Monthly Archives: May 2014

A Deathbed Exercise: A tool for evaluating your life

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Imagine you’re on your deathbed.

1. You’re reviewing your life.

What are you glad and sad about your worklife?

Your relationships?

Your charitable efforts?

Your hobbies?

Does any of that make you want to make any changes now?

2. Imagine that the person who knows you best is by your bedside.

What might that person say to you if s/he were honest?

What would you say to that person?

What would you ask that person?

Does that make you want to change anything about how you’re living your life?

3. What would you last wish be? Could you get that now or soon?

So now, having completed this exercise, is there anything you want to do differently?

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Don’t: Panic, Forget to Breathe, or Worry

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Don’t Panic:  Written on the back of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Don’t Forget to Breathe:  A cool song by Bitter:Sweet.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy:  A cool song by Bobby McFerrin.

I like these titles. While we may not always like things worded in a negative manner, these pieces of advice really do stand out well.

There are things that happen in our life that lead us to panic (I see this in my practice all of the time)  – where we think that there is no way that we will ever get out of (insert feared thing here). When this happens, we feel so helpless and stuck – as if there is a crushing blow that we have received that takes our breath away (difficulty breathing is a common panic experience). But, we all have to adjust. We may end up with things that we do not like or do not feel great about, but we have to decide to be happy. We have to make the best of the situation that we find ourselves in (you can hate having panic, or you can learn to live with it). Maybe our life will grow into something so awesome that it will just surprise us one day how great it is, or maybe someday, through a lot of work and dedication and patience, we will gather up all of the things that we want and need in our lives and we will finally feel complete. Either way, it is not going to be perfect – there are going to be bumps in the road. But, we can all learn to adjust to those. Successful people learn how to adjust – people who do not adjust do not succeed.

Either way, we have to have hope that all will turn out well. In “The Shawshank Redemption” the underlying message in that movie was hope – never lose hope. My favorite line in the movie was said by Red, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” I hope that we all take a moment to work on getting ready to really live.

If you have anxiety or depression, use the ACT workbook “Get out of your mind and into your life” by Steven Hayes. If you have severe anxiety and are ready to start living, see a counselor, therapist, or life coach today! 

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Panic Is Mental and Physical: A panic attack can have both psychological and physical symptom

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If you’ve never experienced high levels of anxiety, you may not know that  anxiety can feel physically draining on your body.
Here are some symptoms you might experience when having a panic attack:

  • Dizziness
  • Racing heart 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Muscle spams and/or pain
  • Headaches
  • Body aches

Reading that list makes one think that panic is more than just being nervous about something. Anxiety has physiological symptoms that are draining to the mind and the body.

I remember being in the midst of an episode of panic in 2011. My heart had been been racing for quite some time and my breath was heavy. I had to lay down. My body was exhausted from fighting. 

I’ve learned through dealing with panic to listen to my body. In the midst of feeling anxious, my body responds differently than it would on a regular day. For example, when anxious, most people will crave comfort foods. 

Being mindful of your body when you are dealing with anxiety is one of the best things you can do. Be in the moment and listen to what your body is telling you. You may need more rest than usual. You might need to go outside and breathe some fresh air. Your body is sending you a message as to how to cope with your feelings. Listen to it. 

It is when we ignore the messages from our mind/body that we can get into trouble. Be respectful of the fact that your body needs more rest during an episode of anxiety, because the last thing you want is to become overly exhausted. 

Our bodies are powerful communicators. If we listen to them, we will be able to be the best possible version of ourselves.

Great ways to combat anxiety and panic attacks: 

Practice Mindfulness throughout the day–not just when you are in the mist of a panic attack.

Use techniques from ACT:  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy    

EFT:  Emotional Freedom Technique