How to live in the “Peaks & Valleys” of life

A review (and application) of Spencer Johnsons Book “Peaks and Valleys”:

Have you ever felt like life is a rollercoaster of highs and lows? If so, you’re not alone. Life is full of peaks and valleys, and navigating the ups and downs can be challenging. But fear not because Spencer Johnson’s book, “Peaks and Valleys,” provides a simple but powerful framework for managing the highs and lows of life.

Johnson tells the story of a young man who meets an older, wiser man in the mountains, who teaches him how to overcome obstacles and achieve success. The older man teaches the young man that life is a series of peaks and valleys and that it is during the valleys that one can learn valuable lessons and gain perspective.

So, how can we learn valuable lessons and gain perspectives in the valleys of life? Johnson suggests several ways:

First, he encourages us to embrace the valley. Rather than avoiding or denying life’s difficulties, Johnson suggests embracing them and seeking opportunities to learn and grow.

Embracing the valleys of life can be challenging, but there are practical ways that someone can implement this idea from “Peaks and Valleys” by Spencer Johnson. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness can help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and emotions and help them approach difficult situations with a more open and accepting attitude. Mindfulness practices such as meditation or journaling can help individuals embrace the valleys of life by encouraging them to sit with and observe their experiences without judgment.
  2. Seek support: Talking to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist can provide individuals with a safe space to process difficult emotions and experiences. Seeking support can also help individuals feel less alone and give them insights and advice on navigating the valley.
  3. Reframe negative thoughts: Falling into negative thought patterns or beliefs can be easy when faced with a difficult situation. Reframing negative thoughts into more positive or neutral ones can help individuals approach the valley with a more open and accepting attitude. For example, rather than thinking, “this situation is terrible,” try reframing it to “this situation is challenging, but I have the strength to overcome it.”
  4. Look for growth opportunities: As Johnson suggests, the valleys of life can provide opportunities for learning and growth. When facing a difficult situation, identify what lessons can be learned or how they can contribute to personal growth. This shift in perspective can help individuals approach the valley with a more positive and proactive attitude.

Second, he suggests reflecting on past successes and failures. Reflecting on past successes and failures can help us gain perspective and learn from our mistakes.

Reflecting on past successes and failures can be valuable for personal growth and development. Here are some practical ways to implement this idea from “Peaks and Valleys” by Spencer Johnson:

  1. Keep a journal: Writing down past successes and failures can provide a record of personal growth and development over time. Additionally, reflecting on past experiences in writing can help individuals gain perspective and identify patterns or themes in their successes and failures.
  2. Seek feedback: Talking to trusted friends, family members, or mentors can provide valuable insights into past successes and failures. Others may be able to offer an outside perspective and identify strengths and weaknesses that the individual may not have noticed themselves.
  3. Identify patterns: Reflecting on past successes and failures can help individuals identify patterns or themes in their behavior or decision-making. By recognizing these patterns, individuals can make more informed decisions and avoid repeating past mistakes.
  4. Celebrate successes: Celebrating past successes, no matter how small, can provide motivation and confidence for future endeavors. Acknowledging personal achievements can help individuals feel more resilient in future challenges.
  5. Learn from failures: Johnson suggests that failures can provide valuable lessons for personal growth. Rather than dwelling on past mistakes, individuals can reflect on what they learned from the experience and how they can use that knowledge to make better decisions in the future.

Third, he recommends asking for feedback. Asking for feedback from others can provide valuable insights and help us identify areas for improvement.

Asking for feedback can be a powerful tool for personal growth and development. Here are some practical ways to implement this idea from “Peaks and Valleys” by Spencer Johnson:

  1. Ask specific questions: When seeking feedback from others, asking specific questions about a particular area of interest can be helpful. For example, individuals can ask for general feedback on a specific project, presentation, or behavior rather than asking for general feedback.
  2. Choose trusted sources: It’s important to choose trusted sources when seeking feedback. Individuals can ask for feedback from friends, family members, colleagues, mentors, or others they respect and trust.
  3. Be open to criticism: Receiving feedback can be difficult, especially if it’s critical. However, being open to criticism and approaching feedback with a growth mindset can provide valuable insights and help individuals identify areas for improvement.
  4. Follow up: After receiving feedback, following up with the individual to clarify any points or ask for additional advice can be helpful. Additionally, individuals can share how they plan to implement the feedback and ask for support or accountability.
  5. Practice active listening: When receiving feedback, it’s important to practice active listening. This means paying attention to what the individual is saying, asking clarifying questions, and expressing gratitude for the feedback.

