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Tips for Launching Yourself Forward in Your Personal Development so You Can Change Your Life for the Better.

 

Your self-image is very important and determines whether you are successful in life or not. Many things you encounter, including people and the environment, can affect your self-esteem and self-image. There are those spiritual deficit people who will deliberately damage your self-esteem and those you do it unknowingly. Circumstances can sometimes push hard against and make you doubt yourself and others. Situations can cause you stress and disillusionment. Never allow these destructive influences to affect you.

Here are some tips that will act as a quick guide starter to yourself improvement.

Doing permit the behavior of others to affect your image. Never get caught up in the game of believing that the negative comments of others are true. If a person wishes to berate or belittle you then see it for what it is – a lack of self-esteem on their part. These people feel so low within themselves that they must elevate themselves at the expense of others. Do not do this yourself. It is very damaging to your own self-esteem. For in order to be good at something you will have to make another person bad at it. You aren’t good at it your just better than they are! Start to build your faith in your own abilities and let others take care of their own. Stay away from toxic people who have such a bad self-image, low self-esteem and lack of belief in themselves that they must build up their own ego at the expense of others.

Beware of a negative work or social environment.

Don’t get caught up in the competitive mindset. You are a creator. You were put on this planet to be productive, to add value to your life and the lives of others. You don’t need to be competitive, you merely need to be creative and this will bring its own rewards. By keeping a creative mindset, you can share in the joy of another’s success without feeling it is depriving you in any way. Trust me, this new mindset will launch you further than the competitive mindset ever could.

Be open and willing to change.

Embrace the new. As you progress in your personal development you will find that your old paradigms begin to shift and make way for new ones. This is natural and desirable. Remain flexible and adapt yourself to your changing world. Many people fight against change and this internal resistance causes inner strife and hardships of all kinds. This is an ever-changing Universe and we must be willing to change with it.

Find a way of looking at the world, yourself, others and life in a new exciting way.

Do not judge the present or make predictions about the future based on your past experiences. Use the past as a learning experience. See how you did things wrong and adjust your behavior, actions, outlook or mental attitude accordingly. Release all that old emotional baggage and embrace the present. Enjoy the journey and all the changes that are taking place in your life.

Watch where you direct your focus.

Your focus determines the reality you experience. “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”. Is your cup half empty or half full? Look for the good or at least the opportunity in every situation – “everything happens for a reason”. Take stock of your mental attitudes. How do you view YOUR world? Many people are fearful of the times we currently live in. They worry about the environment, economies, unemployment, war etc. Images on TV and in the news only lend further weight to these worries by showing the very things we should not be focusing on! This world is full to overflowing with abundance, riches, love, and joy. You just have to start noticing it.

Restructure your thought & feeling patterns.

Your feelings regulate your thoughts, your thoughts determine your actions and your actions restructure your life. What type of life have you built for yourself up to now? Are you content and happy? Probably not or you wouldn’t be reading this. Your beliefs really do affect how you live your life, what you believe is possible for you and what you believe you are capable of achieving or having. Many of your beliefs are positive and nurturing. However, many are not. Find a way to change your negative beliefs. Your beliefs are merely a cluster of thoughts brought together to form a view and you can ALWAYS change your point of view!

Enjoy the journey.

Life was meant to be rich and abundant. Celebrate each small positive change you make and enjoy the point in your life where you are right now. don’t postpone your happiness until some future event or when you have developed some desirable characteristic. You will always be changing and evolving, it’s a universal law. So, enjoy where you are, celebrate the progress you have made, be prepared to embrace the new but let tomorrow will take care of itself.

Other posts you may find helpful:

5 TIPS ON HOW TO BUILD SELF CONFIDENCE TODAY
FIVE MORE WAYS TO ESCAPE UNCOMFORTABLE FEELINGS OF LOW SELF-ESTEEM AND POOR SELF-CONFIDENCE
FREE THERAPY JOURNAL

Grab a copy of my ebook below, it is the first in a series.

