Sunday, August 22, 2010

Free Report: Your Anxious Brain

I've got a free report for you, titled Your Anxious Brain. I found it very informative and well-written and thought I'd pass it on to my readers. It explains what causes your anxious reactions and what goes on in your brain.

Why is it important to understand the source and the mechanics of your anxious reactions and feelings? Because if you understand what's going on, you'll be less anxious. After all, isn't the fear caused by NOT knowing in fact making your anxious feelings worse?

To get your copy of this great report, right click on the link below and choose "save as" or "save link as". Or simply left click on it to read it in your browser (assuming you have Adobe Reader or some PDF reader installed).

Your Anxious Brain

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Anxiety-Free Child Review

One of the saddest and most unsettling things I discovered while researching anxiety disorders is that upwards of 13% of American kids suffer from childhood anxiety disorder. And in all that time searching for answers, I never saw one program designed specifically for children. That has now changed, with the introduction of The Anxiety-Free Child by Rich Presta.

With the lack of any help - or even understanding - for kids with anxiety and panic issues, most of the children with these problems carry them through their teen years and into adulthood. This is exactly what happened in Rich Presta's case and it's the reason he decided to develop his latest program.

About The Author

Rich had already produced some of the most renowned programs available on the Internet for adult anxiety disorders: The Panic Puzzle, The Anxiety Lie, The Driving Fear Program and The Take Off Today Program (for fear of flying). But knowing that un-treated childhood anxiety invariably leads to debilitating and devastating adult anxiety, as it did in his own case, he decided to take on the project of producing a program that parents can use to stop this progression before it destroys their child's life.

Now, before I tell you about the program, I want to tell you a little more about Rich Presta and his qualifications. He and his work have been featured in the likes of Psychology Today and Natural Health magazines, as well as on Discovery Health channel, MSNBC and CNN. He's a member of The International Society for Mental Health Online and the National Alliance On Mental Illness. As I mentioned, he's a survivor of both childhood and adult anxiety disorders and he's also a parent.

Like many other authors of programs to help anxiety and panic sufferers, Rich takes pride in the fact he's helping people to do as he did: Cure their disorders and get their lives back. He cares.

And the same can be said of the person writing this page. I want as many sufferers as possible to get out of the dark clouds of anxiety and into the sunshine of a happier life.

About The Anxiety-Free Child Program

Before I get into the details of what's in this program, I want to make something perfectly clear: This is not something you can just give to your child and expect magic to happen; The Anxiety-Free Child Program requires the participation of at least one parent.

But the upside of this is that your relationship with your child (or adolescent) will dramatically improve and if you have any anxiety issues yourself, you'll see an improvement there as well. And face it, living with a happy child is a far better life than living with one who is suffering from anxiety, fears and unfounded worries.

What's included in the package:
  • A full program manual, in both written and audio formats, to guide you through the entire process of helping your child overcome their anxiety, worries, and fears and replace those limiting thoughts and feelings with peace of mind and confidence.
  • An audio system Presta calls C.A.R.I.S. that teaches your child how to rapidly relax, quiet their anxious, negative and worried mind, and let go of physical tension. The intent of this part of the program is to accelerate the development of the new skills your child will need to make this a life-long success.
  • Recorded interviews with psychologists, internationally recognized university researchers and professors, physicians, and best selling authors. Presta conducted these interviews to help parents understand the anxious child better. As a bonus, the written transcripts of all these interviews are included.
  • As another bonus, C.A.R.I.S. Volume II is included. Like the original C.A.R.I.S. Audio, Volume II of the system will guide your child through practicing their new skills of inducing relaxation and tranquility in themselves that they'll be learning as the core of the Anxiety-Free Child Program. The addition of this audio will double the amount of tools to help the child overcome anxiety, fears and worries.

