All Mantras

Mantras – Quick sentences you repeat out loud until you really start to feel them. They are intentionally repetitive, with varying words that convey the same positive intent. Give yourself a devoted 10 straight minutes to one set of mantras at a time and you will notice the difference in your general outlook and response to stress triggers. Say each sentence slowly and feel the meaning. Believe and mean what you say.

MANTRAS:

 

 

Quell The Fear Worksheet

Are you having a fear/worry episode or a panic attack right now?  If you are having a full panic attack, first practice breathing very slowly.  See this wikipedia article for breathing exercises.

Let’s begin your worksheet with a few questions. Please get a pen and paper and write down your answers fully. This worksheet works best with a single isolated incident. For ongoing problems like an abusive husband or crappy job, see Dealing Worksheet:

  1. What exactly are you worried about or afraid of?
  2. Is it something that already happened? (If no, skip to #3) Can you fix/repair or undo it to any extent?
    1. Tell me what YOU can do to fix it if it has already happened. If “nothing” is your answer, skip ahead to #5. Otherwise, spell it out in detail, what you will do. Number the steps and take your time.
    2. Can you do that right now? When can you do that? (If “now”, please complete this entire worksheet, then directly carry out your plan.)
  3. Is it something that might happen?  Can you prevent or control any portion of the outcome?
    1. Tell me what YOU can do to prevent it, or reduce the problem. If “nothing” is your answer, skip ahead to #5. Otherwise, spell it out in detail, what you will do. Number the steps and take your time.
    2. When can you carry out this/these actions? (If “now”, please complete this entire worksheet, then directly carry out your plan.)
  4. Add your actions to your calendar (from A. & B. above). Remember, you won’t be better prepared for what is to come by worrying about it. You have your action plan written and will use it when the time comes.
  5. Next, here are the mantras and affirmations to say aloud, no less than 10 times.
    1. I am a strong, capable person. I can handle issues when they come my way.
    2. I will handle only the problems I can, and be at peace with my limitations.
    3. I am calm, knowing that when the time comes, I will handle it with success. I can now fill my head with enjoyable thoughts and go relax.
    4. I am an empowered person. I am smart and resourceful. I am competent and confident. I handle problems with ease. I am resourceful and thoughtful. I am insightful. I am confident, and decisive. My decisions are sound and well reasoned.
    5. I am allowed to enjoy the now, without worrying about the future, because in this moment everything is ok.
    6. I deserve peace. I am worthy of self love. I’m entitled to contentment.

Did you repeat those 10 times? If not, keep going. By the 3rd or 4th round, you will memorize some, and when that happens, I want you to close your eyes, and focus on the meaning of the words, and really sound them down in to your core. Mean them, feel them, embrace them, own them. Now say them some more. Trust me. You are worthy of this time you are spending on yourself.

When done, go about your day. Leave the action plan behind until it is time. Enjoy yourself. Do something fun.

Loss is the Bottom Line

As I sit and worry about the worry-du-jour, or for me, more like the worry de l’heure. (worry of the hour), I think, “what if…”.  The what if question feels like an end to itself, which is clearly the worst, most terrifying possibility it can be, and the end of all of life’s happiness, and I’m certain nothing will ever be good again and that feeling permeates every part of my body until I’m ill and exhausted. Images of the worst case scenarios play out in my brain like the most macabre of short-attention-span movies. What are the chances it’s actually the “level 10” tragedy I’m certain it is? More likely it’s a non-issue, a zero. Or, maybe it’s a level 2, a minor annoyance. Could be a level 6, which is a pretty high level of suck, and will involve time and effort to get over, through, fix, mend, heal, etc., but I can and will.

Despite the odds, my mind races with endless “what if’s…” What I fail to do, is actually answer that question…  What IF this thing happens? Answer the question. Well, if it does, I have to do this thing, or that thing, and possibly cry and mourn, and not to sound cold, but I will get through it. Whatever your worry is, you WILL get through it. Even if it is that most horrible, level 10 of all tragedies.