 Self Improvement Buff Series: How To Make Your Attitude Your Ally

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sbstocbs/

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5 Tips on How to Build Self Confidence Today

There are very few people who could call themselves perfect and be right. Most of us need to build self-confidence today, but the majority just either ignore the issues or concentrate on the negatives: stress, worry, jobs, money problems, and relationship issues. Concentrating on these areas drains our self-confidence rather than improving it.

If you could improve your self-confidence you could make more money, look and feel better physically, or just be more relaxed with other people.  Below there are five simple techniques that have been proved to help build self-confidence today.

  1. Talk to yourself. It sounds crazy but it works. All of us have a running monologue constantly in our heads, whether we realize it or not. Everything we see, hear, or touch sparks off an immediate dialog in our thoughts.

For those who lack confidence, this monologue is filled with negative messages many of which are the negative side of adverts from television, radio, advertisement boarding’s, newspapers, and just overhearing other people talk.

These negative thoughts literally suck energy from our minds and bodies and block the flow of positive messages. We need to hear the positive messages as they will build self-confidence today and raise our self-esteem.  Take control. Use your inner thoughts to talk to yourself in a positive manner, as often as you can.

As an example, one of my regular sayings is “I like myself, I like myself, I like myself”. I just repeat it for a couple of minutes.  It sounds cheesy, but does build self-confidence today ñ Try it.  I bet that if you go to the mirror right now and repeat out loud “I like myself!” 50 times, it will be impossible to keep from smiling.

  1. Dress as smartly and as classily as you can. You won’t feel at your best if you don’t look your best. You will be amazed at just how much more confidence you will have just looking your best.  It just feels good when you are wearing your best clothes, are well groomed, and are surrounded by a clean environment.  So, what if it is Saturday, you need to build self-confidence today not next week.  Put on your nice clothes, get the car washed, style that hair!  A hairdresser once told me “Every day is show time!”
  2. Increase your self-esteem even more by giving thanks to what you are, how you look, and what you are doing. Say “thank you” to yourself to everything you see, all whom you meet, and each smile that you receive.
  3. Stand or sit correctly: How you stand sends out a message to the World, and in turn, back to you. This results in improving how you feel about yourself and will build self-confidence today and every day.

There is scientific evidence that shows how posture affects our mood. Do not slouch. Slouching produces a down mood. By slouching you are telling the world and yourself it doesn’t matter, you don’t matter.  Standing tall and upright will actually lift your mood.  Help build up your confidence by pulling back those shoulders, stop that slouch, and walk proud.

  1. Smile. Just smile and things seem better somehow. Practice smiling regularly and get your facial muscles used to the physical act of smiling.

Go to the mirror and smile ñ make yourself. Not a grimace, but a proper smile. If you don’t think you can try this:

1)Open your eyes as wide as you can ñ (try and get your eyebrows right up to your hairline)

2)Slightly open your mouth

3)Pull the corners of your mouth back towards your ears (If you’re not sure to pull them back with your fingers so you know what it feels like then try again without your fingers).

4)Repeat 50 times. Get your facial muscles used to smiling and you will smile more and encourage smiles from others. This will make you feel happier and with that, you’ll build self-confidence today.

For more self-esteem information read my other blog post FIVE MORE WAYS TO ESCAPE UNCOMFORTABLE FEELINGS OF LOW SELF-ESTEEM AND POOR SELF-CONFIDENCE.

Download a copy of my ebook Self Improvement Series.  “How to Make Your Attitude Your Ally.”  

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Five More Ways to Escape Uncomfortable Feelings of Low Self-Esteem and Poor Self-Confidence

Many people live their entire lives without getting to the source of what originally caused their feelings of low self-esteem.  Because they are unaware of how they can heal their painful past and reframe the circumstances that originally resulted in interpretations of being unworthy, unlovable, or deficient in some way, most people instead often resort to finding ways to distract themselves from the unpleasant sensations that accompany feeling inferior. Instead of effectively silencing the nagging voice of past hurts, they seek out distractions to help them temporarily forget about their lacking confidence and deficient self-image. Five of the more common ways to relieve the pain of low self-esteem and poor self-confidence involve excessive attention to work, food, sports, sex, or even shopping. Like all addictions, they help to distract from but do not resolve the underlying problem and so one is still plagued by feelings that will continually require greater efforts from which to hide.

