Can Anxiety Hurt my Body?

Anxiety in Your Body 

Ever had a belly ache and hot sweat right before a big presentation? How about “insomnia” at night because you’re thinking of all of the things that can go wrong tomorrow? Feeling like your heart is going to beat out of your chest or like you’re on the verge of a heart attack? Most adults are likely to visit a medical professional if symptoms like these persist, but did you know they could actually be stemming from an emotional or mental issue?

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety is often a misdiagnosed condition early on. Many complain of body symptoms like a severe headache, bellyache, neck stiffness, rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, and just feeling plain sick! These are called psychosomatic complaints. Yes, there’s a fancy word to describe how anxiety and other mental health problems can come out like a physical ailment in your body.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask You About Anxiety

Unfortunately, many who visit a doctor or medical professional for these chronic symptoms are often met with little to no relief. The medications prescribed are unhelpful, extensive testing yields negative results, which often leaves the patient and provider with confusion and uncertainty. It is often after many visits and little to no response from the medication regimen that someone from the medical professional team may explore other, more emotionally rooted questions with you:
  • How has your stress level been lately?
  • How have you been sleeping?
  • Is there anything else in your life bothering you at this time?
  • Do you feel like this is getting in the way of your daily life?
  • Does anyone in you family have mental health issues?
Remember, the doctor is not trying to offend you by asking these questions. They are trying to help point you in the right direction but need some extra details from you first. So do your best to be honest, and offer some more insight into what it feels like to be you.
Many doctors suggest the patient seeks services from a mental health professional if they believe your physical complaints are part of a psychological issue. That’s where we come in. Talking about and processing out loud with a safe person help you to work through things that have been really difficult.

Anxiety Doesn’t Define You

One thing we’d like to make clear early is you are not your mental health condition. Your mental health condition does not define you. Nor does your physical health for that matter. Anxiety, for example, is part of your life, but it is not all of it. you are not anxiety. Anxiety holds one small place in your heart and mind, amongst the hundreds of other important things.
Getting properly diagnosed for a mental health condition actually helps to get those physical symptoms under control. There is a way to find relief and freedom from these psychosomatic complaints. But it’s going to start first by discussing what’s going on in your heart and mind. If you’re not sure what to expect from counseling, here’s an article that talks more about that here. Reach out, find help today.
Self-Sabotage and Why We Do It

Self-Sabotage and Why We Do It

What is Self-Sabotage

Self sabotage is the result of self inflicted, subconscious or conscious actions or thoughts to derail one’s success. In short, self sabotage is screwing yourself over on purpose. Why would anyone do such a thing? Contrary to popular belief, you are usually the one who gets in the way of your own self. 

A young person had an interesting conversation with me many years ago. We had worked for months on achieving a positive goal and were near final completion. Nearly a week before the goal was accomplished, she engaged in a behavior that completely derailed and destroyed her chances of leveling up. She knowingly engaged in a negative behavior which was so far off from the quality of character and actions she had built over the past year. I felt angry, disappointed and frustrated at her lack of follow through and unwillingness to commit.

Why Do We Self-Sabotage?

When the dust had settled, we had a sit down conversation. I could only bring myself to ask one question, “Why?” She proceeded to draw the following with a pen on white paper:

-side profile of stairs from the bottom of the page to the top, with stick figure person almost to the top; arrow pointed downward from the top of the stairs to the bottom of the page/the ”floor” level.

She explained:

“The higher up you go, the better things get. You are meeting goals and living a life you didn’t know you could ever have. But when you look down, you see how high you are. And you’re still going up. The higher up you go, the harder you can fall, and worse it will hurt. You start to feel like you’re going to fall.

You have 2 choices, you can either jump now, before you get higher and before it hurts worse when you land. Also, you know when you’re going to jump so you see it coming. OR you can keep going higher, the pressure builds, and when you fall, you never see it coming, so it hurts so much worse.”

Wow. I was stunned. The higher up you go, the harder you fall? Then it hit me, it made sense. Why does a recovered addict relapse after successfully completing a rehab program? Why does that woman jump out of a good relationship and claim “it wasn’t a good fit”? Why does he not apply for the higher job position even when his colleagues are begging him to? Why do people pull out of their chosen career path after they fail a board exam? Why don’t we open up our own businesses?  

Fear is the Root of Self-Sabotage

Fear turned inward becomes our kryptonite. The negative thoughts about ways you can fail will slowly end the spark that was required to generate ideas, movement and growth. How you think, becomes how you feel, which then creates actions. You think of all the reasons you fail, you begin to feel discouraged, scared or worried, then behave in ways to support that line of thinking. A discouraged person doesn’t make it on time to the interview. A person says no to going out with friends on a Saturday night although they’re feeling lonely.

Yes, it’s scary to think of failure, but what if you succeed? Ok, let’s say you fall, but not off the stairs completely, just down a few steps? Imagine geting out of your own way and allowing yourself to experience, grow, and move forward.

