I Need Your Help

Cropped shot of businessman holding Help Wanted sign

It’s time for a change and I need your help to make it happen.

Not too long ago I took a poll to see if people found this site helpful, and based on the response the answer was a big — yes! But, instead of making me just feel fuzzy inside, it also focused my mind and made me examine how I could make this site even more awesome.

Actually, I’ve already gotten started on this expansion project and have been working on the redesign of this site for the past month or so.

I wanted to quickly point out some of the major additions I’m currently working on.

1. Newsletter: This is an email based system that’s designed to send you news, tutorials, podcasts, and other information that won’t be made available anywhere else.

2. Article Submission: This feature will allow readers to submit their own blog entries, so they can share tips and information to help those in the AG community. I’ve always thought that we all have valuable knowledge to share, and this is a chance for you to do that on a bigger scale. Of course, I’ll be editing and sorting entries, so only the very best will be published.

3. Podcast: I have a series of new podcasts that will deal with issues that I haven’t touched on in the past.

Over time I plan to add more features and hope to turn AG into the best resource it can possibly be for you and all those in similar situations.

Now, the sucky part.

Unfortunately, and to my total surprise, I got ripped off. Yeah I know, I’m so PO’ed about the whole situation. I hired a designer to handle the whole project for $400 bucks, but after I paid things went south.

At first he seemed great, then he stopped answering emails, and well, a month later only half the work was done. So, given that he did at least some work, I will try to recover some of my money, but there isn’t any telling how long that could take or if it’s even possible (I promise I’ll give it a 100% though).

I guess I was naive and thought that because I give off good karma that I would get a little of that mojo back and complete my project without any drama, but things didn’t turn out like I thought they would.

Now I’m in a position where I really want to — and will — continue to finish what I started, but I need your help to get it done.

I’ve had to hire a new designer and pay him nearly as much as the first guy, but this time no money is changing hands until the work is done!

Last year you guys guaranteed the continued existence of the AG podcast (The Anxiety Guru Show) with your generous donations.

This year I need to ramp up that effort to cover the cost of AG’s improvements and maintenance, especially because of the ripoff. As many of you know I am I one man show with no outside funding. And the little I make from ads and donations only helps me to break even, but in this case breaking even is the goal.

It makes me happy to help you, but the reality is that this stuff isn’t cheap. Between hosting for the site, podcasts, and designer fees, I’m about to be in it for several hundred dollars.

Last year I was able to raise $200 and I appreciate every single penny, but this year I’ll need to raise even more.

The challenge I face is raising $400.


Even with this amount of support, I’ll still be down a few hundred bucks, but that’s OK with me. I’m just trying to avoid shouldering the entire load.

Some might say, well why even do this if you’re losing money? That’s easy, because for every person I help, I save. I save them from fear, anxiety, hopelessness, and depression. That to me is worth every single dime that I’ve ever spent here. This is my life’s work. To help you. How do you put a dollar amount on that? I simply can’t, and I won’t.

So, to continue those efforts, I need you more than ever. I’ve been asked for money myself many times in the past, so  I know how the apathetic among you  feel, but this is a worthy cause.

See, even though I already feel better, since I’m “healed” as it were, I keep working because I want everyone that finds me to feel at peace the way that I do now.

Alright, now it’s action time. You can donate buy clicking on either PayPal button. It’s a safe way to donate without having to fret about privacy issues.

Also, remember that you can donate by buying a copy of my special report. This $10 purchase will give you a great resource and also provide AG with a much needed donation.

Your gift — whatever it’s size — will help make AG better.

I’ll be keeping a tally over the next two weeks on this page of all donations made as a thank you to those that participate in this fundraiser.

Please join me in making Anxiety Guru into a better resource for all and not letting a ripoff artist disrupt the good work that’s being done here.

– Paul Dooley

P.S.

If you can’t see the donation button from your email or reader then please visit Anxietyguru.net.

$50 from Sue — Thank you!

You Already Have Everything You Need to Get Better

I know what you’re thinking. When is your horrible anxiety going to end, right?

Well, the answer to that will vary from person to person but, what I can tell you is that you already have, right at this very moment, everything you need to get better.

I remember thinking that I needed to find some secret formula to get rid of my severe anxiety. I felt like to get the answers I needed, I shoulda been on some mountain talking with a wise old Mr. Miyagi type.

But I can tell you with confidence that the solution to your problem is already in your possession and not in the Himalayas. The only thing you have to do now is learn how to tap into it.

And once you learn how to tap into it you’ll have a light bulb moment, at least that’s how it happened to me. In fact, I was in the shower (of all places) one day fighting off an anxiety attack, and it was on that day, in that small space, that I was finally able to accept and float through the situation by letting go.

That’s when the light came on and a simple calmness came over me. It’s hard to describe how happy I was to feel that way after feeling so much pain. And to think that I came to such a profound realization doing something as mundane as showering. I found it strange, but I also didn’t care because I was free.

In the end, I didn’t need a miracle or divine intervention. I just let go. That was the “big idea” – Letting go of my assumptions and anticipation removed all abnormal anxiety.

In a way, this has to sound brainless to at least a few people because how can something as powerful as severe anxiety be subdued with acceptance and flotation?

That’s what I thought too when I first came across this idea in the book Hope and Help for Your Nerves. It sounded too easy, but then again why does it have to be hard?

So, try the best you can to float past the symptoms and uncertainty that you live with for now. And remember that none of this is forever if, and only if, you stop waiting.

Stop waiting for death, stop waiting for disaster, and stop waiting for insanity because I promise you that anxiety isn’t bringing any of those things into your life.

Peace of mind is that mental condition in which you have accepted the worst.