Workaholism

In our culture, work is usually an acceptable means of diverting our attention. Through hard work, we busy ourselves to the extent that we lack the free time needed to brood over our sorrows. Those who work excessively are often too tired to worry about a lacking social life or the pursuit of fun pastimes that they often likewise believe they do not deserve to experience. Work provides rewards such as money, recognition, and a feeling of accomplishment, all of which help to compensate for feelings of failure in other areas of life.

It’s not that a commitment to work is bad. In fact, it is quite admirable as just one component to a well-balanced life. However, when pursued to excess, it doesn’t allow for the honoring of other equally important elements such as a commitment to family, friends, fun, recreation, personal and spiritual development, etc. An obsession with work can take its toll on health, relationships, and missed opportunities for other equally valuable pursuits.

Moreover, when work is undertaken from the perspective that one is not good enough in one or more aspects of their being, it can’t be fully enjoyed. Feelings of low self-confidence and little self-esteem diminish one’s energy by consuming attention that could have been spent more productively in the joyful pursuit of one’s goals, rather than as a distraction from persistent negative self-talk.

Over-Eating

Like working excessively, an obsession with food is often a common escape from feelings of unworthiness. Eating can serve both as a distraction and a way to make ourselves feel better temporarily. We often seek from food the emotional connection that we are lacking in close, intimate relationships. Frequently, food is linked in our minds to happy times with family or friends. Perhaps we experienced food rewards from our parents or authority figures for scholastic or sports accomplishments. For many, food has become synonymous with love. And so, in times of stress, fear, and loneliness, many turn to food to fill a void that only love and self-fulfillment can satisfy.

Habitual overeating also results in being out of shape, overweight, and generally unattractive in the paradigm of Western modern-day culture. The more one eats as a substitute for missing self-love and intimacy with others, the more obese he or she is likely to become. This, in turn, reinforces the feeling that the heavier the person becomes, the less she fits in and the lower her self-esteem and self-confidence plummets. The greater the feelings of loneliness and not fitting in that result, the more she is likely to seek comfort in food (especially the high carbohydrate, high fat, high comfort variety). A vicious cycle is thus set in motion ensuring more weight gain and lower self-esteem.

Sports and Other Physical Outlets

Some people run to overcome feelings of loneliness, boredom, depression or lacking self-worth. Some pump iron, play golf, or work out at the gym while others find their own unique way to divert their focus through exercise, hobbies, or sports. Many would argue that such a diversion is a healthy way to funnel energy into an activity that contributes to good physical health. However, like any obsession, when taken to the extreme for the purpose of diverting attention from issues in need of resolution, it can become an unhealthy means of avoiding areas in serious need of attention.

Sex

An obsession with sex outside of a healthy, loving relationship can likewise become a means of distraction to take the focus away from self-esteem and self-confidence issues. Whether it’s Internet porn sites, an obsession with strip clubs, or the need for frequent casual sexual encounters, all serve as an effort to numb the pain of isolation. Ironically, the greater the obsession to connect with others through meaningless sexual experiences, the greater one’s sense of isolation will likely become.

Shopping

Another common obsession to compensate for a low self-image is shopping. While some find temporary comfort in making themselves feel more attractive by purchasing the latest, most stylish clothes, shoes, accessories, or even cars and other expensive toys if their budget allows (and many times even if it does not!), compulsive shoppers find that the comfort they seek in material items is typically short-lived. They often fool themselves into thinking that the next new dress, sports coat, outfit or cologne purchase will make the difference they seek in having them feel better about themselves. Sadly, it never does. However, all too often such excessive spending sprees send the shopaholic deeper into debt. This further reinforces or worsens the failure interpretation they already possessed and continues to diminish their self-esteem and confidence level.

