Blog — Anxiety

Managing Tics and Tourette's: Catch What You Can

kids-tics-torretsIn this blogpost we take a closer look at the experiences of kids who have repetitive, involuntary actions otherwise known as "tics." Many of the children who have anxiety or symptoms of OCD also experiences tics. In fact, studies have found that as many as 50-85% of children with Tourette Syndrome (TS) also meet criteria for OCD. Common tics include eye-blinking, facial grimacing, nose scrunching, touching and clapping. Vocal tics include humming, throat clearing and squeaking. Let's take a look at the experience of tics: the causes, red-flags and solutions.

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Being an Effective Parent: Managing Your Own Feelings

being-an-effective-parentTry as we may to be the best parents we can be and not overreact or underreact to our children's behavior and emotions, we are human and sometimes things don't come out exactly (or even nearly) as we'd like. Here are some ideas about how to take care of our own emotions so we can be there for our kids.

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Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking: Help for the Pint-Sized Pessimist

pint-sized-pessimistI can't do anything right! Everything is wrong! I'm so stupid! What's the point? Such is the inner monologue (and sometimes outer outburst) that children suffering with negative thinking can have on a regular basis. The trigger is often something as small as dropping a pencil, or making a mistake on a test. How do we help kids think less negatively and more accurately (and not get pulled into the downward spiral ourselves?) Here are some answers!

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What's Wrong With Positive Thinking? Simple Strategies To Manage Your Thoughts

glass-half-fullPositive Thinking could be considered the high fructose corn syrup of the thinking world -- when forced. It's not necessary, natural, and research has found that it's not good for us when we have to sell ourselves on it.

All of us feel upset from time to time, and can, depending on the day or our temperament, slip or sprint into a place of self-loathing, world-loathing, hell. When we are in that place we don't need to be airlifted to Disney, we just want to re-route our perfect nose-dive towards utter misery. Just about any other destination will do. In that state of despair, the last logical thing to do--even it were humanly possible--is to do a back-breaking reach for the positive. If our children did that kind of maneuver in the middle of a tantrum we'd take their temperature or call an exorcist. Why? Because in that moment, we are essentially lying to ourselves. There's no rationale for it. Fake stuff doesn't work: nutritionally or emotionally.

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High Family Stress in Infancy Linked with Development of Anxiety in Teen Girls

stressed-infant-familyA long-term study out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that children who grew up in high stress families are more likely to develop anxiety disorders in the teenage years-- this connection was only evident with girls, not with boys. This study highlights the need to support young parents and families.  To read about this on Psych Central, click here.

 

 

 

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Freeing Your Holidays (and Yourself) From Anxiety: 6 Steps to Having More Joy and Less Stress

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The clock is ticking toward Thanksgiving and the holidays beyond, and two very different feelings are flashing on your emotional news feed: impending joy and impending doom.

OK, maybe doom is overstating it; dread may be closer to the mark. But let's face it, many of us are finding ourselves up at 3:00 in the morning checking our to-do lists and reviewing incessantly the parade of possible catastrophes: "Will my brined turkey be a disaster?" "Will everyone be happy with their gifts?" "How much weight (and debt) am I going to gain?" "What if my family doesn't get along?" "What if I'm not ready?" "What if I totally fail?!" Wait, are we preparing for the holidays -- or final exams?

It doesn't have to be this way.

It's time to change our relationship with the holidays.

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4 Steps to Anxiety-Free Eating this Holiday Season

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When we’re stressed about the holiday rush, who is there to greet us? All those cookie trays and eggnog. And the worry about how much weight we are putting on may drive us back for another serving. How do you avoid holiday stress from literally weighing on us? Armed with a few powerful strategies, we can combat those fears and really enjoy ourselves.

 

 

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Talking to Our Children About Tragedy: Fostering Safety, Not Fear

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When talking with our children about tragedy, we can choose to emphasize grief and healing rather than fear and danger. Our purpose is to help our children recover and be resilient, not to be frightened of their lives. Here are several ideas to guide you in talking about the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut; these suggestions can be useful in general when helping your child through traumatic events.

