I Got Off the Worry Train & Had a Good Weekend

This past weekend we all went upstate for an overnight trip to visit my parents and for Easter Sunday dinner. My sister and her partner also live near my parents so we got to see them too.

And it went fine. It was really nice. And I am so grateful I went. But as usual my mind was all over the place in the days leading up to the trip. My mind tried to make the trip into a big deal – something that would be very hard to bear.

This was the first time our whole family has made the trip since before the mess of last summer.

The mind stuff went something like this: This trip is going to suck big time. What if Bob will behave rudely and who knows what my family even thinks of him now. I know they tolerate him, but I also know how pissed off they were at him last summer for what went down. And the car ride up- I hate how he drives. He speeds and tailgates. What if I can’t hold it together in front of the girls and start screaming at him and ruin the whole trip?

For me, thinking about something significant before it actually happens in real life is ALWAYS worse than doing it. Continue reading

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How to Gently Find Inner Peace

Have you ever just observed a little baby or small child? How – when their needs are met-  how peacefully and effortlessly they are just being in the world?

You and I were once like that too. Before we formed our identities and then became immersed and overcome with the world and our wants, needs and desires. And before anxiety reared its ugly head.

On the journey of finding inner peace and healing, as you learn to quiet the mind little by little and become peaceful with the present moment, you notice little things along the way.

Recently I was in a Body Pump class at my gym. The instructor is a nice woman, I’ve taken classes with her for years. And I know she only meant it in a helpful way when the shoulder work was getting hard and she shouted out to all of us: “Don’t be easy on yourself!”

That remark really resonated with me – but not in a good way… Continue reading

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Panic Attacks Info Tip: Expect, Allow, and Accept Your Fear

Searching for panic attacks info can sometimes be anything but easy. You may Google your symptoms, read a good article, or be lead to an anxiety forum where you hear conflicting advice. And sometimes the stuff we read on the internet can be downright scary. As if we’re already not scared enough!

One of the goals of writing PanicFreeMe.com is to help demystify some of the confusing information floating around out there. Someone asked me recently how I know so much about panic attacks and anxiety. The answer is just this- I’ve lived it.

In our last post we looked at an outline of 10 Rules for Coping with Panic Attacks. We used positive coping statements throughout. The positive self talk statements were simple, concise and to the point. Today we will delve a little deeper into some basic, but important panic attacks info. Continue reading

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Coping With Panic Attacks: 10 Rules

Using positive coping statements helps in coping with panic attacks. It is widely used in cognitive therapy to correct the distorted way an anxious person looks at things.

Coping with Panic Attacks

Before we look at the 10 rules for coping with panic attacks, know that talking to yourself in a calming way will make you feel more in control. Here are some examples of positive self talk:

  • I can do it
  • I can handle it
  • I can cope
  • Easy does it

Notice that the statements are simple, brief and positive. Easy to say and easy to remember in a pinch. And we will use positive self talk statements in this exercise. Continue reading

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Watching Thoughts as a Daily Practice

I’ve been enjoying the tremendous benefits of mindfulness since I first started meditating in summer 2014. We talk about it here and there on the blog and I wanted to bring it up again today, because I really think it helps so much with life!

thoughts arent facts

First of all, if you are reading this and you suffer from anxiety, you should give meditation a try. It is proven by solid scientific research to alleviate anxiety and depression- in addition to tons of other benefits. Honestly the only benefit I ever cared about was alleviating my anxiety 🙂

I have decades of fearful reactions and negative thought patterns to undo, so I never run out of things to work on! Learning to dis-identify from all these old thoughts is what I am doing in my life every day! And sitting in meditation for a few minutes slows you down and helps you get in touch with your real self, so that you can start to do this:) Continue reading

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Unplanned Day Off Throws Me Into Anxious Despair

Yesterday was a setback. I had low level, background restlessness all morning. It was an unplanned day off from work. There were no OR cases and since I work to recover patients after anesthesia, I had no patients. I could have gone in to work and just sat there all day. But I decided to use some personal time and take the day off.

You know something, just typing it out now and also someone asked on Facebook when I posted about it that was the reason I was off. Something as simple as that. It was an unplanned day off from work.

