Thursday, 24 July 2014

5 Quick Ways to Calm Anxiety at Work

5 Quick Ways to Calm Anxiety at Work
If you struggle with anxiety, you may find it especially tough to get things done at work. “Anxiety can be debilitating on its own, but in the workplace, it can be magnified immensely,” said Jennifer Hope, LCPC, a therapist who specializes in treating anxiety.

With its often-fast pace and mounting demands, work can spike stress. One of Hope’s clients, who has generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), feels anxious most of the time and in most situations. When her anxiety is severe, she has a hard time completing any task. She’ll reread the same line in an email because she can’t focus on anything else except her anxiety.
Whether you struggle with severe or occasional anxiety at work, you can practice certain strategies to feel better. Hope shared these five tips.

1. Slow down your breathing.
As Hope said, the reason patients get oxygen at the dentist’s office is because it calms you down. To practice deep breathing, “sit back in your chair and place your hand on your abdomen. When you take a deep breath in, your hand should rise up. When you breathe out slowly, your hand should lower.”
She suggested breathing in deeply for five seconds, and breathing out until you don’t have any breath left. “Repeat this several times until your chest feels less tight and your mind has stopped racing.”

2. Practice reassuring self-talk.
Regularly ruminating about how anxious you are and that you can’t handle the situation amplifies your anxiety and paralyzes you. “If you change your thinking, you can change your behavior,” said Hope, who practices at Urban Balance, which provides comprehensive counseling services in the Chicago area.
For instance, she suggested reminding yourself that anxiety is a feeling that will change and go away. You might say to yourself: “This is temporary. It will pass,” and “I will be OK. I am OK. I will get through this.”
You also can talk yourself through work tasks, such as: “I will work on this project for 20 minutes and then reevaluate how I am feeling.”

3. Get moving.
If you’re able to get outside, take a brisk 10- to 15-minute walk, Hope said. Or find a quiet spot in your building to do several sets of jumping jacks, she said. “This will release endorphins that will help calm your mind and your body.”
Another option is to practice muscle tension and relaxation, which shifts your focus from anxiety to the exercise, and releases the tension your body holds onto from the anxiety, Hope said.
Start with your face. “First, scrunch all the muscles in your face as tightly as you can. Hold this for about 20 seconds. Then release and relax all the muscles in your face.” Do the same with your neck and other parts of your body, moving down to your toes.
Hope’s client finds it helpful to take breaks in the office gym throughout the day.

4. Separate tasks into smaller time periods.
Most people who struggle with anxiety at work are counting down the minutes until they can go home, Hope said. They also may look at their entire schedule, instantly become overwhelmed and feel like fleeing, she said.
Breaking down tasks into shorter time increments shrinks them to a size you can manage and helps you realize that you’re capable of working, she said.
For instance, prioritize your projects, and start with the most important one. Go hour-by-hour, and then re-evaluate. “Tell yourself ‘I just need to get through this hour; then I can think about going home.’”
After that hour, set another goal, she said. “Work on another project for an hour; when that hour is over, take a break and praise yourself for making it through two hours of work.”
“Your day will slowly feel less overwhelming and you can be proud for making it through the day.”

5. Reach out.
When Hope’s client feels extreme anxiety, she emails or calls Hope or a close friend. “If you have someone you can talk to, you can explain your feelings and receive validation, comfort and reassurance, which can help remind you that you are capable of getting through this; you are already doing it.”
If you’re still struggling with persistent anxiety at work, get help. “Do not feel embarrassed. You would be surprised how many other people are suffering just like you.”

Music Therapy, Anxiety Relief, Stress Reduction, Calming, Sleep, Stress ...

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

6 Steps for Managing Fear and Anxiety

6 Steps for Managing Fear and Anxiety

We’ve all experienced pangs of fear and anxiety. Whether it’s blowing that big job interview, worrying about lab test results from your doctor or letting your 15-year old attend a late night rave party. Whatever the reason, our bodies kick into a “fight-or-flight” response that shoots adrenaline into our bloodstream and makes us climb the walls. Jude Bijou MA MFT, respected psychotherapist, consultant, and author of “Attitude Reconstruction: a Blueprint for Building a Better Life” has developed six highly effective techniques to help you deal with fear and anxiety.

