Why do we beat up on ourselves when we are feeling off? Accept it. It is what it is. We are human. Some days we feel good; some days we don’t. That is a fact. The only thing to do with that is hands-off. We aren’t responsible for how we feel, good or bad, in any given moment. We only need to do what we have to do that day or how much we can with how we feel. Yes, not letting our feelings determine what we do next is a powerful way to live, but that doesn’t mean we try to change how we feel in any given moment. We don’t control the weather and we don’t control how or what we feel. Accept where you are and how you feel in any given moment and do what you can do moment by moment, and that is it. Don’t get involved with what you don’t control and do what you can control to your best judgment and your reasonable best.
I believe we all have a battle within and it is the biggest and most consistent one we will ever have to fight. If you don’t think you have a battle within, ask yourself if you ever worry about things you don’t want to or if you haven’t done things that you wish you had. Obviously, we all have.
There are, of course times, when to work on worries or concerns can be of value, if it is done constructively. Let’s talk about the Times when you don’t want to think or give attention to your worry. For me, the Times worry comes to me and is the most powerful in the evening when the day is done and the sun is down. Worries can come to me in all different forms. Worry may come to me in the form of uncertainty about my future, my self-confidence, self esteem, my value and worth as a person, financial concerns, and many others. Another time when worry comes to visit in a powerful way is when l don’t feel well, for whatever reason. I could have allergies flaring, sinus issues, a bad cough or headache, or maybe l am just feeling off emotionally, like not feeling very resilient or overly sensitive for whatever reason.
The above are all examples of when worry can be most potent and tend to affect me and, at times, even my outlook on my life.
Don’t you love it when people say, “You think too much. Stop worrying about it.” Oh, my God! That is brilliant!!! I never thought of that. How did you come up with that? Give me a break, will ya?” Man, that’s the person I’m gonna go running to for advice when l feel off, weak, or out of sorts! You want to say, “Please leave immediately, if not sooner.” So much for those who make matters worse. We could talk about that all night.
I’d rather discuss things that can help the present challenging situation or moment, not make it worse. Here are the kinds of things that help me. First of all, l don’t shame myself or make myself feel worse because I can’t snap out of it. It is what it is. And anyone who doesn’t understand that is really in poor shape internally. When some form of worry comes to me in the evening, l will tell myself that l am not going to think on this at least until the sun comes up. I try to never address a problem of mine when l feel off or really vulnerable. My viewpoint is skewed by my mood and things can appear much worse and negative than what they really are in reality.
I also remind myself that when l do feel better to not address my problem unless l am willing to take action toward improving or correcting it. Otherwise, I am just ruminating and making things worse. It also helps to frequently remind myself that I don’t have a crystal ball and know the future even though I think I do, especially when I am feeling low. Suspend addressing it until you feel better and are willing to take some small action toward improving it even if you don’t know what that action is yet. Being willing to take action and knowing what action to take are 2 entirely different things. For me, being willing to take action now is more important and difficult to achieve than knowing what that action is. It is more difficult for me to be WILLING to take action than it is to figure out the next move. I have found that if I am prepared internally and committed to taking some positive action, then knowing what to do next will show up more easily. The WILLINGNESS to take committed action is powerful, as is the opposite.
Another helpful tip is to have a reasonable plan and then not let the worry monster jar you. I can have a plan of what I am going to do, and worry can still come on around and nail me into fear as if I never had a plan at all. That’s just the ignorance and arrogance of worry. It helps me to be more arrogant and ignorant than worry, regardless of how it is making me feel, by not engaging in it, no matter how tempting it is or powerful it feels. Get busy doing something. Paying attention to reality in the present moment is another powerful way I have found to combat worry. Immerse yourself in this present moment of reality.
I hope this helps. Stay ahead of your worrisome mind by allowing it to make you feel not at your best and yet continue in accordance with what you have available (internally) at that time. If you give it nothing to fight against, it ceases to exist.
All the best to you until next time. -Gregg
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
As Dr. Reid Wilson (www.anxieties.com) 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.
Most 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!
Many times when we think of someone who has OCD, we think of an adult or even a young teen, but rarely a child; however, one in 200 children suffers from OCD. Keep in mind that all children have fears, worries, or negative thoughts at times. If your child continues to have these negative thoughts, which lead to compulsive behavior, they could be showing signs of OCD.