Fourth, he advises practicing gratitude. Even amid difficulty, focusing on the positive aspects of our lives can help us maintain a positive attitude and gain perspective.

Practicing gratitude can be a powerful tool for cultivating a positive mindset and gaining perspective, even during difficult times. Here are some practical ways, with empathy in mind, to implement this idea from “Peaks and Valleys” by Spencer Johnson:

  1. Start a gratitude journal: Writing down three things you’re grateful for each day can help you focus on the positive aspects of your life. This could be as simple as a warm cup of coffee in the morning, a supportive friend or family member, or the beauty of nature.
  2. Say thank you: Expressing gratitude to others can help strengthen relationships and improve your own well-being. Whether it’s a heartfelt thank-you note, a verbal expression of thanks, or a small act of kindness, saying thank you can help you feel more connected and appreciative.
  3. Notice the good: During difficult times, it can be easy to focus on the negative aspects of a situation. However, intentionally noticing the good, no matter how small, can help shift your perspective and boost your mood. For example, noticing a beautiful sunset, a kind gesture from a stranger, or a moment of laughter with a loved one can help you feel more positive.
  4. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing, can help you stay present and cultivate a sense of gratitude. Focusing on your breath or a specific sensation in your body can quiet your mind and help you appreciate the present moment.
  5. Give back: Giving back to others can be a powerful way to cultivate gratitude and meaning in your life. Volunteering, donating to a charity, or simply offering a kind word or gesture to someone in need can help you feel more connected to others and appreciate your blessings.

Fifth, he suggests taking action. Rather than becoming paralyzed by fear or uncertainty, Johnson suggests taking action toward our goals, even if it is a small step.

Here are the practical action steps for taking action towards your goals as suggested by Spencer Johnson in his book “Peaks and Valleys”:

  1. Identify your goals: First, identify what you want to achieve or accomplish. Be specific about your goals and write them down.
  2. Break down your goals: Break your goals down into smaller, manageable steps. This will make them less overwhelming and easier to accomplish.
  3. Take small actions: Take action towards your goals, even if it’s just a small step. It could be as simple as making a phone call or email.
  4. Focus on progress, not perfection: Don’t worry about being perfect. Instead, focus on making progress toward your goals. Celebrate small wins along the way.
  5. Stay motivated: Keep yourself motivated by focusing on the positive outcomes of achieving your goals. Remind yourself why you started and how good it will feel when you succeed.
  6. Adjust your actions: If your actions aren’t getting you closer to your goals, adjust your approach. Be open to trying new things and making changes as needed.
  7. Stay consistent: Consistency is key to achieving your goals. Keep taking action towards your goals, even when it gets tough.

Lastly, he advises us to learn from others. Studying the lives of successful people and learning from their experiences can help us gain perspective and insights into navigating the valleys of life.

Here are the practical implementation steps for learning from others, as suggested by Spencer Johnson in his book “Peaks and Valleys”:

  1. Identify successful people: In your field or area of interest, identify successful people. You can look for them in books, articles, online resources, or your personal network.
  2. Study their experiences: Read about their experiences, challenges, and successes. Look for common themes and patterns that contributed to their success.
  3. Learn from their mistakes: Identify the mistakes they made and learn from them. This can help you avoid making the same mistakes and save you time and effort in the long run.
  4. Adapt their strategies: Identify their strategies and approaches to overcome challenges and achieve success. Adapt these strategies to fit your own situation and circumstances.
  5. Apply their lessons: Apply the lessons you learn from successful people to your own life. Implement their strategies and approaches in your own work and personal life.
  6. Share with others: Share what you learn with others. Discuss your findings with colleagues, friends, or family members. This can help you gain new perspectives and insights and inspire others to learn from successful people.

