Blog — Stress Management Tips

Anxiety 101: Don't Let Your Amygdala Ruin Your Day

Life is stressful enough. Worry really is optional. Check out this piece I wrote for Huffington Post on how to not let your amygdala (your worry brain) ruin your day. 

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Lies My Anxiety Told Me: The Bear, The Psychologist and an Impractical Purple Skirt

bearPeople are always asking me why I became a therapist, and an anxiety therapist to boot. Perhaps this will explain:

I've had two close calls in life. One with a bear, one with a purple skirt.

First the skirt. The year was 1968. I was in first grade.

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

visualpanic / Foter / CC BY

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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7 Ways to Cope with Family Stress During the Holidays

Cia de Foto / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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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What is the Secret to Keeping Your Resolutions? Allow Imperfection.

Thomas Hawk / Foter / CC BY-NC

Research shows that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so now is a good time to asses how those new year's resolutions are going. I set a goal to do crunches everyday, and two weeks into the new year I can say I've probably done them 50% of the time. Some might look at this as failure and give up, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm succeeding half the time! It shows I'm building commitment and at the same time fulfilling one of my other resolutions: to allow imperfection.

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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)

Stephen Poff / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

"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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Freeing Your Child from Anxiety Second Edition is Almost Here!

small coverHappy summer every one! I have been hard at work this past year on a revised edition of my 2004 book, Freeing Your Child from Anxiety. In the mail today, I just received the finished books! They will be availabile in stores and online on July 29th, 2014, but you can pre-order by clicking here. I am really excited about the new edition. It has three new chapters, and... an additional 160 pages of text, and... lots and lots of wonderful new illustrations courtesy of my amazing husband, Phil Stern, and lots of new strategies including a "Do It Today" section at the end of every chapter. Check it out! Here's a sample "Do It Today" to get you started. You can try it on your child, or get a "two-for-one" and try it on yourself. Here's to less worry all around!

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