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Anxiety can take over in the holidays: so much to do, so little time to do it, and so many new and different tasks added onto everything else that regularly has to get done.

The good news: anxiety is actually a friendly emotion… when you befriend it.

Kick up your happiness level by mastering anxiety.

Try some simple physical moves to harness your anxiety:

o        Fake a startled jump

o        Pout and slouch pessimistically (pull out your lower lip if you have to)

o        Make strong kung fu arm motions through the air: you got the power!

  • Then Question And Act:

o        What do I want to do first? Do it ASAP. Next? Jump on it. Keep going

o        What do I partly want to do, but partly resist?

What issue(s) are holding me back? Jump on the interference

o        How pleased am I with getting each step done? Congratulate yourself, or at least allow yourself and a deep breath and smile.

Every day brings new anxieties because every day bring new opportunities, and new angles on old opportunities.

Let each success—however large or small—make you happy.

Happy Holidays!

PS: If you remain uncomfortable with anxiety, think how “anxious” or “anxiety” really mean “eager, yet reluctant to get going”. Think about how you are ready, set, to go, yet also realistic about limitations. Give yourself the time to work through your anxieties, and your limitations.

You can also try working the simple physical moves of anxiety in more depth.

  • Wag your tailbone (think dog wagging tail) feeling excited to get going…on whatever. (That’s the excitement in anxiety)
  • When faking that startled jump, also make a silly grin, as if you’ve just been pleasantly goosed, and tell yourself that you’re in for good surprises.
  • When you pout and slouch pessimistically, think about how when you were a kid… wherever you were anxious to get to… it felt like you were NEVER going to get there.
  • When you make those strong kung fu arm motions through the air, be aware that you are harnessing the simpler moves of impatience (batting stuff out of your way) and aggressiveness (pushing ahead)…and that’s OK. A good thing. Getting obstacles out of the way, moving ahead with what needs to be done.

 

 

 

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Hypersensitivity: real, normal, and little understood.

“Highly sensitive people (HSPs) make up 20 percent of the population. Today, science is validating (this) group of people…who are taking in a whole lot of subtleties that the other 80% of the population don’t even notice. HSPs are likely to answer yes to so-called ‘thin-boundary’ questions such as ‘I have a rich, complex inner life’, ‘I am made uncomfortable by loud noises,’ ‘I am really particular about what kind of fabrics I wear,’ “my moods are very reactive to both what’s going on around me and what’s going on inside me,’ “I am very sensitive to smells’ …some to the degree of reporting being disabled by exposure to colognes, paints, pesticides, and other trace elements in air.”

If you are or love an HSP

“HSPs occur at a significantly greater rate among artists and musicians than in the general population. While their moods can lead to greater incidence of anxiety and depression, it also appears that their images of beauty are more vivid…as if HSPs alone see the world in high-def. On the plus side, a simple “nice job” might lift an HSP child into game-changing positive effects…say, by studying extra well for the next test. At the other end, ridicule or bullying could snowball easily into despair and futility for an HSP child. School and parenting practices can dramatically enhance the development of these children by recognizing that they can thrive spectacularly in a mildly encouraging classroom or struggle endlessly in a slightly discouraging one, while a less sensitive child is likely to respond about the same regardless of similar variations in the classroom environment. As adults, HSPs are likely to make especially compassionate friends who truly care about others, channel beauty from the world into art and music, home and work activities, and notice things others miss. So, rather than come down on an HSP to ‘toughen up’, think about the importance of being supportive and patient…which can go a long way with both the giver and the receiver of that support.” 

[Most of material from “Sense and Sensitivity” by Andrea Bartz in Psychology Today, p 72-79, July/August 2011]  

 

Are your emotions at work stressing you out?

When you don’t have the things you need, or the time, to get your job done properly, or when folks you work with are difficult, handle your emotional pain, fatigue and general distaste on the spot, often, throughout the day. Each move takes just seconds.

Feeling weighed down by roadblocks: Yawn and roll your eyes upward often

Express the fatigue: try breathing out through puffy lips and letting yourself feel limp.

Feel the yuck try sticking out your tongue, ejecting the distasteful aspects right away instead of just swallowing.

