Create Your New Year Anxiety Free!

Create Your New Year Anxiety Free!!

There is much talk at this time of the year regarding the making and keeping of New Year Resolutions.  We base our resolutions on what we want to change or improve in our lives.

This practice dates back thousands of years ago to Babylon, Egypt and China.  For us with anxieties it is a great practice, as it makes us focus on improving our lives which is a great step in overcoming anxiety. 

The unfortunate part of this practice is that statistics say that only a small percentage of people, approximately 12% of us that set resolutions for the New Year, will be successful in accomplishing their resolutions.

The big question is….why do so few of us succeed?

Don’t take offense to the next statement, but it applies to most of us humans…our minds are “lazy”.

And then, those of us with an anxiety disorder add another problem into the mix,  we are “afraid”!  Two strikes against us and we haven’t even got out of bed yet!

So, what is it that we have to do in order to succeed in achieving our resolutions. 

To begin with, accept and realize that our own brain can sabotage our plans.  Researchers at universities such as Scranton and Pennsylvania discovered that for people to succeed in their goal setting, they had to be fully willing and ready to commit to making a change and to reinforce their affirmations, pledges and changed behaviors on a daily basis.  Many of the successful achievers used social networks of family, friends and colleagues to keep them on track and accountable for success.  Those of us who were not successful tended to engage in more wishful thinking and self-blame. 

Although it is easier to succeed with encouraging and positive people in our lives, we can still achieve goals on our own if we have to… lets get started!   

1.  Learn how to relax and meditate and practice daily.  Purchase or borrow C.D.s that contain guided meditations.  Guided meditation helps us through the process.  Commit to doing this every day.

2.  Think about 3 changes you want to make in your life and create 3 goals around these changes.  Take a couple of days to make sure this is what you want to achieve.

3.  Write all 3 goals down with the most important one at the top.  Writing down the goals is very important and critical to achieving.  So, again……write down those goals and elaborate on them.  Place them in a spot where you can see them every day!  Look at them!  Think about them!  Daily!  Very Important!

4.  Create a daily commitment sheet and each morning choose to do one small thing that will bring you closer to realizing your goal.

5.  Visualize your goals as being accomplished.  How would your life look?  How would you feel?  What are you doing?  This is necessary for the mind as we are hugely impacted by emotion.  Visualization will help us to find ways to move forward.  This may seem like fluff but it is proven to work, so, important to visualize!

6.  Find someone who will be your accountability partner.  This person will check in with you every week and ask for a progress report. If you want to improve your possibility of success promise to pay this person an agreed amount of money if you don’t achieve your goals or steps to your goals within a certain time frame.

7.  Write down a step by step plan of how you will move forward, then work the plan.

8.  Each day write down 5 things you are grateful for.  This works miracles in our brain and reinforces positive thoughts which creates more energy.

9.  When a goal has been accomplished, reward yourself! 

In following these steps, you will have success!!!

Lets make 2012 the best year ever!

Dennis Signature

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The Benefits of Sports for the Body and Brain

Did you know that the way we move our body can have a great impact on helping to relieve depression?

Those of us with anxiety disorder may have days that we can be somewhat depressed, and as hard as we try, we can not
seem to change our thoughts.

This is where we can direct our bodies to make quick movements which can help immensely. It has been proven (by the experts) that even so much as smiling can make us feel better as it sends positive messages to our brains. All this has worked for us and we have seen it work for many people!

Most of us have read articles that tells us how great physical exercise is for the body and the brain and they are right.
We could go into long detail about endorphins, other chemicals and the brain but in this article, what we want to focus on is the type of movement that works best for depression.
We have all been told at some time or another that actively taking part in exercise or team sports is good for alleviating anxiety and depression, but did you know that just watching sporting activity will also give us huge benefits to lessen depression?

If we are actively engaged in the game, our physical movements while watching, can lessen depression. Example, quick fast movements of our arms and legs or any other part of our body will lessen depression. It does help of course if the team you are supporting is winning!

When we are depressed, we move slow and of course we don’t smile much; observe a depressed person, we are usually easy to spot. Now watch friends of yours or other spectators while they are watching a sporting event that they are interested in.
When someone scores from their team they throw up their hands, possibly jump out of their chairs cheering, yelling, hugging and making all sorts of happy dances!

These quick movements alone do help lower depression and that is why, just watching sports, can be awesome for our emotional state, and…. why we see so many people watching sports; it gives us an emotional high!

Watching sports takes our mind off our daily problems for a while, giving us a time of mental excitement which all of us can use.

