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Archive for the ‘Anxiety’ Category

Stress No More: A parent’s guide on how to not produce anxiety ridden children

Monday, April 20th, 2009 by Dr. Dahlia Mann, Ph.D.

When Max started kindergarten, he began to have trouble falling asleep at night. He often complained that his stomach hurt during the day. His parents attributed his behavior to irritability. But in fact, Max was showing the classic symptoms of stress.

A five year old exhibiting stress? The idea runs counter to the popular conception of kindergarten as a time of fun and games. But in fact, children today do experience stress at a very early age.

Why so much stress? Think about it from a child’s perspective. Children today are carefully taught not to talk to strangers and about “good touching” and “bad touching.” A child’s activities is often organized on an hourly calendar because “it’s not safe” to simply send children out to play. Parents are even uncomfortable letting children walk around the block unsupervised.

This alone would tend to create stress in children who, by nature, clamor for freedom. But along with a loss of freedom comes a barrage of upsetting information. Children at an early age begin hearing about and seeing world disasters as they are instantly beamed into the home. Worse, parents often have no time to process their own anxiety to decide what is appropriate to tell children.


Dr. Dahlia Mann, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and marriage and family therapist in New Jersey. She is a solution focused therapist working with individuals, couples and families. They work together developing options to solve problems such as stopping the fighting fighting with better communication, coping with "after the affair," dealing with stress and anxiety, parenting issues and mid and late life transitions. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory.

I’m Feeling Anxious!

Monday, April 20th, 2009 by Ruth Gordon, LCSW

It’s really hard when we feel completely overwhelmed, which at times is a unremitting state for me, to gain perspective, calm one’s pounding heart, and believe that, indeed, there will be a future and that all is not lost forever. Of course, there are medications that deal with that, but what to do if tablets are not our route of choice to serenity?

My first suggestion is one you’ve probably heard a million times, but take a few very deep breaths. The reason for this is that deep breathing will relax your system and it is impossible to be relaxed and tense at exactly the same time.


Ruth Gordon is licensed clinical social worker in both Massachusetts and Florida. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.

Managing Financial Anxiety Managing Financial Anxiety

Thursday, April 9th, 2009 by Dr. Ilona L. Tobin

Sarah is a self-employed hair stylist who’s watched her business decrease by 50 percent. She’s cut expenses, but is stuck in a costly lease she can’t afford. She’s also worried about losing her home, and says her anxiety is “through the roof.”

Frank and Marilyn have well-paid jobs, and she believes that they will weather the economic downturn. However, Frank is so afraid that one of them will lose their job that he has stopped paying anything but basic bills and recently yelled at Marilyn for going to the dentist.

If you have had to tighten your belt, like Sarah, it’s normal to experience anxiety. And when you read every day about failing businesses and people losing their jobs, you can understand that Frank would fear losing theirs. Money is connected with security, a basic need. And when our basic needs are threatened, we feel alarmed.

Although uncomfortable, anxiety isn’t all bad. Mild anxiety can actually motivate us to take positive action.
Indeed, that seems to be its role. We can’t let go of what’s bothering us until we face the situation, and then
we often fi nd that the anxiety has lessened or gone away. But severe anxiety is different. It’s debilitating.
And when anxiety interferes in our lives it can be a disorder.

If you have these symptoms of anxiety disorder, you might want to seek professional help:
• worry, panic or fear that is extreme for the situation
• repeated thoughts or fl ashbacks of traumatic experiences
• nightmares, night terrors and insomnia
• cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
• shortness of breath
• heart palpitations

Use Anxiety Productively to Ease If
If your anxiety is mild or moderate, these strategies can help reduce it by using anxiety as a spur for action.
Face any money issues. Fighting yourself in a down economy adds insult to injury. Seek support and learning in therapy, Debtors Anonymous, and books such as Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously, by Jerrold Mundis and Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.

Acknowledge your role.
If you made a questionable fi nancial choice, blaming others or beating yourself up won’t help. Understand why you made the choice. Do something about it, if you can, and then let it go.

Forgive yourself.
Be proactive. You can’t direct the economy, but you can gain a sense of control and reduce your anxiety
by being more proactive around your finances. Face the reality of your situation and take appropriate
steps, whether that’s negotiating with creditors or leaseholders, reducing expenses or seeking other sources of income.

Don’t cut to the bone.
Eliminating all treats from your budget reintroduces scarcity into the equation, which can breed more anxiety. Learn to live well within your means by seeking pleasures you can afford.

Find the courage to face your anxieties and take the actions that present themselves. Sarah eventually negotiated with her leaseholder and moved to an affordable location he also owned. Frank is now exploring
the root of his money issues, and he and Marilyn have added inexpensive pleasures to their lives. For more on managing financial anxiety, take a look at the Top 10 tips.

Read more in Dr. Tobin’s Quarterly Newsletter

Ilona Tobin has been a psychologist and a marriage and family therapist for more than 25 years in Birmingham, Michigan. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory.

Order Out of Chaos: Embracing Uncertainty

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 by Mel Schwartz, LCSW

The words, order and chaos, are particularly value laden. We tend to embrace order and avoid chaos at all costs. I’ve come to wonder why that is so. And more to the point, what do we mean by order or chaos? Let’s start by examining what these terms suggest.

The notion of order is equivalent to a sense of predictability. Predictability in this form lets us know what we can expect. It speaks almost of a range of motion. A pendulum, unaffected by friction, will follow its predetermined path. We know just how far it will travel to either point in its arc before beginning its return. Predictability relies upon certainty and measurable outcomes. It has been a major tenet of our culture and our science since Newton introduced the motif of determinism in the 17th century. This range of predictable order is known as equilibrium.

In our lives, order suggests that we know the parameters of our experience, as though the boundaries and limits are determined in advance. The emotional and psychological highs and lows are familiar. The rules of relationship are understood. Knowing the range of our experiences provides a sense of order. As such, order creates a comfort zone as we can be assured of familiar terrain, even if that familiarity doesn’t serve us.

Chaos, on the other hand, suggests an absence of predictability. It triggers the unknown, which for most people is very problematic if not outright daunting. It is a venturing into uncertain territory, far from the familiar zone. Sometimes life’s transitions or crises present chaos in the form of illness, death, divorce, job loss, etc. These events are thrust upon us and we do the best we can to cope with them, aided by family and professional support. Occasionally, we buffer the roller coaster ride through chaos with alcohol, medication and/or therapy.


Mel Schwartz is a psychotherapist with offices in Westport Ct and NYC. For more information, please visit his listing on the Therapist Directory or his website. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.

Overcoming Anxiety & Depression

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 by Mel Schwartz, LCSW

A newly referred client came into my office some months ago and shared with me that she had struggled with anxiety her entire adult life. She had been in therapy with the same person for well over six years and had made little progress. I inquired as to what she had learned from their work together. If I actually had hair on the back of my neck, it no doubt would have stood straight up upon hearing her response. “He told me the best that we could do we be to try and manage my anxiety,” she offered. So many mental health professionals are literally trained to believe that matters of anxiety and depression can at best be managed, and often with the associated medication to achieve the lessening of symptoms. This speaks to their mindset of pathology and the absence of a deeper understanding of the relationship between thought and anxiety or depression. The limitations of such a worldview are limiting and produce a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure.


Mel Schwartz is a psychotherapist with offices in Westport Ct and NYC. For more information, please visit his listing on the Therapist Directory or his website. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.