Why Am I So Anxious?

By Alexandria Hayes, MA, LPC, NCC Are you often stressed out? Do you worry most of the time? When the problems you were worrying about are solved, do new problems pop up? Is it hard to remember the last time you felt at peace? If so, you are not alone. Many people find themselves in a near-constant state of anxiety, sometimes for as far back as they can remember. Why is this? Why are certain people anxiety-prone and others not? There isn’t a single answer, but recent research has shed li...
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Holiday Coping: Take a Deep Breath

By Eleanor Harrison, PhD Yes, take a deep breath. The holidays are fast approaching and many people find this time of year stressful. Whether it’s because you have the dreaded Christmas party coming, you are cooking the turkey this year, Aunt Marge will be in town for the holidays, or you are living alone and fear loneliness, the holidays can be very difficult. The advertisements don’t help for they portray loving families with loads of money and perfect homes. In the movies nobody’s family arg...
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Why Must I Walk Alone?

By Jaime Davila, MA, LPC, NCC He stands surrounded by strangers, some are friends, some are colleagues, but all are strangers to some degree. What if they knew it all, that is, who he truly is? No, not the story that he has projected and skillfully displayed for his friends, but the story that runs only within him, a story he keeps secret. “I fear that if I tell too much of my story ... well, I am not exactly sure what I fear but I do know the hesitation quite well; it’s what keeps me f...
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Five Tools for Taming Anxiety

By Alexandria Hayes, MA, LPC, NCC All of us experience anxiety at one time or another. Anxiety typically arises in response to thoughts about a perceived stressful situation. Normally, anxiety subsides when the situation is resolved. However, sometimes anxiety is a constant and/or becomes overwhelming. Runaway anxiety can be debilitating, interfering with work or school performance, relationships, sleep, and other daily activities. If anxiety is in charge and preventing you from living your...
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Where are You on the Trauma Map?

By Alexandria Hayes, MA, LPC, NCC What happens in your body when you are faced with a threat? And, more importantly, what happens afterwards? The Trauma Map, first developed by Peter Levine and modified by Eric Wolterstorff at Trauma Dynamics, can help explain the process. In this model, there are five stages of experience, 0-4. These stages represent the reactions of a threat response system, the autonomic nervous system (ANS), headquartered in the most primitive part of the brain of all mamma...
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Cognitive Distortions

Cognitive distortions are irrational thoughts that can influence our emotions. Everyone experiences cognitive distortions to some degree, but in their more extreme forms they can be maladaptive Magnification and Minimization: Exaggerating or minimizing the importance of events. One might believe their own achievements are unimportant, or that their mistakes are excessively important. Catastrophizing: Seeing only the worst possible outcomes of a situation. Overgeneralization: Making broa...
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