Give it a try, it does help!

Always start your day with a happy dance (quick movements) this will work wonders for all of us!

Let’s start our day by performing positive physical quick actions which helps mentally.

Make each day depression free, DO THE HAPPY DANCE!

To A Speedy Recovery,
Dennis and Debra

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Thoughts and Anxiety

DennisThoughts and Anxiety
Yesterday was such a beautiful day; sun shining warm, birds churping….I just had to get outside and go for a walk.  There was wildlife around as I walked through the park, some rabbits, groundhogs, and lots of birds.  I stopped to watch the water rush down the creek bed.  It has slowed down a bit which is good.  I feel like I live in the most beautiful place on earth.  As I walked I would pass a ‘hi” or ”good morning” to other strollers passing by.  Most people would respond, some did not.  I guess it was where they were at in their world, or maybe they didn’t hear me, but all was just great.  With all this wonder and beauty around me, there is still something that always seems to bring me back to wondering if all is right in my world and where I could make it even better.  I noticed a young boy about 7 or 8 years old coming toward me.  He had a backpack on so I assumed he was walking to school.  The interesting part of this chance encounter between him and me was, as he got closer to me, I noticed him looking up at me and then away from me a number of times.  There was no smile on his face.  As we passed, I had a number of thoughts come to me.  I was about to say hi to him, then something caused me to not say anything.  He looked at me and then passed on.  I struggled with not saying hi…..what would this boy think?  With all the talk we hear in the media about possible child abuse in this world and how children should not trust adults, if I smiled and said hi to this boy, how would he preceive this?  I realize we must protect our children, but at what cost and are we doing it in the right manner?  The other side of this, by not acknowledging this boy, could he be possibly thinking others don’t care?  What to Do?
I was saddened by my thoughts, but the good that came out of this is, from now on, I will always say hello to anyone and everyone, child or adult, and let the chips fall where they may.  I think we can all use a smile and a friendly hello.  I know I can.  It certainly helps to make it a great day!
Wishing You A Speedy Recovery,
Dennis Signature



Copyright (C) 2011 Panic and Anxiety Recovery Group All rights reserved.


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Texting, Facebook and Social Anxiety

People with a social anxiety disorder can have an irrational fear of what people think (WPT) about them.  They fear being judged and watched or being embarrassed and humiliated. This can affect about 12% of the population at some point in their lives to the degree that they don’t want or will not go out in public. This disorder can be short-lived or last many years.

But with proper treatment and on-going care, the quality of their lives can be greatly improved. I have seen people hide in their home to avoid having to meet with others, even if it is just briefly. After treatment, they are able to go on to work outside the home, interact with the public on a daily basis and enjoy it!  Proper treatment works wonders.

Using the brief explanation above about social anxiety, let’s look at how social media such as texting and Facebook affect those with social anxiety.

“Texting rather than talking”, can give us time to think about how to respond to someone else’s text; this can be a safe way to communicate as it removes us from voice to voice or face-to-face conversation. This can make contact with those with social anxiety easier and less stressful for the time being. At least they are reaching out, this is good.

It’s interesting to note though, that people with social anxiety may get anxious texting if they don’t get a quick reply, thinking maybe they texted the wrong words, possibly getting the other person upset. When we are anxious, our minds go to the negative very quickly. But people without this disorder don’t seem concerned about delay text. This is how we all should feel.

One of the pros about texting; at least we are making contact with others possibly expressing who we are, hopefully moving in the right direction and not closing ourselves off from the public.

One of the cons; we may be content to continue on with texting and avoid contact with others face to face therefore not really getting help for our problem.

There is a fine line whether social media helps or hinders, depends on our use.

I have read and listened to many opinions from people suffering from social anxiety and their use of Facebook and the effects it has on their social anxiety; different people different opinions.

What I have observed is people with social anxiety in the public, will also have it when using Facebook. Social lives on Facebook are really an extension of their belief system and lives outside of social media.

.Some example – “Posting photos and taking them down. Irrational fear of being judged.”“Following people on Facebook , then feeling bad about it thinking they were like a stalker.”

“Feeling like everyone else is having a lot more fun.”

“Regretting what they have written, as it is out in the universe forever, this is not a good thing, as it cannot be retrieved.”

There are many people that deactivate their account because the stress is too high on Facebook for them.

With the proper training, those of us with social anxiety can learn how to let all the negatives go and enjoy all that life can bring.

