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Friday, January 29, 2016

4 Tips on Stopping Anxiety

Anxiety is all about Perception 

Do you experience what you think (or have been told) is a panic attacks? Are you a survivor of abuse, bullying, catastrophic, combat, domestic violence, harassment, and rape, as well as trauma, or indoctrination situations in your life? 

If you have experienced the above situations, you are probably also experiencing some degree of Post-traumatic Stress from those situations. Then knowingly or unknowingly, you’re carrying buried memory or known as dissociative memory.

Many times a panic attack is not a panic attack because it is really the result of being triggered by a past abusive or traumatic experience. After studying the two the physiological reactions, they both produce very similar symptoms, emotionally, mentally and physically. It appears that the only difference between a panic attack reaction and being triggered by a flashback is perception. How a person is evaluated or medicated (or not) depends on how the person reports his or her symptoms. Unfortunately, a panic attack has become a catch-all diagnosis and very overused out of convenience.

Which is which?

At some point in time even years later after experiencing an abusive or traumatic situation, portions (flashbacks) or complete episodes of your dissociated memories will get triggered whether you like them to or not. They will surface out of dissociated storage, through the subconscious mind and begin to replay in your consciousness mind without your awareness. All you will feel is the emotional, mental, and physical reactions. Such common experiences are reported to helping professionals and diagnosed as a panic attack.

After close investigation of both panic attacks symptoms and symptoms of being triggered, there are not many differences. Notice when you are experiencing a sudden onset of emotional, mental and physical reactions and that they seem to come out of nowhere or for no reason.

How do you know which is which? Unfortunately, many times you only know after the fact. You know when to take your prescribed medication for panic attacks and nothing happens. No relief is experienced.

What is a trigger?

Definition of Trigger

A trigger is a sensory stimuli from the outside such as an emotion, a physical pain, a visual cue, a sound, a smell, a location or a touch which causes a recollection from the experience of the outside stimuli that connects to a complete memory or portion of a memory (flashback) and results in the surfacing of that recollection. The surfacing memory or flashback may have been held in the subconscious at a dissociated memory storage area in the brain. A trigger can be connected to a good or positive experience as well as a bad, negative or life-threatening experience.

How many times have you been able to recall an event by simply smelling something familiar or a feeling? Studies have found that an emotion or a smell has been said to be "the biggest triggers of memory."

8 (Eight) Types of Triggers

The eight types of triggers are:

Auditory trigger
Date trigger
Emotional trigger
Environmental trigger
Mental trigger
Physical trigger
Relationship trigger
Visual trigger
Verbal trigger

How do you feel when you are triggered?

Your heart feels like it is going to beat out of your chest
Your heart rate becomes rapid
Sweating in every part of your body
Cold hands and feet but hot body core
Unusual smells for no reason
Tightening of your throat
Dry mouth and unable to say anything
Physically frozen and unable to do anything
Constriction of your visual field
Quick onset of fear or terror for no apparent reason
Emotional numbness
Can’t think clearly or concentrate
Quick onset of intense confusion
Episodes of dissociating
Very anxious
Quick onset of irritability

If you are honest with yourself and review all the aforementioned reactions, you will see that you are really experiencing subconsciously triggered flashback rather than going through a panic attack.

Is there hope? The answer is YES!

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety to Watch Out For 

Physical symptoms of Anxiety:

Dry mouth
Sweating stuttering
Increased heart rate
Stomach pain
Increased body temperature
Difficulty breathing - pressure or shallow breathing

4 Tips on Stopping Anxiety in its Tracks

1. Do not instantly dissociate. Focus on the moment and stay in the present for a while to see if it is a flashback or a real panic attack. Learn to use a visual cue, deep breathing or meditation to stay present.

2. Moderate your fear by not attempting to predict what may happen that has not yet happened.

3. Do not immediately take anti-anxiety (anti-anxiety) medication … rather develop a skill or a cue that keeps you in the moment. If the aforementioned reactions are a triggered flashback, then in 5 to 10 minutes, the reactions should dissipate.