My Recommendation Rating: Two Thumbs Up

If you have a child with any symptoms of anxiety or panic disorders (for a list of symptoms and anxiety-related issues read my article on Childhood Anxiety Disorder or go to the home page for The Anxiety-Free Child Program ) I highly recommend this program. My reasons are:
  1. As I said at the beginning of this article, it's sad to know so many kids suffer from these disorders - most in silence, with no understanding from parents and teachers - and children with anxiety issues usually carry these into adulthood.
  2. There is a terrible shortage of help available for anxious kids and their families. Most cases of childhood anxiety disorder go unrecognized, untreated or are misdiagnosed as ADD or something else.
  3. I trust Rich Presta to produce a program that will actually help, as evidenced by the fact that thousands upon thousands of adults have found relief using his products.
To learn more about this unique program go to the home page for The Anxiety-Free Child Program now. It's a very informative page, but a bit long. So if you'd rather not read through the whole thing, just scroll down to where it says "Click To Order Now" and you'll be on your way to helping rescue your child from a living hell.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gratitude vs Fear

Let me start out by saying I love birds. Not like I'm into bird watching or anything, I just love watching them and hearing them. They fascinate me and I consider them to be nature's gift to me. And I'm a little envious, wishing I could fly like that.

Moment of Bliss

This morning, like most mornings, I poured a cup of coffee (decaf, of course) and went out onto my balcony to see the world. As I was standing there, a tiny hummingbird came to get breakfast at the feeder I put out. Talk about a fascinating bird, these guys are so small, I wonder how they survive! And how the heck do they get their little wings to move so fast I can't even see them - they're just a blur!

As I was quietly observing this cute little creature getting its fill of sweet nectar, I noticed that directly in my line of sight, off in the distance over the lake, was a majestic, glorious eagle soaring effortlessly on an updraft. I see these graceful giants often and wish I was closer to them. Eagles are so magnificent (to me, anyway) that watching one brings out an emotional response almost like, I don't know, maybe seeing my favorite singer or band live.

The total contrast between the tiny hummingbird, with a blur of wings as it finished and darted away, and the huge eagle flying endlessly in circles without moving its wings at all while it eyed the lake looking for its next meal, was absolutely astounding. This was a view of evolution at its very best! A true moment of bliss for me.

Thinking back to that moment, I realize I didn't even hear the sound of traffic that's always there. I wasn't thinking about my day, my problems or my stresses. I was totally focused on the gift of seeing these two birds living their lives. Simply.

Gratitude vs Fear

I was also experiencing a moment of gratitude that I'll try to carry with me through the day.

Are there those moments in your life that can take you completely out of your head? Moments when without even thinking about it you feel gratitude for life and the world around you? I hope so.

When you're feeling grateful for life, you don't feel stress and anxiety. Feeling and acknowledging your gratitude brings peace to you, a feeling of well-being. Learn to notice these moments and appreciate them.

Wallow in them when they present themselves to you. And practice remembering them throughout the day. Maybe go through your day describing them to others, this will keep them fresh in your mind and you'll feel that feeling all over again many times.

Remember that gratitude and fear don't co-exist very well. Beauty and anxiety don't get along. "Thank you" and "woe-is-me" can't share the same breath. Learn to notice the beauty of nature and focus on it, practice saying a silent (or not silent, if you want) "thank you" when you see, hear, touch, smell or taste something blissful and watch as your thinking starts to become more positive and your anxiety fades.

To Your recovery,


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Medications You Can Safely Take for Your Anxiety Disorders

I have recently discovered two medications you can safely take to give you some relief from anxiety symptoms and to calm down your anxious reactions. When I say "safely" what I mean is, they're not benzos, they're not addictive and you don't have to worry about serious withdrawals if and when you stop taking them. They also won't take over your mind or your moods or make you numb to the world. Does that sound like something you'd like to know about? I thought so.

Let me give you a little background before I tell you about these meds. I work in a residential drug and alcohol treatment center and part of my job is supervising the patients when they take both over-the-counter meds and prescriptions. So I see what they're taking and often we get into conversations about their prescription medications, what they're for and how well they're working.

