Posts Tagged With: anxiety

On Coping Mechanisms

By: Rachel Womek

For me, coming to the end of the semester seems like an appropriate time to talk about coping mechanisms. Healthy coping mechanisms that is. We’ve all got those unhealthy ones that do us more harm than good. Today I’m going to talk about positive ones. Mine, Kiki’s, and those of a mutual friend of ours: Dulce.

Me: Dulce, tell me what is your connection to zebras?

Dulce: (paraphrase) Sometimes I write the word “zebra” on my hand. This helps me to visualize the circumstances of a zebra fleeing from a natural predator. When I do this it helps me to remember the biological function of stress and how in our lives today this response, which is intended for survival, has been redirected into more mundane circumstances: Such as stress about work or school.

Me: Tell me about another healthy coping mechanism you have?

Dulce: (paraphrase) When I am doing my homework I like to have up tabs for recreational websites such as facebook and others in addition to my tabs for the homework. I don’t always use them but I like to have them up because it helps me feel like I have a choice to potentially opt out of doing homework.

Me: O.K, Kiki it’s your turn. Tell me about some of your coping mechanisms.

Kiki: (paraphrase) If I’m at home and I feel really stressed out I sometimes grab my pillow and scream curses into it. I’ll scream : “shit, piss, fuck” and bite the pillow. Another one that I often use for general anxiety is to write in my journal, sometimes it’s just an expletive! When I feel a build up of anxiety walking or running helps, it can be really beneficial to release that pent up anxiety in a physical way.

Me: One thing I like to do if  I am feeling some, but not overwhelming, anxiety and if I am in a controlled environment is meditate. It is very calming for me, but circumstances don’t always allow it. If I am in the middle of a stressful situation sometimes repeating mantras to myself can be very helpful. I will repeat to myself the conservation of energy law, the Bodhisattva’s aspiration, or sometimes “failure is impossible” which is a famous Susan B Anthony quote.  Another thing that helps me to cope is to mentally organize something non-related to whatever is causing me anxiety. for example, I will sometimes write a list of all of my tarantulas, in alphabetical order. Doing this gives me a sense of order and control.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

An Apology, A Question, An Answer And A Heads Up…

By Kiki Keane

Boy! Left to my own devices (Rachel is away on a retreat), I have become even lazier than normal. Rachel is away one day and I fall down on my job. I decided that Journey 2The Golden Girls, a trip to the library and surfing the Web for adventure books was a far better use of my time than a blog post. Sorry.

Here’s my thought/question of the day:

Have you ever been slapped in the face by the words in a book? Did those words inspire you or push you to make you change your life, or at least part of your life?

I have. It happened last Friday. The book itself is nothing special. I wouldn’t have even picked it up if it wasn’t this months pick for my book club. Bloodland, by Alan Glynn (Limitless), is a suspense novel about an unemployed journalist who is writing a book about a dead celebrity, which leads him to some nefarious dealings of some powerful, shady people. It wasn’t so much the words that made me slap my head and say “Duh,” rather it was a scene. A man, Rundle, is anxious. He should be. Everything he has worked for could come crashing down around him at any moment. It turns out that the anxiety is from fear of losing control. I read that scene and I thought, “F**k!” My situation is nothing like Rundle’s. I’m not afraid of losing control or losing everything. The Duh/F**k moment was the realization that what I have been experiencing that last eight weeks is not nerves, but anxiety. And what I experienced last week was a full blown attack. I have never actually been sick before going to work. I have never dreaded walking out my door in the morning. I have never had to fake a smile. Until last week, that is. I thought I could handle it. I thought I could live through it. It was only for 23 weeks, after all. But I couldn’t. I started to hate people. Not, the people-can-be-so-annoying kind of hate, but the burning, rage-filled hate. And when Rachel became the optimistic one in the group, I knew something had to be done. So, I quit.

The good news is that I don’t hate people anymore. I trust them less, but I don’t hate them. Also, I’m back to being plain old nervous about not making enough money for my trip and falling flat on face, instead of nursing an ulcer. Bad news: back to the Want Ads.

Just an FYI: A new episode of Richard Engel’s Hidden Planet has been released on the Rock Center iPad app. It will be on the website next week. The current episode is about the Saqqara plateau, Egypt’s oldest pyramid complex. Good stuff!

Categories: Books, Corporations, Media, Nerd, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Affliction, Which is Not Actually an Affliction. And Why Are People Getting Their Hair Cut in My Gym?

By Kiki Keane

Just got this week’s Time and I was surprised (in a good way) to find a truly great article about a little “affliction” I have, written by a man who is also a journalist and “suffers” from the same “affliction.” The article is called The Upside of Being an Introvert (and Why Extroverts are Overrated). Yes! I am an Introvert. I have spent most of my life trying to explain to people that I am not “shy,” I do not have “anxiety,” I am not “anti-social” and I am not afraid of social gatherings, I just prefer to be alone or in a one-on-one conversation. The article doesn’t just defend Introverts and extol our many virtues (good listeners, better relationships, less likely to wind up in the hospital due to injury, less likely to lose our shirts in financial risks, etc.) it also address a key problem we have… America isn’t for the Introverted. America, the “land of loud and home of the talkative” is a taxing and unforgiving place to be when you’re neural circuits are sensitive to stimuli (i.e. large groups of people). For anyone out there who is an Introvert or if you are a parent of “shy” kid, I suggest reading this article.

Okay… off the soapbox now.

Other things I’ve been wondering about today:

1) Why does my gym offer haircuts? And why was the salon busy?

2) Why was I compelled to watch the Kardashians while I was sweating through my elliptical workout?

I would really like these questions answered…

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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