What is Analysis Paralysis?

What is Analysis Paralysis?

The Definition of Analysis Paralysis

Analysis paralysis. Just look at those two words alone- I bet you can figure out what it might be. I’ve seen this term appear more frequently throughout the years with a particular precedence among the young adult community. Analysis paralysis is defined as the metaphorical mental inability to make a decision due to the overwhelming possibility of options, resulting in no decision being made at all.

Those plagued with analysis paralysis will often grow overwhelmed at the amount of options before them and overanalyze, re-analyze, and analyze again to the point of unintentionally procrastinating in making a decision. You may have heard someone state they “second guess” themselves when it comes to large decisions or making a choice. Analysis is the same concept, but on steroids. You don’t just second-guess yourself, but third guess and fourth guess and fifth guess yourself to the point no decision is made at all.

Doubt and Fear are the Root of Analysis Paralysis

With over analysis, there is consistent doubt and fear of making the wrong decision. As a result, people grow immobilized mentally for fear of what negative consequences their decision can create. One of the biggest fears is simply “Making the wrong choice.” You may have seen the chronic “procrastinator” but much like the second-guesser, analysis paralysis is a procrastinator 6.0 version. A procrastinator will eventually make a decision and complete a task, albeit at the very last minute. With analysis paralysis there is forever postponing, in essence placing the need to make a decision at the back of the mind rather than the forefront for an infinite amount of time.

The danger with analysis paralysis is it may appear to work. You know, “Out of sight, out of mind.” You may know someone who has struggled in making a decision they desperately need to make and watch from a distance how detrimental this is for them. Things like deciding what college to attend, deciding when the right time to leave an abusive spouse is, contemplating when they should tell their loved one about a grave physical health condition, saying yes or no to certain job opportunities….The list goes on and on. You may have witnessed how your loved one has missed out on an opportunity or unintentionally remained in unfulfilled roles by not making a decision to do something different.

Counseling for Analysis Paralysis

Many may try and justify this way of thinking, saying things like “I just take my time” or “I’ve always been this way.” However, there can be freedom from this type of overwhelming, paralyzing fear of making the wrong choice. If you or someone you know is struggling with this, don’t hesitate to reach out. Don’t overanalyze whether counseling could be a good option for you. Swing into action, advocate for your own self, and say yes to an opportunity for help.


What is Quality of Life?

What is Quality of Life?


Quality of life is the degree to which you are healthy, comfortable, and able to participate in or enjoy life. It’s often reflected in your physical, mental, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. The definition of quality of life varies from person to person, but most agree that happiness and satisfaction in life is the goal.

When we begin to suffer in certain areas of life, this is called poor quality of life. Poor quality of life is seen as a decreased living standard where there is an absence of basic needs as well as social, cultural, emotional, and spiritual needs. When we experience this, we can grow truly unhappy and finding enjoyment in life is difficult.

Signs of poor quality of life:

  • Negative Thoughts and Words
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Lack of hobbies and time for self
  • Excessive work or studies
  • Lack of focus and goals
  • Poor Diet
  • Poor Sleeping Habits
  • Negative Relationships
  • Toxic Environments

Happiness is often associated with having a good quality of life. Happiness can be understood as the fulfillment of goals, needs, and wishes in an area that has value to a person. Happiness leads to increased success, better health, and rewarding relationships. Quality of life can be improved once we recognize we are struggling and unhappy.

Ways to Improve Quality of Life

  • Maintain Healthy Relationships – Relationships play an important role in our lives. Healthy relationships increase your happiness, life satisfaction, and psychological well-being.
  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep – Sleep is vital. During undisturbed deep sleep that cells in our bodies regenerate. It can improve productivity, emotional balance, creativity, and even your weight.
  • Regular Exercise – Exercise pumps up our endorphins – our “feel good” hormones – which has an immediate uplifting effect and helps us to concentrate, stay alert, focused, and enhances our cognitive abilities.
  • Healthy Diet – Our bodies get the most out of nutrient-rich, natural food, which in turn keeps us feeling more energized, stronger, and less prone to fatigue and illness. We also feel better mentally when we feel nourished.
  • Stay Hydrated – It’s important to stay hydrated. Our bodies are at least 70% water and when that level drops, our bodily systems do not function at their best.
  • Self-Care – Make time to take breaks and to treat yourself. Create “ME TIME”. Some examples are meditation, decluttering, reading, positive affirmations, new hobbies/interests, unplugging from social media, taking vacations, and more.
  • Goal Setting – By making short, medium, and long-term goals for ourselves – whether they are related to career, knowledge, or personal growth – we are creating opportunities to guide us in our development. Reaching them provides a sense of fulfillment and momentum and keeps us looking forward.

The steps on this path will sometimes seem treacherous, but the result is worth the effort.  It begins with conversations, being aware of your life satisfaction and treasuring it and discovering what’s missing from your life.

“Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.” – Moshe Feldenkrais

Mommy Guilt- and Why it feels so Heavy.