Remember, learning from successful people is not about copying them. It’s about gaining insights and perspectives to help you navigate life’s valleys more effectively and achieve your own goals.

“The best way to get out of a valley is to climb toward a peak.”

Spencer Johnson

Overall, “Peaks and Valleys” provides a simple but powerful framework for managing the highs and lows of life and encourages readers to use the lessons learned during difficult times to achieve greater success and happiness. Rather than getting stuck in the depths of a valley, we can focus on climbing towards a peak and use the lessons learned during the valley to propel us forward. By embracing the valleys of life, reflecting on past experiences, seeking feedback, practicing gratitude, taking action, and learning from others, we can navigate life’s peaks and valleys with grace and resilience.

I hope you found this summary helpful and that it encourages you to read “Peaks and Valleys” for yourself. Remember, life is a journey, and every valley has a peak waiting on the other side.

Breathwork is the body’s “calm down” switch

When life throws us challenges, we experience trauma or a stressful event; our natural response is to go into fight-or-flight mode. This is a normal, automatic response to a perceived danger. But when the threat has passed, it’s essential to learn how to calm your nervous system and release the tension and anxiety that can linger in the aftermath.

One of the most powerful tools for calming the nervous system is breathing. Breathwork has been used in various forms for centuries to help people manage stress, anxiety, and trauma. It’s an effective and natural way to reset your body and mind.

We take shallow, rapid breaths when our bodies are in fight-or-flight mode. This type of breathing is known as sympathetic breathing, and it’s the body’s way of preparing us to fight or run away. But when the danger has passed, this type of breathing can increase anxiety and make it more difficult to relax.

On the other hand, deep, slow breaths can help to activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for calming the body and restoring balance. Deep, slow breaths can help to trigger the body’s relaxation response, which is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response.

The key to using breathing to calm the nervous system is to focus on the breath. Focusing on our breath brings us into the present moment and helps us become aware of our body and mind. This awareness helps us relax, as it allows us to recognize what is happening and let go of any tension or fear we may be holding onto.

Breathing can also help to release the emotions that may be stored in our body from the traumatic event. When we take a few deep, slow breaths, we can help to release the tension and stress that may have built up in our bodies. This type of breathing can also help release emotions associated with the trauma, allowing us to move through the experience more quickly.

Breathing can also help to regulate the body’s cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress. When we take deep, slow breaths, we can help to lower our cortisol levels and restore balance in the body. This can help to reduce anxiety and improve mood.

Try this simple breathing exercise:
Make your exhales longer than your inhales. For example, if you breathe in for 4 seconds, breathe out for a count of 8 seconds. Longer exhales than inhales will turn on the “rest and relaxation” functions in the parasympathetic system. Conversely, longer inhales than exhales energize the system. This is an exercise used by Navy Seals to prepare for or calm down from a battle. Take 3 or 4 long exhales. You should feel your body relax immediately, with shoulders dropping and tension releasing. You might even yawn, which is a good sign too.

Breathing is a powerful tool for calming the nervous system and helping manage trauma’s effects. It can help to reduce stress, release emotions, and regulate cortisol levels. When we focus on our breath and take a few slow, deep breaths, we can help to activate the body’s relaxation response and restore balance.

If you want help calming the body and brain due to worry, fear, stress, or panic, contact Ron Huxley today. Click here to schedule an appointment!

Anxiety should be our primary focus for the New Year

Anxiety is a common and often debilitating mental health condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterized by feelings of worry, unease, and fear and can manifest in a variety of physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and muscle tension. While anxiety is something that many experiences at some point in their lives, it can become a chronic problem that interferes with daily functioning and overall well-being.

Given the significant impact of anxiety on individuals and society, we must make it a priority to address this issue in the coming year. In this blog post, we will explore why anxiety should be our primary focus in 2023 and what we can do to support those struggling with this condition.