There are countless other addictions that people resort to in an effort to find meaning in life when their own self-worth is lacking. Whether it is compulsive gambling, studying, puttering in the yard, decorating the house, or whatever other diversions

self-esteem, self-confidence, confidence, personal development, self-image, self-worth, overcome low self-esteem, boost self -esteem

, those who lack inner peace will not soon find it externally with a focus that seeks to cover up feelings of being unworthy or unlovable.

Thankfully, there IS a way to reclaim one’s self-worth and restore self-esteem to a high level providing internal comfort and fulfillment. For a complete roadmap to reclaiming self-esteem, visit TheSelfEsteemBook.com and discover all details of this strong authentic formula that will assist you in boosting your self-esteem and self-confidence.

Enjoy our free pdf Therapy Journal

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My Story of Addiction

Are you suffering from addiction and feel you can’t overcome this disease? You are not alone, millions of Americans are battling addiction right now as you are reading this, and I am a recovering opioid addict. I didn’t start out seeking drugs or wanting to become an addict, who does? Here is my story of how I became addicted, what it means to have a drug dependency, and the steps I took to begin my journey on the road to recovery.

I am a disabled Army veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). My PTSD is not combat related but rather from physical and sexual trauma. I had hip replacement surgery due to an injury I received while on active duty. The operation didn’t go as planned and left me with more pain and complications. I was on prescription pain medication for over a year after the surgery.

I started doubling up on my medication at first because of the pain before too long that wasn’t cutting it for me. I was taking around ten pills at a time, and of course, my medication would run out before I could get it filled again. I began buying them off of the street just to get through until I could get my pills filled again.

I found myself self-medicating to numb my feelings, and this led to having even more emotional anguish. I was severely depressed. I felt helpless, and my inner conscience had hit crisis mode, but I had to continue taking the medication just to feel normal or not become sick. I felt trapped and scared and didn’t know how to quit on my own.

When individuals use substances or alcohol, it releases dopamine in the brain, and this makes us feel good. As we increase use of a substance, we are rewiring the “reward center” in the brain. We start to decrease the production of dopamine on our own, and we have now developed a dependency. Addiction is a misunderstood disease. Often people who don’t understand it might feel that substance abuse is a matter of an individual’s strengths, morals, character, or willpower. Drug abuse will get worse if untreated. There is no cure for it, but it can be manageable. Left untreated can lead to death. Merely put addiction has no logic, no boundaries, and no limits.

I had a realization that the path I was taking would only end in my death. I had a fear that I would overdose, and my children would find me. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own so I called a substance abuse doctor for help, this was on a Monday, but there were no openings until the following Friday. The nurse on the phone could tell how scared I was and told me to head to the emergency room immediately once the withdrawal symptoms were present. My husband brought me to the hospital, and I had to be honest with the staff about my drug abuse which was very shameful, but they showed compassion for me.

The physical withdrawals lasted for days from what I can remember and were so horrific, something I never want to see another person go through. The mental withdrawal lasts a lifetime. I still have thoughts and desires to use, but I have found ways to divert those feelings.

I notified my doctor about what was going on and asked that it state in my medical records that I have a substance abuse disorder and not to prescribe me any medication that I could misuse. I had to put this safeguard in place to help with the prevention of relapse. I began attending NA meetings weekly, and I also participated in Smart Recovery meetings online. I completed a 12-week course on co-occurring substance abuse and healthy living skills.

I felt ashamed for a long time and didn’t want anyone to know about my addiction. After some time had passed, I concluded that sharing my story could inspire others to seek help and know that sobriety is possible.

One tool I would like to share with you, that I used during my journaling was a therapy journal. You can use this link to download your free copy: https://setbacks-to-come-backs.com/2019/01/04/free-therapy-journal/

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Printable Grocery list and meal planner

meal planner .png

Stay organized with this super cute printable A4 or US Letter weekly meal planner! Moreover, being an instant download means you can print again and again.

This grocery list is all about simplifying your life. Keep it posted on your fridge all week, add to it as you need, and when it’s time to shop, you are organized and ready to dominate the grocery store!
Please note that this listing is for a digital file so no paper products will be mailed to you. Instead, you can download the files straight to your device and then print as many and as often as you need.

