put our wants, needs and rights above those of others. We attempt to get our way by not allowing others a choice.

Becoming assertive is a lifetime project. As you begin to practice some basic assertiveness skills, you will develop confidence in yourself. Some situations are more difficult than others, so you may want to begin practicing assertiveness skills in easier situations. It may be easier to assert yourself with strangers than with your supervisor at work or with your family. For example, while waiting in line and someone cuts in front of you, you can assertively say, “I believe I was next.” Keep practicing these skills and you will become a more confident, happier person.

Coworker Woes – Dealing with Unprofessional Colleagues

June 8, 2015

In many office environments, employees have less than collegial relationships, a new survey shows. Over twenty percent of respondents recently surveyed said they work with someone who is rude or unprofessional on the job. Of those, 68% felt coworkers frequently behave badly – and not just to the people who report to them. More than half (59%) of all workers surveyed said their boorish colleagues are equal-opportunity offenders, upsetting subordinates, peers and superior alike.

OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in the placement of administrative professionals, developed the survey. The interviews were conducted by an independent research firm and include responses from 532 full- or part-time workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

“Most employees will encounter an unpleasant colleague at some point, and how they interact with these coworkers can affect their careers,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Tactfully handling challenging personalities requires strong interpersonal skills and diplomacy, which can help someone stand out for all the right reasons.”

Coping With Unpleasant Colleagues

Although nobody likes working with someone who is inconsiderate or unkind, the survey suggests those who have been in the workforce the longest may have built up immunity to bad behavior. Among respondents, 35% of those age 65 and older said inconsiderate coworkers should be tolerated as long as they are good at their jobs.

The Belittler – Belittlers routinely tear others down in order to build themselves up. Put downs, demeaning remarks and disparaging comments are common trademarks of this person.

Coping strategy: Your confidence is the belittler’s weakness, and he or she will back off if you stand up for yourself. Try refuting a belittler’s criticism by asserting yourself, using facts where possible. For example, if he or she puts down one of your ideas, say “it’s something that’s worked for X, Y and Z, and it’s also more cost-effective than what we’re doing now.”

The Credit Thief – Insecure about their status, credit thieves boldly steal your ideas and grab the glory when a project is successful. Curiously, they are nowhere to be found when things go wrong.

Coping strategy: Keep a written record of your activities and accomplishments. Give your manager regular status reports about the projects you are working on, and don’t hesitate to correct misperceptions (for example, “Actually, I did the research; John helped input the data”).

The Saboteur – Saboteurs have a knack for leaving colleagues in the lurch. Similar to the belittler, they like to make others look bad. Their tactics aren’t always overt, so you may not realize you are working with a saboteur until a critical deadline arrives. Then, you find you are unable to complete your part of the project because the saboteur has withheld important information.

Coping strategy: Be sure your supervisor or project manager knows the roles and responsibilities of each team member, and insist on regular progress reports so that saboteurs can’t take advantage of lapses in oversight.

The Rumormonger – Rumormongers like drama and often spread half-truths or lies by talking behind others’ backs. This is an especially dangerous type of coworker because he or she has the ability to tarnish your reputation.

Coping strategy: The best defense is to avoid engaging in any kind of gossip – remember that anything you say can be held against you. If the rumormonger starts swapping stories with you, say only good things about your colleagues and excuse yourself as quickly as possible.

The Slacker – This person may try to pass off tasks to other staff members. The slacker often claims he or she is “too busy” to help out yet will make time for water cooler chats and web surfing during office hours.

Coping Strategy: Be sure this person carries his or her weight on project teams by documenting the responsibilities of each member of the group and making for regular status reports. Hold everyone accountable for his or her portion of the project, and be firm with deadlines.

Bad Bets

March 23, 2015

The Signs of Compulsive Gambling

The number of gaming establishments has climbed in recent years, and so have the number of people with gambling problems.

An estimated 85% of all people gamble in some form or another, whether it’s visiting a casino or race track or playing a lottery. Five percent of these people develop a type of addiction referred to as an “impulse control disorder,” according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

The question that follow were developed by the self-help group Gamblers Anonymous to help determine whether someone should seek help for a gambling problem. The more “yes” answers, the more likely that help is needed. (Remember, be honest with your answers. To be anything but honest on a self-test is a form of denial, and denial is another sign that gambling has become a problem.)

Do You Have A Gambling Problem?

