In July 2009, a woman brought her husband to the hospital where our colleagues work in western Kenya. She reported that for several years he had been behaving abnormally, sleeping poorly, hearing voices that no one else could hear, and believing that people were talking about him and plotting to harm him.
Although depression and anxiety affect millions of people worldwide, there’s still much we don’t know about them. In fact, we still don’t fully understand which brain regions are involved in depression and anxiety, and how they differ between people with varying symptoms.
Some of our fears are so slight, or come up so rarely, that we ignore them for the most part. Yet, all our fears are with us constantly whether or not we acknowledge their presence. They reside in our subconscious and create havoc in our life. Whether your fear is of death or of spiders, that fear runs your life.
Feeling Disoriented by the Election, Pandemic and Everything Else? Mexican Philosophers Have Some Advice
Ever had the feeling that you can’t make sense of what’s happening? One moment everything seems normal, then suddenly the frame shifts to reveal a world on fire, struggling with pandemic, recession, climate change and political upheaval.
You have been instructed to worry and fret all of your life. This has occurred through all sorts of means—school, friends, religious doctrine, literature, television, movies, history, and family. The idea of worrying about your family has even been exalted as a form of love. It is NOT! Worry is a mental construct that obstructs flow and naturalness.
Fear patterns begin early in life, affect every relationship we have, and waste a lot of energy. Our inner dragons of fear can make us run from love and intimacy, hide from the very things we say we most want, repeat the same mistakes over and over, and see the world in black and white terms.
Our minds are constantly in the past, focusing on our memories; or in the future, focusing on our expectations. But both of these states of mind are breeding grounds for fear. If we can pull our attention back to the present moment, the fear subsides. Here’s how to shift into ...
The pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges. Many of us have lost work, gained carer responsibilities and grappled with social isolation.
Spiders have an unfortunate media presence. No number of studies emphasising their ecological value or the potential of their silks to inspire wonder materials can overcome the negative press.
Between the global COVID-19 pandemic, the associated economic downturn and widespread protests over racism, it’s difficult for everyone.
It’s 1:36 a.m. and I’ve just gotten my daughter back to sleep after she threw up violently. She has no fever, no cough, no shortness of breath, but what if….
The reason I share "what works for me" is that it may work for you as well. If not exactly the way I do it, since we are all unique, some variance of the attitude or method may very well be something that will work for you.
As some of us return to the workplace, or are planning to do so in the future, we face the challenges of a changed environment of social distancing rules and restrictions.
America’s gun violence affects not only just those killed, injured or present during gunfire, but research suggests it can also sabotage the social and psychological well-being of all Americans.
We are living in scary and uncertain times, so it’s hardly surprising that a new study has found the number of Google searches for “anxiety” and “panic attacks” has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Many people will be feeling anxious, disappointed and even angry about the return of COVID-19 in the community.
These are indeed troubled times. Between covid19, politics, Black Lives Matter, and the upcoming election, there is not a lot of uplifting news to be had. Actually, the opposite is true. It's easy to get discouraged and freaked out.
To live through a pandemic, Albert Camus wrote, is to be made to live as an exile. Lovers are parted from lovers, (grand)parents from children, families from their dead.
This temporary anxiety and depression state results from becoming overburdened with too many work, household, volunteer, or social obligations, and subsides promptly after reducing the excessive responsibilities. It can best be likened to overloading an electrical outlet and blowing a fuse. This situation is becoming...
The sacred has always been with us. It’s right there outside the window. It’s right there outside the walls we’ve built around ourselves, right there outside the doors of perception made opaque by the human ego.
Panic buying has returned to Australia in the wake of its second-biggest city experiencing a spike in COVID-19. The Victorian government has reimposed stay-at-home restrictions on 36 of Melbourne’s 321 suburbs in response.
This month I'm going to talk about the emotional bridges and what we can do to safely cross the river. I usually discuss the three bridges as they pertain to communication. However, it occurred to me this morning that I needed to expand out my vision of the Attitude Reconstruction Three Bridges to meet the emotionally fraught times we are all experiencing...
Living with the virus has also taught us new tricks, pushing us to come up with new ways of how to shop, work, learn, socialise, queue, pray, play, and even how to move and interact with one another.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic have you been wondering why you’re getting headaches more often?