– Lin Yutang

Now, you’ll probably flirt with the idea of accepting and floating for a while because that kind of thing, no matter how simple sounding, never really comes easy. But when you do learn how to accept and float — flowing with it all — you’ll have the wonderful epiphany that I had.

And that’s when you’ll know, deep down inside, that you had the power to release yourself from abnormal anxiety this whole time. You just gotta accept and float to get there.

How to Stop Panic

PUSH! to openPanic almost killed me one night.

At least that’s how I felt at the time. That was more than ten years ago now, but man did that night change my life.

You see, way back before I met my beautiful wife I had started dating this other nice young lady. This charming damsel had invited me to a small get together, and like a sucker, I went. By now I was already fully engulfed by nervous illness, but I went anyway because well… what can I say, I was blinded by the potential of it all.

So off we went in a small yellow hatchback car that was driven by some guy I can’t remember anymore.

After a short drive we arrived at  a small house located on the corner of any empty looking neighborhood. Up to this point I was more excited to be with my date than I was nervous or scared, so things weren’t that bad, yet.

That is until we walked up to the front door. A smiling girl opened the door widely and asked us to come in, and then I saw something that made my heart sink into my stomach. I saw what looked like 100 or so people crammed into that tuna can of a house.

The only person I knew was my date, so right away I got tense and apprehensive. We made our way through the crowd and I could feel 100 pairs of eyeballs laser beaming into my body, but I held it together and took a seat at the kitchen table.

About an hour later, it happened. I started to have a panic attack. The onset was sudden and I could feel myself breathing faster, and faster. At the same time my skin started to crawl with chills and my eyes began darting around the room because I became desperate for an exit.

But I didn’t have a point of reference because it was a strange house, filled with strange people. Outwardly I looked normal, but inside I was being tormented by the urge to run.

And right when I thought I was going to lose all control I caught a flickering light from the corner of my eye. I turned my head to the right and noticed a few people gathered around a small t.v. They were watching a movie called Cliffhanger, of all things. And even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the movie before that day, I was for sure afterward.

Cliffhanger distracted me from my palpitations and my chest pain. It took my mind off the sweating and trembling. I could still feel the panic clawing at my body, but watching that dorky movie was helping me out. I was scared as hell.

Then something amazing happened. My date got bored and decided that she wanted to leave, so I sprang up from my chair filled with eager anticipation and the kind of joy that I can’t even begin to describe. And as we walked out the front door and my foot hit the other side of the threshold my panic stopped; it disappeared as soon as the cool night air hit my lungs, but why?

Well, the obvious reason was that the threat was gone. I didn’t have anything to fear anymore. But later that night, and in the days to follow, I kept asking myself, how could I make my panic turnoff instantly like that? And could it even be done?

The answer is yes it can. You can shut off the fear response even if you’re still in a situation that is causing you to panic or feel intense nervousness.

After much trial and error I discovered that for me to calm my panic I needed to do three things.

1. Control my breathing: When your body is in a state of fight or flight being able to bring your breathing under control as soon as possible is critical. This is because when your breathing rate gets away from you you’re more likely to have the stress response ramp up.

Not only that, but the longer the panic or intense anxiety is allowed to develop the harder it is to bring yourself back to normal. So, turn to your breath and slow it down. Take deep breaths, focus on your belly, and try to breath in through the nose and out of your mouth. Deep Breathing is a panic killer.

2. Self-Talk: When panic strikes you have to jump in the captain’s chair fast. One of the first things the fight or flight response will do is turn off, or at least diminishes, your ability to think normally. Your normal way of thinking is temporarily stunned and this confusion leads to more panic.

It’s important to recognize panic and severe anxiety quickly because if you do then you’ll be able to use self-talk and statements of logic to calm yourself down. For example, “I’m panicking, this is a stress response, it’s normal, I’m going to be OK.”

3. A tight belly: By squeezing your stomach muscles tightly this will put pressure on a group of nerves that will signal your heart to slow down.

After that, you wait. Give it a few minutes and your body will return to normal quickly.

In the end, this horrible panic attack taught me two big lessons. One, panic attacks are almost never as bad as you think they are and two, you can do something to help yourself when it’s happening.

You simply don’t have to put up with this and suffer in silence.

Side-note:

Here is a link to an awesome article by Dr. Carrie Demers that breaks down the root of chronic stress, panic, and how to get it under control.

Creative Commons License photo credit: dylancantwell

Discover Your Inner Strength and Dominate Your Anxiety

Paul Heuze and another man stand on top of a third man who has been rendered rigid by hypnosis, in a 'phenomenon experiment'.   (Photo by Henry Guttmann/Getty Images)

I’ve always believed that in order to win your fight against severe anxiety you have to count on one person, and that person is you. You’ll simply be better served accepting the fact that you are your best hope for change.

This is because although you’ll need help along the way, ultimately you’re the gatekeeper to final success and freedom from anxious thoughts, anxiety symptoms, low self-esteem, and all the other baggage that’s been piling up on you. Only you can make the necessary corrections to your thinking, so that you can finally escape morbid anxiety.

So, to help you do that, today I want to present to you two mini-shovels that you can use to dig inside yourself to solve one of your most puzzling problems, namely, how to focus your mind and direct it into a state of calmness.

Of course, these two methods aren’t curealls, but they will at least give you yet another set of tools to stuff into your anti-anxiety tool box for ready use.

The two methods are called autosuggestion and autogenic training. Both of these ideas have been around for some time, but you may have heard of them more recently because of books like The Secret. Although The Secret doesn’t mention autosuggestion or autogenic training by their names, it is very much based on these two ideas.

