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.
Detached observation is observing with unconditional love the activities of the world around you "as if you were not a part of that world". You witness and observe without judging or labeling anything good or bad...
Previous studies on workload and productivity include physical aspects, such as how much a person walks or carries, but they do not take into account a person’s state of mind.
The World Health Organization calls stress "a global epidemic". Stress may be as American as apple pie, but it is also as worldwide as bread pudding. It doesn't matter who you are, where you live, how much money you make, or how dysfunctional your parents were...
If you’re anything like me, or at least who I used to be, my hunch is that when you are on the cusp of doing (and especially saying) something big, important, and paradigm shifting, you label what you are experiencing in your body as fear.
We want life to be secure as much as we want our plans and expectations to work out. We want to live happily-ever-after. We want life to conform to our wishes, to make us happy, and to protect us from human suffering. In the end, we want life to protect us from itself, and the idea of security offers us that false consolation.
Violence, psychological or emotional abuse, and deprivation or neglect during childhood can affect both cellular aging and biological development, according to a new study.
From the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi by Saudi agents to President Trump’s clashes with the White House press corps, attacks on reporters are in the news. This problem extends far beyond the politics beat, and world leaders aren’t the only threats.
Mass shootings seem to have become a sad new normal in the American life. They happen too often, and in very unexpected places. Concerts, movie theaters, places of worship, schools, bars and restaurants are no longer secure from gun violence.
Historical accounts indicate that soldiers have roared in battle throughout history, from the Roman army to the Red army. We can also see it on the sports pitch, such as in wrestling or the New Zealand rugby players’ posture dance known as the “haka”.
Report after report documents how—despite more technologies aimed at connecting people, ideas, and information—people of all ages continue to experience greater and greater social and personal disconnection. Why? Well, our body, mind, and spirit can only keep up with so much. When overloaded, we may disconnect because it all is too much or feels like it is too much.
Not knowing is an uncomfortable experience. As human beings, we are naturally curious. We seek to understand, predict and control – it helps us learn and it keeps us safe.
John Carpenter’s iconic horror film “Halloween” celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Few horror movies have achieved similar notoriety, and it’s credited with kicking off the steady stream of slasher flicks that followed.
Halloween is now firmly part of the seasonal and consumer calendar – but, unlike other celebrations that promote gift-giving, family, love and friendship, Halloween involves disruption, transgression and an open engagement with darker emotions and fears.
One of the tools that I have used since its discovery in the first year after Pete’s death, is my image of my heart as a vast ocean, unable to be broken. Since its discovery, my heart is like water. If you come into my life, you’re enveloped completely, like a hand submerged in water. If you leave, the water goes back to complete, perhaps losing a drop. This idea...
Señora Labotta stared deep into Lucina’s eyes. “You are not the only soul who has suffered in love. There is a saying I like very much. Boethius said this; ‘Commit your boat to the winds and you must sail whichever way they blow, not just where you want’.
The film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind pitched an interesting premise: what if we could erase unwanted memories that lead to sadness, despair, depression, or anxiety? Might this someday be possible, and do we know enough about how distressing memories are formed, stored, and retrieved to make such a therapy possible?
After years of unsuccessful efforts to diminish, expel, eradicate, and overcome the pain in my body, I wondered if the pain sensations might be a voice for not only the body but other levels of the self as well. I understood that, while pain felt strong and overbearing and it absolutely dominated my attention, it was not necessarily an adversarial power. It was a reaction.
Hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires have tested our resolve as individuals, communities and societies. Along with social crises such as political- and war-induced migration, these events provide stark illustrations of our ability to adapt, help and trust one another through informal social networks and formal social institutions.
Why do many problems in life seem to stubbornly stick around, no matter how hard people work to fix them? It turns out that a quirk in the way human brains process information means that when something becomes rare, we sometimes see it in more places than ever.
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.
Most of what you experience leaves no trace in your memory. Learning new information often requires a lot of effort and repetition – picture studying for a tough exam or mastering the tasks of a new job. It’s easy to forget what you’ve learned, and recalling details of the past can sometimes be challenging.
The popularity of SUVs, 4WDs and commercial utilities is showing no signs of abating in Australia. In the first six months of 2018, passenger vehicles made up just one-third of new vehicle sales (down from 50% five years ago) and SUVs 43% (up from 29% in 2013).
There are numerous things that make our life "work" for us. Some of these are things we learned along the way, and others are somehow "innate" within us. And of course, there are things that make our life "not work so well". I would like to share with you one thing that has worked for me.
Many of us worry about some big things that are yet to come or might never come. We worry about finances, natural disasters, emergencies, terrorism and acts of war, health, and aging, among other things. Some things we have a capacity to prepare for...
Even before toddlers can form a complete sentence, they’re attuned to how others may be judging them, according to a new study. The findings, which appear in Developmental Psychology, show that toddlers are sensitive to the opinions of others, and will modify their behavior accordingly when others are watching.
“Societies try and build those things that will protect their populations—to build infrastructures, civic institutions, effective governance,” says David Abramson, clinical associate professor at the New York University College of Global Public Health and director of the Population Impact, Recovery, and Resilience Program. “But when a disaster strikes, it threatens them.”
Trusting your soul requires immense courage when you are operating as an ego. That is because the ego takes its job very seriously. It was given the task of keeping the body safe from harm, and it forgot that it was performing this service on behalf of the soul...