One of the main reasons anxiety should be a focus in 2023 is that it is highly prevalent. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions globally, affecting an estimated 264 million people. One in every 13 people is likely to experience anxiety at some point.

Anxiety can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life. It can interfere with work, relationships, and daily activities and lead to other mental health issues, such as depression. Anxiety can also have physical consequences, such as an increased risk of heart disease and other health problems.

Another reason anxiety should be a focus in 2023 is that it is often overlooked or misunderstood. Despite its prevalence, anxiety is often stigmatized and not taken as seriously as other mental health conditions. This can make it difficult for people to seek help or even recognize that they have a problem.

There is also a lack of awareness about the various forms of anxiety and the different ways it can manifest. For example, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive and persistent worry about various topics, while social anxiety disorder is marked by extreme fear of social situations. Understanding the different types of anxiety can help us better identify and support those struggling with this condition.

So what can we do to make anxiety a focus in 2023 and support those dealing with this condition? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of anxiety: One of the first steps to addressing anxiety is to increase awareness and understanding of the condition. This can involve educating the public about the different forms of anxiety, the signs and symptoms, and the available treatments. It can also involve debunking myths and stereotypes about anxiety and promoting a more compassionate and understanding approach to struggling people.
  • Expand access to treatment: Another important step is ensuring that those struggling with anxiety have access to effective treatment. This can involve making therapy and medications more readily available and affordable and increasing the number of trained mental health professionals. It can also involve supporting alternative treatments such as mindfulness and meditation, which can be effective for some people.
  • Create supportive environments: We can also create more supportive environments for those with anxiety. This can involve providing accommodations in the workplace, such as flexible scheduling or the option to work from home. It can also involve creating safe and supportive spaces in schools, universities, and other community settings.
  • Promote self-care: Finally, it is important to encourage self-care and stress management techniques to help individuals better manage their anxiety. This can involve educating people about healthy habits such as exercise, sleep, and nutrition, as well as techniques such as relaxation and mindfulness.

In conclusion, Anxiety is a growing problem for children and adults. It can be an invisible illness overlooked by society, leading to fear and anxiety in those suffering from it. The good news is that anxiety can be managed, and we can work together to bring change so that more people can recover from it.

Let Ron Huxley help you deal with anxiety by scheduling a session today!

STOP Anxiety and Unwanted Emotions in Four Simple Steps

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a therapeutic approach that has been used to treat a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety. It focuses on helping individuals learn how to regulate their emotions and build healthier relationships. One of the core concepts of DBT is the “stop technique”, which is a tool that can be used to help reduce anxiety.

What is the DBT stop technique?

The DBT stop technique is a way to help individuals recognize and manage their emotions in a healthy way. It is based on the idea that when we experience strong emotions, it can be difficult to think clearly and make rational decisions. The stop technique encourages individuals to pause and take a moment to recognize their feelings and to make a conscious effort to shift their focus to something else.

The stop technique is broken down into four steps:

  1. Stop: This is the first step in the technique and it involves taking a moment to recognize your emotions and to pause. You can do this by saying the word “stop” to yourself or by taking a few deep breaths.
  2. Take a step back: The second step is to take a step back and to observe the situation from a distance. This can help to provide perspective and to give you a better understanding of the situation.
  3. Observe: The third step is to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgement. This can help to provide clarity and to give you a better understanding of yourself and the situation.
  4. Proceed: The fourth step is to proceed with a plan of action. This could involve talking to someone about your feelings, writing down your thoughts, or engaging in a calming activity.

How can the DBT stop technique help with anxiety?

The DBT stop technique can be a helpful tool for individuals who are struggling with anxiety. It can help to provide a sense of control and to give individuals a sense of clarity. It can also help to reduce feelings of overwhelm by allowing individuals to take a step back and to observe their emotions without judgement.

The stop technique can also help to reduce the intensity of anxiety-related symptoms, such as racing thoughts, increased heart rate, and difficulty concentrating. By recognizing and acknowledging your feelings, you can take control of the situation and focus on calming yourself down.