Mommy Guilt- and Why it feels so Heavy.

If you’re a working mother who struggles with “mommy guilt” this blog is for you. This blog will review the difference between mommy guilt and mommy shame and why it feels so heavy to experience it.

For those of you who have heard of the renowned Brene Brown, much of what I’m going to talk about regarding shame versus guilt comes from her. She’s a research professor who studies people and their connection to vulnerability, shame and empathy. 

What Is Mommy Guilt?

In short, guilt suggest “I’ve done something bad” while shame suggest “I am bad.” Guilt speaks to the action, while shame speaks to the person. Some might argue this is simply a matter of semantics, but if you look closer, you can see it.

Let’s take a look at internal mommy talk. When uncovering tough thoughts and feelings, internal self-talk could sound a little like this: “I forgot to pack my kids lunch and I need to call the school ASAP” (guilt) versus “I’m such a bad mom my kid doesn’t deserve me” (shame). 

Before going on, you must first understand the strong connection between thoughts and feelings. For example, if you think “My child doesn’t deserve me, I’m an absent parent and sucky person” then you are likely to feel anxiety, worry, and shame. On the other hand, if you think “I was really busy all week at work so I need to carve out some quality time with my daughter this weekend” then you are more likely to feel motivated, focused, and organized. Can you see the difference? Each thought takes feelings into two completely different directions.

How to Overcome Mommy Guilt

So what can you do with mommy guilt? First you have to identify your internal self talk. Is it more on the shame side or the guilt side? Put it on paper: what do the thoughts sound like in your head? No one can help you with this because you are the only one who hears your own thoughts. What are you feeling guilty about? Worried about? When you think about work and your role as a mom, what does it feel like? Is there a balance?

Once you start this list, you will quickly see a pattern or trend. You are likely feeling some kind of way about things like time or not doing special things with your kid. For you, the time you spend at work equals time away from your child. So let’s talk about the idea of time.

As adults, we understand the passing of time. Depending on the age of your child, many have little to no concept of time. For example, not until mid elementary age do children start understanding how to tell time. Into double digit years, they start understanding their favorite show is about 30 minutes long. They start understanding why she can’t go to bed 10 minutes later because her bedtime is 8 PM. Before this, he thinks you are 75 years old and his birthday just past last week. Because of this, you are at a slight advantage. Children (and humans in general) are more concerned with the quality of time spent in a relationship rather than the quantity of time spent in that relationship.

What to do About Mommy Guilt

Quality time is a quality exchange, mutual interaction, an interaction involving peace and overall enjoyment of one another’s presence. Your child will always prefer to have 100% of you rather than the distracted you. For example, driving in the car while having a conversation with your passenger does not count as quality time. Why? You’re clearly distracted by the road and your role by default is split between driver and communicator. Your child needs 100%, interactive, non-distracted time with you. Even 15 minutes a day, can speak volumes especially as children grow and develop.

What do do About Mommy Shame

If you’ve been struggling with mommy shame, you are not alone. You can’t be expected to tackle these feelings and experiences on your own when you have never done so before. Find a support group, talk to other working parents, attends a seminar, or find someone to talk to openly about your feelings. We can help.

The Best Way to Combat a Panic Attack

The Best Way to Combat a Panic Attack

Your heart feels like it’s going to beat out of your chest. Suddenly your temperature is rising. You’re getting a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and feel like you’re out of breath. It’s getting harder to pace your breathing and your thoughts feel out of control. Each of these symptoms  alone are common side effects of anxiety, worry, and stress. When mixed together and left uncontrolled, they can create something called panic attacks.

This article will review a key way to help your body regulate and calm down before the panic attack hits. Remember, early intervention is the best way to curb panic attacks.

Deep breathing. Also known as diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. This is one of the most powerful tools in managing anxiety. This is the best way to calm your heart rate in a healthy way and combat an upcoming panic attack. Deep breathing is very different than taking a deep breath. The focus is on making the belly rise when inhaling and making the belly sink in when exhaling.

Let’s walk through it now:

  1. Sit comfortably with both feet on the floor. Relax your body as best you can.
  2. Place your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your belly.
  3. Breathe in through your nose slowly and focus on expanding your belly. Your right hand should rise with your breath while your left hand stays as still as possible.
  4. When your belly can’t hold any more air, hold your breath for 4 seconds, then release slowly. Remember keep your left hand as still as possible while your right hand moves in and out with your belly.

As mentioned previously, early intervention is key. The moment you begin to feel flushed, the moment your heart beats a little fast- breathe deep and begin this breathing exercise. Practice with only 3-4 breaths at a time and create a calming phrase to go along with the breathing. Something like “I am safe, I am sound” or “Breath in the positive, Release the negative,” or “If God is for me, who can be against me.”

It’s best to practice each day when you feel calm, that way when you feel overwhelmed, you will remember what you practiced. Just a few minutes a day can really pay off during the time you really.

Click here for a visual on how to do apply the 4X4X4 breathing strategy.