For us, that means cognitive behavior therapy; looking at our belief systems, challenging that belief system when it doesn’t work for our highest and best good, and changing that belief system to reflect more the person we want to be.

Change our thinking — this will change our life, this being said change takes work, social anxiety will not go away on its own.

The unfortunate part of this disorder is that statistics show that 80% of the people receiving help and good therapy will not follow through with it and fall back into their old ways.

This saddens me to read these statistics as with consistent and persistent training our lives can be as we dreamed them to be, I have seen many recover.

Be the 20% that follow through with a good program, and then enjoy the life you have created.

With proper therapy, we can go on to do both, texting and face-to-face contact and enjoying both equally.

For your good health.

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Living an Anxiety Free Life

It dawned on me the other day, while looking at the abundant greenery around me that developing the life we want is a lot like gardening.

To create a beautiful garden we first must get educated about gardening.  We do this through reading gardening books and magazines and  talking to experienced gardeners.

Then, the next step would be to prepare the soil by removing lots of unwanted weeds that we know won’t bring us vegetables, at least enough weeds that we can start planting seeds and the plants we do want.

When overcoming anxiety the same concept applies; get educated about the disorder, and what we need to do to start on a road to recovery and, like gardening, remove the weeds or thoughts that are not serving us well, at least enough thoughts to be able to start to plant seeds.

We don’t have to, nor sometimes are we able to remove all the negative thoughts that are not serving us well, just make room for new thoughts. The unwanted thoughts, like weeds, can be removed during the growing season.

Weeds will continue to grow throughout the season just like improper thoughts, but we watch our garden just like our mind and we remove the unwanted weeds (thoughts) when we discover them.

Then, it is time for us to plant the seeds we want; we must plant the seeds to start with, or nothing will be produced.

We choose what seeds based on  what vegetables we desire, the same with our minds, we plant the thoughts in our minds we know will serve us well.

Like a garden of which we must “water ” and “weed” (and we can fertilize, organic of course),
we can nourish our minds by giving our new good thoughts daily attention and positive affirmations.

We “weed” by removing unwanted thoughts that seem to creep in when we are not paying attention. We fertilize our mind by adding more understanding and ideas on how to achieve what we desire.

Now we get to watch the plants grow!

In the garden we may need support structures to hold up the tomato plants.  In life it is always great to have positive people who will support us on our journey.

Then comes the ripe tomatoes, harvest time!  We can enjoy our efforts and hard work.

Because of all the weeding, sowing, watering and fertilizing I have done, I am now so grateful for the wonderful life I live and the infinite possibilities that are awaiting me……keep weeding!!!

Wishing You a Speedy Recovery,

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Can Anxiety Be Cured In A Day?

Can anxiety be cured in one day?

Character is not built in one day.
Skills are not built in one day.
Excellence is not built in one day.
We do not grow old in one day.
We do not learn how to talk in one day.
I could go on and on, hopefully you get my drift. Using the words “do not” may seem negative or blunt, but it serves my purpose to make a strong point.

Our belief system is not established in one day.
Belief can be described as a habitual thought pattern- by the nature of belief systems it takes time to establish them.
This reminds us that when we take a walk through the woods, for example, we can look back and not see that we walked there. If we walk that same path many times we will notice a pathway which can be easily seen.  This works the same with the mind, we have to think the same thought over and over again, and then we have a pathway in the mind which is easy-to-follow. Remember to cultivate the positive, helpful thoughts because this becomes our Belief.
I believe that some people that come to the group or take lessons on how to overcome anxiety are disappointed because they don’t find a quick fix.
We tend to be a “fix it now” society; our attention span seems to be so short.
Real life begins at the end of our comfort zone.
I love the saying— don’t ask that our life be made easier, ask that we become stronger.
We like to do the things that make us feel good.
Taking on anxiety is work, and to start with, it doesn’t always feel good, as we have to change some of our belief system and take on the fear.

Tip of the week:
A great way to stay on track with our recovery, is to look at the end results. When we have overcome anxiety, how will we feel?  What would be our emotion – happy?.., excited?.., it would be a feel-good emotion;, hold on to this emotion.

Emotion is the force of life — the right emotion can pull or push us to recovery, accept that it may take a little time.

Wishing You a Speedy Recovery,

Dennis Signature Debra

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Recovering From Anxiety Disorders

I have come a long way, baby!
When I look at the picture of me to the left, holding a tray of appies, I smile big. The picture was taken on a cruise ship on our way through the Caribbean with members of both of our families. Something I never thought I would of been able to do….in fact I never even dared to dream I could come that far! From pretty much totally incapacitated from panic attacks to travelling to far off places.