The Secret relies on something called the Law of Attraction to get what you want out of life, whatever that might be. And despite the fact that the book and film are somewhat childish in sophistication, there’s been a long history of people using similar techniques to master their minds to heal disease or succeed in the business world.

The idea that you can get what you want out of life by simply thinking about it was first introduced by French psychologist and pharmacist Emile Coue. He even developed a mantra (The Coue method) that called for people to repeat, everyday, the autosuggestion, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”

“Our actions spring not from our will, but from our imagination. Whatever idea we put in our mind, never mind what idea maybe, becomes true for us, even if it be untrue. Further, every idea that we put into the mind becomes reality in so far as it is within the realms of possibility.” — Emile Coue 1923

Coue thought that if you repeated this mantra every morning and evening that you would literally heal yourself of all the physical or mental ailments you had. The hope is that when you tell yourself positive things on a daily basis, then those things will come true.

Let me briefly point-out some highlights of the autosuggestion method.

  • Autosuggestion is thought to “reprogram” the subconscious mind, where the vast majority of our automatic thoughts originate.
  • Any idea that occupies the mind can turn into reality, as long as the the goal is within reason. So, no instant billions here.
  • In order for autosuggestion to work you have to withhold judgment and accept the idea completely.
  • The ideas of self-talk, positive affirmation, and mantras, are all forms of autosuggestion.
  • Doesn’t require visualization, but does require a vivid imagination.
  • Autosuggestion is best done while you’re in a comfortable position, have your eyes closed, and have a clear mind.
  • Coue thought that by talking to yourself in a low, confident voice, you could implant new ideas that would later become automatic and therefore be more likely to influence you in positive ways.

Is autosuggestion just trickery? I’m not so sure about that, although I do think it’s power can be exaggerated somewhat. That exaggeration comes from people thinking that they can trick themselves into becoming rich, or something along those lines, without doing the work.

However, I think you can use this method for much more modest things, like giving yourself more self-confidence and, to some extent, tricking your own brain into thinking positively. I mean, I think it is possible to tell yourself something so much that it becomes true, whether it’s actually true or not.

Autosuggestion is also a subtle way of changing thoughts because it doesn’t depend on sheer willpower.  In fact, autosuggestion is not about shoving new ideas into your mind with brute force, it relies instead on a form of passive self-hypnosis that, day by day, slowly but surely, allows you to replace fearful thoughts with positive ones.

On the other side of the fence is autogenic training. This technique came about around the 1930′s and was developed first by German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz.

Autogenic traning is also supposed to be done daily, but instead of mantras and self-talk, it relies on visualization and relaxation to meet it’s goals. Autogenic training is very similar to a more recent form of therapy called progressive relaxation in that it focuses on relaxing not just your mind, but your entire body.

Here is what an autogenic session would be like.

First, you’d sit or lye down somewhere comfortable and proceed down the following list of self guided relaxation techniques.

  • “my arms are heavy”
  • “my arms and legs are heavy and warm” (repeat 3 times)
  • “my stomach is warm” (repeat 3 times)
  • “my neck and shoulders are heavy (repeat three times)
  • “my heart beat is calm and normal”
  • “my forehead is cool and relaxed”
  • “I am at peace” (repeat 3 times)

This is all meant to get you in a deep state of conscious relaxation that doesn’t just feel good, but is also meant to affect your autonomic nervous system – that’s the thing that controls your anxiety symptom’s, like palpitations – and causes it to be calm and “reset” itself.

These autogenic sessions should last anywhere from 10-15 minutes and can be done with a therapist or alone.

I decided to introduce both of these methods because I think that together they offer a lot of benefits. They do this by addressing both your mind and body.

Autosuggestion has the power to focus your mind and keep you locked in on your goal of reaching peace of mind, while autogenic training has the very real (clinically proven) ability to relax your body, thereby reducing your physical symptoms over time.

These two methods are also great because they allow you to harness something that you may have felt you lost, and that’s your inner strength, or strength of any kind for that matter. You might feel weak in your legs and your mind because of everything you’re going through but, I have to tell you, you have what it takes to get better.

I know this because I’ve been where you are now, in that place where everything seems dark and where hope is in short supply. But if you decide, with conviction, that you want to reclaim your life, then you can do just that.

For a more detailed explanation of how this works check out the podcast below.

Lessons from Rocky Balboa

rockyandivan9

Let’s talk belief.

I spend a lot of time writing about specific things that you can do to counter anxiety, but today I want to delve into a more intangible quality that can help push you over the hump and propel you into the “normal zone.”

And instead of getting all technical or philosophical about this, I’m going to use the Italian Stallion to illustrate my point. I know, I know, this sounds corny, but lest you forget the awesomeness of the original film.

So, why Rocky? I chose Rocky because this cold war hero is the epitome of what a strong belief in yourself can accomplish. Now, I know Rocky isn’t real, but that really is beside the point. After all, fiction is written by real people with real messages right?

Plus, most people liked Rocky, in fact,  you probably remember cheering for this lovable meat-head because of his grit, work ethic, and determination. And not only was Rocky inspirational, he’s also a lot like you.

Let me highlight a few things that you have in common with the Philly bomber.

The Opponent

Like Rocky, you face a big, strong opponent that is dedicated to crushing you, at least psychologically. An opponent that taunts you like Mr. T, and pounds on you like Drago. These dudes were mean as hell, and so is severe anxiety.

The other thing is, you’re probably also intimidated by your opponent much like Rocko was. Impressed with his lighting speed and ability to cause havoc in what seems to be a thousand different ways.

But as big and bad as your opponent seems, he is, in the end, beatable.