At the end of the day: try writing out or typing about your feelings or thoughts. Or just mull a bit, and let it go.

Overall: the above tips will help you get better sleep and recovery from your day.

Check out some specific physical symptoms of how work can make you sick at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02678373.2011.569175

 

Any pleasurable event— eating cupcakes, sipping wine, massage—could lead to reduced sensitivity to your pleasure soon after starting. Your attention migrates elsewhere. You accidentally take what’s happening for granted…even eating a great meal…for granted, and cease to actually enjoy it. WHY and HOW?

http://www.journals.marketingpower.com/doi/abs/10.1509/jmkr.45.6.654 participants receiving a 6-minute massage versus another group receiving two 3-minute massages with a 20-second break between them. The “interrupted” massage participants enjoyed theirs more. The reason: adaptation. By interrupting the massage, people refocused on the renewed pleasure.

Manage your pleasure  

Pleasure management is important because pleasure isyour “score” system. It tells you that what you’re doing is good for you. It helps you to repeat the behavior, and it can help you moderate the behavior too.

When you are enjoying anything “naughty”..a gooey cupcake, for instance…notice for how many bites it’s intensely pleasurable. Try to school yourself to knock off eating it after that, rather than continuing to eat at a lower pleasure level. Breathe deeply to emotionally and physically “digest” what you’ve eaten. Take your time deciding whether it’s worth the price of continuing to eat.

When you are doing something “worthy”…a massage, for instance… and your attention lags, ask your masseuse to take a tiny break…say, three deep breaths, to emotionally and physically digest the benefits of the massage, and your body’s opportunities for receiving it well. Being mentally and emotionally in tune helps to increase the benefits of the massage.

Short, even tiny, breaks can clear your head, center you, and make you good to go again. The more you revive on a regular basis, the better to be alive.

So What Happened:  When people feel helpless to deal with their hate, it becomes toxic

NEWS: On Wednesday, October 12, 2011, at a beloved hair salon in Seal Beach,CA, Scott Dekraai walked in armed with pistols, body armor and in two minutes had murdered eight people (killing his stylist ex-wife first). On Friday, October 14, Deputy District Attorney sought the death penalty, and people in the courtroom screamed out in agony and fury at Dekraai, including the words “I hate you.”

Scott Dekraai had been a lovable sportfishing captain until a gruesome accident severed a deckhand in two as Dekraai was trying to save her. He came away with severely injuries to his legs, leaving him unable to drive, and so disabled that he needed a caretaker. After that, friends say, he turned into a ghost of who he was. In time, things turned so tense in his marriage that then-wife, Michelle, left him. Shared custody of their young son went poorly, with Scott distrusting Michelle’s parenting. As things turned uglier, Michelle’s co-workers were uneasy or scared of Scott’s argumentative anger and temper. Still, at home, he was a friendly neighbor who shared gardening tips, gave gifts to newborns, and joined neighborhood watch.

How can the good guy be reconciled with the viciously murderous hate-filled one?

OPINION: Scott and his wife were helpless to deal with his terrible accident, not just his loss of career and mobility, but also the huge trauma and helplessness of witnessing the grotesque death of someone he was trying to save. Scott was helpless to get past his rage, despair, loss of a beloved profession, and loss of vigor and wellness of body. Michelle was helpless to help him with those reactions.

It’s natural for all of us to hate something awful. Hating that we were injured, can’t do what we used to do and our very memories when they take us back to trauma. But when we continue to be helpless to deal with something awful, and then when things get worse, the hate simmers and cooks into the awful brew of irrational hate. We hate someone instead of circumstance. Scott, helpless to improve his circumstances, hated hiswife for leaving him. Michelle had come to hate living with him, and was helpless to do anything but leave.

When we’re helpless, the key is to recognize our helplessness, and deal with that. Why are we feeling helpless? How can we get new tools to adjust to  new—unwelcome—circumstances and events? It’s healthy to feel the “ick!”  or “yuck!” of hate toward anything that is unhealthy or just plain wrong…like a horribly life altering accident or a marriage turned intolerable.  It’s healthy to then try to get to the bottom of it, excavate and clear out the bad stuff.