The process of overcoming my anxiety disorder reminds me of my practise of running for exercise. First, I had a starting point–I may start by walking, getting the legs used to what I am preparing to do.

This was the same with overcoming my anxiety–I got educated on what I needed to do to get well. I got this from the anxiety recovery group I attended and reading everything I could on the subject. Thus–the walk–to be good at what I want to accomplish in my life, I have to FOCUS on the process on how to get better.

Next, from the walk, I started to jog–my slow run.

Through the process of recovery I gained more confidence and moved faster towards my goals, incorporating the tools I learned, taking the fear on and conditioning my body.

Then, I broke into a run……The more I understood, the more fear I was able to take on, and the faster I could run!

Then, as in running, eventually I have to stop and take a rest. I use that time to look back at how much I have accomplished and to practise my attitude of gratitude.

I may have setbacks along the way to my goals (like a sore knee) but I will never let it stop me. I may rest, but eventually I will get back to the run.

In fact, those setbacks, in running as in anxiety disorders, gives me the opportunity to make note of some changes I have to make, then off I am again taking on life and winning!

My hope for all of you is keep on running!

Wishing You a Speedy Recovery,


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I Claim a Better Life

I Claim A Better Life


We have read many articles about fear, as it has been a big concern of ours because of our own experiences with anxiety disorders. 
Fear, in life and of life, can and does keep us from reaching our full potential.  Many times when thinking of starting something new, a certain amount of fear will enter into our thinking, mostly the fear of….What If?–What if this horrible thing happens? What if I fail? What if I make a fool out of myself? What if I make a mistake?  What if I am wrong?  The list goes on and on……the unknown can bring on alot of doubts and fears about our ability to cope. 
It is at this point where we can stay as we are or we can choose to move into and past the fear towards positive growth. 
To have a more fulfilled life we must grow beyond our limited thinking, pushing through and past the fear that holds us back.
We know that fear manifests differently in each of us but, beyond a shadow of a doubt, only good things can come from taking it on.
The following article puts a good spin on the subject of fear. It was written by Chris Michaels, a minister for the Center for Spiritual Living in Missouri, author, life coach,and national speaker.

“Fear and doubt are normal human reactions to growth.  They are evidence of your past limited beliefs about what is possible for your life.  They are knee-jerk responses to old programming.  As you start to claim a greater life experience, fear and doubt will naturally float to the surface of your thinking.  They are evidence that you are moving beyond your past into a whole new vision for your life.
The mistake that many people make when they encounter fear or doubt is to retreat back into the comfort zone.  They see fear as a stop sign rather than a line that delineates the old from the new.  They become afraid and run back to the comfort of their past behaviors. 
To live well, you must do something different with your fears.  see them as a sign of growth.  Use them to push you further ahead into the new vision you’re creating.  don’t be afraid of your fears.  Embrace them.  See them for what they truly are:  old ideas mourning their own loss. 
Once you have shone the light of wisdom on your fear, recommit yourself to the vision of a good life.  dedicate the rest of your time to envisioning a life of continued health, love, joy, and abundance.  You have the ability to live the life of your dreams  It’s not only where you place your faith that matters.  It’s also what you do with your fears.”

So, do whatever it takes to keep taking those little steps forward and we thank you for the opportunity to share what we have learned, hoping in some way, it will make your journey faster.  Find a group, start a group, we are not alone in this disorder and there is power in talking and facing this problem.

Wishing You a Speedy Recovery,

Dennis SignatureDebra Signature

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Anxiety, Depression and Spirituality

We have been involved with anxiety and panic disorders for over 45 years, (We are dating ourselves, we know).  Some of that time has been working on overcoming it ourselves, but a lot of it has been in helping others overcome their disorders.  We have been very privileged to have had many different people share their experiences, ideas and beliefs with us on what has helped them on their path to recovery.

 We realize everyone is different and responds differently at different times to the usual tools available to us in recovery, be it relaxation, deep breathing, visualization,  exposure therapy, challenging belief systems and even medication.
Today, we want to touch on the belief some have around spirituality.

In Christianity this entity is called God.

So, does a belief in God make a difference in recovery?