Few works of art are as iconic as The Scream, by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863–1944).
All being well, restrictions will continue to be lifted in the weeks and months to come, allowing us slowly to return to some kind of “normal”.
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, people’s anxiety levels shot up. Daily reports were coming in about the number of new deaths, there was global chaos and people had to be persuaded to stay inside.
We cannot escape our subconscious mind, but we can use life as a treasure map to unlock the secrets hidden within the dark corners of the psyche. These secrets direct the course of our lives, and like tyrants hiding behind smoke and mirrors they chart a course for their own benefit...
Anxiety, depression, loneliness and stress are affecting our sleep patterns and how tired we feel.
There are so many ways that we can apply courage in our lives. Courage to speak one's opinion, to stand up for what is right, to face tough issues head on, to pick oneself up after an injustice, and to not necessarily do as everyone else does. Courage to be true to oneself.
One of our patients was recently talking about her anxiety around the coronavirus epidemic. This woman’s stress was understandable. She had survived a serious infection with swine flu, but only with a prolonged stay in intensive care.
There is nothing lucky about a pandemic. All of us living through the present one can agree it’s frightening, upsetting, and increasingly surreal. Life as we know it has been severely disrupted and promises to remain so for a while.
As communities across the globe are urged to stay indoors and practice physical distancing measures, feelings of isolation and loneliness are likely to become more prevalent.
Buddhist meditation centers and temples in coronavirus-hit countries around the world have been closed to the public in order to comply with social distancing measures.
Over my lifetime I’ve seen society place more and more emphasis on safety, security, and risk reduction. It has especially impacted childhood: as a young boy it was normal for us to roam a mile from home unsupervised – behavior that would earn parents a visit from Child Protective Services today.
As sports arenas, streets and neighborhood gyms lie quiet and abandoned, we find ourselves without a frame of reference to cope with these apocalyptic changes to our once predictable lives. Does this mean that anxiety, stress, depression and panic are now inescapable parts of life?
As the coronavirus spreads anxiety and panic across the globe, people are finding ways to share information and support each other.
For a long time, I hated being human. I used to hate being stereotyped into any category, even being human, because humanity has done so many bad things since it moved out of 'the gardens.'
As cases of COVID-19 proliferate, there’s a pandemic of fear unfolding alongside the pandemic of the coronavirus.
Ever said something like, “I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket” – and then quickly, for luck, rapped your knuckles on a wooden table or doorframe?
Our individual reactions to life events are complex and unpredictable. Some people come out of very difficult life experiences with more resiliency and capacity. Trauma is not in the event but in the nervous system of the person experiencing the event.
As the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues its global spread and the number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases continues to increase, anxiety related to the outbreak is on the rise too.
The coronavirus epidemic is a health crisis that threatens Americans’ quality of life. Who do Americans trust to lead them through it?
A while back I wrote an article entitled "I Am Safe" as part of my ongoing "What Works For Me" series. With all the fear going around these days (and not just about the Coronavirus), I thought I would delve again into the topic of fear, since it is currently a pervasive energy on planet earth.
As the novel coronavirus proliferates on a global scale, worry and panic is on the rise. And it is no wonder when we are constantly being told how to best protect ourselves from being infected.
With a new infectious disease outbreak on our doorstep, we might ask ourselves: are we reacting to the coronavirus in a way that is proportional to the threat?
The transformation of our understanding occurs at the instant that wisdom illuminates the situation. The light immediately banishes mistaken understanding, and this dispels the shadow of fear without further effort. The light from the flashlight is the illumination of true and complete knowledge.
To live without and beyond fear is treasonous to the small self who has been educated by fear as to its benefits, but there is no benefit in fear. Freedom from fear is the realization that the Divine in material form has no requirement of it.
All the ancient calendars and prophecies of diverse ancient traditions are pointing to these days as the time of a great awakening and a time of a great shift. Humanity is being challenged to make a choice: the choice between the path of love, community, and peace, over the path of...
The coronavirus outbreak in China raises important questions about how well governments manage the latest pathogens to jump the species barrier and infect humans.
The famous “big five” personality traits – neuroticism, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness and extroversion – have been a trusted workhorse in psychology for many decades.
We can deal with blatant discrimination through legal channels and receive some corrective action, but these kinds of compensation cannot heal hearts. Our goal is deeper healing. We want nothing less than total release from the pain and fear that racist conditioning breeds.
