Category: Anxiety

Dismantling Fear’s Grip Is Much Easier Than You Think!

Face your fearFear.

Fear is a four-lettered word that holds us back from what we really want to achieve and become in life. It tells us terrible lies about ourselves, about the people around us, and about the world that we live in. If given enough power, fear can tighten its grip on us and cast aside our courage in one fell swoop. You can even hear it snidely whisper in your ear, “You’re all mine, and I’m never letting you go.”

At this point, there are two actions you can take. You can either bow down to fear and let it rule your life, or you can stand up to it and face it head-on.

When it comes to our fears and anxieties, we tend to avoid them. Scared of huge bridges? Don’t drive over them. Terrified of heights? Better not go up to view the city skyline 20+ floors above the ground. Frightened of insects or flying things? Hiking and camping are probably out for you then.

But if we were to obey our fears and avoid the things that scare us the most, our world becomes quite small, doesn’t it? Your fear could stop you from getting the job you want, seeing your favorite sports team or musicians play live, experiencing nature’s beauty with a loved one, or making memories with the people you hold closest to your heart. What kind of a life is that?

I’m here to tell you that fear isn’t permanent. You don’t have to live with it! You can actually do something about it. If you have OCD, you know that the disorder is based on “what if?” scenarios and an intolerance of the unknown. For instance, let’s say you’re afraid of bridges over large bodies of water. You might do everything in your power to avoid driving on bridges because you think up scary scenarios such as, “What if I accidentally drive off the side of the bridge? What if I get stuck in traffic and the bridge shakes so much that it collapses? What if I get stuck and then get sick and have nowhere to go or pass out?” These fears can become very debilitating. Heck, your palms might be sweating just reading this if you have this fear.

So how do you overcome that fear? Face it! Stand up and say, “I’m not afraid of bridges, and if I am, well, I won’t be for long!” Expose yourself to the fear by taking baby steps and driving over bridges. Your instinct might be to run away from the fear, but you will only let it win over you! By repeated exposures to things you fear the most, you will begin to dismantle fear’s grip over you. In fact, you might begin to see beauty in the things you feared the most – the twilight winking over the city skyline, the way the water laps peacefully under the beautiful bridge, the glory of the mountainsides and gorges in the world, and the way that fireflies light up to decorate the summer night sky.

I know that getting over your fears isn’t easy. Trust me, it’s going to take some time, and that’s okay! Just keep your spirits up and keep trying. If you find that going it alone is difficult, reach out and call me at (636) 236-2267 – I would be more than happy to help you through your journey! In the meantime, here are 10 inspirational quotes about conquering fear. I hope that they are helpful for you!

“When a resolute fellow steps up to the great bully – the world – and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventures.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real.” –Unknown

“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday, and I love today.” –William Allen White

“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” – Japanese Proverb

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” – Helen Keller

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” –Dale Carnegie

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” –Marie Curie

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” – Henry Ford

“Fear can’t hurt you. When it washes over you, give it no power. It’s a snake with no venom. Remember that. That knowledge can save you.” –Maureen Johnson

The Power of Not Resisting

free womanAs Dr. Reid Wilson ( was saying yesterday, we only have OCD or any anxiety disorder if we are resisting what is coming to us in our thoughts and feelings (automatic thoughts that just show up in our minds and/or feelings that we are feeling in THAT moment, each and every moment).

Think about that for a minute. Don’t think about your particular thoughts or feelings that you hate. Just think about what he said in general. Look how hard we work at trying to get rid of thoughts and feelings. If we WORKED at not resisting them instead, what would happen? I mean, what REAL harm can come to us if we don’t resist what thoughts show up in our heads at any given moment or feelings we are experiencing at any moment? Actually, nothing REAL could happen to us. So how about we cut the resisting part out (work at it), and TRUST, just for a day or 2 or 3, that this could quite possibly be the only thing we need to do to free us from our “powerful” afflictions that we have in our thoughts and feelings.

I can attest to it 100% that when l resist the thoughts and feelings that come to me in that moment, (by demanding that they leave or change), l keep my anxiety disorder in motion. I can also attest that when l don’t resist and just sort of work on leaving my random thoughts and feelings alone, my anxiety disorder really does truly start easing up and backing off. The only other piece l have found is that once l do the above, I then need to get on with my life in that moment (each and every one), regardless of certain thoughts that may be there or feelings that l may be experiencing in that moment.