  • Have you ever lost time from work or school due to gambling?
  • Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
  • Has gambling ever affected your reputation?
  • Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
  • Have you ever gambled to get money with which to pay debts or to solve financial difficulties?
  • Has gambling caused a decrease to your ambition or efficiency?
  • After losing, have you ever felt that you had to gamble as soon as possible to recover your losses?
  • After a win, have you had a strong urge to return and win more?
  • Do you often gamble until your last dollar is gone?
  • Have you ever borrowed money to finance your gambling?
  • Have you ever sold anything to finance your gambling?
  • Have you ever felt reluctant to use “gambling money” for the things you need?
  • Have you ever gambled longer than you planned?
  • Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
  • Has gambling ever caused you to have difficulty sleeping?
  • Have you ever considered suicide as a result of your gambling?

If this self-test has offered you insight into the negative effects of gambling on your life, get help. Gambling’s influence can be destructive.

Practicing Mindfulness

February 12, 2015

Chances are, if you’re breathing, you’re experiencing varying levels of stress all within a 24-hour period. Perhaps you regularly judge your performance in life, work, and relationships. This pressure and consistent negative thinking puts you at a greater risk of anxiety and depression.

Mindfulness is one way to redirect yourself away from these thoughts. This meditative practice focuses on the present moment in a non-judgmental way. You begin to experience the world through a new lens, engaging all your senses.

How to Practice Mindfulness

Learn the art of mindfulness by following the steps listed below.

Focus and practice good breathing – First, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Pay attention to what it feels like to breathe in and out. Relax your m ind and dismiss other thoughts. Notice your abdomen as it rises and falls with each breath. If your mind does begin to wander, redirect your thoughts back to the exercise.

Pay attention  to your senses – Focusing on your sense can be calming. Try this exercise while walking outside. Concentrate on what you hear, see, and smell. Take a deep breath. Direct your mind away from any negative or stressful thoughts.

Listen carefully to others – Truly listen to people you’re meeting for the first time and those you’ve known a long time. Hear what they’re saying with new ears. Consider what messages they are trying to convey.

Delay judgment – We tend to size people up immediately. When we are slow to judge others, we discover what’s special about the individual. In turn, we might be less negative about the world around us.

Mindfulness might seem awkward or uneasy at first. However, as you practice it every day for several months, it will begin to feel more natural. Dialing down the stress level is always beneficial so when you practice mindfulness, great things can happen.

When Baby Brings the Blues

January 16, 2015

Postpartum depression is a very real concern for new mothers.

It’s one of life’s most beautiful images, a mother holding a newborn infant. Unfortunately for some new mothers, caring for their baby is the last thing on their minds. They’re among the mothers who experience postpartum depression following delivery.

An estimated 10% to 20% of new mothers experience postpartum depression (postpartum literally means “after birth”). Although the symptoms usually go away within a few days, some mothers experience them for several weeks or more, threatening their ability to care for their child and themselves.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is believed to be caused by a hormone that physically prepares a woman for pregnancy. This hormone is manufactured in large doses in the last stage of pregnancy, but most all of the hormone is flushed from the body during delivery. Between delivery and the time it takes for the body to bring this hormone to normal levels, a woman can experience depression.*

Unfortunately, PPD is hard to detect. Many women are ashamed of their depressed feelings. They also may believe that they’re bad mothers, which only heightens their shame. Those closest to the new mother may sense that something is wrong, but dismiss it as the normal stress of childbirth.

If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, be aware of the possibility that PPD can develop. Awareness may lead you to be more conscious of your emotions in the days following delivery and to come forward when your feelings are uncomfortable.

*Postpartum depression is only one type of postpartum problems. Some mothers experience postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder, psychosis or anxiety disorder after delivery.

Signs of Postpartum Depression

  • Sluggishness, fatigue, exhaustion
  • Sadness, depression, hopelessness
  • Appetite and sleep disturbances
  • Poor concentration, confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Over concern for the baby
  • Uncontrollable crying, irritability
  • Lack of interest in the baby
  • Guilt, inadequacy, worthlessness
  • Fear of harming the baby
  • Fear of harming oneself
  • Exaggerated highs or lows

Stress Happens

December 9, 2013

Stress happens, especially during the holidays. We all experience holiday stress. Don’t let it ruin your holiday. Stressors to monitor during the holiday season are financial, time, and emotional.

Some tips to reduce stress are: keep within your budget; create memories – memories will last longer than most gifts; limit commitments; and schedule some “down time” to energize your emotional well-being. Evaluate your activities. Does this activity add value to your holiday? Even traditions can be stressful when you are short of resources. Only participate in those activities that are meaningful to you.

Remember, memories of the holidays will last much longer than most any gift you give or receive. Make them good ones!