One thing about me, I don’t do well with long stretches off from work. You know, unplanned free time. I get restless and antsy and the weather was totally uncooperative. It was cold, windy and raining hard. I couldn’t even take Buddy for a walk- and we go out just about every weather condition. Heavy wind and rain I just can’t do. Continue reading

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Do You Take Medication for Anxiety?

Question: Jill, I was curious if you don’t mind my asking. Do you take any medications? I do not but sometimes I wonder if it would help. I did take Paxil 17 years ago & I would say that is when I gained a lot of ground. Medication or not….that is the question. lol… I’d love your thoughts.

Answer: Yes I do. But only on an as needed basis. A 30 day supply of of Klonopin lasts me 6 months or more. Taking medication for anxiety is highly personal- meaning, there is no “one size fits all” solution. I know that a lot of doctors prescribe antidepressants (SSRI’s) for long term chronic anxiety. I have taken Prozac and then Celexa in the past. I am not currently taking an antidepressant.

Despite going through a lot of family and personal drama last summer, I am in a surprisingly good space, anxiety- wise. I attribute that to my consistency in sitting down to meditate for 6 minutes every morning, going to the gym a few times a week for exercise, and showing up to work every day (where I interact with my friends, coworkers and patients). I also make sure to get out and socialize at least once every month or two. Continue reading

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Eckhart Tolle on How to Stop Suffering from Anxiety

I listened to a bunch of Eckhart Tolle videos on YouTube yesterday. Specifically in regard to how to stop suffering from anxiety. Here is one about a man who was in a constant state of fear and anxiety.

The man’s parents were Holocaust survivors and passed down their fears to him. Eckhart explains what he can do to help stop the suffering:

This video is wonderful. So much of what he says is worthy of contemplation. I find that the more I listen to Eckhart Tolle the better I understand how to apply these concepts in my daily life. I use Eckhart’s teachings to help me understand and transmute the negative things in my life (like fear and anxiety) into peace. Here are some of my notes- direct quotes from Eckhart– on this and other videos I watched:

The suffering self isn’t ultimately real. It is possible to live free of suffering.

Thought cannot tolerate the state of presence. It wants to control it by understanding what it all means.

You can watch a thought arising in your mind.

You can observe the inner world the world of emotions and thought.

There’s no need to follow every thought.

You are bigger than your thoughts. You don’t have to be dominated by your thoughts.

They can obscure the aliveness of your life.

The human condition is to be lost in thought. Most humans are lost in it.

Most of human pain is psychologically created.

Suffering implies a story. A me that is unhappy. An unhappy story that is its identity.

You cannot leave the space of now.

Inner transformation is not really about finding lots of answers to your questions, but finding a new relationship to thought.

The basic condition of the egoic self is a very deep seated state of lack. 

In the office one day apparently A New Earth arrived in a package and somebody had put it through a shredder and returned it to the office…(laughing) So this person was not ready.

You cannot force it on people.

All a spiritual teaching does is it saves time.

In the absence of a spiritual teacher you still have your suffering. Everybody has that. That’s the main teaching and the main teacher.

Your spiritual teaching is your suffering. And eventually it will wake you up. Eventually.

Instead of going through life and reacting to the content, the content is allowed to be. And then you’re aware of the Now itself beyond the phenomena that arise in it. That is the miracle of transformation of consciousness.

You become aware of an undercurrent of stillness in which everything happens. You sense it. You realize that you ARE it.

And then it’s so easy. Once you realize you are that deep undercurrent of stillness, the world is no longer problematic.

Its simply the story of me. But you don’t get your identity from it anymore. What’s left are simply photo albums in the head.

You’re no longer in a reactive relationship to those events that took place in the past and are remembered in field of now. You’re not seeking yourself in reactions to those stories. Its simply things that happened in the past. Its not me. You don’t need it anymore for your identity.

When you no longer look for yourself in the future, it’s no longer threatening.

Notes to take away:

The discomfort you feel is created in your mind.

Turn towards the feeling to dissolve it.

Know that the majority of thoughts are useless and are only there to pull you in.

Watch the thought but don’t let it pull you in and take you over.

The “Story of Me” is the suffering.

The goal is to get rid of the egoic self.

Many people go through their life and function with a level of fear and anxiety within. Eckhart Tolle shows how, through acceptance of what is, and by not being taken over by thought, you can go beyond the fear, stop this needless suffering and find inner peace.

Make your dream a happy one 🙂
Jill G.

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