Author Archive

Making the Most of the Season

Friday, December 1st, 2017

by GINNY WILEY, MAMFC, LPC

Is Christmas the most joyful or most stressful time of the year for you? There seems to be an underlying pressure to please others and an expectation to be joyful at the same time. The reality is, you cannot please everyone; and you are the only one who has the power to allow yourself to actually enjoy this season. What is most important to you this time of year? Do you want to visit Santa, send out Christmas cards or attend a holiday party? Maybe you want to order takeout and not cook, or put up a Christmas tree but not Christmas lights. Prioritizing what is most important will help you say, “Yes” to what you genuinely want to do!

Is it difficult for you to say “No” for fear of disappointment? There is a difference between false guilt and real guilt. Real guilt is experienced when a sin has been committed in which one can then take responsibility and reconcile the mistake. False guilt is when you do not live up to your own or someone else’s expectations—no sin was committed. It is sometimes difficult to determine false guilt because it often feels very real. Do you know what your motivation is for saying yes or no? Is it because it is expected? Is it out of fear of making someone angry? Is it out of guilt? How many times have you done something you did not really want to do and were unhappy the whole time you were there? Saying “Yes” to things you genuinely would like to do will allow you to truly enjoy this season more.

Now, let’s flip it. How do you respond to someone telling you “No”? Do you beg for someone to change their mind or whine until they do what you want them to do? It is OK to feel disappointed, but to make someone feel guilty in hopes of getting your way is actually harmful to the relationship. This takes away the individual’s freedom to make a decision. Mutual respect, even when you disagree, is key to healthy relationships (especially during the high-stress holiday season).

Communicating directly and not making assumptions can also help manage holiday chaos. Being honest with how you will spend your time and money will help manage expectations. Try to share responsibility with others. If you are hosting, ask someone to bring an appetizer or dessert. If you typically buy all the presents, divide the names and get the whole family to help. Express what you need so loved ones do not have to guess.

Lastly, think about what Christmas is really about and what you truly want to enjoy most about this season. In all the busyness, take time for yourself to relax. Do not let others take away the joy of this holiday; don’t give them that much power. Be intentional with your time and allow yourself to enjoy at least one thing (if not more) this Christmas season.

Anxiety: What Is it and How Do I Manage It?

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

by GINNY WILEY, LPC

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is persistent and excessive worry or stress that can negatively make an impact on one or multiple areas of your life. Symptoms of anxiety are restlessness, fatigue, impaired concentration, irritability, or tension. Heart palpitations, tense muscles, and stomach problems are often common with anxiety.

Although genetics play a role, many other factors contribute to the development of anxiety. Stressful life events and traumas can contribute to a person becoming anxious. Anxiety can stem from fear of failure, not feeling good enough, or a need to be in control. Lifestyles, such as unhealthy eating habits, lack of activity, lack of sleep, and substance abuse use can enhance anxiety. Every person has experienced anxiety at some point in their life, even if they are not willing to admit it!

What is actually going on in the brain when I feel anxious? The amygdala sends distress signal to hypothalamus, which then triggers the “fight-or-flight” response. Problems occur when this stress response stays activated and cortisol is elevated. Click here to read an article that explains what is going on in the brain in greater detail.

 What can I do to help manage anxiety?

  • Exercise: helps lower activity of sympathetic nervous system. People feel relaxed and safe after doing something active. Treat exercise as self-care and not another thing on the ‘to do’ list.
  • Spend time outdoors: Sunlight is good for you!
  • Meditate: Just like you have to work out repeatedly to build strong muscles, you also have to repeatedly teach your brain to slow down and relax. Try to start with just five minutes a day. A number of our clients like to use the Headspace app as a meditation tool.
  • Schedule worry times: allow yourself to “worry” for 10 minutes a day. Write down your worries and determine if you have control over any of them and, if so, write out solutions. If not, recognize that particular worry is out of your control. When worries come up during the day remind yourself you will get back to it during your planned worry time.
  • Social media cleanse: If you are comparing yourselves to others, take a break or limit time from social media.
  • Practicing gratitude: What are three things, big or small that you are currently grateful for? Bring your attention to those throughout the day.
  • Music: Develop a calming playlist of songs.

What do I do when I feel anxious?

Abdominal Breathing:  Close your eyes, put one hand on your stomach and imagine that you have a balloon inside your stomach. Now, inhale and see how the balloon grows and moves your hand up. Then slowly exhale and see how the balloon deflates. If anything distracts you, just notice the thought and gently return to the exercise. Do this for five minutes.

Concentration exercise: Think about your breathing. Notice when you are inhaling and say to yourself, “I am inhaling,” and then when you are exhaling say to yourself,”I am exhaling.” Continue to allow yourself to focus on your breath. If your mind wanders just notice the thought and gently being yourself back to focus on your breath. Do this for five minutes.

Mindfulness:  Pay attention to what is happening in the moment by using all five senses. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you taste? What do you smell?  What do you feel? Focus on the present for five min.

Visualization:  Can you picture the beach, the mountains, a park, any place that you feel calm? How would you describe this place? What are you doing in this place? How do you feel when you think of this place? Close your eyes and focus on this place. Focus for five minutes.

About Anthology

We are a group of professionals dedicated to promoting health and healing in the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. We believe that healing occurs more effectively and more efficiently when each facet of a person is addressed. Our group is comprised of professional counselors and a psychiatrist.