The MLRA Therapy Blog

Insights and ideas from the therapist team at Meghan L. Reitz and Associates.
  • How To Deal With Anxiety

    Ever experience times where you feel like your heart is going to jump out of your chest or having trouble breathing, and not sure why? Maybe you are experiencing anxiety. Of course it doesn’t have to be as severe as the symptoms I just mentioned or it can feel even worse than that. Anxiety is usually produced by stressors in your life.

    Normal stressors would be taking a big exam, doing a speech or presentation, or having a job interview. However, how you handle anxiety makes all the difference in your success in managing every day life. Some people experience what are called panic attacks- even without prominent provocation. Panic attacks can be managed and so can anxiety and stress.

    If you or someone you know suffers from panic attacks or anxiety in general, the following tools may help to subside the effects and even make them eventually “go away.”

    • Journal- When you have a panic attack or feel an anxiety “attack” coming on, write what you are feeling and thinking: physically, emotionally, and mentally. When it’s passed or even if the moment if possible, try to think WHAT the triggers were leading up to you feeling this way.
    • Look through your journal- note if there are certain times of day that you happen to have more anxiety than others, or if there are certain events that make you especially susceptible to anxiety. Identifying triggers is your first line of defense.
    • Sometimes triggers can be eliminated, but often they are things you will have to deal with- so you cannot avoid them (i.e. your parent “stressing you out,” dealing with a difficult boss or colleague at work, taking tests, etc.). This is when you should institute some of the techniques I mentioned in my “article” about stress. Deep breathing, counting, grounding, and imagery are all very helpful.
    • The quicker you can identify that you’re having an attack or about to, the quicker you can utilize your tools to calm yourself. Often times, positive self talk can really be helpful. If you’re feeling self-doubt, keep telling yourself positive good things, try to push out the negatives.
    • Talk to your doctor or therapist about anxiety. There are medicines out there that can help with the symptoms of anxiety. Also, talking through these feelings and thoughts that you are having can be a sounding board for you to obtain advice and suggestions on how to further help yourself.

    These are only a few tips on anxiety. Please check back often as I update these articles at least weekly. You can also check out my twitter account where I put daily affirmations, positive thoughts, and helpful tips.

  • Stress: How Do I Manage It?

    Stress is a common and often consistent part of our every day lives. Unfortunately, it's not something we can completely cut out of the human routine. Especially during these difficult economic times, stress seems to have reached a fevered pitch. However, this does not mean that people can't learn, access, and utilize tools to manage it.

    Although we can't eliminate family, relationship, school, and work stress, here are just a few ways you can lessen stress:

    • Ground yourself- take a 5 minute break to focus on your 5 senses. Be aware of sights, sounds, touch, taste, and smells.
    • Counting- Count back from 100 or whatever number you are comfortable with- steady your breathing with your countdown picturing the number in your head while saying out loud (or internally).
    • Breathing Exercises- Place your hands on your abdomen. Breathe in and breathe out slowly, letting your belly relax- while it moves outward and inward.
    • Imagery- Place yourself in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Choose a place (pretend or real) that makes you feel calm (i.e. lying in a hammock on the beach at sunset works for me!). Focus on that image. Take note of the atmosphere around you, notice the smells, notice the noises around you, etc. Sometimes imagery works well if you can also put on some calming soft music.
    • Make realistic daily goals for yourself. A list of "things to do" longer than seven items will probably cause you stress. Do what you are ABLE. Do not set yourself up for failure before you've even begun to tackle your day.

    These are just a few ways to take breaks from stress and calm yourself. I will be posting more blogs detailing more specific tools to use in de-stressing your life. For now, remember, you are a good and worthy person who has much to offer the world.

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