The Ageless Wisdom texts tell us that scarcely a person in the world is exempt from worry, and that worry is the cause of all planetary problems. There are Worriers of the common, everyday variety, and there are Worriers of the chronic type, where the black cloud hanging over their heads...
We want things to be better for ourselves and the people we love, but worry that they won’t be, and imagine some of the things that might stand in the way.
If you recognize that someone you love might be drowning beneath the surface, the question becomes: How can you help? Of course, every situation is different, so evaluate the best approach for yourself. However, the essence of helping others is simple...
It is only mid-November but we have to walk early to avoid the heat. A northerly wind picks up clouds of dust and pollen, sending dirty billows across the paddocks.
When we are calm, reflective function has no trouble determining what is real and what is imaginary. But stress hormones can cause reflective function to collapse, especially if it is not well developed. In that case, an imaginary threat may be experienced as a real threat.
In our culture, there’s this idea that enduring a tragedy can be good for your personal growth.
It’s a busy day at the office and your left eye has been twitching uncontrollably. So, out of curiosity and irritation you Google it.
We all know people who have suffered by trusting too much: scammed customers, jilted lovers, shunned friends.
A few years ago, I was privileged to hear a speech by Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements. He stressed repeatedly that the most important thing for us to watch in regard to our conversation is not so much what we say to others, but what we say to ourselves...
While a full night of deep sleep stabilizes emotions, a sleepless one can trigger up to a 30% rise in anxiety levels, a new study shows.
The unquiet spirits, vampires and the omnipresent zombies that take over American streets every October 31 may think Halloween is all about spooky fun.
Two-thirds of young people experience levels of exam stress that mental health organisation ReachOut describes as “worrying”.
As individuals, nations, and a planet, we have forgotten where we have come from, who we are, and where we are going. An honest look at the troubles we have created for ourselves reveals that we have painfully lost sight of the visions that once painted our future...
Women and men have incredible personal power yet often don't realize their own multifaceted power or know how to use it appropriately. The understanding of power is often limited to behaviors that involve being controlling, aggressive, or having influence over others. Personal power has nothing to do with these traits...
According to the NHS, as many as one in eight children aged five to 19 faces a mental health challenge. And a significant number of these cases are related to some form of anxiety.
I love this photo of our son-in-law Ryan and our almost three-year-old grandson Owen. Ryan is taking Owen for his first surfing lesson. Owen is holding his hand with complete trust. He knows that his father has great wisdom in this situation and will take care of him.
Last spring an 18-year-old college freshman who got straight A’s in high school – but was now failing several courses – came to my office on the campus where I work as a psychologist.
We must understand our fears if we really want to move on because that understanding is the prerequisite to self-knowledge, which alone is the only requirement for a harmonious relationship – with ourselves. Constant fear prevents us from living our true purpose. We must learn that fear is the basis of all man’s problems...
Everyone is subject to the release of stress hormones and the resulting feelings of high arousal or alarm. Some of us have neural programming that activates automatically and calms us. We go from alarm to interest or curiosity about what the amygdala is reacting to. Those of us who don’t have that software stay alarmed until the stress hormones burn off.
The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom. What people say does not matter. Your whole and sole judge is God. And God simply means the whole universe.
Another day, another mass shooting. We grieve for Odessa, Tex., and we grieve for America. The aftermath of every mass shooting follows a now-routine pattern: Feverish coverage will be followed by politicians and pundits engaging in a predictable conversation about gun-safety legislation. All of which we know by now.
Take a minute to reflect on your ability or inability to tell your truth, particularly in the workplace. Notice how frequently you say things that are safe or politically correct and don't say the things that are true for you but are not necessarily as safe. It is important to recognize the cost of withholding our truth, both for ourselves and for...
Strictly Come Dancing, the TV show which pairs celebrities with professional dancers to compete in a ballroom dancing competition, has apparently been the cause of a number of divorces, break-ups, and scandals.
Society has become increasingly preoccupied with risk. So it’s unsurprising that as social scientists, we are constantly being asked to predict where harm is most likely to strike.
You might think there are some people who never worry. But that’s not true. We all worry but at different times and about different things. A bit of worrying is normal and healthy.