I realize the average person wouldn't be aware of how many people in treatment centers experience anxiety symptoms, but suffice it to say, it's a healthy percentage. They come in three varieties:
  1. People who (like me) were abusing drugs or alcohol to self-medicate anxiety and/or panic disorders and became seriously addicted to one or the other, or both.
  2. People who develop anxiety symptoms (or symptoms that are nearly identical) as part of their withdrawal process.
  3. People who are addicted to anti-anxiety medicines prescribed to them by a doctor or doctors for anxiety and panic disorders.
Consequently, I'm exposed to a lot of people with anxiety disorder or symptoms and many of them are taking medications for them. Keep in mind, we don't allow patients to continue taking any addictive drugs, like benzos - even Xanax - so they, with the help of our nursing staff, have to find alternatives. And those are what I want to talk about here.

Vistaril or Atarax- Generic Name: hydroxyzine hydrochloride

Vistaril is actually an antihistamine that's particularly effective at calming the nervous system. It's even sometimes used before and after general anesthesia to keep a surgery patient calm. Side effects are similar to other antihistamines such as benadryl: dry mouth and possible drowsiness. You'd want to find out how you react to it before driving a car, etc.

Vistaril is the most common anxiety control prescription taken where I work and most of the patients I've talked to who take it are satisfied with the results. Some have found it does make them drowsy (just like benadryl) and simply take it at night before going to bed.

Neurontin - Generic Name: gabapentin

Neurontin was first used as an anticonvulsant for controlling epileptic seizures. It's also commonly used to treat neuropathic pain such as damaged nerves, phantom limb syndrome and restless leg syndrome. I've seen a lot of diabetics taking it for neuropathy that's common with their condition.

Using gabapentin for anxiety or panic disorder is actually "off-label" which means it hasn't actually been approved by the FDA for that purpose. But more and more doctors are prescribing it and patients are reporting good results. I've personally only talked to one patient whose psychiatrist prescribed Neurontin for his anxiety so was surprised to hear about it and then to learn how common this use is.

Side effects of gabapentin are generally mild and it's rare that a patient will find them disruptive to their life, enough to discontinue using it. Quitting gabapentin suddenly could cause some mild withdrawals, however. You'd want to taper off it according to your doctor's directions.

These two prescription medications are probably the most common in the med cabinets at the treatment center. Although most who are taking gabapentin aren't taking it for anxiety.

A Third Safe Anxiety Medication: Beta Blockers

When I first developed sudden and severe anxiety symptoms, including hand tremors, my doctor prescribed Metoprolol, a beta blocker usually prescribed for lowering blood pressure. Beta blockers work by blocking the release of adrenaline, the nasty stuff that causes anxiety symptoms. It worked for me, for a while, and I was able to continue my work as a hairstylist. It also brought my normally healthy blood pressure back down to where it had always been.

Notice I said, "for a while". I'm not quite sure why the Metoprolol didn't continue to keep my symptoms calmed down, but remember, I was going through severe anxiety at the time; it may be that it just wasn't enough once my body got used to it. And to be honest, that was so many years ago I don't remember all the details. But I suspect a person with generalized anxiety might just find that a beta blocker will keep their symptoms under some semblance of control.

I've also read that a beta blocker is often prescribed for a person with social anxiety - especially fear of public speaking or performing onstage - to be taken before an anxiety-causing event.

Are These Meds the Answer?

As is true with any medication taken for anxiety or panic disorders, they will only treat the symptoms, they will never cure your disorder. And there is absolutely no reason why you should have to continue to suffer from anxiety disorder or take medications or powerful, mind-numbing, energy-sapping psychotropic drugs the rest of your life. Not when the meds discussed in this post can prudently be used to help keep the symptoms under control, while freeing you to work on a real cure.

