Watch your stress levels or they will sneak up on you

I control my anxiety and subsequent panic attacks by keeping my stress levels down.  This can be a challenge as you don’t always know that stress and anxiety are building until it is too late and you are showing signs like, in my case, talking quickly, being agitated and getting upset at small things.

I had recently finished a job and was starting another and in between we were having a few days break at the coast.  The time just beforehand had been stressful but I was now looking forward to the new job starting.  A few days break away was what I needed.stress levels

I didn’t realize how stressed I really was until we got to our destination.  I thought at first I was a little car sick but after a few hours I knew that it really was anxiety.  Maybe all that stress that was built up just needed to release.  I didn’t want it to ruin my weekend.

I got out my iPod that has some great binaural beat relaxation music on it and got myself in a nice, warm, comfortable position, closed my eyes and turned it on.  I did feel a little better by the end so I played one of the tracks again.  Now I really felt the benefit and I was able to go out that night not fearing that I would have a panic attack.  If you ever have had a panic attack you will realize exactly how I felt when I had the control back.

Relaxation music and especially ones that have binaural beats really work for me in an emergency and I was so glad that I had taken my iPod that weekend and I know it will be the first thing I pack in the future.

I am fortunate that I have learned slow breathing techniques which assists the relaxation process and combined with the music I know that I can bring my stress levels down fairly quickly.  I know I will have to make sure that I include other relaxation methods in my daily life and not neglect my nerves in the future or it will happen again and I don’t want that.

The weekend could have been ruined for me but instead I had a lovely break by the sea before starting another stressful experience of starting a new job.  Oh the music I have downloaded is  Slow Down and Relax which is 20 minutes and Manifestation (for positive thinking) which is 30 minutes and of course I have the 10 minute sample.

Social Anxiety | My Experience (Part 1)

I suffer from social anxiety.  Social anxiety Disorder is a recognized psychiatric condition and is common in both sexes and which causes distress and impaired ability to function in social situations in a person’s daily life. This is my personal story but I must say that I manage my anxiety well now, and keep my stress levels down as much as possible.  I won’t say that I am ‘cured’ but I am learning again to enjoy the things I once feared.

Continue reading Social Anxiety | My Experience (Part 1)

Public Speaking Anxiety | Achieving Effective Speaking Skills

I am talking today about public speaking anxiety which is also known as Glossophobia and also achieving effective speaking skills because at sometime in your life you may have to speak publicly to a work or community group and you want to be able to do that without stressing out.  Giving a speech or presenting before a group, whether the group is a thousand or just ten, qualifies as one of people’s biggest fears. It is not uncommon to find a person who is terrified at the prospect of having to speak to a roomful of people.conference-2

But why do we fear speaking in front of others so very much?  Psychologists believe that it is not really public speaking that make people experience so much STRESS but the fear of making a mistake in front of others. In my personal experience that is true, but also when you talk publicly people actually look at you and to me I feel they are judging how I look as well as how I speak. Being glossophobic can however be conquered with the right attitude, knowledge and commitment.

Here are some points that can start you in your path towards achieving effective speaking skills:

Speak about what you know
Talking about something that you have a passion for and know about will not only lessen the anxiety that you may experience but will also make you appear fervent and enthusiastic about the project. If you want to develop effective speaking skills then this would be the what I would do first.

Use Humor
What’s the best way to impress an audience? To make them feel connected to you. And how do you exactly do that? Use humor. Open your speech with a joke or a funny observation. Everyone loves to laugh. This can also help you relax. It’s also a good strategy for covering up errors when they happen.

When you practice, the chance of making a mistake decreases. The biggest benefit though will be that it will make you feel more self confident, knowing that you have prepared for the speech and that you have done your best to present it.  I am the kind of person who likes to be prepared so this tip is something I would do anyway.  So, prepare your speech then practice it and you will find yourself less stressed and less glossophobic.

Involve The Audience
The best way to appear competent before an audience is to actually acknowledge their existence. Say hello to them and you could even ask them a question.  Also when you do this it makes the speech less formal and more comfortable for everyone. A less formal approach can excuse the speaker from some blunders.  Hey and I will made them over the years.

My secret and main coping technique in regard to public speaking anxiety is to think of the audience as children. Children are accepting and not critical aren’t they.  Find what works for you though as we all react differently to stress. I have heard people say that they image the audience naked, but hey, that just doesn’t work for me at all.  Maybe all you need is to listen to is some RELAXATION MUSIC beforehand and that is what I do as it brings my stress levels down quite dramatically.

So the bottom line is don’t stress the next time you have to speak to a group, follow my tips and you will be fine and well prepared.

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Social Anxiety | My Experience (Part 2)

The first time I had a panic attack I thought I must have some sort of virus that made me nauseous and that gave me diarrhea. My face was flushed and I was convinced I had a fever.  I was at a Christmas party at the time and spent the majority of the evening in the powder room.  I felt just miserable all night. Its amazing how strong are The Astonishing Power of Emotions.   I didn’t understand then that the waves coming up over me through out the evening were actually panic.  It took me two days for my stomach to recover.   Social Anxiety can sneak up on you and without help the phobia keeps getting re enforced by your behavior.

These panic attacks continued at social outings especially at restaurants for the next 20 or more years until I decided that I couldn’t live this way.  Because I am not a very social person it didn’t affect me as much as someone who was outgoing but I found I was now avoiding situations, so my social life was very limited.  I decided to get help and was referred to a Psychiatrist.  She prescribed drugs to help but these gave me so many side affects, some still are with me now such as a creeping feeling in my scalp that I’ not sure that I got a lot of benefit from them.  I did get some temporary relief, like a band aid solution, but it didn’t really help me solve the root problem.

I was finally diagnosed as having Social Anxiety Disorder though and that give me a name to my problem.

I went on for a few more years until I got some good advice to try Cognitive Behavior Therapy with a Psychologist at a local Mental Health Service.  A group class was starting soon so I took advantage of that and joined in.  What surprised me initially was that the people in the group were all different in how social anxiety was affecting them.  One person had a problem with making and answering telephone calls.  Another couldn’t talk to strangers and I couldn’t eat in restaurants.  The real surprise was that we all benefited by the classes.

It taught me to recognize triggers for my social anxiety and to take one step at a time towards overcoming the behaviors I had re enforced over the years. We used a work book and did some group work as well.

More on my first steps to overcoming this disorder in my next post.

If you are looking to get relief NOW from social anxiety and panic attacks go to PANIC AWAY which is one of the internets most successful online course for treating panic disorder today.  They get amazing results, just check out their testimonials.

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