Using the DBT stop technique effectively

Using the DBT stop technique effectively requires practice and dedication. It can be helpful to talk to a therapist about your experience with the technique and to practice it in a safe, comfortable environment. It is also important to be patient with yourself and to remember that it takes time to develop new skills.

It is also important to remember that the stop technique is not a “cure-all” for anxiety. It is a tool that can be used to help manage anxiety in the moment, but it is not a replacement for other forms of therapy or treatment.

Ron Huxley can help you stop anxiety and any other unwanted emotions. Let’s schedule an appointment for you today!

Reflection and Journaling for the New Year

Reflections and journaling are powerful tools that can help us better understand ourselves and our lives. They can provide a sense of clarity, direction, and purpose, and can even lead to personal growth and transformation.

What is reflection?

Reflection is the process of thinking deeply about something, considering different perspectives, and learning from past experiences. It involves evaluating and analyzing events, actions, and feelings, and considering their significance and impact.

Reflection can take many forms, including self-reflection, where we reflect on our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; and external reflection, where we reflect on the experiences and perspectives of others. Reflection can also be formal or informal, depending on the context and the purpose of the reflection.

Why is reflection important?

Reflection is an essential part of the learning process, as it helps us make sense of our experiences and understand how they relate to our goals and values. It can also help us identify patterns and trends in our behavior and thought processes, and identify areas for improvement or growth.

Reflection can also provide a sense of perspective and clarity, and help us better understand ourselves and the world around us. It can be a way to process and make sense of difficult experiences, and can even help us find meaning and purpose in our lives.

How do we reflect?

There are many different ways to reflect, and what works best for you will depend on your personal style and preferences. Some common methods of reflection include:

• Writing in a journal: This can be a great way to capture your thoughts and feelings on paper, and can be especially helpful for processing and making sense of difficult experiences.

• Talking to someone: Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist can be a helpful way to reflect on your experiences and gain insight.

• Meditating or practicing mindfulness: These practices can help you focus your attention on the present moment and reflect on your thoughts and feelings without judgment.

• Engaging in creative activities: Creative activities like drawing, painting, or writing poetry can be a way to express and explore your thoughts and feelings in a different way.

• Doing something physical: Engaging in physical activities like exercise or yoga can be a way to reflect on your thoughts and feelings while also taking care of your physical well-being.

Why is journaling important?

Journaling is a form of reflection that involves writing down your thoughts and feelings on a regular basis. It can be a powerful tool for personal growth and development, and has a number of benefits, including:

• Providing a sense of clarity and perspective: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you better understand and make sense of them. It can also provide a sense of perspective and help you see things in a new light.

• Enhancing self-awareness: Journaling can help you become more self-aware by providing a space to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This can help you identify patterns and trends, and better understand your strengths and areas for growth.

• Promoting emotional well-being: Journaling can be a way to process and express difficult emotions, and can even help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

• Setting goals and tracking progress: Journaling can be a way to set goals and track your progress towards achieving them. It can also help you reflect on what is and isn’t working, and make any necessary adjustments.

Journaling is a simple but powerful tool that can help improve your mental well-being and overall quality of life. It involves writing down your thoughts and feelings on a regular basis, and can provide a sense of clarity, perspective, and self-awareness. It can also be a way to process and express difficult emotions, set goals, and track progress.

If you’re new to journaling, or are looking for ways to make it a more meaningful and beneficial practice, here are some tips to get started:

1. Find a comfortable and private space to journal

It’s important to have a dedicated space where you can journal without distractions or interruptions. This can be a physical space, like a quiet room or cozy corner, or it can be a virtual space, like a private journaling app or document. Make sure you have everything you need, like a pen and paper or a laptop, and create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere.

2. Choose a journaling method that works for you

There are many different ways to journal, and what works best for you will depend on your personal style and preferences. Some options include:

• Pen and paper: This is a traditional and simple way to journal, and can be especially helpful for those who enjoy the physical act of writing.

• Digital journaling: There are many apps and online platforms available that allow you to journal electronically. This can be a convenient option if you’re always on the go or prefer typing to writing.