Yes, I said CURE. There is a way out, and it's right there in your brain, the same place where the problem is. You just need to re-train it! And a great way to do that is with the Easy Calm Video Coaching Series - check it out!

To Your Recovery,

Friday, February 26, 2010

Stress And Obsessive Compulsive Anxiety Disorder

I've been making some personal observations on the effect of increased stress on a person with obsessive compulsive anxiety disorder lately. The subject of my observation is a man I work with who I noticed early on shows signs of OCD.

He seems obsessed with keeping our work area neat as a pin and sanitized and compulsively picks things up and puts them away. Like if I leave a pen on a table, it's not there when I come back to pick it up - he's put it away with all the junky, cheap pens we have all over the facility. When we first start our shift, he grabs a bottle of cleaner and a towel and goes to work cleaning all the work surfaces.


In the last few months this has gotten obviously worse and now I understand why: A few months ago he and his girlfriend (who also works in the same job but a different shift) started shopping for a house together, bought one and THEN became engaged.

When a married couple is buying a house, conflict usually surfaces and puts a strain on the relationship. So you can imagine what it would do for two people who have only been dating a few months - and personally, I think it's an insane thing to do. It's like walking into a dark room and locking yourself in, THEN turning on the light to see where you are. Surprise!

So, they move into the house and immediately she shows her territorial tendencies - she doesn't want his "stuff" in the house. He buys a new big screen TV (with his money) and she goes ballistic, saying he should have consulted with her first. NOW he finds out what she's really like, after he's locked himself into that dark room and then switched on the light.

This isn't a relationship blog but I wanted to set the scene for you.

Where Does the OCD Come Into Play?

OCD is a form of anxiety disorder and displays itself as a need to have everything under control. When things are out of the person's control, he or she becomes anxious. We all feel more stressed when our life, work or relationships seem like they're controlling us, not the other way around, and what the OCD sufferer does is tighten up their controls over those things they CAN control. Which, to them means every pen has to be put away, clothes can have no wrinkles and everything MUST be neat and clean.

This is exactly what I've been seeing in my co-worker. He's become more obsessed with compulsively cleaning and tidying up and since he's a supervisor, he's exerting more control over his staff - sometimes to the point of it being detrimental to the team's efficiency.

If I found myself in this man's position, I know I'd be fearing I made a major mistake and wondering how in the world I'm going to get myself out of the fix I put myself in. I'm betting you can probably imagine it, too. The point is, conflict and fear cause stress, stress causes anxiety, and in the case of obsessive compulsive anxiety disorder, anxiety makes it worse.

Want to learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Anxiety Disorder?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

F.E.A.R. and Your Anxiety Disorder

This is the age of fear. Fear is being sold to us constantly and if we have an anxiety disorder, we’re buying it in large quantities and stocking up on it. We store it in our subconscious minds until we’re overflowing with it.

F.E.A.R. is an acronym that comes in three different flavors and none of them tastes all that good. Yet we tend to buy them and eat them anyway. Or, more accurately, they eat us.

F.E.A.R. – False Evidence Appearing Real

Think for just a moment about how you feel about our current economic crisis. See, if you just thought about an economic crisis, you bought more fear. Is it really a crisis and does it really affect you directly? If you’re like the vast majority of people, it does NOT directly affect you, even if the unemployment rate is 10 or 12 percent. Even at 12% unemployment, 88% are still employed. And last I checked, that’s an overwhelming majority.

The news media refuse to let go of the “crises” in the world because they keep you glued to the television or front page of the paper. They WANT you to be afraid because it sells. They’re presenting you with tons of false evidence and you’re accepting it as gospel.

For a recent example, let’s look at the Swine Flu outbreak. The Mexican authorities responsibly reported it and a media feeding frenzy ensued. Flights in and out of Mexico City were suspended, American people were afraid to go anywhere in Mexico and were actually afraid of getting within ten feet of anyone who had been to Mexico or even looked like a Mexican person. Even if that Mexican-looking person hadn’t even been to Mexico. U. S. hospitals set up screening stations at their entrances - complete with surgical masks for visitors - and their emergency rooms were overflowing with people thinking they were going to die from a virus they thought they might have.

