Sunday, September 21, 2008

Self Care

It feels like, for years, I've been saying, "This is the week I'm going to start going to bed at 10pm - no matter what's still left on my To Do list. I'm going to exercise every day. And, I'm going to watch my sugar intake." (Well, truth be told, I usually say, "And, I'm not going to eat sugar this week!" But let's not get carried away.) I have a strong suspicion that doing these things will make me feel good, increase my energy, & decrease my overall anxiety, but for some reason, I find myself up at all hours trying to fit more hours into the day.

So, will you join me in taking better care of yourself this week? I'm not sure what that looks like for you, but I'm going to stick to my daily walks & weights, go to bed by 10pm & stay away from desserts as much as possible.

Let me know how your week goes & what's working for you! NEXT week is: do at least one thing everyday that scares you. I invite you to start thinking about what those 7 days might look like!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I love finding a great, new resource book. And, just as much, I love being able to share one with others.

Maybe you've heard of this one already, but it's called, "Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression" by James S. Gordon, M.D. I've only just begun to make my way through it, but can tell already that it's a gem even for those of us who don't lean toward depression.

Dr. Gordon states that depression is not pathology, but a wake up call that your life is out of balance. This wake up call offers you the opportunity to make the classic heroes journey, which he guides you through using a holistic and integrative approach. He reminds the reader that at the crux of crisis are the Chinese characters representing danger and opportunity. Meditation, exercise, guided imagery, spirituality, movement (dance, yoga), & eastern medicine are just a few of the tools you'll find in this guidebook along with practical exercises to integrate them into your life.

Unstuck appears to be a book not just for those struggling with depression, but for anyone feeling stuck in their lives and wanting to find greater fulfillment. I picked my copy up at the library -- Let me know what you think!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Door Number Three

Sometimes I start to feel anxious in new situations & wonder, “How did this start?” I wasn’t anxious about this place before.” It’s like, “And behind door number 3 is . . . Social Anxiety! Had you chosen door number 5, you COULD have gotten this fabulous vacation along with the added bonus of OCD!”

When this starts to happen, it’s easy to think, “Why me? It’ll never get better. Just as it gets easier in one arena, something else comes up”. But, this can be a good opportunity to work at the core question, “What can fear REALLY do to me?”

Can it give me a heart attack? Make me faint? Cause me to go crazy?

Of course, the rational answer is always no. But, until I know the answer 150% in my core and through hard earned experience, I’ll continue to have anxiety & get tricked into always trying to protect myself from something “bad” happening, whatever that is.

It’s nice to imagine Bob Barker asking me what door I’d like to choose in the future & I’ll say, “It doesn’t matter – they're all the same to me."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Living an Exposure Lifestyle

One afternoon I was talking to my friend Michael who co-directs a university anxiety clinic. We had gotten our families together to go down to the river, jump around on the rocks and enjoy a beautiful day together. To get to the river and rock jumping, however, we had to walk over a suspension bridge. To say that I don't like crossing this bridge by foot or any other form of transportation, would be an understatement. I see people casually riding their bikes over the bridge, walking dogs and allowing children to peer over the railing and shudder. It feels like it's a good football field above the water and is suspended under a canopy of concrete highway.

"Oh man, I did NOT like that crazy bridge. But, if I don't walk over it now & then, it gets harder, so I gotta do it."

“That’s good exposure lifestyle, Kristin,” Michael said.

“What did you say?” I asked.

“Exposure lifestyle. . .My colleague & I tell people that once they’ve graduated from therapy, it’s important to go on living an exposure lifestyle . . .purposefully doing things that make them feel anxious in their daily life so that anxiety doesn’t get the upper hand.”

“That’s fantastic!” I responded, getting excited. “That should be everyone’s mantra. What a great phrase! Living an exposure lifestyle.”

I've thought of that clever term often as I approach situations in my daily life that make me wonder, "Will I get anxious here?". It's a new addition to my coping cards along with some of my favorites "Stir up trouble for yourself"; "Is this Discomfort or Danger"; and one I got from my sister-in-law "Don't live a small life".

How do you live an exposure lifestyle & not allow anxiety to limit you? Are there ways that you incorporate “exposure & practice” into your daily life? -- Times when you take the elevator just because it’s good for you to do so; volunteer to present at a meeting even though you’re afraid; take the highway, even when no one would know if you took the back roads? I look forward to hearing from you!