Training

Every time Rocky had to prepare for a big fight he had to train, and train hard. But training doesn’t just apply to sports, it also applies to learning. You won’t have to do sit ups with logs, run up mountains, or out run KGB agents in the snow, but you should be working hard to turn the tide in your favor by using whatever works for you.

Fighting hard

Rocky had to fight hard to win, and you’ll need to do much the same thing. But your fight is different, in that your fighting not only your opponent, but also your self sabotaging ways. You see, your fight is about learning how to get out of your own way just as much as it is about anything else.

Your other challenge is also learning how to slip and dodge all the wild misconceptions that anxiety is throwing at you right now. Because unlike the film, you’d be better off avoiding those nasty uppercuts, the very real blows that for you come in the form of hypochondria, fits of panic, and the all the rest of it.

So, OK, you and Rocky have some similarities, but what else can he teach us?

Rocky also teaches us that despite your self-doubt, and despite what seem to be impossible odds, you still got a shot at winning. In short, you can still do this.

It’s true that anxiety dishes out mental beatings like it’s going out of style, and that it can bring you down, sometimes way down. It can even make you lose hope and feel defeated, tired, and depressed. But no matter where you’re at in your struggle, even if you’re on the canvas face down, you can still get up.

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you down to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it… You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.” — Rocky Balboa

And not only that, you can get up with the firm belief that you can win.

Belief is powerful. A strong belief can help you do awesome things, things that you thought were inconceivable.

Ultimately, if you believe something with conviction, then it’s as good as true.

So then, believe that you can win this fight, believe that you’re going to be OK, believe that you will be who you once were. If you do this, and combine this belief with daily action to eliminate abnormal anxiety, then good things will happen.

Side-Note: If you can’t see the images or video in your email or reader then go to Anxietyguru.net to check out the visuals.

The 7 Habits of Anxiety Free People

“We are what we repeatedly do.”

- Aristotle

This quote sums it up, perfectly. The bottom-line is that your thoughts, your feelings, and your behavior, are all a product of what you do over and over. For example, if you think negatively all the time then you’re going to see the whole world through a darkened, grimy lens. In fact, everything about you will be dripping in negativity. And this, of course, is a habit.

More to the point, if you continue with bad habits, the kind that make you negative, unproductive, and keep you stuck where you are, then nothing will ever change. So in order to change your life for the better, you have to develop good habits that make being anxiety free easy.

Over the course of my anxiety sickness I’ve developed a set of rules that I follow, and over time these rules have become habits that I live by. These habits allow me to be as cool as a cucumber about 98.9% of the time. I believe that if you make the following list into habits of your own, then you will, at the very least, reduce your anxiety, and possibly even get rid of your abnormal anxiety for good.

1. Have goals

Evergreen Lake
Creative Commons License photo credit: Kamal H.

It’s hard to be positive and hopeful if you don’t know where you’re going. Uncertainty is anxiety’s BFF, so you need to break up this relationship with a clear vision of where you want to be.

Having goals also forces you to make a definitive plan with a chief aim. When you have specific plans you can do almost anything, with enough help. Think about this, skyscrapers, massive bridges, space shuttles, and even the internet could not have been made without blueprints. Goals are blueprints. They make things happen.

So, take out a sheet of paper and write down your goals, your plan to achieve those goals, and put it somewhere that you can see every single day. And no matter if the goal is big, small, short term, long term, or whatever, having them in your mind on a daily basis will increase your chances of success.

2. Stop complaining

SIGNAGE
Creative Commons License photo credit: Niffty..

If you go around talking to people about your anxiety related problems all the time, then stop it now. This habit is paramount to success because the more you complain about your symptoms, negative thoughts, and your general state of unhappiness, the more you feed your anxiety.

Complaining is to anxiety what spinach was to Popeye, it’s that important. This is because every time an anxiety related issue rolls off your tongue your brain continues to make ever stronger connections about the “badness” and “bigness” of your anxiety.

This is a tough one to pull off because the urge to complain is often strong, but it would be ideal to reserve your venting and reassurance seeking to times of crisis, like when you’re having a panic attack. Otherwise, put a lid on it. This way you’ll take your anxiety off your mind thereby reducing its power.

3. Be productive

Study
Creative Commons License photo credit: JSmith Photo

Chances are right now you consume a lot of information that you don’t use, so you’ve ended up on a cycle of all learning with little, if any, action. This behavior stems from your desire to heal, but also from your inability to focus.

It’s also this behavior that is keeping you in the stuck position because you keep finding different routes to recovery but can’t seem to choose one to follow. This is like standing at a crossroads with a thousand roads pointing in all directions – with so many options you’re bound to go nowhere.

Instead of ramming more information into your brain, a better tactic would be to stick to techniques that you find useful AND easy. Once you’ve found what works use it often and repeat it Ad infinitum.

So, no more symptom checkers, if it’s that bad see a doctor. And no more reading about things you already know you won’t use. Keep the information you consume short, sweet, and utilitarian.

4. Live in the Present

The Gypsy
Creative Commons License photo credit: Gunnshots

Assumption is a handy tool except when its use is driven by anxiety, in which case it’s more of a handicap. I don’t have space to break down why here, (I do in my Special Report) but the better option is to deal with the present and toss your frequent prophesying overboard.

Clearly, you’re no Nostradamus. In fact, Nostradamus was no Nostradamus. No one can tell the future, so stop trying to, and reduce your anxiety in the process. Have chest pain? Well, don’t jump to conclusions and assume it’s a heart attack, especially if you’ve already been through all the medical tests that have conclusively proven that you don’t have heart disease.

Instead, always try to be where you are and nowhere else. Don’t live in the past and don’t dabble in future telling about what anxiety might do to you. And that goes for thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations of all kind. Stay where you are by only dealing with what is happening.