• Creative journaling: If you’re more creative and artistic, you might enjoy using your journal as a canvas for drawing, painting, or collaging.

• Prompted journaling: If you’re struggling to know what to write about, you might find it helpful to use prompts or questions to get started. There are many online resources and journals available that provide prompts for different topics and themes.

3. Set a regular journaling schedule

To get the most out of journaling, it’s important to make it a regular practice. Choose a time of day that works best for you, and try to set aside at least 15-20 minutes for journaling. You might find it helpful to journal at the same time each day, or to schedule specific times for different types of journaling (e.g., morning pages, gratitude journaling).

4. Write freely and without judgment

One of the key benefits of journaling is that it provides a safe and private space to explore your thoughts and feelings. It’s important to remember that your journal is for you, and that you don’t have to worry about grammar, spelling, or structure. Just write freely and let your thoughts and feelings flow.

5. Be honest and authentic

Journaling is an opportunity to be honest and authentic with yourself, so don’t hold back. Write about what’s really on your mind, even if it’s difficult or uncomfortable. You might be surprised at the insights and revelations that come from this process.

6. Reflect on and learn from your journaling

Journaling is a form of reflection, so it’s important to take some time to review and analyze your writing. Look for patterns and trends in your thoughts and feelings, and consider how they relate to your goals and values. Use your journaling as a way to learn about yourself and identify areas for growth and improvement.

7. Consider sharing your journal with someone you trust

Sharing your journal with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist can be a powerful way to gain additional insights and support. It’s important to choose someone who is supportive and non-judgmental, and to only share what you feel comfortable sharing.

Emotional Regulation Tools for Stressed-Out People

Emotional regulation is the ability to manage and respond to our emotions in a healthy and productive way. It’s a crucial skill to have, especially for those who struggle with stress and anxiety. When we’re overwhelmed by negative emotions, it can be difficult to think clearly and make good decisions. However, with some practice and effort, we can learn to regulate our emotions and feel more in control of our lives.

Here are some strategies for improving emotional regulation in times of stress and anxiety:

1. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to the present moment, without judgment. It can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, and allow you to respond to them in a more thoughtful way. Try setting aside a few minutes each day to sit quietly and focus on your breath, or try a guided mindfulness meditation.

2. Use deep breathing: Deep breathing is a simple but effective way to calm the body and mind. When we’re stressed or anxious, our breath tends to become shallow and rapid. By slowing down and deepening our breath, we can help activate the body’s natural relaxation response. Try taking a few slow, deep breaths whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed.

3. Engage in physical activity: Exercise can be a great way to reduce stress and improve emotional regulation. It releases endorphins, which are chemicals that improve mood and reduce feelings of stress. Plus, getting your body moving can be a great distraction from negative thoughts and emotions.

4. Practice gratitude: Focusing on the things we’re grateful for can help shift our perspective and improve our mood. Try keeping a gratitude journal where you write down three things you’re grateful for each day. Or, share your gratitude with a friend or family member.

5. Seek support: It’s important to remember that you don’t have to face stress and anxiety alone. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about how you’re feeling, or consider seeking support from a mental health professional.

6. Use positive self-talk: Our thoughts have a powerful impact on our emotions. When we’re struggling with stress and anxiety, it’s common to have negative thoughts about ourselves or the situation. By practicing positive self-talk, we can reframe these negative thoughts and improve our emotional well-being. For example, instead of telling yourself “I can’t handle this,” try saying “I’m doing the best I can and I will get through this.”

7. Take breaks: It’s important to give yourself time to relax and recharge. Make sure to schedule breaks into your day and take time to do things you enjoy. This could be something as simple as going for a walk or reading a book.

8. Use relaxation techniques: There are a variety of relaxation techniques that can be helpful for managing stress and anxiety. These might include progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, or guided imagery. Experiment with different techniques to see what works best for you.

9. Set boundaries: It’s important to set boundaries and make sure you’re not taking on more than you can handle. Learn to say no to things that don’t align with your values or that are overwhelming for you.