4. Then stop, reflect and determine whether you are having a flashback or a panic attack. If the reactions do not dissipate, then utilize your anti-panic medication for relief.

Afterthoughts on Inner Power

Overall, recognition of your anxiety and self-determination will bring you greater mindfulness, inner power, and peace. Face your inner demons head on and your anxiety triggers will disappear. Understand your anxiety is an inner message, not a problem.

Visit my website for more and click here for free eBook.

     Coach Bill                                        

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Addiction Begins with Childhood Hurt

What we experience during childhood sets the foundation for who we are today. The most important factors from those experiences are how our mind perceived those situations and the ensuing formation of associated beliefs or self-messages we formed as a result of those experiences are a strong predictor of having a propensity toward developing an addiction.

I had just read an article on the work being done in addictions by Dr. Gabor Maté, a Canadian who is the co-founder of Compassion4Addiction (treatment facility for addiction). The article that caught my attention was in the HuffingPost Science Section. Dr. Maté’s compassion for people with addictions. His theories and ideas are compatible with mine. I would like to share and discuss a few of these like-minded areas.

Origin and Formation of Addiction

Dr. Gabor, as I, believe that "a hurt is at the center of all addictive behaviors”. In all my years of work the abuse and trauma field, I find that the cause or beginning of addiction is an attempt to “numb out the hurt” of said experiences and block them from entering their consciousness. I agree with him it is not always to the degree of abuse or trauma but the “need” is bore out of a “hurt”. He states in his 2010 bestseller In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction - “The wound (hurt) may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden -- but it’s there." He goes on to say “There is increasing interest in the medical field around the potential lifelong health outcomes of adverse childhood experiences.”

Definition of Addiction

Dr. Maté has a broad definition of addiction which I agree with. “The expression of addiction is any behavior where a person craves and finds temporary pleasure or relief in something, but suffers negative consequences as a result of and is unable to give up despite those negative consequences. Addiction could be substance-related -- alcohol, cigarettes, heroin or cocaine -- but it could also be sex, gambling, eating, shopping, work, extreme sports, relationships, the Internet. It could be anything. So it’s not so much the activity per se but the question of, does it provide temporary relief or pleasure? Does it create craving when you don’t have it? Does it create negative consequences, and is it difficult to give up despite those consequences? If those are the case, it’s an addiction.”

Personally, I do not think that addiction is a disease but an out of control habit with server consequences that was once useful. An addiction is one of the most sought-after methods, repetitive pattern or habit, to block, numb, or escape hurts that attach to a survivor due to painful experiences and the damaging beliefs that form in our head about ourselves. Addiction consumes all aspects of self, brain (mind), body, emotions, psychology, social relationships and spiritual. 

The Trauma Factor

I agree with his discussion of two sets of difficult experiences that indicate future addiction. 

#1 He says “The single factor that’s at the core of all addictions is trauma. By trauma, I mean an intense emotional loss in childhood, and in the case of severe addicts, you can see -- and large-scale population studies show -- that addicts have significant childhood traumatic situations. Such as family violence, addiction in the family, sexual and emotional abuse, Rejection, abandonment, physical abuse, family mentally ill or family member in jail. These adverse childhood experiences have been shown to exponentially increase the risk of addiction later on in life. That’s one set of difficult experiences,” 

#2 Dr. Gabor Maté goes further. “There’s another set of difficult experiences that’s a bit harder to distinguish, and that’s not when bad things happen but when good things don’t happen. A child has certain fundamental needs for emotional development and also for brain development…. So in families where the parents are overly stressed or aren’t able to be emotionally present with the children, in the case of sensitive children, that can interfere with their brain development. The children will look for reward elsewhere (underdeveloped reward circuits).” I believe that the ability to block, numb, or escape a hurt or recollection of hurt is the “best reward” of all. 