5. Practice self-confidence

Climbing
Creative Commons License photo credit: bortescristian

Part of the reason why you stay the way you are now is because you don’t believe in yourself. You don’t think that you’ll be able to resist the perceived deadliness of anxiety. This type of thinking is a product of one thing, and one thing only, fear.

You’ve allowed fear to overtake every aspect of who and what you are. You have to reclaim this through being confident in your ability to not just withstand anxiety, but to crush it with your bare hands.

So, stand up straight, speak to be heard, look people in the eyes, talk positively to yourself in your mind, and have supreme confidence that, with time, you’ll be able to win this fight. You must believe you can do this.

6. Let your guard down

Scott Ellis and John Ewald Rocketing Toward the Earth at 120mph
Creative Commons License photo credit: VSELLIS

One of the most important things you can do to recover from severe anxiety is to stop doing things that you think will protect you. Not only are acts of protection futile, they also reinforce your anxiety. And that’s not all, anxiety will slowly gobble up all the things you like to do until you end up at home, all the time.

You do this because you think you’re protecting yourself from people and places that will bring anxiety out in you. But this short term relief leads to more anxiety, more fear, more limits. So, try to do things that your anxiety tells you that you can’t or shouldn’t do. This won’t just make your life more enjoyable, but it will disconnect the links that exists between certain activities and high anxiety. You’ve also got to practice this habit as often as possible to get the maximum effect.

7. Be Compassionate

7.18.10
Creative Commons License photo credit: aprilzosia

Having sympathy and empathy for others is not just a humanistic virtue, it’s also an awesome way to get outside of your own head and away from your own problems. When you act with compassion you’re able to not only help others – which is a great by product – but it also gives you something you often lack, and that is perspective.

A lot of times severe anxiety makes you feel as though the world is coming to an end, and that it’s all happening in horrifying slow mo. Helping other people reveals that we all have problems, we’re all imperfect, and we can also endure more than we think possible.

You know, this entire website is an act of compassion. And it has not only helped other people, but it’s helped me as well. Reach out to other human beings and connect with them. Get outside of your shell and you’ll notice a big difference in your outlook.

Conclusion

Habits shape who we are in a profound way. It’s the little things that we say and do everyday that determine our state of mind and even whether or not we spend our entire lives in an anxious tailspin.

It’s easy, so very easy, to be complacent about the things I’ve mentioned here. Most of us only take a short term take on things and don’t work as hard as we should or could to relieve ourselves of severe anxiety.

Ultimately, if you want to be “normal” then work hard, period. Forget about magic pills, and other hocus-pocus. It takes a chief definitive aim, planning, reliable information, good habits, discipline, hope and practice.

I’m not saying this will be easy, or foolproof, but you’ve already tried fighting your anxiety other ways and how far has that gotten you? I think it’s time you adopt an alternative strategy. So, try these habits out and tell me what you think.

Try This One-Two Punch Combo to Knock Out Your Anxiety

Knocking Out the Large Competition

If anxiety hasn’t made you think you’re crazy yet, then trying to find effective ways to kill it will. It is frustrating to have to spend so much time locating books, CD’s, or other products that can deliver on what they promise when it comes to getting rid of anxiety but, if you can find a decent anti-anxiety tool that combines two ways of delivering it’s message, then you’ve got a winner.

I’ve said the following in blog posts, eBooks, podcasts, kitchen table conversations and everywhere in between: In order to win your fight against anxiety you have to learn ways to undue anxious thoughts and repeat what you learn.

The problem is that people give up too easily, they quit. They get a sudden pang of anxiety and only try to solve their problem as long as the intense anxiety is around. After that, most take a wait and see attitude, which doesn’t work.

Whether you’re in the midst of severe anxiety, or just slightly nervous, you have to continuously work toward your goal of being anxiety free. There is no such thing as an easy solution to this problem, that is a fact.

One of the best ways to ensure that you knock out your anxiety cold is to use audio AND text based solutions at the same time. This one-two punch will drill the information into your subconscious mind and help you to replace all the anxiety filled thoughts that swirl around in your head.

A perfect example of how this approach to learning works can be found in any school. The first part of the day students are asked to come to class and listen to lecture. This is the audio portion of your learning experience. Obviously all of your senses are involved in this process, but your ears are doing most of the work. Teacher talks, you listen.

Auditory learning is passive and allows you to relax while you learn. And even if you think the information isn’t seeping into your brain matter, it is. Slowly but surely the information you’re passively receiving is absorbed and stored in your mind.

After school, students are expected to go home and do self-study by readings books, which is a more intensive form of learning which engages your mind. This is where you read, re-read, think and repeat the process until you “get it.”

Using audio and text based tools together is an effective way to hammer home the information you need to internalize. Audio can be listened to while you relax in bed, on the couch, at work, school or wherever. You then follow up with a book or manual that repeats the same information to help immerse your mind in the lesson.

It’s this two channel stream of information that is making your brain work to tie things together because the different bits of information are twisted and combined to form a much more potent means of learning than any one method alone can provide.

With this strategy you can jab your anxiety steadily until one day you’ll be able to throw a devastating haymaker and drop it to the floor. This is how it’s done: With good information pounded into your brain repeatedly over time.

Let me recommend two ways you can do this.

The first way, is the way that I first used. More than three years ago I randomly bought a book and CD from Amazon about how to fight anxiety – most of you familiar with this blog know what they are – Dr. Claire Weeke’s book Hope and Help for Your Nerves and her CD, Pass Through Panic.