Download you Meal Planner and Grocery List Here:  mealplanner and grocerylist

 

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Healing Journal

Benefits of Journaling

Journaling in recovery can lead one to a higher perspective.  By putting memories on paper, which can be turned.  Journaling also boosts the positive effects of therapy. You will also gain insight when journaling.

Exercise and Health

This is a journal made up of exercises and ideas, along with how often or how well you might be fulfilling those goals (or what you might be struggling)

 

Attached here you will finder a therapy binder that includes many worksheets that can help change your thought process.

therapy journal!

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The Five Rules of Recovery

I have been reading this book “I Want to Change My Life. How to Overcome Anxiety, Depression, & Addiction” by Steven M. Melemis, Ph.D. M.D. In it, he discusses the opportunity for change and the five rules of recovery.  I have read the section over and over again.  It makes so much sense and I feel that it is key to having a long-lasting recovery, and felt that I needed to share it with everyone.

pexels-photo-681794

The Opportunity for Change

Your addiction has given you the opportunity to change your life. The fact that you have to change your life is what makes recovery both difficult and rewarding. It’s difficult because you have to change your life, and all change is difficult – even good change. On the other hand, recovery is rewarding because you get the chance to change your life. Most people sleepwalk through life, they don’t think about who they are or what they want to be, and then one day wake up and wonder why they aren’t happy.

People in recovery often describe themselves as grateful addicts. You may wonder why someone would be grateful to have an addiction. Because recovery has allowed them to find an inner peace and tranquility that most people crave. Recovery is your opportunity to be happier. You can look back on your addiction as one of the best things that ever happened to you.

The Five Rules of Recovery

Recovery is not easy, but it is simple. It’s not due to chance but governed by a few basic rules. If you follow these five rules, you will do well and enjoy your life. If you don’t follow them, you probably won’t.

Rule 1: you must change your life

You don’t recovery from addiction by just stopping drugs and alcohol. You recover by creating a new life where it is easier to not use. This is the most important thing that individuals and their families need to understand. If you don’t create a new life, then all the factors that brought you to your addiction will eventually catch up with you again.

You don’t have to change your entire life. There are just a few behaviors that have probably been causing you trouble, and they will continue to get you into trouble until you change them. The more you try to hold onto your old life, the less well you will do in recovery. The first rule is about creating a secure recovery. If you change your life, then many things will have to fail before you relapse. If you don’t change your life, the slightest mistake can lead to relapse.

Rule 2: be completely honest

Recovery requires complete honesty, you must learn to be 100% honest with people in your life. Who must you be honest with? You need a recovery circle that should include your family, doctor, therapist, 12-step group, recovery coach and sponsor. If you can’t be completely honest with those people, you won’t do well in recovery.

Lying leaves the door open for relapse. When you are completely honest, you don’t give your addiction room to hide. You don’t have to be completely honest about your recovery with everyone, not everyone is your best friend, and not everyone will be supportive of your recovery.

What does being 100% completely honest mean? It means you are completely honest from the present forward. It doesn’t mean you have to go back and rehash everything you did in your past, in some cases that can be more harmful than good.

Rule 3: ask for help

Addiction grows by encouraging shame and isolation. Recovery involves reaching out and asking for help from people in recovery.

Rule 4: relax every day

 Addicts use drugs and alcohol to escape, relax, and reward themselves. In other words, they use to deal with tension. If you stop using drugs and alcohol but don’t learn how to relax, then all the stresses that brought you to your addiction will still be there when you are tense, you will do what is familiar and wrong. It won’t take much to push you over the edge.

Rule 5: dont make your own rules

There are five rules of recovery, the fifth rule may not sound like the others, but it is just as important. It reminds you not to do things your way it didn’t work! Why not try something different? Don’t look for a loophole in recovery. Recovery requires commitment. Sometimes you will be tested. You have to expect that recovery will sometimes be hard. But it’s easier than active addiction.