The Core of Worry

Did you ever stop to think of WHY you worry?  We know from another article about loss, that it boils down to losing something, but why do we catastrophise this loss?At some place in your mind, born some time in your history, may be an underlying thought that you simply are not worthy of good things.  This in itself is not the root cause, either. It goes beyond that. At some point in your life, the thought either blossomed in your mind or someone gave you the notion that you don’t deserve to have the blessings that you have. Maybe you feel it’s a punishment from a childhood mistake, or maybe you wonder if it’s karma for sins of a past life. Either way, as your friend, I’m telling you that YOU DO DESERVE GOOD THINGS IN LIFE!  It’s ok to have good things, enjoy good things, and want to keep your good things. I give you permission.Right now, I want you to give yourself permission to have good things. Say this aloud:

I, (your name), am a worthy person, and deserve good things in life. I am allowed to keep them. I am grateful for all I have, and enjoy my time in this world.

You may change this mantra to suit you, but keep all words positive. Don’t use “no’s”, “not’s”, “can’ts”, etc.

It is beneficial that your brain hears and processes these words when you speak them aloud. It is not the same to say them just in your thoughts. Repeat this mantra daily or more. It will eventually sink in, and you will find that the power of the catastrophic worries and anxieties have less and less power.

Fire Them!

Sometimes a source of daily or occasional anxiety is a nasty client, or a non-supportive friend.

I’ve recently encountered both, and after listening to the input of true friends, and giving it much thought, I’ve decided that life is way too damn short to tolerate people who clearly do not give thought to the stress they cause others.
There are people in the world who are so busy being caught up in their own needs, they turn a minor slight or disappointment into long, whiny, one-sided complaint about tiny, petty issues. I’m sure you’ve met one or even a few in your lifetime. The problem is, most of the time, these are the type of people who do not actually want to RESOLVE an issue, but rather complain, with creative embellishments (lies) about the injustice and poor treatment they received.  Somehow, even if the issue originally had a basis in truth, it becomes bigger and more tragic and more serious than reality. It is here where it takes on a life of its own, and even though you have no control over it, they blame you for this fabricated nightmare.

Then, of course, it has become an issue that simply must be discussed. “We need to talk.” is an ominous and threatening tactic, reminiscent of grade school children being called into the principal’s office.  Of course, when I hear or read those words, I know that a one-sided “discussion” is about to take place, and no matter what I say, how I recount MY version of events, or the logic behind the actions that actually happened, it will not be heard. The offended party will complain until you give in, give the discount or finally agree with them, issuing a heartfelt and nauseatingly pleading apology.

Here’s my thought on that. FORGET IT, PAL!!  I have enough stress in my day without this one client who will never be satisfied paying my more-than-competitive retail prices, or this one friend who has taken things out of context and turned nothing into something without asking me what it meant.  In my mind, I have already fired them both. The anxiety has already begun to lift, as I ponder a life where I do not ever have to be put through that (by them) again. I’m sure I’ll come across new selfish soul-suckers again in life, but these two… off the list.  I feel better already.

I’m a firm believer in getting rid of things that cause stress, strife, anxiety or sadness.  My suggestion to the reader, why not find one thing in your life that triggers any form of upset, and see what you can do to phase it out of your life?

Panic and Worry Triggers

I have panic attacks or what I call “worry-waves” for many reasons. It feels like a sinking, sick feeling, with a dash of spinning out of control, a hint of falling 100 feet, and warm limbs. Sometimes its accompanied by flushing red on my chest and face. My mouth gets dry. My hands shake. Occasionally I feel weak and dizzy, and on extreme occasions, I can’t catch my breath and I experience chest pains.
In a word, it sucks.

Sometimes my worry wave comes on gradually, and sometimes it’s a sudden electrifying jolt. For instance, when you are up for your 1am popcorn frenzy and you see a scary face outside your window, only to realize that it’s your reflection, having forgotten to remove your makeup which has been rubbed and melted down your face and now very much resembles a cross between Alice Cooper and the Scream ghost face mask.

Some of my triggers are:

  • Seeing my family on latitude, in some place they aren’t supposed to be (which is almost always wrong, due to towers being inaccurate)
  • Reading an email, hearing a voice mail or directly listening to a pissed-off client
  • Learning that an expensive job has been rejected by the client, due to me/my staff error.
  • Going to the Dr. (for any reason)
  • Getting news that any family member is leaving town
  • Sometimes I can’t pin point exactly what or why… I just feel wiggy.

If I am able to quell my panic at all, it comes after learning that the problem has abated, and if I can’t immediately fix it, or get information that all is well, I have to have this long internal discussion with myself about how things will be ok, and no matter what, I have people in my life that will love and support me. Sometimes that works, and sometimes I just can’t shake the wiggins.