I would listen to her CD in my car on the way to and from work, and would read her book at home. I did this routine for weeks. I used both tools over and over until her message sank in to my thick skull. I could recite lines from her work verbatim, and til this day her message of acceptance and perseverance is still with me.

The second solution I want to tell you about was created by my friend Alex Taylor. It’s called Instant Panic Relief. This is the one-two punch combo that will work to either reduce or get rid of your anxiety forever.

I know that this program can do this for two reasons. First, I reviewed Alex’s program for several weeks and right away I could tell that Alex had spent a tremendous amount of time and energy putting this program together and created something of value in the process.

The second reason boils down to one word – depth. In her work Dr. Weekes does an excellent job of explaining the problem and it’s basic solution, but she doesn’t go as far as offering techniques to solve your problem with any detail. She is clear and general, where Alex is specific and detailed.

Both approaches have their merits, but Alex goes all out. He does this with a three week audio course that also explains the basics, but takes it further by teaching you the root cause of fear, how to stop panic attacks, and he shows you how to mold yourself into a new you, all with step by step instructions.

Instant Panic Relief comes with audio recordings of the entire program, plus a 160 page handbook to reinforce what you’ve learned. And he didn’t stop there, Alex will also give you tons of free bonus material that includes additional audio recordings like “When Panic Attacks,” which is designed to be listened to while you’re having a panic attack to help you end it fast.

Alex suffered with severe anxiety for over 17 years, and in that time he developed unique methods to master his anxiety. He can teach you those methods in this easy to understand program.

The problem with a lot of other anti-anxiety programs is that most of them either don’t work, or are super expensive. Dr. Weekes and Alex Taylor both provide effective methods to knock out your anxiety at a reasonable price.

Whatever combination you decide to use, try this audio + text format. I think you’ll gain a lot more from your efforts to eliminate your anxiety if you do. Don’t lay back and think that this problem will go away on its own because I promise that it won’t.

You might get relief every now and then, but like a starved pit bull, anxiety has a way of latching on and not letting go. So, be aggressive in your efforts to be anxiety free and double your chances of success by using audio and text based solutions at the same time.

Instant Panic Relief - Click Here

Can You File a Disability Claim for Stress or Anxiety?

stress, anxietyIf you’ve ever had a job you hate, supervisors or coworkers that love making your life hell, or if you’ve ever spent Saturday AND Sunday thinking about how bad you didn’t want to go back to work on Monday because of stress and anxiety, then you’ll want to read this entire article.

Before I go on I just want to tell you why I’m even writing about this. I had a reader contact me recently about this issue and she had some concerns about losing work due to severe anxiety.

Over her short working career she’s lost as many as 15 jobs, has been denied disability benefits multiple times and feels like there isn’t anyone advocating for the little guy.

Then it dawned on me that if she has this problem, then it has to be that there are others with the same problem.

I mean, it’s not like I’ve never sat in my cubicle Monday morning watching Microsoft windows load and had a quick day dream about walking out of the office never to be seen again, at least not by those guys anyway.

So, I’m going to tell you what your options are for filing disability because of stress and or anxiety, what to expect, pros and cons, and some other morsels of information.

To kick this off I think we should start by talking a little bit about what qualifies you for disability. And although there are many different kinds of disability coverage, I will cover only a few in this article, since the basics are the same across the board.

Now, since I live in California, I’ll be using my home state as a template, so let me quote part of the California Unemployment Insurance Code that defines what a disability is.

Section 2626 of the California UI code says, in a nutshell, that “Disability is defined as ANY mental or physical illness or injury which prevents you from performing your regular or customary work.”

Moreover, the US National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety defines job stress as, “the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker.”

So under these two definitions stress and anxiety are acknowledged as work related issues, and as such they count as “illnesses” that could qualify someone for disability benefits.

How much they count as a basis for not working is a more complex issue. You have to take into account what state you live in, your work history, medical history, and so on.

In other words, just because you think your job is making your anxiety worse, don’t think for a second that you’ll be watching Jerry Springer anytime soon.

The reality is that in most cases it is hard to get disability benefits because of stress or anxiety. The powers that be have no problem with you breaking some bones and calling out for awhile, but when you try to pull the whole, “I’m too anxious to work thing,” you’ll find more closed doors than welcome mats for sure.

Actually, let me explore this idea with you for a second. I think the reason it’s so hard to get disability for stress, anxiety, depression or any other psych disorder, boils down to two things, and those are the potential for abuse and the puritan work ethic that underpins our entire culture.

With respect to the former, I think that stress and anxiety are conveniently seen as just part of life, so in most cases they want you to just “get over it.” And “they” want it this way not always on moral grounds, but also for practical reasons.

Let’s be honest, a lot of people cheat the system.

The more unscrupulous among us go to a doctor, open up the tear faucet, and get put on disability, many times at taxpayer expense. So, to some degree, they drop the hammer on people looking to get off work due to stress and anxiety because of the semi-subjective nature of emotions like anxiety, the degree to which it can truly immobilize you, and the difficulty of gauging all that.

The bottom-line is that it’s just kinda of hard to tell if someone is faking it, so the hurdles put up to stop you can get tall and numerous. Although I concede that there are people that fake back injuries too, but I digress.

The other thing is that our whole system in America is based on the Puritan work ethic. This ethic is the one that values hard work to an almost lunatic degree. It’s the belief that work is more than work, it is in fact, your moral duty.

This is why America is obsessed with work to the point that when strangers meet they’ll almost always ask, so what do you do? As in, what is your contribution? Dare I say, what is your worth?

This is also why we work, work, and work in America. It’s in the blood. With a culture obsessed with work, imagine for a second what happens when you stop working, or in this case try to stop working?

The music stops and you’re left without a chair for sure.