All our fears are unique and different, born out of different experiences and often maintained through subconscious programming throughout life. Conquering such origins of fear once and for all, ultimately will allow you to meet with your life’s goals and purpose. Because at the end of the day, the only thing holding any of us back is ourselves and how we process, manifest and deal with fear.
In order to experience fearlessness, it is necessary to experience fear. In order to experience fearlessness, it is necessary to experience fear. True fearlessness is not the reduction of fear; but going beyond fear...
Don’t drive into the tunnel ... The dog’s going to bite ... Patients have described their phobias to me as walking around with the devil on their shoulder or a voice inside their head that just won’t stop. Whether temporarily self-defeating or utterly crippling, phobias can get hold of us and seem to take over.
A slowdown in the economy, job losses, business closures, increasing energy bills: it’s not surprising that relentless negative reporting of economic downturns is impacting people’s emotional health.
I call the part of me that has feelings of inadequacy "the Scared One". We all have a Scared One inside of us. It's a secret we all share but don't talk about, so we walk around acting as though we know what we're doing. This secret is connected to how we show support, and to how we form relationships.
It’s been more than four years since a magnitude 7.8 earthquake devastated Nepalese cities, claiming thousands of lives.
What are some of the differences between panic and anxiety? In panic, a person believes their life is threatened and that escape from the threat is impossible. With anxiety, the threat is not life-threatening. Escape is possible, but it has drawbacks: it may involve compromise or some kind of cost or loss.
In the last five years, I’ve become quite anxious during flights – especially when turbulence hits.
Don't let yourself become a victim of your emotions. When you are scared, it isn't the real you that is scared, it is your personality interpreting circumstances that may be adverse. You are not these emotions; they don't own you...
Freedom is such a powerful word, yet do we really know what it means? For years freedom was tied to the experience of slavery... having the right to not be 'owned' by someone. Then as the women's movement got into swing, freedom also included the right of women to make their own choices. Then we had gay rights, which further promoted the freedom to be yourself.
For the nearly 20 million college students in the U.S., one of the most stressful times of the year comes at the end of the semester, as they prepare for final exams, graduation and – for many seniors – yet another life transition.
Many if not most Americans have never crossed the U.S. border with Mexico by land or spent any time in that region.
Pema Chödrön describes a liberating way to become intimate with our fears, instead of trying to get rid of or cast them out.
It’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. “What?” you might exclaim. “I don’t want to be uncomfortable. Isn’t the whole point of this journey to find a way to be peaceful and stress-free all the time? Isn’t being comfortable the whole point?” Yes and no.
Rather than focusing on ways to lift your own anxiety, focus on wishing others well. New research suggests that could do the trick.
Over the past two weeks, two students who survived the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have died by suicide, amplifying the tragedy that community has experienced.
As an immigrant to New Zealand, I am saddened and outraged by the events in Christchurch. The apparent innocence of New Zealand has been stripped away by acts of cowardice and evil.
We have found the primary reason most of us do not make the choice to love more freely and fully is that we feel unsafe and insecure in some way about people, relationships, love or even life itself. We fear whatever might happen if we open ourself to giving and receiving love more readily.
A survey of top Hollywood movie studio CEO’s asked, “What do you fear most?” The most common answer was, “I am afraid that people will find out I don’t really know what I am doing.” Meanwhile these execs were turning out fabulous movies, earning many millions of dollars for their studios.
Peace is one of human's six emotions. It's the opposite of fear. When we're experiencing peace, our attention is in the present, we're relaxed, content, and our mind is still. Often it's thought that we need to meditate in order to feel peace, but it's not true. We simply have to pacify our fear and peace will naturally arise.
In both my teaching and collaborative experience, I have often found that the most "fearful" and "neurotic" people are actually those with the best imaginations. They have simply channeled their imaginations down the routes of their cultural conditioning. The News at Five is never the good news, and so when they play the possible movie of their future they routinely screen the one with danger and dire outcomes.
Each fear is like a small subpersonality inside of you demanding to be heard. One 'fear-being' might chatter, 'Don't go outside. It's raining. You'll catch a cold.' Another might be constantly whimpering in your ear, 'Don't fall in love. You know you'll get hurt!' We hold our fears captive and even justify them...
Fear is arguably as old as life. It is deeply ingrained in the living organisms that have survived extinction through billions of years of evolution.