Thursday, February 24, 2011

Where is My "Stop Anxiety At the Party" Plan?


I have just realized that the party I mentioned getting so ultra confident for is coming up pretty quick! Remember how I want to go and not be plagued by anxiety constantly like I usually am?

I am not anywhere near prepared!

I have got to get into high gear with great conversation topics and strategies and ways to relax and BE ME while I am at the party.

This is time to research and get advice.

I will post everything I find out here --- everything I am able to find out from popular party divas and hostesses and from plain old research.

Please send me advice.

How do you stay relaxed in social settings, how to you speak to others so that you hold their attention, how do I meet new people with ease and not go into complete panic if I have no one to talk to for a few minutes....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Medicine For Panic Attacks - Ativan

Ativan is a frequently prescribed medicine for panic attacks.

Have you ever taken it? Then you will know what I mean when I describe what it feels like to take it as a remedy for a panic attack.

For fast action you can put a tablet or two of Ativan under your tongue - don't chew or swallow it - just let it dissolve. It will move fairly quickly into your bloodstream. Somehow the area under your tongue is an expressway to your circulatory system.

At first you don't feel a thing.

Then you start to realize that you feel much less tense. A sense of numbness seems to float into you, and you suddenly notice that you are distant from everything. You feel indifferent to what is going on around you. You notice you are no longer anxious. Whatever caused the feelings of panic appears to have lost its strength.

You try to stand up to get up and walk and find that you are off balance, maybe dizzy. You think you might need help walking.

You feel like the terror and fear have gone somewhere else.

You don't feel sleepy but you could easily drift off into sleep.

You don't have any worries or cares.

You are way too drowsy to drive or to do anything that requires fast reactions or clear thinking. You may notice your speech is slurred.

I loved the feeling of Ativan. Not so much at the time I actually took this medicine for panic attacks to manage my intense feelings of anxiety and fear - but afterwards I would find myself thinking back to the sense of lack of panic and kind of being out of it and I would really want that feeling again.

Ativan is actually one of the many tranquilizers that are commonly prescribed for anxiety and panic. The biggest drawback of Ativan, as a medicine for panic attacks is that it is highly addictive.

I can certainly attest to that.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Positive Thinking

As a follow up to my last post I began looking for positive quotes to help me get over my fearful thinking and out of panic mode. I think thinking (LOL) matters a lot. It is my thinking about situations that has made me anxious about them.

I like the idea of positive affirmations to help remind me of what I want to be.

I found this great website.

I found the affirmation at the top of this post on their website and thought how well it fit with my previous post on changing thinking patterns.

Change your thoughts and you change your world

Today's title is a quote attributed to Norman Vincent Peale.

"Change your thoughts and you change your world".

I have seen this truth in action so many times over in my own life and in the lives of others.

I am sure you as well can think of people who seem trapped in their own bad thoughts about themselves.

I have a friend Jonathon who is miserable and afraid almost all the time. He is so down on himself and his abilities. He hates his job and dreads going to work each morning. All day at work he is in misery and is consumed with thoughts of how terrible his work is and how it is so ill suited to him.

But he is afraid to look for another job. He is terrified that no one else will have him. He is sure his skills are out of date and that there is nothing he could contribute to a new employer. He is fearful to leave and miserable to stay.

He has been like this for 10 years.

What a waste!

Trapped in a job he hates and too frightened to even think about leaving - too down on himself to try anything new.

Of course as outsiders we can all see that his depressed thoughts and miserable attitute cannot be helpful in impressing any new employers or even his current one. How well do you think he would do in an employment interview feeling so down on himself?

I often wish -- if only he would change his thoughts! If only he would pause his thoughts of misery, fear, anxiety and despair and look at what is good in his life. Find something positive to think about, get out of his rut and get self confident and go do something!

Just imagine what could happen in Jonathon's life if he were to change his thoughts - wow how his world could change! And it seems so obvious and easy for me looking in at his life from the outside!

So .......

I also think this about myself. Change those negative, anxious, bad outcome, fearful, worried, panic thoughts to....

Thoughts of confidence, letting go, peace, relaxation, assertiveness, and bravery. Thoughts that things will be okay, I can do this, it will be fine!

I don't need thoughts that make me feel worried, afraid, anxious or fearful.

I need thoughts that make me feel confident, bold, and brave. I need thoughts that make me feel like I belong here. Like I own the world. Not like I am some unwanted scavenger.

I need to focus not on being less afraid or less anxious.

I need to focus on being more bold, more confident, more enthusiastic, more adventurous.

How might my life change if I did this? My world would certainly be a different place!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Of my Best Ways to Relax!

It was fun writing yesterday's post but it also got me thinking that I left out many of my own personal favorite best ways to relax. I'll share them with you now.

Hey, these are my personal favs and they really work to reduce my anxiety!

1) Horseback riding - You may wonder why I list this as I have already confessed that riding horses is something I have become fearful of doing! Yes it is true that I get very anxious often when I ride. But when I actually do go riding and actually make it through and get on my horse and ride a bit, and even challenge myself, I am just so relieved when it is over I feel completely relaxed and get a feeling of euphoria! Best feeling ever!