Ultimately, it’s hard to get disability because of the potential for cheaters to cheat and because it’s generally frowned upon in our culture to not work. The mission isn’t impossible though, so let’s take a look at your options.

Qualifying for benefits

In order to qualify for any type of disability benefits you’ll have to do more than have difficulty doing your job because of stress or anxiety. Here are a few of the basics.

  • You must be unable to do your regular work for a certain amount of consecutive days. In California it is 8 straight days.
  • You must provide written proof by a medical doctor (which includes psychiatrists), or other health care professional like a psychologist, for example, that you are not fit to work.
  • Allow access to your medical records.
  • Must be undergoing treatment for anxiety, stress, depression or whatever you’re claiming. This includes things like taking medication and undergoing therapy.
  • There may be wage and employment requirements.
  • You have to submit a disability claim application. This stuff isn’t automatic!
  • You’ll have to be open to a medical evaluation by the entity you’re trying to get benefits from.
  • You may be subject to an investigation, which may involve the interviewing of family, friends, and co-workers.

Types of Coverage

Not all disability coverage’s are created equal. This is because the type of coverage you have will dictate how much time off you get, how much money you are paid and other particulars of that nature.

State plans - The majority of workers fall under this plan in California. This coverage is paid by deductions from your paycheck. Not sure if you pay into this? Take a look at your pay stub.

In California it would say CASDI, which stands for California State Disability Insurance. Obviously this will vary from state to state, but most working Americans are eligible for this type of coverage.

Voluntary plans – This is a private plan that employers and employee groups can use with approval through your state’s disability office. You can inquire about this coverage through your employer.

Elective coverage – Employers and self-employed people can elect coverage by directly contacting their state disability office.

Short term disability – In this case your employers or your own policy will dictate your coverage. This coverage, like all others, pays a portion of your salary if you become disabled.

You can get it through private insurance companies like Metlife or Aflac by way of your employer. See your human resources department at work for more information. You can also get it through the social security office as well.

FMLA – The Family & Medical Leave Act allows eligible workers to take off up to 12 weeks in any one 12 month period for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a family member, or because of a health issue.

This coverage doesn’t all have to be used all at once either, it can be broken up over time and can even be used to allow for part time work on a temporary basis.

Workers Comp – This is insurance that your employer pays for in the event that you are injured on the job. Workers comp will pay for medical bills, disability payments and retraining benefits.

In most cases it will be difficult to obtain workers comp benefits for stress or anxiety. The state of California for example is notorious for investigating these types of claims vigorously and denying them with just as much gusto.

They could argue with you about whether or not it is your job that is making you panic and so on. Is it the kids? Your spouse?

They will dig, believe me. Actually, in the state of Virginia they laugh at stress or anxiety claims. But in Michigan they do pay on such claims, so you’ve go to do your homework.

SSISupplemental Security Income disability is a federal program that can be used to pay disability benefits due to stress or anxiety. This program is perhaps one of the most hoop intensive programs.

From what I understand, when it comes to workers comp, or SSI, it isn’t unusual for people to acquire the services of an attorney because things can get nasty. In fact, the denial rate for SSI is super high. You may have to try multiple times, and even end up in court to get your benefits.

Appeals

The appeals process is something you have to be aware of because of the high rate of denial for “stress claims.” In most cases, from the date of denial, you’ll be given a set amount of days to submit an appeal.

This should have your case reopened for reexamination.

The bottom-line here is: know your rights!  Just because someone says no the first time means nothing.

Maybe you got a grumpy examiner the first time around, it happens. Also remember that if you win your appeal you could be entitled to retroactive payments.

Pros

The up side to getting disability payments for stress or anxiety is huge. This will give you the time to regroup and recharge your batteries. It will also give you time to get the help that you need.

After all, being on disability is not about watching day time t.v. or shuffling around WalMart when everyone else is at work. It is about making a plan to get better and trying to fulfill that plan to the best of your ability.

Mental stress is a real problem that needs to be addressed. By addressing this problem you can avoid getting sick on a physical level, and avoid all the problems that come with that, like gigantic medical bills. So the break down of perks looks like this if you can make it across all the red tape.

  • More time to let your mind and body recover from the effects of stress.
  • More time to seek help and make a plan of action to maintain your long term health.
  • More time to reevaluate your situation, like your job, unhealthy habits, relationship problems, and lots more.

Working day in and day out can be a grind, a big metallic grinder with shiny blades, in fact. Getting away from such a thing temporarily is not a bad thing.

Cons

Here it is, the bad part. You didn’t think that this would be all easy street right? Well, for starters, if you file for disability it is possible that your life will become an open book.

So you have to ask yourself if you’re ready for that. I mean, if they’re interviewing co-workers about this, it’ll be more than just a cat coming out of a bag… it’ll be more like a tiger. Office gossip, trash talkers, you name it, they will all come out of the woodwork.

You’ll turn into topic numero uno, and possibly be labeled as the office “crazy person.”

Then there is the stigma put on you by management. After months or even years of loyal service, you could become the object of anger or even neglect. Backlash is a real possibility.

And lastly, although in many instances it is illegal, you could lose your job. I’ve personally encountered several people who went on disability only to come back to work to be told that there is a “lack of work,” and voila, no more j.o.b.

Even women that go on maternity leave have to face this sometimes, imagine what they will do to someone who is “just” stressed out. So if you go on disability you can expect:

  • Office rumors and gossip about you
  • Managerial backlash
  • Layoffs
  • Social stigmatization

This isn’t to discourage you, it is just to give you a realistic picture of what it could be like once you get on disability. You have to know that the going won’t always be easy.