Nothing changes, if nothing changes. If you don’t change your life if you don’t learn new coping skills if you don’t ask for help, what will have changed? Why will this time be any different? If you do what you’ve always don’t you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. You can change your life. You will do it by creating a new life where it’s easier to not use.

 

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Breathing Techniques for Anxiety

yoga-422196_1920.jpgBreathing exercises for anxiety can be essential when you find yourself overwhelmed or panicked.  As your anxiety levels increase, your breathing can increase causing you to lower your oxygen intake and thus panic even more.

When we experience shortness of breath when feeling anxious, we usually only fill our upper lungs with oxygen because we breathe in shorter breaths and therefore don’t pass them adequate amount needed. Deep and intentional breathing allows us to fill our entire lungs and benefit from the calming properties that come with it.

Breathing techniques have been used for thousands of years as an anchor point to focus during meditations and calm the mind. Breathing is an auto function built into the human body, but unlike the heart, we can consciously control how we breathe.

Controlling your breathing allows:

  • Your heart rate to slow down
  • A decrease in blood pressure
  • A decrease in muscle tension
  • An increase in focus

 

Balanced Breathing

This technique uses the same breathing count when inhaling as it does exhaling, and is designed to of course ‘balance your breathing’. This breathing exercise is practiced exclusively through the nose, which forces more control on each breath.

  • Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds
  • Exhale through your nose for 4 seconds

 

4-7-8 Breathing

This deep breathing exercise uses your stomach as the focus point.

  • Sit down or stand up. Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach
  • Take a deep breath in from your stomach, and notice how your stomach feels. Count to 4 as you breathe in
  • Now hold your breath for 7 seconds
  • Breathe out fully whilst counting to 8. Try and breathe out all the way until you reach 8 seconds

 

Alternate Nostril Breathing

This exercise brings deep relaxation while helping you to feel awake.

  • Sit in a comfortable position
  • Hold your finger over your right nostril
  • Breathe in deeply through your left nostril
  • Once you have inhaled a deep breath, hold your finger over your left nostril
  • Exhale slowly through your right nostril

 

Simple Slow Breathing 

One minute of simple slow breathing can recalibrate your mind when you are feeling anxious.

  • Sit or stand comfortably and ignore all distractions around you
  • Inhale through your mouth to a count of 10 seconds
  • Now exhale through your mouth to a count of 4 seconds
  • Exhaling, think to yourself “relax”

 

CO2 Re-Breathing

Rebalances your oxygen and carbon dioxide levels if you’ve been hyperventilating.

  • Cup your hands over your mouth or use a paper bag. Breathe into your hands or the bag slowly
  • Breathe normally and deeply
  • Repeat for 5 to 10 breaths

 

Advanced Inhale-Hold-Exhale Deep Breathing

One of the best breathing exercises for anxiety or panic attacks.

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place where you can sit in a meditative pose comfortably for 15-20 minutes
  • Repeat this three-stage pattern for 10 breath cycles
    • First, inhale and count 5 heartbeats
    • Second, hold breath and count 7 heartbeats
    • Third, exhale and count 9 heartbeats

 

Sama Vritti “Equal Breathing”

 Equal breathing works to interrupt your minds racing thoughts.

  • Find a comfortable position
  • Inhale and exhale on a count of 4 through your nose
  • Repeat for 10 breaths or more
  • When you’re comfortable, you can extend the counts to 6 or 8 seconds per inhale/exhale

 

Progressive Relaxation

Helps break up the tension in your body and refocus your energy.