2) Watching CSI - there is no reason why this should be relaxing given the content, but it's somehow very relaxing for me LOL! I just love Grissom!

3) Foot Massage - This can be one of the most relaxing experiences ever! I have heard that all the nerves in your body are connected to your feet!

4) Shampoo and Blow Dry - Yes, yet another salon method to get over feeling stressed, anxious and panic. I don't like to talk - just feel the sensations and get calm!

5) Blog - I am finding blogging very relaxing. I am not sure if it's the soothing feeling I get from engaging in a repetitive habit or the relief from expressing my feelings, so I can let them go.

Who knows I may have more to add to my list of best ways to relax tomorrow. What about you?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Best Ways to Relax - My Favorites

Finding the best ways to relax are a top priority for me, seeing as I am always plagued by some form of anxiety! And in my case in particular I need methods I can use at home to chill out, and others I can use on the run if I feel a panic attack coming on!

Here is my list of my favorite best ways to relax:

1) Exercise: One of the things I have found to be most effective is to create a foundation of calmness by being sure to go for a walk each day. The problem is I don't always do this. I find it easy to skip if the weather isn't perfect or if I have a really busy day with errands or work. I always pay for this decision later though. If I don't exercise I find that my background state of emotion is always more anxious - giving me a "hair-trigger" response for extreme anxiety or panic attacks!

2) Yoga: I love yoga because it seems to have a relaxing effect on my body as well as my mind. There is something about the yoga poses and the stretching of your muscles that seems to relax my mind. Or maybe it's the calming music in the background? Not sure but yoga is definitely one of my best ways to relax!

3) Music: I find that music seems to have a direct link to my emotions. It seems to bypass the thinking part of my brain and go straight to how I feel. Certain tunes can make me instantly happy, others make me tearful, and others imbue a great sense of calm. Some classical music works especially well for inducing relaxation.

4) Self Hypnosis: Another method I find really effective is self-hypnosis. I use this before I go to sleep. It is a great way to wind down after a busy day. I find it super easy to do and over time I can tell it is helping me to quiet my mind. The biggest benefit though seems to be that I can use some of the key phrases I have heard during hypnosis during the day to instantly relax myself on the go! For sure one of my best ways to relax!

Now you've heard mine. Tell me, what are your best ways to relax?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How To Become An Exciting Person! (Part 1)

You may remember that I have a party coming up, and am scared pantless about it!

I really want to enjoy myself so I am trying to get a bunch of strategies together to help me fight my anxiety - in this case I think it's called social anxiety.

I was sitting at the kitchen table mulling over my pathetic life and realized that one of the big reasons I am afraid of this party is that I AM BORING !

And if you have social anxiety issues I bet you are boring too!

Why We Are Boring

Mind Too Busy With Negative Thoughts

If you are like me when you enter a new social situation your whole mind is constantly wrapped around thoughts like:

  • "I feel really uncomfortable here"

  • "I bet no one will like me here"

  • "Why am I so weird?"

  • "I will probably start blushing or stuttering"

  • "He hates me"

  • "I am not as good as these people"

We are so "busy" inside mentally that there is very little room left for interacting with others.

In fact there is very little room left to even think about what to say to this other person.

This causes us to be at a lack for words - which equals boring!

Not Connected

People like people who are interested in them!

If I am worried about what people will think of me or what I should say next or how they might be judging me or how unattractive or unlikable I must be I am not really in tune with the other person at all.

When our heads are filled with negative nonsense about ourselves we are focused on OURSELVES - not on getting to know others - which also equals boring!

Worried About What Others Will Think

The negative thoughts keep me from taking a chance. I am worried this person will dislike me because I am blushing, or because I like knitting, or libraries or because I am afraid to do normal things.

I tend to try to quickly figure out what this other person might like and say those things - or just agree with everything they say.

I can almost become a clone, an average with nothing that might cause others to disagree with me or to not like me - which also equals boring!

How To Become An Exciting Person

It's actually easy (to say anyway) !

As a starting point -- just reverse the above traits that make us BORING.

Start Thinking Positive Thoughts About Yourself

Be proud of who you are.

Tell yourself that everything about you (including how you blush or stutter or feel anxious) are all part of the wonderful bundle of uniqueness that is you!

I have a friend named Tomas who is the geekiest looking guy with a face and body that you can only call unique. His personality is way out there too - never holds a thing back and just blurts out the strangest comments.

All of the things about him make him who he is. Yes he could get plastic surgery on his large nose and tiny jaw to make him look more traditionally "manly". He could tone down his thoughts and filter most of the unusual stuff out. He could slouch his tall gangly frame and hide his thin biceps.

But if he did - what a huge loss to the world that would be! All of these qualities are part of what I find so endearing and special about Tomas. He wouldn't be as great as he is if he "fixed" or hid these aspects of his true self.

So if I am a bit anxious or nervous that is ok - right now that is part of who I am. Shy and nervous can be endearing. I am ok now while I am anxious and I will be ok if I become even more anxious or if I become more relaxed.

So there!