When authorities like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control released their findings, it turned out the Swine Flu “epidemic” wasn’t an epidemic after all and the Swine Flu wasn’t any worse than any other flu, it was just more contagious. But did the news media spend any time telling us that? No. They were still busily feeding the fear market.

F.E.A.R. – False Experience Appearing Real

Fear is a reaction generated in your mind and whether the experience causing it is real or imagined, you experience the experience and you feel the fear. Again, we’ll use the example of the media. War, terrorism, the earthquake in Haiti - these are all lead stories. If you live in all but three or four countries in the world, you’re not actually experiencing any of these things but if you watch the news, they’re creating fear in your mind. And this leads to physical stress and tension.

You can’t help it, your mind conjures up worst case scenarios of what could happen to you if you were there or if those problems came to your neighborhood. You falsely experience what COULD happen rather than experiencing what really IS happening. Then you find yourself stressed out and anxious.

Now let’s move on to the acronym that most affects you if you have any kind of anxiety disorder:

F.E.A.R - False Expectations Appearing Real

If you suffer from any form of anxiety disorder you have developed a habit of getting into “what-if” thinking. And you also have a negative mindset so all the “what-ifs” are going to be negative. “What if I don’t hear my alarm in the morning? I’ll oversleep. And what if traffic is bad? Then I’ll be really late. If I’m late for work I’ll miss that important meeting and my boss will be really mad. He might fire me!”

Would that mental scenario keep you tense and unable to sleep all night? I’d guess the answer is yes. So you’d get to work on time but be so tired you’d be ineffective and guess what? Your boss would be mad. A self-fulfilling prophecy and the Law of Attraction at work: If you focus on your fears, they’re likely to come true in sometimes strange and unimagined ways.

What Can You Do?

First of all, you need to accept the fact that the vast majority of your fears are not going to come true. After all, you’ve been feeling fears for a long time – maybe all your life – and most of the things you feared didn’t materialize, did they?

Second, those feared things that DID happen, you’ve survived, haven’t you? You dealt with things that happened when they happened: in the moment. And you’re still alive to talk about it.

When you play the “what-if” game, you lose your perspective on reality and begin accepting as “fact” things that are far from reality. The price you pay for playing this game is anxiety, panic and mental and emotional paralysis. You get stuck looking ahead and life stops moving forward.

Stop buying the fear everyone is selling and live in the moment. If you catch yourself playing the game, remind yourself that it’s someone else’s game and you don’t have to play it. Ask yourself this question: “Is that REALLY going to happen to me? If it’s not happening to me at this moment, why do I believe it’s going to happen to me?”

And last but not least, turn off the TV news and skip the front page of the newspaper. You can live without knowing all the gory details of the latest war or other crisis and you'll live a better life without wasting your valuable time worrying about when we're going to get out of the recession.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Why You Should Stay Away From Anxiety Disorder Forums

I decided recently to visit a few anxiety disorder forums and what I found saddened, disappointed and even shocked me. What I read was mostly people saying how great it is to find other people who understand what they're going through and discussions about what meds they're taking to dull their symptoms.

I didn't see even one post from someone talking about what they're doing or have done to help themselves climb out of the hell they've been living in. It seems a lot of people with anxiety disorders actually would rather wallow in self-pity and cry on each others shoulders than take any kind of positive action to alleviate their problems.

That's Depressing!

I suppose this is evidence to support the theory that anxiety causes depression, as opposed to the way physicians see it, that the two conditions go hand in hand or the cause and effect is the other way around. Years ago, when I first sought help, my doctor explained that people who have depression often also have anxiety disorder and that's why they prescribe antidepressants for anxiety. Like the depression leads to anxiety. And he was a very caring and knowledgeable doctor.