Give yourself a break and work at not resisting. You will not be disappointed with the results. It’s no more complicated than that.

5 Powerful Steps to Help You Overcome Anxiety

happy peopleMost if not all people have experienced some level of anxiety at some point in their lives. Whether it’s trying something new, meeting someone for the first time, or facing a fear, there are moments in our lives in which we have to overcome anxiety in order to move on with our lives and function in a normal life setting.

Not everyone experiences severe or extreme anxiety. Sometimes anxiety can be so overwhelming for a person that he or she is unable to function or carry out normal daily tasks. In these cases, it is important for a person to not only know some steps they can take to help relieve this anxiety but also how to seek help to overcome the anxiety in the long run.

Here are a 5 few steps you can take when you feel anxious:

1. Recognize the Signs of Your Anxiety – Take note of what makes you feel anxious, and note the signs of panic. Literally write them down if you need. Sometimes writing or listing these signs or symptoms out can help us recognize them and better understand them as they start to happen when anxiety comes on.

2. Take a Few Deep Breaths – When you are in a state of panic or are feeling anxious, adrenaline is released into your body. Taking a few deep breaths will help your body to burn off that adrenaline and calm down. Count to four as you are taking deep breaths to ease your mind and focus on thinking clearly.

3. List Your Fears – Most of the time what you are afraid of is not always as urgent as you make it out to be in your mind. Listing out fears or triggers of your anxiety will help you identify the cause. By listing these out when you are not anxious, you can think more clearly about what you are really anxious about and how to stop those negative thoughts from flooding your mind.

4. Check the Facts – With anxiety often come negative thoughts. Many times when we are experiencing fear or anxiety, we begin to think untrue negative thoughts that are just that – thoughts. Realize that these aren’t hard, cold facts; they are simply made-up negative thoughts. Before you get yourself in too deep with these thoughts, list out the facts of the situation and focus on those instead of the “what-if’s.”

5. Think Positively – Like I stated in the previous step, anxiety and fear tend to trigger us to have many negative, untrue thoughts. When you begin to have these thoughts, stop and realize it and begin to turn them into positive thoughts. Thinking positively can help relieve the anxiety and help you to feel calm and be more relaxed.

If you are experiencing anxiety on a more frequent basis and it prevents you from performing regular daily activities, give me a call at (636) 236-2267. Let’s talk about what is bothering you and how I can help you take these steps along with some others to help you overcome your anxiety. You don’t have to let it run your life!

Anxious? Here is Help


Be brave, courageous. Let go of being in control and worrying about losing that edge. And go on anyway. That’s courage.

Try to sit with your anxiety. It’s the trying that’s important. The invasive thoughts will occur. Just keep trying to refocus on what you are reading, watching on TV, etc.

You will find out that you can go on in the face of the anxiety, that you will not “Lose your mind.”

Call fear and OCD’s bluff and discover if what you fear is true. Don’t believe anything. Don’t believe your thoughts. Find out if it is true through actions. No thoughts. Fear hates discovery and choice because it unveils the empty threat.

Anything you can do to interrupt the loop will start to create new neural pathways. This is when the hard-wiring that has been going on, because of the anxiety, will begin to stop.

3 Ways to Deal with Anxiety

1) Negative: being intolerant, looking to escape, avoiding, relief seeking

2) Neutral: Ignore, going on with things without responding to the anxiety, just shifting focus

3) Positive: Choose to make space for it to be there. Acknowledge its presence and allow it to remind you as often as need be that it is still there and then do a healthy behavior anyway.


What to Do When You Feel Panicky

(Objectify, quantify, assess, & duration)

1) Describe the sensation/experience. What do you feel? – Heart, lungs, muscles,… which muscles feel tense? Create an analogy, i.e. ‘my stomach feels like someone is twisting a towel’, ‘the pain in my head feels like someone is driving a spike through it.’

2) Measure the intensity on a 1-10 scale. Rate the level of anxiety.

3) Honestly ask yourself, can I stand this?…do I have room in my life to experience this right now. Recognize your choices. Willingly enduring the anxiety without bailing out or bailing out and seeking relief.

4) If you decide to endure it, pick a period of time like 10 minutes. If you choose not to endure the feeling, try breath exercises or muscle relaxation or focus attention on an object outside of your body. If it’s not worth the struggle to be tolerant, bail out anyway. That is still available to you.

