Tag Archives: anxiety

How's Your Mental Health This Week?

It's Mental Health Week here in Australia, and I'm very pleased to see many organisations and individuals talking about the topic of mental health in order to provide hope for healing and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness in our community. I'm also a little anxious because the issue is close to my heart. There are many people who suffer from mental illness in my extended family and I know we still have a long way to go as a community in tackling the problems underlying the recent rapid increase in mental illness.

Having suffered from debilitating panic attacks, social phobia, generalised anxiety, depression and chronic fatigue myself, I know that these are real biological conditions which you can't just “snap yourself out of” or simply wish away with positive thinking or well-intentioned affirmations alone.

Make A Move Towards Better Mental Health

Make A Move Towards Better Mental Health

Especially for men.

Destigmatising mental illness is certainly a step in the right direction, but if we want to help people living with mental illness to free themselves from their suffering, we need to go a step deeper and destigmatise the emotions behind it too.

Let's face it: Men have feelings, and it's time we stopped holding them in.… Continue reading…

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How To Be Present

Spiritual teachers such as Eckhart Tolle often talk about presence as the key to accessing a relaxed state of true inner confidence in all situations. Well that's great in theory, but how do you do it in practice?

Moose MillerIn this insightful interview with Transformation Coach Moose Miller from MeetEveryMoment.com, you'll learn the key techniques for dealing with difficult emotions and thought patterns that stop us from being confidently present in our interactions with other people.

Practicing these techniques consistently over time leads to a sense of relaxed confidence that men and women alike find tremendously appealing.

Here's what you'll learn:… Continue reading…

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What To Do When You're Emotionally Triggered

Do you ever experience situations where you suddenly feel really bad in response to something happening around you, and have a compelling urge to withdraw or shut down? If so, you've probably been emotionally triggered.

I've been doing some acting training lately with a local theatre company which does shows based on Forum Theatre. This style of theatre is highly interactive: The actors perform a play in which things end badly for one or more of the characters; but then instead of leaving it there they go back and replay some of the scenes using suggestions from the audience as to what the characters could do differently that might change the final outcome. We even get members of the audience up on stage to role play their suggestions while the other actors remain in character to see how the ideas from the audience play out in practice.

The role I was being trained for was to act as the Joker: a kind of cheeky M.C. whose role is to liaise between the actors and the audience, asking for suggestions from the audience and encouraging them to get up on stage to play those suggestions out. While the introduction to this part of the play was scripted, the audience interaction is all improvised based on the suggestions that the audience offer.… Continue reading…

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How To Cure Your Mental Illness

Rates of mental illness are rapidly increasing in the Western world. Depression and anxiety have become common place, and they're just the tip of the iceberg compared to more severe mental illnesses such as bipolar, schizophrenia and so-called personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder.

Our intellectually dominant society is a breeding ground for mental illness.

So why has mental illness become such a problem in a society which offers more opportunity, longer life expectancies and greater possibility than ever before? What causes mental illness, and how can it be cured?

I'm not a psychiatrist or doctor so don't take what I say as medical advice, but my opinion is that virtually all mental illness is caused by a build-up of psychological pressure in the primitive emotional centres of our brains. The cure is to learn how to release this pressure in a safe environment with empathy from another human being.… Continue reading…

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Seven Simple Steps To Overcome Anxiety

Anxious Man

Anxious Man (photo courtesy PhotoXpress)

Life can be a bitch when you're feeling anxious. Anxiety can undermine your confidence like nothing else. When feelings of fear take a serious foothold in your life, you can lose your whole sense of self as your self-confidence quickly heads south.

So here are seven simple steps to overcome anxiety:

1. Ask Yourself What You Haven't Accepted Yet

Anxiety is a clue that you're confused about reality and the way things should be. The problem boils down to distorted thinking which leads to confusion about the nature of reality. You're telling yourself that things should be different to how they are, and that's distressing. Once you learn to accept that things are the way they are, your anxiety will dissipate.

Perhaps you already know what it is that you can't accept about reality, or perhaps you're not sure. Often emotions arise in our subconscious and then our conscious mind attempts to come up with a rational explanation. But we don't always get it right; so maybe the thing you're confused about isn't what you think it is. There are many processes for inquiring more deeply into reality. One of my favourites is The Work of Byron Katie described in her book Loving What Is.… Continue reading…

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Telling The Truth About Anxiety

I had another reminder last night about the value of telling the truth for healing anxiety. This year has been a pretty rough one for me, with all sorts of anxiety exacerbated by chronic fatigue bubbling up in different situations. I've had a few conversations with my sister about it, who invited me to a talk at The Resilience Centre on overcoming anxious thinking which she wanted to attend because several of her friends suffer from anxiety. It turns out to be a common problem.