Some obsessive thoughts that happen with children suffering from OCD include:
- Excessive preoccupation of germs, dirt, or illness
- Repeatedly expressing their fears and doubts (i.e. if the stove is turned off)
- Intrusive thoughts about a parent getting hurt
- Unreasonable attention to detail
- Excessive worrying about something bad happening such as a car accident or home intruder
Some examples of compulsive behaviors in children can be:
- Excessive hand washing
- Checking to make sure items are turned off or doors are locked
- Excessive counting and recounting
- Rigidly following rules set by themselves such as arranging items or toys in a particular way and getting upset when that alignment or arrangement is disturbed
- Repeating words, numbers, or sounds to him or herself
Treatment for children with OCD can be accomplished in many ways. I have suffered from OCD for 33 years and have learned to overcome the obstacles and fears that OCD has added to my life. I have not only helped numerous children with their symptoms but also the parents of these children. It’s important to know as a parent of a child with OCD that we empower them to overcome their symptoms and not enable them to succumb to their fears and anxiety brought on by OCD.
If your child is showing signs of OCD or has been diagnosed with OCD, contact me today at (636) 236-2267. Together we can conquer this debilitating disorder and restore your child’s confidence by helping break the cycle of OCD!
It can be tough to watch someone you care about suffer from depression. You will probably struggle with helplessness and frustration as you search for ways to help your loved one in any way you can. Many times, too, a person who has depression is looking for help of some sort but isn’t sure where or how to start.
Here are 6 ways you can give even just a little bit of help to that person in your life.
*Be a good listener. If your loved one wants to talk about what’s bothering them, be attentive and caring. Remember that he or she might not be speaking well right now and might even speak more slowly and less clearly. Just do what you can to be patient and don’t interrupt.
*Take care of the pesky little tasks that need to be done around the home. Do the laundry, wash the dishes, keep things tidy, and make sure that the dog or cat is fed as well. Most importantly, do these things with love – never complain in front of the depressed person. It will only make him or her feel worse.
*Always keep in mind that the depressed person is not being lazy. Remember a time when you felt so sick that you could barely get yourself to get up to go to the bathroom. That’s what depression feels like, and it’s constant. Keep this in mind when you’re trying to help that person in your life.
*Depression is a hard, sometimes impossible battle to fight alone. Encourage this person to receive professional help for their depression if he or she hasn’t received any yet. If treatment has already begun, do what you can to ensure that he or she is keeping doctor appointments and doing whatever the doctor says.
*If the depressed person begins to talk about self-harm, take it seriously. Call the doctor for advice on what to do.
*Finally, remember to take care of yourself in the process. Helping someone deal with depression can be taxing. Remember that your feelings of anger, frustration, and helplessness are valid. Talk to someone about it, and make sure that you do things that make you happy as well.
Like I said before, depression can be an incredibly difficult battle, especially if you attempt to go it alone. The great thing is that you don’t have to! Join us for one or both of our two support groups in St. Louis. Contact me at (636) 236-2267 for more information!
All children have different fears, worries, and doubts, but children with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are unable to stop these thoughts or worries. This then compels them to carry out certain behaviors over and over again. For children with OCD, it may be more difficult for them to explain why they feel worry or doubt and why they carry out ritualistic behaviors.
It is important to know and always keep in mind that OCD is never a child’s fault. One way to help the child is to make sure that they receive treatment. Treatment is not only important for the child suffering from OCD but also for the parents to understand how they need to interact with their child to help and empower their child and not enable his or her behaviors.
Each child is different and will improve at different rates, so please don’t compare your child’s progress with another’s child or even to how your child was doing the day before. There will always be days that seem better or worse than others. Just stay positive and recognize any improvement that they display with praise and positive reinforcement.
It is also important to help keep routines for your child and also for your family. Inform other family members and people close to the child so they can be aware of routines and different strategies or techniques that should be used to help your child progress with his or her treatment. Don’t let OCD control the family or household! Giving in to OCD worries or rituals will not help them go away; in fact, in most cases, it only makes the OCD worse.
Having a child who is suffering from OCD is never easy, but you CAN help your child recover! Stay strong and never give up!
MOVE……..unless you are dead. Otherwise, no excuse. You don’t have to wait until you are in a good mood before you move. You don’t have to feel good about moving before you move. You don’t even have to know what you are gonna do before you move to move. All you have to do is move. Yes, even when you are angry, vulnerable, weak, lost, confused, down, or 100% non motivated. None of those things are required to move. To move you only have to what? And then see what goes from there.
Fall in love with no resistance to what is and watch what happens. This isn’t to imply that you never do anything about it.
Take a moment to think about all of the good things in your life – your friends, your family, your favorite foods, drinks, and activities. Does thinking about these things fill you up with joy? Of course! You’re probably even thinking of calling up your friends to see if they want to do some of your favorite activities or if they want to go eat at your favorite restaurant together.