5) Challenge the experience to get worse. Dare the anxiety to increase.


If any of you try this, I’d like to hear how it worked or didn’t work for you.Let me know.

Insights into Fighting OCD

“When you’re going through hell, keep moving.”

Before doing ERP – alter your mindset by ‘wanting anxiety’ and then act on that frame of reference as you engage in that feared situation.

Say to yourself “I can tolerate this happening. I want this to happen, I choose it – I really want it to keep happening – I win if it keeps happening!”

My job is to provoke more doubt, anxiety, and uncertainty than I think I can tolerate.

More Tools for Extreme Anxiety

As promised, here are a few more statements and thoughts for you to use when dealing with intense anxiety.


1) I’m gonna let it roll. I’m gonna let the thoughts and the anxiety be there and see what happens.

2) Let it be in the space.

3) You’re stronger if you can allow yourself to feel remarkably weak.

4) Just soak it in.

5) I’m just going to be how I am and I’m not gonna do that stuff I was doing.

6) Be and feel weak and just go on with your day. Accept and get used to it.

7) I’m prepared to shake it all up.

8) It’s exciting to see you go through this growth. Let’s see how far we can do this.

9) I’m still here.

10) Don’t know if I can handle it, but I’m just going in anyway.

Tools for Extreme Anxiety

This will be the first of several blogs where I will share tools that have worked for me when dealing with extreme anxiety. Sometimes a simple statement can make the difference in a day rife with anxiety. Tell yourself any one of these tools and sit with the thoughts it creates….then see what happens. Allow yourself to feel the discomfort. It will eventually dissipate in time and make you stronger for the next go-around with anxiety.

1)  Acceptance that “I am where I am and I’m just gonna be where I’m at and I’m gonna proceed anyway and see what happens.”

2) UNRESOLVED…..leave it.

3) Profoundly allow yourself to feel anxious and  just see what happens.

4) Be and feel weak and just go on with the day….accept and get used to it.

5) The only way is not to play.

Stay strong. I’ll be back to share more another day.

OCD and Anxiety


You are not your OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder consists of intrusive and unwanted thoughts, images, and urges which cause anxiety. In one’s attempt to reduce anxiety, repetitive rituals are performed which continues to feed the OCD cycle and make it worse.

OCD may manifest itself in various ways.

ERP is the gold standard treatment for OCD. It’s the act of doing the opposite of what you want to do during an anxious moment. This may seem counterintuitive at the time but it is exactly what is needed to recondition our amygdala, which is responsible for alerting us to danger. The beauty of ERP is that for the first time we are put in a position of control and choice as it relates to our OCD. At the risk of oversimplifying ERP it can be equated to jumping into a cold swimming pool and staying in it long enough to the point of being no longer cold to you. This process is called habituation where we expose ourselves to exactly what we are wanting to avoid. This is done on a repeated basis until it no longer causes any discomfort. This has been the most effective treatment for overcoming OCD. It definitely was for mine. The more aggressive you are willing to be with ERP the sooner it will get better.

When we are afflicted by OCD and anxiety one fact which is overlooked is that if we allow our anxiety to become at the highest level possible without interruption, it will NATURALLY begin to decrease on its own. This is where the real healing takes place.

Sometimes it may appear confusing as to what is OCD and what is real. One effective technique is to realize that when you feel that you must do something right now before you can go on, you are in OCD land. Another red flag is when you have no sense of free choice in the moment. You MUST do this NOW in order to get rid of this NOW.

OCD causes us to doubt and demands certainty. The problem with a 100% demand for certainty is that no one has that available to them. In OCD our alarm system tells us without this guaranteed certainty we are in grave danger. In reality we are not but to the OCD sufferer they feel in complete and total danger. Quite a quandary. A very effective method in dealing with this quagmire is to work towards increasing one’s tolerance for uncertainty. I know that sounds like a completely foreign notion but from someone who has been there, in time it will not be foreign to you. So the question is how do we increase our tolerance for uncertainty? First of all it’s important to note that we comfortably go about our lives doing things that are uncertain a vast majority of the time. The difference is it is just not the focus of our worry at the time. So the question becomes how do we become unconcerned about things that are unreasonable to be concerned about. The most effective path in accomplishing this is undoubtedly ERP.