Alternatives

When stress and anxiety jump up and bite you, you don’t always have to fold your tent up and go home. You do have a few options that you can explore to avoid disability altogether.

EAP – This stands for Employee Assistance Program, which are programs designed to help employees with personal problems like drug abuse, emotional distress, major life events, financial troubles and work relationships.

This type of program can be linked to your health care plan and may provide counseling services as well. Unfortunately, EAP’s are normally only found at large companies, but if you work at a big company don’t ignore this resource. Talk to someone in your human resources department for more information.

Vacation & Sick Leave – Got some time off coming? Instead of the typical vacation you could try to design a getaway or even a home based self-help program to get back to basics for a few weeks, or if you haven’t already, you can visit your doctor about starting medication and explore other treatment options, all in private.

The truth is that typical vacations can be stressful, and may not even be necessary, considering that maybe all you need is a few days to collect your thoughts and indulge in some R&R. You could also use some of this time with short notice if your employer allows it.

You’d be surprised what taking Thursday, Friday and the weekend off can do to your spirits, good things indeed. I also know that not all of us are lucky enough to have paid time off, but if you have it then use it, and use it wisely.

Conclusion

I believe that mental stress and severe anxiety are debilitating conditions, even if you’re not on the floor convulsing from fear.

It is both wrong and unfair that those of us that suffer from anxiety aren’t given more compassion and patience in the workplace. But in our workaholic culture there is little compassion or patience for those that succumb to the pressures of work.

You may even be called lazy, worthless, and so on if you do, but this is all nonsense. And although this is the state of things, remember that you have every right to use your benefits if the situation calls for it.

With that being said, the system isn’t geared against you. As I’ve outlined above, there are many different ways to escape the pressures of work for awhile if that’s what you need to calm down a little.

It’s true that depending on the coverage you’re trying to use things can get challenging, but it’s not impossible. Also, don’t forget that in some cases you can acquire the services of an attorney and not go it alone, but if you go this route keep the cost in mind.

There is no way that I can make this an exhaustive enough article to even begin to do it justice. My goal was to give you a cursory overview of what disability is, and how it works. I want to leave you with one last tip.

When it comes to ANY claim, but especially disability claims, document EVERYTHING. Medical cost, lost wages, or whatever you can think of related to your claim, save it and make copies.

Now, I know some of you have experience with this. So, join me in helping the AG community with this issue by commenting below.

Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor

Social Security

EDD – California Disability

DAD – Texas Disability

Depart of Health – New York

DDD – Florida Disability

Illinois Health Care

Pennsylvania Department of Labor

Legal Assistance

Disability.gov

Side-note: I couldn’t list all the offices for all 50 states, but you can Google “Your state disability” and find listings that way.

I Need Your Feedback

A few weeks ago I asked for feedback about whether or not I should expand this website and the response was great. That kind of response tells me that people are being helped by this site and that what I do is having an impact. Now, I’d like to ask you about a few specifics, because I’d like to get an idea of what would help the most.

Design – Right now my web design is not bad, I guess. But, the next change will have to last for some time so I want to make sure that everything is optimized. I have three basic design concepts in mind and I’d like for you to give me your opinion about which one you would prefer and why.

1. Simple: Like all designs the “simple” look has its good and bad points. Take a look at an example of a simple site here.

2. Semi-Simple: This is a balance between simple and busy. How about this layout here?

3. Busy: This style is closer to a news site, but has the feel of a larger resource too. You can see an example here.

Alright, so there are the three basic layouts. Your favorite?

Content – The most important element to all this is, of course, content. Here are a few things I’m thinking of adding.

1. Article submission: I’d like to add a feature that would allow readers to easily submit articles to the site. So, would you be interested in what other readers have to say?

2. More content: As of right now I don’t write or podcast as much as I would like, but I’m also unsure about how often you would like to see new content – once per week? 2-3 per week? Let me know.

3. Style: And what about the direction of the site. Right now it’s geared more toward teaching versus being about me, this will stay the same  but, having said that, would you like to know more about me?

4. Video: Are you interested in video content? Or is a podcast plenty?

5. Podcast: Do you enjoy the current format of the Anxiety Guru Show? Or would you like to see more interviews? Different topics perhaps?

OK, so I don’t want you to fall asleep on me. I just need some insight from the people that matter the most when it comes to this site. Anxiety Guru has always been about you and I value your opinion.

A few of you came out of your shell a couple weeks ago to tell me your views on the value of this site, and I’d like to thank each and everyone that commented or voted. Now, I need you all to come out of your shell. I consider what I do here to be serious biz, and I want to get this re-launch right. Your feedback is vital. Please help me make Anxiety Guru Dot Net all it can be. Comment below!

Side-note:

On a very important side note I’d also like to invite 1-2 people to help me edit this site. I’ve had a few readers help out every now and then in the past but then kind of fade away, so I’m asking for 1-2 serious people to inquire.

What does an editor do? An editor at Anxiety Guru will research and create content using text, sound, pictures, video or other mediums.

At first this would be a volunteer position, as the main focus is and shall always be to help people first. However, this could turn into a paid position down the line.

If you’re interested, send me an email at info@anxietyguru.net with a little history about you and a writing sample about an anxiety related issue – your pick!

What am I looking for in an editor? A few things:

1. You must be able to write. I know that I”m no Hemingway, but you have to have a handle on the English language and know how to convey it effectively.

2. You need to care. You must have an altruistic drive for it’s own sake. This sight is not about making money, it’s about helping people cope with anxiety and depression. That is the mission.

3. Spare time. The time commitment would be approximately 2-5 hours per week. Not much, but you’d be surprised how easily people get distracted.

If you’re interested – and serious – I will give you more details via email. Can’t wait to hear from you.