Shake it Out
When the flight-or-fight response kicks in, your heartbeat races, your breaths grow short and shallow, and your stomach gets tied up in knots. Meet your body halfway by releasing some of the energy it’s built up. Shake and tremble. Put some effort into it and add some sounds if you have to. Releasing this pent up energy helps your mind refocus.
You’re OK (EGBOK)
Say this out loud: “Everything’s Going to Be OK.” Tell yourself that you’ll take one thing at a time, and that you can handle what’s making you fearful or anxious. This kind of positive self-assurance does work to modify your attitude and calm your body.
Act, Don’t Dwell
Fear and anxiety are things that halt action. They ball-and-chain you into sitting and dwelling on what might happen. The remedy to these arresting thoughts is action. Find out what you can do to solve the problem — whether it’s talking to someone, taking care of something you’ve been neglecting, or simply learning a new coping skill — like meditation.
Plan Don’t Panic
Fears and anxieties often spring out of a need to address something that needs attention. Instead of going into panic mode, go into writing mode: jot down the things you need to do. Prioritize and plan your course of action to get at the root of what’s making you fearful or anxious.
Get Specific
If you need to address a fear or anxiety don’t start lumping all your fears into one big downer. Many people sink into a “Sky is Falling” way of thinking that prevents them from overcoming their fear or anxiety. Address the specifics of what’s causing the problem and create a plan of action that stair-steps you right over the fear or anxiety.
This is Crucial: Acknowledge Your Improvement
Praise and compliment your steps in overcoming your fear or anxiety. Don’t be shy about giving yourself an attaboy, even for minor steps. As you overcome your fear and anxiety, you’ll grow more resilient and push through those barriers. Your confidence and courage will grow.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Primary school children should have therapy to cut anxiety, say scientists at University of Exeter

Children as young as nine would benefit from cognitive behavioiural therapy, scientists said

       Children as young as nine would benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, scientists said

Children as young as nine should receive cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in school to help them combat anxiety, scientists say.
New research from the Universities of Exeter, Bath, Cardiff and Oxford found such prevention programmes “significantly reduce” anxiety symptoms in Year Five pupils.
The study, of more than 1,300 youngsters aged between nine and ten, also highlighted the benefits of CBT lessons in the classroom for all children – regardless of their anxiety level.
Researchers say the issue is “very common” in children, with 10% affected by an anxiety disorder by the age of 16.
Lessons in CBT involve teaching pupils how to identify and manage their emotions, replace anxious thoughts and develop problem-solving skills to cope with anxiety provoking situations.
Lead author Professor Paul Stallard, of the University of Bath’s Department for Health, said introducing the lessons would be a proactive, preventative approach.
“Schools provide a convenient location to deliver emotional health prevention programmes for children,” Prof Stallard said.
“Whilst there are a number of school based programmes, few have been scientifically evaluated to determine what effect they have on children’s emotional health.
“The results of our study are very encouraging and show that FRIENDS, a CBT programme, teaches children skills to effectively manage their anxiety.”
In the project, Preventing Anxiety in Children through Education in Schools, the researchers conducted a randomised controlled trial to test the effectiveness of CBT lessons for 9-10-year-olds.
The researchers enrolled 1,362 pupils from 40 state schools in the South West and followed them for one year.
School year groups were assigned to receive either classroom-based CBT lessons led by teachers, CBT lessons led by health facilitators or standard school provision.
Schools classed as following “standard school provision” were those following social and emotional aspects of learning currently within the curriculum.
Pupils were given nine hour-long CBT lessons, which were provided to whole classes as part of the school curriculum.
Results showed the most effective method of reducing anxiety occurred when external health facilitators conducted the lessons, rather than teachers.
Both children with low and high levels of anxiety saw a reduction in their symptoms in the 12 months of the study.
In the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, the authors write: “Universally delivered programmes offer the potential to reduce present symptoms, enhance overall emotional wellbeing, and potentially shift population means over time.
“Our findings support this theory and show that children in the low-anxiety health-led FRIENDS group showed markedly lower anxiety symptoms at 12 months than did those in the usual school provision group.
“Because fears, anxiety and stress are common in children, anxiety prevention programmes might be especially suited to universal delivery.
“However, our data suggests that the same programme can result in different effects depending on those who deliver it.”
The team are now assessing whether reductions in anxiety are maintained after the children transfer to secondary school.
Professor Harry Daniels, from the Department of Education at the University of Oxford added: “These are important findings.
“The intervention offers an affordable and practical response to the challenges of promoting emotional health in schools.
“The need to improve the mental health of children is being increasingly recognised as a global priority given the associated health risks, and the economic and social costs, if such anxieties are not dealt with early on.”
Classroom-based cognitive therapy (FRIENDS): a cluster randomised controlled trial to Prevent Anxiety in Children through Education in Schools was published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Yoga can cure social anxiety disorders

Yoga can cure social anxiety disordersA new study claims that yoga and other exercises, which have relaxing effect on our bodies, can help people with social anxiety disorders look at the world positively. Adam Heenan, a Ph.D. from Queen's University found that relaxation activities literally change the way people perceive the world, altering their perception so that they view the environment in a less threatening, less negative way. For people with mood and anxiety disorders, this is an important breakthrough.

For the research, Heenan used point-light displays, a depiction of a human that is comprised of a series of dots representing the major joints. Human point-light displays are depth-ambiguous and because of this, an observer looking at the display could see it as either facing towards them or facing away. Researchers have found people who are socially anxious perceive these figures as facing towards them more often. Heenan said that they found that people who either walked or jogged on a treadmill for 10 minutes perceived these ambiguous figures as facing towards them (the observer) less often than those who simply stood on the treadmill. The same was true when people performed progressive muscle relaxation. This was important because anxious people display a bias to focus on more threatening things in their environment. The research is published in PLOS one.