Now think about some of the things that scare you, some of your greatest fears. How do you feel thinking about these things? Anxious, right? It’s natural to feel fear when it comes to the things that scare us the most, whether it’s heights, snakes, public speaking, or any other thing under the sun. It’s also natural to want to stop thinking about these things as well, to retreat and seek shelter.
Oddly enough, however, when it comes to overcoming your fears, the safest place for you to be is closest to the things that scare you!
Equate facing your fear with paddling out to the middle of one of the Great Lakes or an ocean. When you start at the shoreline, the waves undulate and do their best to force you back. It takes quite a bit of force, patience, determination, and courage to keep pushing past the waves and currents and out to open water. Once you get there, though, you’ll find that the deep waters are calm.
Getting over our fears is very similar to the scenario above. It’s very hard work, and the waves (your fears) will work to push you back into submissiveness. Of course, you can let them, but it will only cause your victory over your fears to be delayed and harder to obtain each time you let the fear win. Moving toward the roar (your fear) won’t come naturally – after all, you’re essentially retraining the fight or flight response within yourself. Trust me when I say that it is absolutely worth the battle!
Look your fear directly in the eye and don’t back down, no matter what. No matter how afraid or tired you feel, choose to go forward and face it. I promise, your fears will shrink if you race toward them. Sure, the task of provoking your symptoms requires courage, but you’re much stronger than you think. Even if you’re afraid, it’s okay – be afraid and keep running toward your fear anyway. Choose to do the work now and the benefits of freedom are soon to follow.
Remember, the deepest part of the waters – the closest you are to your fears – is the scariest place, but it really is the calmest. Be brave and move into the deep waters. See what happens. You won’t be disappointed.
If you suffer from OCD – that is, obsessive compulsive disorder – you know how your anxious thoughts and worries make you feel powerless and hold you captive. You’ve probably searched for a way to get permanent relief. You know (or think you know) that obeying your compulsions will help you make the anxiety “go away,” but you find that you will just suffer through the whole ordeal once that unwanted thought comes back into your head.
Put this way, OCD sounds like a terrifying disorder that absolutely binds its “victims” and coaxes them into believing that those intrusive, repetitive thoughts will only go away IF you obey your compulsions, that you will never rid yourself of the disorder itself. I am telling you here and now, that is a bold-faced lie, and the sooner you move onto facing your OCD head-on, the faster you will get your life back.
Can you recover from OCD? Absolutely, you can. The trick to doing so is counter-intuitive, though. Instead of searching for the relief you desperately seek, you must search out resilience. Believe me, by seeking out resilience, relief will find you.
How is this done, though? By Exposure Response Prevent (ERP or simply put, exposure), you will come face-to-face with your fears until what scares you the most no longer has a hold on you. Yes, it sounds like exhausting work, but it is so worth it because once you accomplish it, you’re free. Start by taking the fear that bothers you and purposely bringing it to your awareness. Your goal is to make yourself anxious so that you can prove to your brain that the obsession is irrelevant and that you’re done running away. You’ll feel so much empowerment and joy after it’s all over!
You might be thinking, “Really? I have to MAKE myself afraid in order to interrupt the OCD cycle?” The answer is yes, you really do need to. In fact, the safest place is moving toward the fear. When you try to chase it out of your head, you’re doing nothing but guaranteeing its return. On the other hand, when you move toward it, feel it, and embrace it on purpose, you have diminished the power that the obsession holds over you, and it will leave on its own. It’s all about scaring yourself fearless!
As soon as the exposure is over, go on with your life – no matter how weird or lousy you feel. It will give you strength. Sometimes, too, things will happen to you in the middle of your day that make you anxious. When and if this happens, just remember that you’re okay and that it’s another opportunity to embrace the anxiety you feel. Hold onto those feelings. You’ll find that you strip them of their power the more you show your brave face and become a master of your destiny instead of a “victim” of a disorder.
Remember, when you feel like quitting, when you feel like the exposure is way too much for you to handle, don’t stop. You are SO CLOSE to freeing yourself from the anxiety and making a breakthrough. Stay strong. Hold on. Remember always, you are the closest to your freedom when you are the most afraid. Just hang on!
Through your journey with OCD, don’t go it all alone. Do your exposures, go to support groups, and keep trying! You can also find me on my website at www.gregorysansone.com. Get on my mailing list, get in touch with me, and keep making those exposures your top priority in your life. Then will you discover the road to overcoming OCD and regaining the freedom that is yours and yours alone!