TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Anxiety Disorders- What Are They and What Can You Do About Them
- Suggestions for Dealing With Anger And Conflict
- E-Cope Fun Time – Exercise
- E-Cope Inspiration
- Ask the Coping Counselors
- To Contact Us…
1. Anxiety Disorders- What Are They and What Can You Do About Them
Millions of Americans struggle each day with feelings of fear, chronic worrying, obsessive, behaviors or a persistent sense that something is wrong. These are all types of anxiety.
Everyone experiences anxiety at times. Anxiety is a necessary part of life. In fact, we need anxiety to survive because anxiety is what warns us of impending danger. Anxiety can be productive, but it also can be intense and crippling. Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety so severe that it has impaired their ability to cope day to day. If anxiety gets too severe it can result in any of a number of anxiety disorders which includes Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
So what exactly is anxiety?
The word anxiety comes from the Latin word anxius, meaning a condition of anxiety and distress. It is important to distinguish anxiety from fear. When you are afraid, your fear can usually be attributed to some specific, concrete, external object or situation. However when you experience anxiety you often can’t identify exactly what you’re anxious about, or your fear is much greater than you would expect based on the external object or situation.
Anxiety affects your entire body. It affects body functions such as heartbeat, muscle tension, dry mouth, or sweating. On a behavioral level it can prevent you from expressing yourself effectively. Psychologically, you may feel uneasy and fearful that you are going crazy.
Anxiety can appear in many different forms and at varying levels of intensity. It can range from a pang of discomfort to a complete sense of disorientation and terror.
Anxiety which requires treatment can be distinguished from everyday, normal anxiety in that it is more intense, lasts longer, and may lead to phobias which prevent you from engaging in your everyday activities.
The good news is that treatment for these problems is available.
Overcoming anxiety and anxiety disorders
With proper and effective treatment, people suffering from anxiety can live normal lives. Most cases of anxiety can be treated effectively by appropriately trained health and mental health professionals. In the past decade or so, remarkable progress has been made toward understanding and treating anxiety.
How long does treatment take?
While you may experience some relief after an initial visit to a mental health professional, treatments don’t cure anxiety-related problems instantly. Treatment times will vary with the severity of the problem and the motivation of the person seeking treatment. Treatment needs to be collaborative between patient and therapist and it is important to recognize that different patients will need different treatment plans. However, many patients will likely begin to experience a noticeable difference after 8 to 10 sessions of psychological treatment.
Future E-Cope articles will provide more information about anxiety and its treatment. In the meanwhile, if you have any questions about this topic, feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Coping Counselors at the Center for Coping, 516-822-3131.
2. Suggestions for Dealing With Anger And Conflict
During any stressful time of the year, individuals having a hard time living with anxiety and depression may find that they may have more difficulty dealing with other people. Their fuse may be shorter, and they may be more likely to experience an intensification of their emotional symptoms. This can increase the chances of experiencing anger or conflict with others. Here are some tips to deal with this conflict with others:
- Act calmly, honestly and directly toward others.
- Face any problem openly and constructively, rather than avoiding or hiding from it.
- In any interaction, avoid attacking the other person personally; rather, stick to the issues not focusing on the person.
- Emphasize points of agreement as a starting point before bringing up points of disagreement.
- Use a “restatement or rephrasing” style of communication to be sure each of you understand each other. (E.g. “Let me see if I understand you correctly. Do you mean…” Or “In other words, what you’re saying is…”).
- Accept responsibility for your own feelings, don’t focus on blaming the other person. (E.g. “I am angry!” not “You made me mad!”)
- Aim for a “win-win” situation, where each of you can win – at least to some degree. Avoid a situation in which the only way you win is if the other person loses. This “win-lose” attitude will more likely result in both losing. Focus on flexibility.
- Make sure everything you discuss is clear and explicit. Because different people have different ways of looking at things, make sure you’re both focused on the same information about the same situation.
- Deal with one issue at a time. It can exacerbate conflict if one person brings up one issue, and the other person responds by bringing up a totally different issue.
- Try to determine goals for your conversation, and make sure you’re on the same page. If both people are trying to achieve the same or compatible goals, there is a better chance of success in the discussion.
- Seek solutions to problems rather than focusing on who is to blame.
- When both people feel strongly about their respective points of view, aim towards a mutually acceptable compromise. Agreeing to disagree, and ending the discussion with both people feeling like they’ve gained something, is important.
Future E-Cope articles will provide more information about anger and conflict resolution. In the meanwhile, if you have any questions about this topic, feel free to e-mail us at email@example.com, or call the Coping Counselors at the Center for Coping, 516-822-3131.
3. E-Cope Fun Time – Exercise
Here are a few comical thoughts for those of you who have been thinking about starting to exercise, but haven’t done anything about it yet.
1) I joined a health club last year, spent about 400 bucks. Haven’t lost a single pound. Apparently you have to show up, too.
2) My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 now and we don’t know where she is.
3) The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.
4) I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.
5) I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
6) I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.
7) The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier.
8) If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.
9) I don’t jog. It makes the ice jump right out of my glass.
10) If we were meant to touch our toes, they would be further up on our body.
4. E-Cope Inspiration
A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200 people, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?” Hands started going up.
He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up. He then asked, “Who still wants it?” Still, the hands were up in the air.
“Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?”? And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe, crumpled and dirty. “Now who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air.
“My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in the eyes of those who love you.
You are special – Don’t ever forget it!
– From the Internet
5. Ask the Coping Counselors
I have been dealing with depression for quite a while. I’ve been reluctant to use anti-depressants, but my therapy isn’t getting me anywhere. However, I’m afraid that if I start using anti-depressants, I’ll be a zombie, and I won’t be able to continue my therapy. What should I do?
Unfortunately, the answer to your question is more complex, and depends on many of the factors that are involved in your personal situation. However, let’s cover a few important points: a) Anti-depressants can be a very valuable part of treatment for depression, and often work best when included in a comprehensive treatment program. b) These medications are not designed to make you a zombie. In general, they’re designed to “take the edge off”- to lift your depression sufficiently so that you are better able to work on the issues that need to be depressed. c) You certainly can continue your therapy while on anti-depressants.
For further information. it would probably be a good idea to speak to a professional, either one of our Coping Counselors, your physician, or another healthcare professional with experience in the field.
Please note: If you have a question that you would like to ask one of the
Coping Counselors, please contact us (see: “To Contact Us…” below).
6. To Contact Us …
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E-Cope: A publication of the Center for Coping
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