Generalized Anxiety Disorder Therapy in Woodland Hills & Westlake Village
Now Available! Panic, Phobia, and Generalized anxiety disorder therapy in the Woodland Hills and Westlake Village offices of David Mellinger, MSW
“The Role of Words in Anxiety” & “Have No Fear of Fainting”
Words, In my humble opinion, are the most inexhaustible source of magic we have.
– Harry Potter
Facing Fear with the “Anxiety Words” Strategy
Researchers led by anxiety expert Michelle Craske have recently found that people with anxiety can strengthen themselves when tackling their anxieties and phobias by uttering (or muttering ) any and every choice word or phrase about the fear and anxiety they feel. Freeway phobic people can go further along the freeway and deeper into traffic if they use every word voicing their anxiety that crosses their mind as they engage in driving practice .
Movie Theater Phobia
Your best bet in facing fear may be to tailor your choice of words to the situation. Anxiety therapist David Mellinger recommends a potent, three-step technique for people challenging their phobic fear of movie theaters who find themselves trapped in the middle of a row with an urgent need to step out of the theater or use the facilities, yet too anxious to go.
- Count the number of people seated between you and the nearest aisle.
- Stand up and start to move toward the aisle.
- Repeat the magic phrase, “Excuse me”, times the number of people seated between you and the aisle as you move.
For instance, if six moviegoers sit between you and the aisle, start moving. Say, “excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, excuse me”, as you keep moving; and you’ll be home free!!
Words – the double-edged swords of anxiety
Words are linked with anxiety. Sticky thinking – repetitive negative thinking that’s hard to disengage from – is the voice of our disturbing anxiety. Sticky thinking takes the form of mental verbalization or imagery, while negative self-talk may wind us up thinking our way into thinking traps.
To relieve disturbing anxiety, on the other hand, we train to modify our anxieties with rational self-talk. Slogans like “Don’t believe everything you think” or “I am not my anxiety” can enable us to accept the situation we’re in and empower us when we’re facing fear. Curiously, we can hearten ourselves when we’re facing our fears by verbalizing every scary thing we feel.
To relieve active worry, on the other hand, if we can keep still and train ourselves to focus our attention exclusively our breathing, we no longer hear a word of our disturbing worries – and they disappear! (at least for the time being)
Mindfulness is often linked to the absence of mental verbalization – to stillness. author Thomas Cleary recounted an advanced kendo student smarting from a blow from his master’s kendo stick. His pain was the consequence of the lapse created by a stray thought crossing his mind an instant before.
“Master,” he asked. “When will my mind be truly quiet?” “When you are not afraid anymore,” was the reply.
Now Available! Generalized anxiety disorder therapy in the Woodland Hills and Westlake Village offices of David Mellinger, MSW.
Have No Fear of Fainting from Panic
People with panic often fear loss of control: Many people are afraid they’ll lose consciousness This fear leads to them to over-focus on certain panic symptoms – blurred vision and the altered breathing that occurs during attacks that causes lightheadedness and dizziness – that seem to support the very mistaken impression that they’re about to faint.
If this happens to you, you’re actually in no greater danger of fainting than somebody who’s never panicked in her or his life. Leading clinical psychologist Richard McNally has observed, “Three things in life are certain – death, taxes, and that you’ll never faint during a panic attack.” All the adrenaline roaring through us when we panic keeps the arteries that supply blood to the brain wide open and makes us virtually faint-proof.
One weird exception. One known exception to this rule is the vasovagal response – a weird, evolutionary throwback that causes a small portion of the population to faint away at the sight of blood.
People with phobias for the sight of blood or injections are likely candidates for the vasovagal response. They experience these momentary openings of the blood supply as imminently dangerous. As an archaic, maladaptive mechanism for curtailing the possibility of bleeding out that they irrationally fear, the vasovagal response makes their blood pressure plummet, briefly “shutting down the pump” – and a lose-lose situation is created. Injections and blood tests are never live-threatening to begin with – they’re actually life-sustaining – but the blood supply to person’s brains diminishes so sharply that he or she may to pass out.