If you're living a life limited by your anxiety disorders, whether panic disorder, agoraphobia, OCD or any other disorder, life is undoubtedly depressing. If you're afraid to go somewhere because you might have a panic attack, if you're afraid to drive to work for fear of becoming anxious, if you can't even take your kids to the park, you're going to be depressed.

How Does This Tie In To The Forum Posts?

Interestingly, a lot of depressed people seem to LIKE being depressed. It has become their comfort zone, it's all they know. And as long as they keep trading their sob stories, it will continue to be all they know.

In my mini-course I recommend to anxiety sufferers that they stay away from these forums because the more time and energy you spend reading about other people's problems, the more time and energy you will put into thinking about your own anxiety issues. And if you know anything at all about the Law of Attraction, you know that what you focus on is what you'll get. Besides, for most of us who have or have had anxiety disorder, focusing on our anxiety problems and symptoms CAUSES our anxiety problems.
You Have A Lot Of Company Outside The Forums

Look, there are plenty of people who have or have had anxiety disorder and we ALL understand how you feel; you don't need to go to the forums looking for someone to feel sorry for you. I, for one, understand completely. But I don't want to talk about your problems, I want to talk about a solution and help you rid your life of anxiety disorder and the depression it causes.

And I'd really like to get on some anxiety forums and say: "Hey! I've got a solution for you, click here to read about what helped me." But I have yet to find one forum whose moderators will allow posting a link to something that will help you. I wonder why THAT is? Maybe they're afraid they'll lose some members if you were to find a cure for your misery?

In my 12 Step Program we like to say "Let's not focus on the problem, let's focus on the solution." Which would you rather focus on?


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Obsessive Compulsive Anxiety Disorder or Innocent Habit?

I have a quick quiz for you, see if you can quickly answer these questions:
  1. Which shoe do you put on first?
  2. Which leg do you put in your pants first?
  3. Which side of the bed do you sleep on (doesn't count if you share the bed)?
If you answered these questions, then I have a 4th one for you: Why? Think about that one for a few seconds and see if you have an answer.

Innocent Habits or OCD?

If you have any form of anxiety disorder, I know you were able to answer the first three but the 4th might have been a little harder. If your answer to that last one was "It's a habit" that's okay, because we're all creatures of habit, but if when you think more about it your answer is really "Because I have to" you need to start making some changes.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - OCD - is a common trait (to varying degrees) in people with anxiety disorders and if you have it, these little "habits" we have become difficult to break or change. In fact, a good way to find out if your habits are actually OCD behavior, is to just try to not follow a habitual pattern and see how hard it is. Note how much you have to concentrate or distract yourself in order to do something differently.

Don't get me wrong, there are some good habits, habits that make life simpler and more organized. For example, I'm one of many who sort the bills in my wallet and have them turned the same direction. This makes it easier to pull out the right amount of money to pay for something. But if I were to TRY to do it differently just for the heck of it, I'd find myself in disharmony, and I'd call that "borderline OCD".

Comfort Zone and OCD

When we follow obsessive and compulsive patterns, the behavior becomes our comfort zone. And as long as we stay in that zone, we're comfortable and secure. Or so we think: the reality is, what we're doing is reinforcing our anxiety disorder by staying in that comfortable place. It's very much like a phobia, which can be simply defined as avoidance of something we think is going to make us anxious. And if we constantly reinforce the comfort zone, it WILL make us anxious to step outside of it.

In order to begin to break free of our anxiety issues, we need to break out of our comfort zones. Changing a few of our little OCD-like habits is a great place to start, since they're not really important in the first place. Jon Mercer, creator of the anxiety treatment video program I like, has an exercise in his videos asking you to write a list of things we do out of habit and then pick a few and change them - do something differently. A few each day - simple things like shop at a different grocery or sleep on the other side of the bed. If you usually eat certain kinds of food, change it up and try something different. You get the drift.