 

 

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7 Ways to Cope with Family Stress During the Holidays

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Ah, how magical to celebrate the holidays with family. Oh, wait... really? With... family? @&%#!, with family?! This year, do yourself a favor -- if you want to thrive (and not lose your mind) during the holidays, give yourself a gift: Expect what's most likely to happen. If you're wrong and things go great, all the better! But if you're right and history repeats itself, no harm, no foul, no nervous breakdown. Here are some ideas for freeing yourself from anxiety during family gatherings.

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6 Steps to Setting Sustainable New Year's Resolutions

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Chances are – the average New Year’s resolution list looks the same as last year’s: lose weight, stop smoking, save money and find your soul mate. While 45 percent of the U.S. population usually set goals, one-fourth never succeed.

We think this year is going to be different, that we are going to accomplish our goals. Self-improvement is a good thing; the problem is we make resolutions that are vague or that we can’t control, which leads us to feeling disappointed when we don’t succeed. Allowing for a little imperfection in your resolutions is a good thing. Here are 6 steps to setting sustainable resolutions this year.

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A Parent's Response to Kids' Disappointments

clappstar / Kids Photos / CC BY-NC-ND

No one likes to lose, but for some kids losing isn't a superficial scratch on the ego, it goes deep. In fact the reason why some kids have trouble losing is that they can't hold on to who they were before the loss; instead, no matter how many successes they had under their belt, the loss transforms them irrevocably into a loser. It's as if each game is a gamble where they put all their chips on the table, and if they lose, they're cleaned out of all of their assets. If this is starting to sound like some of the adults you know, including yourself, read on, the solutions are pretty much one size fits all. These strategies will help your child maintain perspective when there are disappointments and encourage positive coping skills.

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When Daily Stress Gets in the Way of Life (New York Times)

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"Anxiety is a fact of life. I’ve yet to meet anyone, no matter how upbeat, who has escaped anxious moments, days, even weeks." -- Jane Brody. I am so honored to have had the opportunity recently to speak with Jane Brody of the New York Times. She wrote an amazing article about how anxiety can take over our life. Please take a moment to read it and share with anyone it might help.

 

 

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How to Overcome Fear of Change at Work (Forbes)

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Are you afraid of change? Aren't we all? 1 in 5 Americans will be looking for a new job in 2013. If you are one of them, or you know someone who is, check out this article by Jacquelyn Smith on Forbes.com. I had the pleasure of speaking with her about how we can summon the courage to rise to the occasion when it's time to change jobs. Remember that today's change is tomorrow's old news. It's just a matter of time.

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How to Overcome Anxiety About Changing Jobs

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Jobs can be stressful, and changing jobs can be even more so. A recent survey found that 1 in 5 adults will change jobs this year-- but none of us like change, even change that we may choose. I had the opportunity to speak recently with Lisa Davis on It's Your Health Network about what to do to maximize the benefits of change and minimize the pain.  You can listen to the interview by clicking here and scrolling down to Dr. Tamar Chansky: 

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Surviving College Rejection Letters: What To Do When A School Says No

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Following up on my recent blog post on handling college admission stress, Here is a piece I wrote last year about college rejection letters. So many parents wrote in after I published it telling me how grateful they were to have some guidance on this topic, because they were really struggling too. It's a statistical fact of life: rejection letters will happen. But it's what happens after the rejection that matters most. Here are tips for parents and students to stay on track and not get derailed by misinterpreting the meaning when a college says no.

 


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Overcoming Job Interview Anxiety: How to Be Calm, Cool and Confident

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We've all had the interview anxiety dreams-- whether we are awake or asleep-- we are asked the trick question like-- "Tell me why you think you're right for this job?," and suddenly our throat is parched, our hearts are racing and as hard as we try to utter a sound, nothing will come out. Even though real life doesn't turn out that way, those bad dreams don't help our confidence going into an interview. But there are plenty of things we can do that will help. Here's a great article by Jacquelyn Smith at Forbes about overcoming job interview jitters,  for which I was honored to be interviewed. Click here to read the full article.

 

 

 

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Kids and Sports: 8 Strategies to Take Charge of Disappointment and Stay in the Game

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Is your child an anxious athlete? Did you sign your child up for a sports team thinking what a good experience it would be, only to find... it's not. If you have a child whose stomach is in knots before a practice or a game, or who is miserable and so hard on him or herself when things don't go perfectly-- don't give up and don't let your child give up either! Check out this article I wrote about how to teach your child to become a resilient athlete.  It's not about lowering the standards, it's about lowering the stakes. 