We received a call a number of years ago from a woman who was interested in attending our group because of the panic and anxiety she was experiencing.  One of her questions about the structure of the group and how it was run, was an inquiry as to whether we were a “Christian Group”.  We asked her what she meant, as we have always believed as long as we are helping others, we are doing what could be considered “Christian”, helping or serving others.  She went on to ask if we pray and talk about God and Jesus.  We told her that we did not, as we had those attending who may be atheist, agnostic, Jewish or Buddhist and certainly did not want to offend anyone else’s belief system.  In fact, we may encourage someone to question their belief system if it does not appear to be working to their highest good.  This woman declined to attend our group because of her beliefs.

But this did start us on the road to inquire if having a belief in God or a Higher Power would be beneficial to us on our road to recovery.  We read many different articles that were written by ”believers” and ”non-believers”, scientists and doctors. 
We tried to stay neutral and not let our beliefs colour the outcome of our informal study. 

In a nutshell, can we overcome an anxiety disorder without believing in God or a Higher Power?  Yes!
But there is a very strong argument to be made that people who do have some sort of spiritual belief system are happier, more peaceful and more motivated.  It did not appear to matter whether their belief was in a kind and loving God or, as in stated in Lesson 8, a sense of a Higher Power as abstract as “Cosmic Consciousness” or as down-to-earth as the beauty of the ocean or mountains.  Even if we regard ourselves as agnostic or atheist, if we get a sense of inspiration from taking a walk in the forest or contemplating a beautiful sunset that inspires us and takes us beyond ourselves to see a larger spiritual perspective this, to us, is a belief in a Higher Power.  

So, Yes! Our little study did find that spiritual people are relatively happier, more peaceful and more motivated than people without  spirituality in their lives.  We encourage you to explore and question…..
Wishing You a Speedy Recovery,

Dennis and Debra

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Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) & Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

 Many years ago I was introduced to a therapy called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and lately I have noticed a resurgence of this technique.  Originally EFT was used predominately in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but now I am noticing it being used for many disorders including Panic, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive (OCD) and Depression.  It has even been used to treat for the relief of physical and emotional pain. 
For those not familiar with EFT, it basically requires using one or two fingers and repetitively tapping on certain points or meridians on your face and body, progressing from point to point in a predetermined sequence.  At the same time you are tapping you are repeating certain words or sentences depending on what it is you are addressing.  There is lots of information on the Internet about EFT, so check it out if you are interested in a more in depth interpretation as whole books have been written on this subject.
I do want to address whether or not EFT can help us out with  Panic/Anxiety/OCD/Depression.  In a quick answer, YES!….but let’s look at it a little closer.
I have personally used EFT at times to work at instilling certain beliefs into my mind, IE, repeating over and over again…”I am a gifted public speaker”, as I feel I lack in that area of my life.  I know I am not alone with that as the saying goes, some people would rather die than public speak!  So, while I am tapping a certain sequence, I continue to repeat, “I am a gifted public speaker”,  changing or adding to the wording a bit as I tap, which according to the gurus of EFT will instill this into my subconscious mind. 
Has it worked to the degree I would like?…not really, but it has helped to calm and relax me which definitely makes it easier to visualize success. A relaxed mind is more receptive to beneficial suggestions.
This is why we teach and recommend relaxation exercises daily.  This calms our minds to help us relax.  We can not be relaxed and anxious at the same time!  This does take dedication and work.  Repetition is important.  As I have always maintained…we won’t get a great body by going to the gym once.  Nor will any exercise for the body or mind work to our satisfaction if we only do it once.
For post-traumatic stress disorder, EFT works well as the trauma is from the past.  For anxiety and panic we have a different situation, the scary places, thoughts and feelings come at us daily and can be new as our minds default into fear when we experience different anxiety producing situations, but….EFT can help as it brings us back to — relaxation–and changing our breathing.  Unless we change our thinking about the sensations or situations, fear will continue to come again and again.
Changing our thinking (belief system) is the predominate factor in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)  and a scientifically proven method of overcoming anxiety disorders.  EFT may be an aspect of that along with relaxation, meditation, and deep breathing, but it alone will not cure. 
Wayne Dyer said it best when he said, “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.”  This is a profound statement and absolutely true.  A social situation can be scary for some people and fun for others.   It is up to us to change it to be what we want it to be!   
CBT does take work, as does anything else worthwhile (remember the gym).
How to Overcome an Anxiety Disorder?  the following is a must:
Write down a plan of what you wish to accomplish.
Learn about your disorder and the tools needed to change your thinking.
Follow through…….daily……..with working on your plan.
Helpful, is a friendly alliance with one or more people to help you follow your plan.
If you don’t know how to do this, get in touch with us, we will help you live a life without fear!

To A Speedy Recovery,


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