I'd have to say Jon's advice is golden. Start small and work your way up to the major limitations you're imposing on yourself. Get out of that little comfort zone and experience some freedom. It's not a bad feeling at all!

Read more on this subject: Obsessive Compulsive Anxiety Disorder 

To your recovery,


Saturday, January 2, 2010

The News And Your Anxiety

Do you watch the news on TV, listen to it on the radio or habitually read the newspaper? If you have an Anxiety Disorder of any kind, be it Generalized Anxiety, Chronic Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Hypochondria, Agoraphobia or OCD, you probably should break the news habit. Why? Because watching what media outlets decide is newsworthy will cause your anxiety problem to worsen!

Think about what's on the front page of the paper, on your local or national news broadcasts - and even what's on NPR. Is it good news? Is it about happy events? Are there any personal interest stories in the first 20 minutes of the local news program? Not very often, right?

So what are they feeding you? Crime, death, war, bad economy, epidemics and in winter, deadly snow storms. That's right, even on the weather channels and in the brief weather reports on the local and national news, they don't bother telling you how wonderful the weather is in Key West, they only mention Key West when there's a hurricane there.

And notice how when they're going to tell you there's a slight chance of snow in your area they start off the news show by getting (and keeping) your attention with "Snow possible tonight!" Be honest, how many times when they've done that, has it actually snowed an appreciable amount?

News media have one purpose, and that's to make money for the station or network, or the paper. And their decisions as to what's newsworthy have nothing to do with what you want to see, only with what they want you to see. In other words, what sells.

What Sells Commercial Airtime and Why Should You Care?

Apparently the media have done their homework and found long ago that what brings in the most money is keeping you glued to the TV. And that what keeps Americans (and I'm sure anyone else anywhere in the world) glued to the TV is fear, plain and simple. High drama. Things that make you think: "Oh! How awful!"

Even though what they're showing you on the TV or the front page of the paper probably isn't happening to you, it's affecting you. Because you're not involved in what's happening, you can't do anything about it and you have no power to resolve the conflict you're absorbing. And this causes you tension and stress. And anxiety.

How About Sports?

Of course, something that brings in the big bucks for the TV networks is sports. Pretty fun stuff, right? I mean, it beats war and famine. But guess what? If you have a favorite team - YOUR team - watching them on TV can cause you worse problems than the news!

Don't believe me? I used to be a huge sports nut but found out years ago that watching my Seattle teams lose made my anxiety symptoms terrible - after I quit drinking. In fact, the last time I tried to watch the Seahawks play was at the end of their best season ever, in the Super Bowl. I should be happy and excited, right? But what I witnessed was the officials embarrassing the entire NFL by doing anything they could think of - no matter how obvious - to steal the game from the Hawks and hand it to the Steelers. Hey, ESPN polls showed that most of the country saw the same thing. Anyway back to the anxiety: I had to quit watching my team playing in the Super Bowl because I started having a panic attack!

How About Regular Programs and Movies?

Back when I used to watch some TV, the most popular shows were police and crime dramas, what my dad used to call "shoot-em-ups". Again, these create unresolved conflict that you internalize, leading to higher stress levels and anxiety. And really, if you want an example of unresolved conflict, the soap operas are BUILT on it! Day after day of no resolution.

The same can be said about a lot of dramatic movies, by the way. Have you ever watched a scary movie, the kind that keeps you on the edge of the couch waiting to find out if the hero is going to get killed? Bad news if you suffer from anxiety disorder. And even after the movie ends, you're still stressed out and nervous, right?

When you get right down to it, about the only thing on TV that's safe for anxiety sufferers to watch is comedy and the educational cable channels, like Discovery and Animal Planet. But now that I think about it, isn't most TV comedy an insult to your intelligence? :-)

Let's face it: Watching network television isn't good for your mental health and if you have anxiety disorder, your physical health, either. You'd be better off spending your time reading this blog.

To your health,