Exams are an almost unavoidable part of young people’s lives – and, inevitably, some people perform better than others. But what is more important than taking exams is how students manage the results of their exams – especially if they aren’t what was expected. When the results are negative, it can be easy to come up with automatic thoughts such as “I will never succeed in my life”, “I’ve disappointed my parents”, or “everyone is better than me”.
Office clerk Stefan Kiszko spent 17 years in prison for the murder of schoolgirl Lesley Molseed in Rochdale in northwest England in 1975. Though he had confessed his guilt to the police at the time, evidence later proved he was innocent. I grew up in Rochdale and remember reading about the case in the local newspaper as a teenager. I always wondered why an innocent person would confess to a crime they hadn’t committed.
A new study suggests that two sets of dynamics initiate and perpetuate the kinds of leaps of faith firefighters and others in high-risk occupations routinely take: supporting and sustaining. The findings convey what goes into a person’s ability to make critical trust-related judgments.
Some of us handle stress better than others. Our ability to handle stress without turning to substances is determined not only by our innate constitution but also by the social support we experience early in life.
The Russian attacks on the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the country’s continuing election-related hacking have happened across all three dimensions of cyberspace – physical, informational and cognitive.
We've become so focused on how we'll maneuver to fit it all in that we no longer stop to smell the roses or breathe in the fresh air. Desperately we strive to gain control over the unknown. And we are hard on ourselves when we don't measure up to some internalized standard. Summed up, we're "stressed" out. Does this apply to you or someone you know?
Americans have been barraged by a series of major news events – some of them unsettling. Many have been left unsettled OR anxious OR jittery about the future of the decades-old U.S. relations with Europe
Some of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime will occur while you feel stressed and anxious. From medical decisions to financial and professional ones, we are often required to weigh up information under stressful conditions.
Starting your morning by focusing on the stress to come may harm your mindset throughout the day, according to a new study.
Okay. You’ve got some kind of symptom. Whether you consider it to be the result of an accident, some organism, or just bad luck, you’ve got something to deal with, something to understand, some action to take.
If you'll pardon the levity, most of us are afraid of fear. We think it's a bad thing. Because so many of our experiences with fear have been negative, we fail to see fear as positive or useful. It is both. Let me repeat: Fear is positive and useful.
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.'
Twenty minutes go by and during that period your fear escalates and you convince yourself the upcoming shot is going to hurt like hell.
School shootings and the March for Our Lives rallies held in cities around the world on March 24 2018 rekindled debates over how to keep students safe. “The notion of ‘it can’t happen here’ is no longer a notion,” said Sheriff Tim Cameron of St. Mary’s County, Maryland...
Although riots are an extreme form of public disorder, exposure to community violence is a common experience for many children.
In this world it is very natural to worry about our loved ones. We don’t want them to be hurt or to suffer in any way. Yet what if this worry is somehow hurting instead of helping? For years my mom has struggled with severe migraines. One night I was lying in bed thinking about her and...
Looking back, I see how much of my life I spent worrying about stuff or being nervous and insecure about stuff or not really enjoying the fullness and richness of my life. I had to admit that to myself. Because it seemed to me – in retrospect...
You might hesitate to make a character judgment about someone based on a first encounter. Most adults would probably want to see how a stranger acts in several different circumstances, to decide whether someone new is nice, mean or trustworthy.
Risk is everywhere and associated with everything. For example, the Center for Disease Control a decade ago estimated over 20 million people a year ended up in emergency rooms because of bathroom injuries.
I used to get really freaked out by the idea that the more I turned to Love, the more the ego would roar at me and whip me back into place. I am well aware that the ego will pull out any evidence to “prove” to us that we are not of Love. Some have referred to this as an “ego backlash.”
Generally we think of fear as something negative to be conquered, however fear isn’t always bad. In the right circumstances and in small doses it looks like caution or prudence, and it can play a constructive role in your decision making.
How do you shed light on fear, and see it for what it really is? You question it by asking, “Says who?” Like a boogieman in your mind, you need to stand up to it and let it know who’s in control and the boss of your thoughts. It’s either you or your fear-based thought. It’s important to decide who’s really in charge of your thinking.
Fear is one of the most fascinating and crippling human emotions. All of us, at one time or another, have been overcome with fear. There are two kinds of fear: actual fear and psychological fear.
Fear is one of our greatest teachers. From the time we have our first childhood lesson of keeping our hands off the hot stove to our mature ability to recognize danger and get out of the way, fear has earned our respect and has tremendous influence over our behavior. But sometimes fear holds us back...
The way you think about decisions gives you a remarkable decision-making super power that enables you to make decisions with confidence even when you have just the smallest glimpse of data. As a matter of fact it’s so good that, if you were the only one who had it, you could charge a fortune on your own psychic hotline. Fortunately for the rest of us, we all come hard-wired with this amazing capability, and all we have to do is learn to use it effectively.
Within two weeks, 94 percent of women survivors will experience PTSD. #HealMeToo wants to give them a place to share and recover.
For many parents, sorting the “normal” quirkiness of childhood behaviour from the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be anxiety provoking.
It is vital that we learn to tell the difference between a prompting from our Spirits and one coming from the fearful ego — our own, or those of others. Any call to action not coming through your Spirit as inspiration can probably be labeled as a should, an...