10. Seek professional help: If you’re struggling to manage your stress and anxiety on your own, it may be helpful to seek the support of a mental health professional. They can provide you with tools and strategies to help you cope with difficult emotions and improve your overall well-being.

Emotional regulation is a skill that can be developed with practice. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth the effort. By using the strategies outlined above, you can learn to manage your emotions in a healthy and productive way, even in times of stress and anxiety.

Helpful Healing Strategies from Trauma, Difficult Situations & Hard Moments of Grief or Loss (a Holy Mess Podcast)

I am so excited to guess again on the Holy Mess Podcast (see the link below). The show creator, Dani Sumner, has the #1 Christian Mental Health podcast on Spotify. This episode talks about healing from a body, mind, and spirit perspective. At the end of the podcast, I will lead you through a short meditation on how to “resource” safety from each perspective. You don’t want to mess with this podcast: Click here now!

10 Ways to Manage Your Panic Attacks

“In my experience, the words “now just calm down” almost inevitably have the opposite effect on the person you are speaking to.” – Elyn Saks

A panic attack is a sudden and intense feeling of fear or anxiety that can be overwhelming and debilitating. It is often accompanied by physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, dizziness, sweating, trembling, and a feeling of impending doom. Some people may also experience chest pain, nausea, and a fear of losing control or going crazy.

During a panic attack, the body’s fight or flight response is activated, even though there is no real danger. This response causes the physical symptoms of a panic attack and a heightened state of alertness and arousal.

Many things trigger panic attacks, social events, public speaking, conflict with family or coworkers, and situations reminiscent of past traumas. Sometimes, an accumulation of stress builds up over time and then pops up unexpectedly in a panic. 

Most people believe they have a heart attack when experiencing a panic attack. They often go to the emergency room or their doctor for a checkup. When the doctor cannot find anything physically wrong with them, they suggest that the individual might have had a panic attack and recommend talking to a mental health professional. 

Family and friends feel helpless around individuals who struggle with panic attacks. They can suggest useless advice or tell them to “calm down,” which never works. 

Mental health professionals might offer several strategies to cope with a panic attack:

  1. Focus on your breathing: Take slow, deep breaths through your nose and out through your mouth. This can help to calm your body and mind.
  2. Use positive self-talk: Remind yourself that you are safe and that the panic attack will pass.
  3. Find a peaceful place to relax: Find a quiet place where you can sit or lie down and relax.
  4. Use relaxation techniques: Try progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, or mindfulness meditation to help you relax.
  5. Find a focus object: Redirect your attention to something in clear sight and consciously notice all the details about that object, engaging all of your senses if possible.
  6. Picture a safe place, face, or space: Visualizing a place or location that holds a positive memory can be helpful to calm the nervous system. Additionally, you can picture someone safe or an activity that gives you joy. 
  7. Engage in light exercise: Taking a walk, stretching, or playing an outdoor game with someone can alleviate the stressful energy in your body.
  8. Use a mantra or affirmation: A positive statement, verse, song, or quote can redirect fear or worry about your condition and reset negative thoughts. 
  9. Change your life situation: If panic results from stress, consider distancing yourself from people, changing jobs, setting boundaries, or reorganizing living situations for your future health.
  10. Reach out to someone: Talk to a friend or loved one, or consider seeking support from a mental health professional.

The best time to deal with a panic attack is before you have a panic attack. Trying to deal with one in the middle is highly challenging to control. A daily practice of calming, affirming prayer and meditation, healthier living, and new perspectives can strengthen the body’s defenses, so the panic never comes up again. 

Panic attacks can be very distressing and may interfere with daily activities. It is essential to seek help from a mental health professional if you are experiencing panic attacks, as they can be treated effectively with therapy and medication. Consult Ron Huxley today if you are struggling with panic attacks and want help. 

Winter Blues, Go Away!

The winter blues are a real thing. Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. It usually starts in the fall and continues into the winter months. In a given year, about 5 percent of the U.S. population will report symptoms of seasonal depression. Seasonal depression is more common in women than men. The main onset of seasonal depression is between 20 and 30 years of age but it can happen earlier. It is also more common in people who live in northern climates.