  • Sit in a comfortable, relaxed position
  • Close your eyes, and tense each muscle group from your toes up to your head. Take deep, slow breaths as you tense and relax your muscles
  • Start with your toes and feet, then knees, thighs, and glutes, then chest, arms, hands, and finally neck, jaw, and eyes
  • Breathe in through your nose, hold your breath for 5 seconds while you tense each muscle group, then breathe out through your mouth while you relax the muscles

 

Kapalabhati “Skull Shining Breath”

  • Find a comfortable position
  • Start with a long, slow inhale with a quick powerful exhale from your belly, keeping your inhalation four times as long as your exhalation

 

4-4-4-4 Breathing 

  • Breathe in while counting to 4. Make it a deep belly breath
  • Hold your breath while counting to 4
  • Breathe out while counting to 4
  • Hold your breath while counting to 4
  • Do this sequence 2 more times

 

The Sigh

  • Breathe in
  • When you breathe out, open your mouth and let the air out so you hear the sound of the air releasing a soft sigh sound
  • As you let the air out, relax your shoulders, neck and other muscles and let go, like you’re melting

 

Buteyko Small Breathing Holds

  •  With your mouth closed, take a small but calm and relaxed breath in
  • Take a small breath out
  • Hold your nose closed with your hand
  • Hold for a count of 5
  • Release
  • Gentle, soft breathing in between sets
  • Tongue rests at the roof of the mouth; teeth slightly apart; jaw relaxed; drop shoulders; relax chest and belly; relax facial muscles

 

The Complete Breath

  • First, inhale completely at the abdomen
  • Continue to inhale by filling in the mid-section, the area of the diaphragm
  • Continue to inhale by filling the chest, allowing the upper chest and shoulders to rise
  • Systematically release and empty from the upper portion than the mid-section, and finally empty completely at the abdomen

 

Belly Breathing

  • Either in a sitting or lying position, place one hand on your chest and one on your belly. Take a deep breath of air, and try to have your belly move more than your chest. Feel your belly rise as your lungs fill with air
  • Practice breathing in slowly through your nose to a count of 4, and exhale slowly through your mouth to a count of 4.

Download  Breathing exercises for anxiety

 

 

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Anxiety and Addiction

anxiety-2019928_1920.jpgEveryone experiences anxiety, ranging from mild worry to intense fear. Some people are very aware of their anxiety; others aren’t conscious of it until it’s overwhelming; and others are overly aware of their anxiety, which often results in increasing it. Some experience anxiety mainly over specific situations, whereas others have more general feelings of anxiety. We’re nervous when we do things for the first time: going on dates, speaking to groups, or starting new jobs. For some, anxiety is short-lived and does not interfere in their lives other than causing mild discomfort. For others, anxiety causes panic, stops them from enjoying many activities, and interferes with daily living. Anxiety is related to addiction in two ways: We often feel anxiety when we practice new non-addictive behaviors, and we try to reduce anxiety with addictive behaviors.

According to the National Institute on Mental Health, more Americans suffer from anxiety disorders than any other mental illness. Individuals with anxiety are twice as likely to suffer from a substance use disorder.

There are many forms of anxiety:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Specific Phobias

Anxiety will manifest in two ways, physical and psychological.

Signs & Symptoms

  • An intrusive fear – either general or specific – occurs on most days of the week for six months or more
  • A decline in the quality of relationships, work performance, social activities
  • Repeated attempts to resolve the fears without success
  • The use of substances such as alcohol, drugs, or tobacco, or behaviors such as overeating, to manage anxiety symptoms

Physical Symptoms

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating or clamminess
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Chest Pain
  • Choking sensations
  • Trembling
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Dizziness

The physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety are similar to withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol. An addict will automatically look for substances to calm an anxious state. The avoidance of uncomfortable physical agitation and painful emotions are some of the components that maintain addiction and anxiety. Both anxiety and addiction will become stronger the more the addict continues using drugs and/or alcohol. Addiction enables the addict to avoid confronting and challenging anxious thoughts and feelings.

Anxiety and addiction are related in several ways. People who are socially anxious may have come to rely on substances to help them feel brave, reduce social fears, quiet internal self-criticism, and calm their bodies when interacting with others. However, at the same time, substance use erodes their confidence and ability to master the necessary skills to interact with others. The excessive fear and worry in social situations do not generally have any factual basis, but it feels so real that it results in avoidance or an inability to fully engage with others. So, at times not only is it challenging to initiate social connections but there is also a struggle to grow or maintain them.

Download your free anxiety workbook 

 

 

 

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