Anxious Man

Anxious Man (photo courtesy PhotoXpress)

Part of the talk used the analogy of a sailing ship with demons in the hold. When we sail towards the land representing our goals, sometimes the demons jump up on deck and start going crazy forcing us back out to sea. We often end up avoiding going after our goals to settle the demons back down; but we end up bored, restless and feeling unfulfilled. The key to reaching our goals when we're feeling anxious is to take it one step at a time and learn to deal with the demons that come up without being overwhelmed. Each time we successfully sail closer to the land, the demons get a little quieter.… Continue reading…

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How To Handle A Panic Attack

I have to admit to leading something of a double life: on the one hand I write about confidence, but I also suffer from panic attacks and anxiety. Having a panic attack is one of the most unpleasant experiences I've ever had, and even just mild anxiety can make life pretty painful. It's not something I'd wish on my worst enemy. Well, maybe just on the really bad ones.

So here's how to handle a panic or anxiety attack:

Recognize The Symptoms

Most people I know who suffer from anxiety or panic attacks didn't recognize what was happening to them when they first had a panic attack. They were just going about their daily lives when suddenly: BAM! Their heart started racing, they were overwhelmed with fear, their bodies started shaking, they couldn't concentrate, they became exhausted and just had to stop everything they were doing. Some thought they were dying, or were having a heart attack.

I was overseas traveling alone in France when I had my first full-blown panic attack, and the word “frightening” just doesn't cut it. It was fucking terrifying, and I found myself throwing up out of sheer terror. Fortunately I had a sympathetic friend back home I could call, and recognized what was really going on.… Continue reading…

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How to Deal With Setbacks

Time for some truth-telling: things haven't been entirely rosy here at Confident Man Headquarters in the last few months. Life has ups and downs, and I'm certainly not immune to the emotional roller-coaster effect they can cause. They say bad luck comes in threes and I don't know if it's just bad luck, bad karma or whatever, but I do know it hasn't felt all that great lately.

So what's been going on?

Well, firstly I started a new treatment program for Chronic Fatigue and although I'm cautiously optimistic of my health improving, one of the initial side-effects was being hit with a truckload of anxiety which left me feeling despondent, depressed and hopeless.

Around the same time I entered a Theatrical Improvisation (a.k.a. Improv) contest with some new friends of mine; only to withdraw before the contest had even begun because I was feeling overwhelmed with anxiety and stress. Something I loved doing suddenly stopped being fun.

I also quit Toastmasters because I now know enough about public speaking and it doesn't make sense to pursue it any further until my health improves. This meant my social world was shrinking, right at the time I was feeling isolated, ill and anxious already.… Continue reading…

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How to Get Over the Girl Who Ripped Your Heart Out

Ever had a girl break your heart so badly you thought you'd never recover? Couldn't get her off your mind? Desperate to get her back? Then you might find John's story helpful; and besides, I need to debrief to get this guy out of my system.

I met John in a youth hostel while on a winter road trip up the east coast of Australia in search of warmer weather. He seemed like a decent guy who was always cracking jokes, and before long the two of us were entertaining some of the other backpackers with our stories of adventure and comic irony.

John seemed intrigued when I mentioned that I was a recovering perfectionist, and asked me several times to elaborate about that. I told him the story of how I had a fulfilling engineering career up until the point where I decided I didn't enjoy it any more and decided to change direction. He could relate: John had studied law, and hated every minute of it. Then he'd joined the military, and he'd hated that too. He hated prosecuting people who hadn't done anything wrong, and in general his conscience bothered him a lot. He was from California, which he hated because it was being over-run with Mexicans.… Continue reading…

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Emotional Healing

Traumatic or emotionally painful events in our past can leave us with emotionally charged memories that get triggered whenever we find ourselves in similar circumstances later in life. This will undermine your confidence in these situations, as the powerful emotions triggered quickly become overwhelming even though there's no real threat present.

There are a myriad of different life experiences that can cause trauma and emotional pain. Perhaps your parents were emotionally unsupportive, only loved you conditionally when you were good, or didn't approve of your friends, hobbies, interests or career plans. Maybe they argued and left you feeling unsafe in your own home. Perhaps there was abuse and violence in your family. Or your parent's divorced or separated, leaving you wondering if you were to blame. Perhaps your brothers and sisters, or other kids at school didn't accept you, or you were bullied, or the girls didn't want to play with you. Maybe your childhood sweetheart broke up with you, left you for another guy, or just didn't want to be around you in the first place. And then they went on to become a media star, reminding you of the pain every time you saw them on TV even years later.… Continue reading…

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