For those who can’t face or accept such deep loss seeking the “reward feeling”. That desirous repetitive interaction or relationship, whether healthy or toxic, will occur over and over again even if it brings more hurt and suffering to themselves or others.

Dr. Gabor believes “intended purpose (of an addiction): to soothe pain or to escape from pain or stress.” 

Addiction a Disease

He states “To understand (addiction as a disease), you have to look at the person’s whole life. I don’t call it a disease, I call it a process that has some features of the disease. It’s not a problem to talk about it in terms of a disease, but it’s not adequate. When we look at addiction as a physical disease, we don’t acknowledge the lived experience of the individual. The behaviors are just symptoms, they are not the core."

Take Away

I am in agreement with the majority of his philosophy and compassionate approach in viewing the origin and formation of addiction. His ideas are on the right road to a whole new approach and view of helping people with addictions. Understand that many people with addiction think “I am already sick with a disease and going to die anyway so I might as well keep doing it. It is out of my control”. Nothing is further from the truth.

He and I disconnect at the point of the actual treatment of traumatic and addicted clients. He uses “psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy”. My problem is you do not treat traumatization by traumatizing the client. I believe that using psychedelics can be very traumatizing to many clients (issue of being out of control mentally, emotionally and physically). Also, the formation of an addiction and the resulting toxic habitual relationship is traumatizing also. I applaud Dr. Gabor Maté on one hand and worry about his treatment approach of abused and traumatized clients on the other.

What should be learned and happen is we as a society need to view wounded and addicted people with different eyes and mindset. Healing their wounds and addictions should be a different way - without shaming or punishing as well as making them feel "diseased".

Please read the article on HuffingPost and form your own opinion. 
          Coach Bill
Visit my website for more information. Click here for free download of eBook.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Powers of Thought: 2 Tips on Increasing Mental Focus

Doesn’t seem like sometimes your mind works against. Almost seems like it. Sometimes it feels like your mind is just lounging around creating negative beliefs, distracting thoughts, false emotions, unfounded fears, and worries just to sidetrack you from tasks and reducing your performance. All of this causes you to feel annoyed, disappointed, unsatisfied and the list goes on and on. 

Do you want this? 

There are two things that keep you from being able to keep your mind focused and on task.

#1 Wandering Mind

Don’t allow your mind to wander. One reason that causes your mind to wander is holding on to regrets from the past that you have not resolved in your head or your heart and attempting to come up with a way to fix the past.

Ask yourself. “Can I fix what has already happened or what I have done?” Well, the answer should be “no” you cannot. What has happened has happened. You can’t undo what is already done or change the outcome. Understand what is gone is gone. 

Best thing to do is to identify what you are fixated on and then name the situation you have not been able to stop holding onto. Once they have a name for them you can decide whether those events are worth hanging onto. With a name, it is easier to get passed them. 

#2 Predicting the Future

The second thing that your mind practices to distract you is to predict what is going to happen. The thinking process of predicting depletes focus and concentration. Predicting is a fruitless exercise that produces feeling anxiety, apprehension, and fear based on false assumptions. No one can see the future. If you were able to see the future then the lottery would be won in every drawing. That certainly is not true. Also, bad things could be stopped before they happened. Of course, you know that is not possible either.

So to gain mental focus stop projecting what might occur in the future.

Tip on How to Fix

The best way to increase your focus is to practice being mindful and start living in the moment. There are many methods that can help you learn to be mindful like meditation and breathing techniques. So, investigate and find one that you can be consistent with and be comfortable with. 

Once you master the ability to be mindful and you are living in the moment rather than regretting the past or predicting the future, you will see an increase in your ability to focus on tasks and your performance will surge. A side benefit will be a great sense of self-confidence. 
    Coach Bill                                   

Visit my website and learn more. Click here to download free eBook.