After the panic is finally gone, and there is no more threat, I can relax. Although, as with most chronic worriers, my mind turns to wondering what’s on the horizon, or even what may be horrible and tragic going on right now that I don’t yet know about. Still, even after it’s all said and done, my body responds for hours, with exhaustion, heightened sensitivity to others harsh words/tones, intolerance of criticism, jumping at loud noises, and lack of mental focus.

What triggers you? What physical symptoms do you experience? And what do you do to calm yourself?

Live in the Now – A Quick Anti-anxiety Exercise.

What are you worried about right now? Can you identify it? If not, try to think of what is really making you anxious, and write it down on a piece of paper. (Yes, I mean old school… don’t blog it, don’t text it, don’t dictate it to your tablet, just write it down).
Be as thorough or as sparse as you like, but you must be honest about it. It must be the real problem. Next, visualize that the problem exists solely on this paper. Maybe draw a box around it to restrain it. Maybe cross it out. Be sure you’ve gotten it all off your chest and on to the paper.  Every possibility surrounding the problem is now contained on this sheet. It alone is the problem, and when you crumple it up, the problem releases it’s grip on you. Crumple it now. Let the problem shrink as you smash the paper in your hands. Now toss it in the trash.ID-100268132

It is now out of your hands. You are free. It is not your problem. It may still exist, but it’s no longer yours to deal with. If it is a real issue that you must deal with at some point, don’t worry, you will in time, but not right now.  Now, let other thoughts come in; thoughts of things you can do with your day, now that that issue is contained.  You can do this, if just for a few minutes or even an hour. Truly let the worry go for now, let yourself off the hook. Just for the next 30 minutes, it is nothing to worry about.  Whatever you were worried about, is now in the trash and has no place in your head. Let it go. It’s fine.

Now, take a look around your room/office. Speak aloud as you describe the room. Tell me what you see.
Do you hear any sounds? What are they. Describe them completely. Is the room cool? Warm? Bright? Do you smell anything? Tell me every detail. Now describe your physical comfort level. (Do not tell me how you are feeling emotionally.)  Are your clothes comfy, or tight? Are you in a nice chair? Stay in the moment with me, describing everything you are experiencing in your physical world. Can you kick off your shoes and wiggle your toes? Can you take a sip of cold water or hot coffee?  Do so, and describe it – aloud. Ahhhhhh.

Now that you’re experiencing your “now” moment, it’s time to treat yourself with a few minutes of pleasure. Remember, you are fully immersed in the the now, and the worry you threw away, still does not exist. The next step requires that you dig into your memory, and find a song that made you happy or reminds you of a good time. Anything that has some pep and/or maybe gives you a sense of empowerment. Now, if you can, go to www.youtube.com and find that song, and play it loud. Remembering that you are in the now, and right now, everything is OK, and there is nothing to worry about. Enjoy your music thoroughly.

You have now spent the last few minutes living in the now. Continue to practice this, knowing that if you absolutely must, you can come back to the worry later – but hopefully, you will feel empowered enough not to. Or, at least having spent some of your life living it, rather than dreading or fearing it.  : )

 

Anxieties about Tax Time

Here is an excellent article by an Expert at Liveperson.com.   Liveperson.com does not necessarily endorse firstdontpanic.com.   We, at firstdontpanic.com find liveperson.com to be an excellent resource for help with anxiety. Please check them out.

http://www.liveperson.com/lp/the-advisor-free-expert-advice/2012/03/how-to-fight-financial-anxiety-as-tax-time-approaches

Types of Anxieties – Defined

Anxiety Attacks and Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety treatments and self-help strategies that can quickly help you reduce your anxiety symptoms and control anxiety attacks.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
A common anxiety disorder that involves chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension. Here’s a check list of symptoms.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Do you have uncontrollable thoughts, irrational urges, or the compulsion to continually repeat the same rituals, in order to feel like you can function?
Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder
What causes of panic attacks, how do I reduce or eliminate the symptoms of panic, and regain control of your life?
Phobias and Fears
When fears are irrational and disabling, they are called phobias. What are they? Where do they come from? How can I make them stop?
Social Anxiety Disorder and Social Phobia
Learn to understand this disorder and be more comfortable in social situations.