Feeling helpless to deal with our hate it becomes toxic and leads to irrational and dangerous situations…whether in small ways, or huge ways. It will automatically be aimed at someone or something, instead of just at the circumstances or traumas that caused it.

 

NEWS: “Laugh Well, Live Well” “A good laugh may be the next-best thing to a workout…. …laughter boosts the immune system, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduces stress.” “Shifts in appetite hormones following a case of the giggles resemble the effects of a moderate session at the gym,” according to the result of psychoneuroimmunologist Professor Lee Berk, PhD, and team from Loma Linda University, California. “Berk is now studying whether laughter can also reduce inflammation associated with many illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.” [quotes thanks to Amber Angelle, Discover Magazine, October 2010]

OPINION:

I expect that Dr. Berk and colleagues will indeed find that laughter can reduce physical inflammation. Bodily inflammation is the physical equivalent of both emotional rage/outrage and of stress. Stress and rage are opposite sides of the same coin. Both are intensely pressuring feelings pushing from inside outward. Laughter, rage and stress are all energetically explosive sensations. In the case of stress, we hold the pressure in: at the expense of our internal organs. In the case of rage, we release (explode) the pressure outward, at the expense of other people’s internal organs. In the case of laughter, the energy explosion is upward and outward in a geyser-like spray: thus relieving the pressures of stress and of rage.  As I am fond of saying, without laughter thereisonly madness (stress/rage). But without madness there is less laughter.

LAUGHTER TIPS:

Practice full-bodied laughter by keeping your mouth wide open, deeply breathing/laughing “ha-ha-ha-ha-ha” while rocking back and forth between doubling over forward and arching up and backward. Watch for  emotions interfering with your laughter such as: 1) Keeping your teeth or lips together in residual tension or anger; 2) Keeping your head erect instead of fully arching back indicates a mixed-in vigilant state; 3) Hunching up your shoulders suggests the presence of shame; 4) Slouching your shoulders and dropping your chin indicates helplessness and/or pessimism. [More on laughter in “Celebrate Your Emotions: A Guide to Eight Incredibly Transforming Feelings” at Amazon or www.surfyoursoul.com ]

 

 

First you have to recognize—correctly name—the feeling of being overwhelmed. I had quite a terrible time of just that on 9/11. I kept thinking that I could yawn my way through my emotional pain about this(some 9/11 reports), or that (details anguish over animal neglect/abuse mentioned at charity event I attended), or another thing (tragic prototypes in a play I saw the night before, and association to something in my own life). I was trying all day to yawn my way through it all and it didn’t happen. FINALLY, around 6 pm, I realized I was simply overwhelmed. No way was I going to be able to simply work my way through each separate pain that day. I had to get physical with the overwhelmed in order to be able to get to all the mental hurdles involved.

Overwhelmed = pure adrenaline (aka pure fear), confusion, pain. That means shake yourself head to toe…a lot (the more you shake, the less time processing will take). Then stop the whole body tremors and just shake your head, left-right-left-right, like an old-fashioned washing machine spindle, not too fast, not to far, just jiggling the jelly inside your head (:)) for better circulation. Stop that head shaking, and yawn. Big, eye roll up, chin level yawn. With lots of repetitions of this sequence will be helpful in coming days (as they were for me when I remembered I had a whole lot of issues mushed together). Doing so repeatedly. and intentionally, directs your unconscious mind to keep working on the issues for you. Considerable unconscious energy is required for sorting all kinds of stimulation (shaking head to toe), eliminating old unimproved thinking (shaking just your head), making room for new thinking (the head shaking alternated with yawning), and then inviting new data in for the creation of those new improved thoughts (more yawning).

9/11 night I went to sleep caring about everything, but at least recognizing that I was currently helpless to do anything about any of it except the one issue in my own life (my husband carried that through beautifully when I talked with him about the personal concern). Late in the week there were up days (well, one) and down days (several). And numerous issues worked through. Yes overwhelmed can unearth a lot of work that needs to be done. And honest working emotional stuff is like an honest day’s physical and mental work, right? Good for body, heart and soul.