Typical symptoms of seasonal depression include loss of self-esteem, hopelessness, diminished interest in activities, low tolerance for stress, extreme mood swings, sleep problems, lethargy, overeating, avoidance of social contact, and loss of libido.

There are several theories about what causes seasonal depression. One theory is that it is caused by a lack of sunlight. Sunlight helps our bodies produce vitamin D, which is essential for our mood. Another theory is that changing seasons can disrupt our body’s natural circadian rhythms. It’s certainly no surprise that this time of year brings a lot of stressors into our lives, and people can feel lonely and isolated on top of it all.

Even if we don’t know why the winter blues come this time of year, the good news is that you can do things to ease your symptoms and beat seasonal depression.

Here are a few tips:

  • Get outside: Spend time in the sunlight, even if it’s just for a few minutes. This can help improve your mood and boost your energy levels. One option is light therapy, which involves sitting in front of a special light box for 30 minutes daily.
  • Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. A moderate amount of activity is the key to maintaining your mental health.
  • Connect with others: Isolation can worsen seasonal affective disorder symptoms. It can be a vicious cycle where we feel cut off but don’t want to reach out, and the process spins on. Make an effort to talk to friends or professionals.
  • Practice gratitude: Studies have shown that gratitude can have a powerful effect on your well-being. It can improve your physical health, mental health, and overall satisfaction with life. Reflect on the things you’re grateful for, no matter how small.
  • Another option is an antidepressant medication. If you think you might be suffering from seasonal depression, talk to your doctor. I know lots of people don’t want to take medication, and there is certainly no “happy pill” but medication may alleviate a lot of your symptoms.

Breaking out of Negative Thoughts and Rumination

Do you ever feel like your mind is racing or your thoughts are stuck in a loop? You might be experiencing what’s called negative thinking or rumination. People who engage in this tend to overthink things, strive for perfection, look at the downside of events and miss the good stuff that happened to them.

Coping with negative thoughts and rumination can be a challenge. But it’s not impossible to overcome, and it’s not something you have to live with forever.

The good news is that you can learn ways to cope with negative thinking and rumination without using medications. Here are some things that might help:

1) Practice mindfulness meditation. This involves focusing on the present moment without judgment, especially when you have negative or repetitive thoughts. You can try this by focusing on your breath, listening to music or nature sounds (like rain or waves), or simply sitting quietly in silence and noticing what’s happening around you (or inside yourself).

2) If you are spiritual, pray! Prayer is a powerful weapon against depression and anxiety. It can be hard to pray when you are overwhelmed by negative thoughts, but if you commit yourself to prayer as a daily routine, it will help keep your mind focused on what matters most.

3) Get some exercise. Exercise releases endorphins into the brain, making us feel better about ourselves and more optimistic about our lives. So if you’ve been feeling down lately, try getting out for a run instead of staying cooped up inside all day!

4) Eat healthy foods! Eating well helps regulate hormones in our bodies that are responsible for mood swings (like serotonin). So if you’re feeling down, try eating something like strawberries or almonds—they contain nutrients that promote happiness and contentment. Ever heard the expression: “Your mental health is at the end of your fork”? It’s true.

5) Try writing down your feelings instead of keeping them bottled up inside where no one else can see them except for yourself (and even then, only if you want to share them with others. Grammer and punctuation aren’t necessary. The point is to let that negative go.

6) Identify the areas where you were hurt or traumatized. Destructive thought patterns can result from betrayal, abandonment, unfair actions, and traumatic events. We can internalize external actions and believe we are the problem or too broken, leaving us in a vicious loop of negative thoughts and feelings.

7) Work with a professional therapist specializing in trauma-informed practices and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Together, you can get to the unhealthy core beliefs causing so much pain and suffering and find alternative perspectives on your life.

Negative thinking and rumination are exhausting. It ruins your sleep, and it interferes with your day. If you want help finding a way out of this destructive pattern, contact Ron Huxley and set up an appointment to start feeling good immediately! Click here now…