Connect With Others

Pretend you are a journalist and have the assignment of really getting to know this new person you are meeting. Your mission is to find out what is going on with them, what makes them tick.

It doesn't really matter if they "like" you or not. This is about connecting with and getting to know what makes this unique person who they are.

Stop Filtering Who You Are

Walk into that room like you own the place. You have a total right to be there. Be proud of yourself and show it in the way you hold your body as you walk, stand and talk.

Be who you are. So many people - especially those with social anxiety, filter their opinions and personality and thoughts until they become so watered down and so average and so in offensive that it is hard to tell who they are.

I am one of these people and I need to stop!

Are you guilty of this too?

The world needs you , and the world needs me! To be who we really are, to be unique, to contribute and to connect.

It' s really a big waste of the beauty of recombinant DNA for us all to be the same!

Let's you and me go get that world that needs us so badly!!!

(PS - I have begun to try out these tips at a recent gathering at a coffee shop - they work!)
(PS again - there is a Part 2 and 3 or more coming as well - stay tuned!)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Horses and Emotional Control of Anxiety

One thing I am working on in managing my anxiety levels is to try to replicate the methods I use in riding and training my horse.

Horses are amazingly sensitive creatures with a well developed prey instinct. They have an acute awareness of all that is happening around them. This is by necessity of course as they need to be ready to spring into action if a predator is nearby.

(photo credit Adrian Parnham)

If they are startled by a plastic bag blowing in the wind, or a noise in the bushes I want them to be aware of that event but to HOLD OFF on their behavioral reaction, and wait for direction from me.

If my horse's normal reaction would be to spin or bolt or rear at the sight of a scary object, I need them to stay put and wait to hear from me what I want them to do.

This requires significant emotional control over their anxious feelings. They need to learn a new way to react to an alarming stimulus. And part of training and riding a horse is to help them to learn emotional control.

These same principles apply to humans with a tendency towards panic attacks, anxiety attacks or overwhelming anxious feelings.

As one of these people, my goal for myself is to also acheive the same expectation I have for my horses - that of emotional control.

I do not need to be simply reacting to every stimilus in my environment. I can also take control of my fearful thinking, my skyrocketing emotions and channel my behavior in another direction.

Oh my gosh, this is so much easier to say than to actually do!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Anxiety Attacks Symptoms

Anxiety attacks symptoms can vary from person to person but I have listed the most common ones below:

  • speeding heartbeat

  • breathing too fast

  • feeling sick to your stomach

  • shaking or trembling

  • pale face OR blushing

  • racing thoughts

Many people also report having thoughts of catastrophe or even a suddenly blank mind.

Having an anxiety attack is something that can come on when you are in a situation where you feel unsure about what to do , or in a situation where you have previously had a traumatic experience.

My own anxiety attacks symptoms most noticeably involve my chest and abdominal region. I can feel my chest tighten and sometimes even experience mild chest pain.

The most pervasive sign of an anxiety attack for me is this feeling of cold dread deep in my stomach. And then my legs and arms start to shake. My legs will feel rubbery and cold and although they are perfectly functional they feel like I can't move them correctly.

Noticing anxiety attacks symptoms seems to make them worse, it is as though I am worried about something, then I start to feel worried about how anxious I am getting!

Actually even writing about it isn't so great!

Got to go -- talk to you later!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Club for the socially anxious - one member!

I have been invited to a party!

Well, I really want to go. I really want to have fun but already I can feel my enemy closing in - those feelings of anxiety - chest tightening, my legs get shaky, my heart starts to beat harder, my mouth feels dry.

I know I will go but for once I would like to actually have a good time!

Here's what usually happens:


  • I go to the party with big hopes that things will be different this time.

  • I spend ages on my clothing choices - getting it just right.

  • I try to think of a few interesting things to say.

  • I try not to feel worried or stressed or anxious.

At the Party

  • I arrive and desperately look for anyone I know.

  • Yes I am in luck. There they are - laughing and talking with a group of other people.

  • I head straight for them hoping to be included in their conversation.

  • I say hello and stand on the outside of their circle nodding and smiling, drink in hand.

  • I have nothing to say.

  • If some kind soul tries to include me I have very little of value to add - maybe a word or two.

  • I am nervous, and self conscious of my face and my body.

  • When I smile my lips stick to my teeth.

  • When I speak my voice kind of chokes.

  • I stand on the outside trying not to panic.

  • It seems like I am alone even though I am in this big crowd.

  • I feel so awkward I move away and hide in the washroom for as long as I can without looking weird.

Rinse and repeat!

Pretty pathetic isn't it?

Before this next party I am going to find out what I can do to help myself have a better time. Although I do love it just sipping chamomile tea isn't going to be enough to get me ready for this! - Yikes!

I've got to go looking for some big time anxiety busters for this one!

This is a big party and I have about a month to prepare.

I'll document the anxiety reducing strategies I find here on this blog and then report back to you on how I do at this next gala event.

I hope I can do better because I am really tiring of being permanently social anxious and awkward.

I desperately want to be one of those girls who has a fun fantastic fabulous time at a party!