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April is Stress Awareness Month: Six Steps to Have Less Stress

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Are you feeling stressed? Do things feel out of your control? Know that you are in good company, and more importantly, you are in a very good position to make a difference in your life and sense of well-being. It's not the stress, it's what you do with it, and there's a lot you can do! Check out this piece I wrote for Stress Awareness Month.  

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Freeing Yourself from Anxiety podcast with Amy Alkon

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I had the opportunity to speak with the nationally syndicated advice columnist, and very smart, clever woman: Amy Alkon about overcoming worry and anxiety. Check out the podcast by clicking here

 

 

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Overcoming Retirement Anxiety

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Retirement. Many of us fear that we'll never get there, others of us who are getting close to the magic 65, well, we're worried too! Is retirement so different from everything else in life that we have no idea how to manage it? Or, can the coping skills that have gotten us this far help us with this transition too? Short answer: we are more prepared than we think. 


Click here to check out this guest blog post I wrote on Forbes.com about beating the retirement blues.

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How to Apologize: Overcoming the Fear of Saying Your Sorry

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I've been thinking about apologies lately and it reminded me of a blog post I wrote about a year ago on that very topic. How is it that apologizing-- the very thing that repairs relationships—the closest thing to a relationship magic wand that we've got— is so hard for us to do? One key is to shift the mindset and remember that though an apology is something that we give to another person, it is also something that we give to ourselves. We unburden ourselves, and can ground ourselves in the understanding that we don't have to hide our mistakes or imperfections, that it is through our vulnerability that we connect and connect most strongly. Another key is to remember that you are apologizing for what you did, not for who you are. And then of course it's helpful to keep in mind that people are generally very grateful and appreciative when we do apologize. So basically, apologies are a relationship win-win. Check out the blog post and happy, healthy apologizing! Click here to read the post.

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The 4 Steps to Overcoming Anxiety

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I love collaborations, and ones that happen by surprise-- how cool is that? Last Friday I got an email from my friend and colleague, Therese Borchard, author of the incredibly brave and inspiring memoir: Beyond Blue: Surviving Anxiety and Depression and Making the Most Out of Bad Genes  and super blogger at Psych Central, Belief Net and Everyday Health (and probably lots of other places too). She told me that she had written this blog post about my 4 step plan to overcoming anxiety, based on my book Freeing Yourself from Anxiety. I love her humor and how she crystalized 300+ pages into a few hundred words, so I had to share. Click here to read her post. Here's to collaborations with great friends and, as always, here's to less worry all around.

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Teaching Children to Succeed in Sports by Managing Their Mindset

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As an anxiety therapist who works with kids with perfectionism, especially around sports, I always appreciate when the Olympics come around. By watching these unparalleled feats of human agility, grace, strength and beauty and also seeing that things don't always go as planned, children can learn that excellence isn't the same as perfection and that true mastery can often be measured (in gold!) by how quickly one bounces back from disappointment and mis-steps. You'll learn in this blog post strategies to teach kids how to increase their mental agility in sports-- just like the pros.

 

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8 Ways to Strive for Excellence Not Perfection and Live a Better Life!

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I was in my favorite coffee shop recently (I would walk very far for the best iced Americano in town) and the barista was dumping out a latte that just wasn't up to snuff for her. I joked that perfectionism is only important when it comes to making coffee. She laughed and said, no, perfectionism is important everywhere. We got into a whole discussion about whether perfectionism was really sustainable, how it is different from striving for excellence. In the end we agreed to disagree (I think it's just a matter of time, she's young) and I enjoyed my delicious drink. But it got me thinking about how destructive perfectionism can be to a person's well-being, not to mention productivity, so I am reposting this piece I wrote on the topic a bit ago. Here's to striving for excellence (not perfection)!

 

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Happy Birthday to Freeing Your Child from Anxiety: Second Edition is Here!

freeing your child from anxiety revised editionHello all! The day has arrived, the Second Edition of Freeing Your Child from Anxiety is on the shelves as of today! You can check out the book on amazon by clicking here. Meanwhile, here is an excerpt to give you a preview of how anxiety disorders, though as many as 1 in 5 children, and 1 in 4 adults suffer from them, can be treated and even prevented. Here's to less worry all around. In your own head, and beyond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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