Anxiety and fear Part 3

This is the 3rd part of this multi-part series about how to reduce our anxiety and fear. In this part, you will learn what strategies you can use to be less anxious. This segment will give you an opportunity to experience how breathing can reduce your anxiety.

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I’m Sorry

A recent concert experience led me to think about how we can change our relationships into meaningful ones for the new year.

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Changes

In the latest edition of Brandler Bits, listen to how to make successful changes for the coming year. Listen to how resolutions often fail but setting a specific goal will lead you to improve your quality of life.

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Greatful

In this episode of Brandler Bits, learn how being grateful can make you great.

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Best vs. Easy

This is the debut of a new concept.  It is called “Brandler Bits”

What you get from Brandler Bits is short, sweet and to the point.  No flowy podcasts, no long prosy blogs, just the main point. In a short amount of time, you will hear the concept and learn some specific ways to continue to make change.

Enjoy

Today on Brandler Bits–do you want to do what’s easiest or do what’s best…..

 

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Courage

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

Nelson Mandela

 

Courage is a large and powerful word.  It is defined as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

Courage is a major trait that people need to use in order to make changes in their lives.  In my office, people need a great deal of courage in order to improve the quality of their lives.  In fact, the entire journey is filled with many courageous steps.  Let’s examine the process.

Almost all prospective clients start their counseling process by either calling or emailing.  They inevitably state three words that are hard to say “I need help.” They schedule an appointment. They need to show up for the appointment that they scheduled. (You may or may not be surprised, that there is a percentage of people who cancel that appointment and do not reschedule.)

During that first appointment the person now says out loud and face to face, what their particular struggle/ problem/difficulty/ is that they are facing. The person describes it in full detail, the duration, the intensity, the consequences and implications of this issue.  On one hand, this is overwhelming disclosure; on the other hand there is relief.  Someone now knows.

To illustrate how much courage is required, here is a small sample of some of the issues that came up in my office this past week:

  • A person who wants to stop drinking.
  • A person who wants to get out of a marriage.
  • A person who is dealing with an abusive ex-spouse.
  • A person who is dealing with family issues and lots of family dysfunction.
  • A person who is going to their first 12 step meeting.
  • A person who shares about a traumatic event. I am the first person to hear the details.

Yes I get to meet with some very courageous people!

The question that comes to mind is how do people find the courage and perseverance to make these changes?  Some people would say that they are just motivated to improve.  And while that is obvious, the bigger question would be how did they get so motivated to improve?

Tony Robbins states “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”  Courage to change would then occur when there is no way out; I will have to do something better than what I am currently doing.  Although immensely scary, the path of change has to be better than the path that I’m on.  If I keep walking on the path of change, I will recognize that the pain gets smaller, the intensity and duration are less. Does this happen instantly?  Of course not!  Nothing worthwhile is ever fast and quick—fast food may satisfy your immediate hunger, but won’t help you in the long run.  Your commitment to change will require a constant re-evaluation of your courage.

Two other components of courage, are a dedication to change and a hopeful belief system.  At times during therapy, there were opportunities where it would be easy for my clients to stop coming due to the myriad of life stressors (kids, jobs, cars etc), but they kept coming. When they were asked how they managed to keep coming in spite of their pain or fear or discomfort, they expressed the hope that they could and would be better. This belief about their futuristic change combined with their dedication led them to quality of life changes.

It seems to me that when you find your courage to change and believe that your changes are indeed possible, you change. Find your courage today in order to make the changes that you need to make!

 

Change is possible.

 

 

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What’s Going On

In memory of “Paula” for sharing pain, joy, and this song with me

Whenever I hear this song, I get an instant memory of Paula who played this song for me in my office one day. She strongly identified with the line “I scream at the top of
my lungs “what’s going on”- it was her tag line of the frustration with her life, her frustration with her lengthy to do list, her sense of being out of control.

Music does this. It evokes memory. Good times, bad times, happy times, sad times.
Think of a period of time in your life, there’s probably a song (or several) that are associated with that time. Think of something positive that happened in your life- wedding, graduation, or other life cycle event. Now think of the song that’s connected to it. That was pretty easy (and maybe fun). Now think of something painful, find that song……..
It’s the songs of our pain which are the ones we hear the loudest and the ones we grow from.

As we head towards the holiday season, some songs will be hardest to hear. The music amplifies our pain. I have noted this in a prior post . We recognize that our tables may have empty seats, may not have the same chatter or laughter as in years past. It’s painful to recognize this after working through loss. These families will have a “bittersweet symphony” . That symphony has its expectations built in: “It’s the holidays and I should be happy, but I’m not”. It’s the sadness of the season that gets to us.

Some families however may have joy and laughter at their tables over this holiday season. There may be great changes since last year’s holidays. These families may reflect back on the miracles of the past year. Tables may have new members, or have new and improved relationships. The songs heard in these households will have a bounce and rhythm all their own. They are in the moment, not reflecting back on past or worrying about the future. They are enjoying what they have; they have the gratitude of the season.

Whether you are sitting at the “happy” table or the “sad” table, remember that you have a seat. You are at this table, and will experience your feelings. It’s part of how we change. For people like Paula, their holidays ended. “What’s going on” is an anthem of awareness, it’s a statement of “trying to get up that hill for a destination”. To Paula, thank you for giving me a lasting memory. I hope that all families experience their lasting memories during the holiday season.

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