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anxiety

Why Be Upset?

English: An anxious person

English: An anxious person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anxiety is a common problem.  It is separate from fear which is more realistic.  Combat generates fear.  The post-traumatic stress that comes after the scene of combat is left generates anxiety.  Fear lasts as long as the threat of danger lasts.  Anxiety can go on forever.  It can be generated in anticipation of a stress-or and can last long after actual fear is gone.  Fear can be helpful and can aid the person’s response to a real threat.  The “fight or flight response” can be elicited and used to successfully deal with the frightening situation.

Anxiety can very in its onset.  Sometimes it is strongest early in the morning right after a person gets up or it can build throughout the day and be strongest at the end of the day.   If you are aware of the pattern of your anxiety response, you can more successfully deal with it.  The most important thing is to not over react when your anxiety is strong.  Distraction can be helpful especially when you know that if you can get your mind off what is bothering you, you will probably feel better later in the day.  If you have the opposite problem where anxiety is strongest just before you go to bed, you can use the strategy of telling yourself that once you get to sleep you will feel better in the morning

 

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Facing the Facts

High Anxiety

High Anxiety (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Avoiding a problem makes it grow.  I force myself to open bills and look at them when I get them rather than putting it off.  I try not to put off looking through all the mail (not just the bills).  That is the time to recycle paper, catologs, etc.  If I have access to a computer, I check my bank account and credit card statement everyday.  Current bills to be paid, bills that are coming due in the near future, and past due bills (yes, I have those) are kept in a folder on top of my desk where they can be easily reviewed when it is bill paying time, which is at least twice a month when I get checks.  Also at bill paying time, I catch up with my check book and keep track of upcoming monthly withdrawals.  I also keep an appointment book with important dates and I try to review that at least once a week on the weekend to see what I have going on in the next week and have to plan for.  Things coming up in the next week might highlight some necessary expenditures that might otherwise be overlooked.

Facing the facts is often anxiety arousing for me; but it is better than putting it off to find out later that I have missed an important appointment or have not remembered a bill I have to pay.  Many of us feel that out of sight is out of mind and that way we avoid worrying about things.  In the meantime as time passes and we avoid dealing with the problems associated with these bills and responsibilities, things that were minor irritants become major ones.  Not only do we have more work to do if we put off dealing with these things, there are consequences of missing things like deadlines.  Balancing a check book after a long period becomes a major undertaking and there can be mistakes that have been made that have long term consequences.  The same is true about scheduling necessary checkups.  Little medical and dental problems can become big problems if not caught early enough. A little anxiety in the present can avoid a lot of anxiety in the future. The problem with putting off things is as the anxiety increases with every postponement, it becomes harder and harder to deal with and makes it even less likely that it will be done.

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Constructive? Worrying! Part Three

Resolution - better time management

Sometimes we worry constantly about a task we have left undone, but have not managed to tackle.  This has to do sometimes with problems we have in making decisions.  This is very true about something we have put off many times or have procrastinated on.  Sometimes you should let something go and this releases energy to do other things.  A person had medical insurance and he had to save his receipts and fill out his own insurance forms and file them to get reimbursed.  This wasn’t done by the doctor’s office.  This was such an onerous task for this person that he had quite a bit of money tied up in this; but by this time all the paperwork involved seemed enormous and almost impossible to do because so much time had passed.  It was suggested to this person that within a certain amount of time this mound of paperwork should be tackled and if it wasn’t, it should be thrown away and forgotten.  Guess what he did?  He did it.  The arbitrary deadline worked.

Sometimes we fill our minds with worrying thoughts of things we should do as things remind us of them.  There are two things you can do to stop worrying about them.  One is to make a list of these things perhaps on a dry erase board where you can see them and check them when you have time to do them.  Also it is nice to be able to cross these things off the list so you can see what you have accomplished.  Another thing you could do is to do things the first time you are reminded of them.  We have a lot of thoughts often uselessly running around in our heads about things that need to be done but we put them off and thus waste time thinking of things we don’t do.  It is better to do things when we think of them and thus we can forget about them and put our minds on something else.  This is not always practical, but it is useful when picking up the house or getting organized to leave  to do errands.  It is better for the mind to do things when you think of them as it gives you a strong feeling of accomplishment.

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Constructive? Worrying! Part Two

Don't Worry (Modern Talking song)

Another way to worry constructively, is to break problems down into parts, things that you can do something about and things you can do nothing about.  For example, if you are worried about natural disasters, there are things you can prepare for and things you can’t prepare for.  There are things you have control over and things you don’t have control over.  Sometimes we worry so much about things that we are surprised when they actually do happen and don’t meet our drastic expectations that we had when we were worrying about them.

We often are aware of something that is probably going to cause a future problem such as the amount of mileage on your current set of tires.  Wouldn’t be better to find out from a place that sells tires how many miles you can expect to get on your current set and when you should think about replacing them than to worry needlessly about a set of tires that are not nearly worn out yet.   You can check your mileage and when you get closer to the maximum mileage for your tires you can plan your budget to take care of this upcoming expense.

I have set dates or times for when I am going to worry about something and I tell myself that there is nothing I can do about the problem til then. It is as simple as being concerned about a family member who has gone out for the evening. Depending on their age, you mentally set a time for when they should reasonably be home and maybe add another half hour or even an hour to that time for a cushion. This leaves room for something to happen that was unexpected that would cause the person to be later than you expected them to be.

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Generating Fear and Anger

Can't Get You Out of My Thoughts

Can't Get You Out of My Thoughts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you resent people for what you think they have done to you in the past?  Are you concerned about things over which you have no control in the future or in the present moment?  Do you continually have such thoughts and they make you anxious and get you upset?  Did you ever think about how easily you can be controlled  because of these thoughts?   You may be calmly sitting in your recliner watching TV when something is mentioned that you are concerned about but is not happening to you at the present moment.  Are your feelings aroused?  These are usually not positive thoughts.  They can prevent you from enjoying life’s present moments and keep you from being in the here and now.  What might have been a pleasant break from everyday responsibilities turns into an unpleasant reaction to hidden fears and concerns that are associated with the content of the TV program you are watching.  The news often does not calm you and fill you with gratitude for the things life has given you.  The current presidential campaigns have taken on a negative slant and they must think that it works or why do they this?   Why do people think that the best way to motivate people is by hate and fear?  Psychological studies involving behavior modification find that rewards do a better job of changing behavior especially when they are associated with a desired positive behavior.  Unwanted behavior when eliminated must have the behaviors that are wanted already in place to take their place.

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