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Anxiety News and Articles - Dr. David Shanley

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Anxiety News and Articles - Dr. David Shanley

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  • Dr. David Shanley
  • October 02, 2015 01:08:58 AM
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This blog is about anxiety, anxiety theraphy, anxiety disorders and other related topic about anxiety.

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Should I Care What Everyone Else Thinks?

In a word, no. But this of course is impossible. When people tell me they’re struggling with social anxiety, low self-confidence, low self-esteem, and thoughts of “not being good enough,” often the first thought (and sometimes verbal response to my clients) is, “stop caring about what everyone else thinks of you.” However, we can’t just [...] The post Should I Care What Everyone Else Thinks? appeared first on Dr. David...

In a word, no. But this of course is impossible. When people tell me they’re struggling with social anxiety, low self-confidence, low self-esteem, and thoughts of “not being good enough,” often the first thought (and sometimes verbal response to my clients) is, “stop caring about what everyone else thinks of you.”

However, we can’t just turn off our brains. We are wired to care about what everyone else thinks of us. It’s evolutionarily adaptive in fact. We have to know that we’re fitting in with the tribe so that we don’t get kicked out and have to survive on our own. We are social, relational creatures by nature, so of course we’re going to care what everyone else thinks.

The problem here is just how much we care. Summer is upon us and it’s time to get outdoors, try a new activity, and take some chances. Meet some new people, join a new sports league, or try a new hike or bike ride. All of these things might feel scary at first for some people because they worry about embarrassing themselves or not fitting in, looking cool, or “doing it the right way.” And these are the exact thoughts that I am asking you to challenge and not let get in the way.

It’s time to go after the life you want, not held back by fears of judgment from others. You might look stupid, or not be the best at something. That’s fine! Taking risks and trying new things has the psychological benefits of giving you a sense of fun, purpose, accomplishment, as well as the physical and emotional benefits of physical activity or meeting new people.

Regarding other situations and what everyone else thinks, sure, let’s take a look at a few places it might be a good idea to consider what others think:

  1. Romantic Relationship – In your relationship, it is the sign of a healthy relationship to accept influence from your partner. If they have feedback, listen to them, don’t get defensive and put up your walls.
  2. Friends – When with friends, see how people respond to what you’re saying – with interest and curiosity, or with frowns and disinterest. Perhaps there are subtle things you could tweak about what you talk about, jokes you tell, or the pace or tone you use in social interactions that could make these social encounters more enjoyable and successful.
  3. Work – It’s always good to be mindful of how you are representing yourself at work and what kind of feedback you are getting. Typically this will make you a better worker, which will lead to better success, status, and financial gain in the future.

So, the take home message here is don’t organize your life around what everyone else thinks. However, be mindful of the feedback you get from those around you who are important to you. At the same time, don’t give up yourself in a relationship, friendship or job to be something you are not. To quote Shakespeare, “This above all, to thine own self be true.”

The post Should I Care What Everyone Else Thinks? appeared first on Dr. David Shanley.


Are Transitions Causing You Stress and Anxiety this Summer?

Are transitions causing you stress and anxiety this Summer? Summer is upon us, and it is supposed to be a fun time to get out in the sun, relax, and enjoy ourselves. For some though, Summer also brings with it a time of transition that can be stressful or anxiety provoking. Perhaps you are [...] The post Are Transitions Causing You Stress and Anxiety this Summer? appeared first on Dr. David...

Are transitions causing you stress and anxiety this Summer?

Summer is upon us, and it is supposed to be a fun time to get out in the sun, relax, and enjoy ourselves. For some though, Summer also brings with it a time of transition that can be stressful or anxiety provoking. Perhaps you are out of school, starting a different job, not working, moving, or just not ready for the heat.

Whatever the transition, change can be difficult, and lead to anxiety and stress. If this is happening to you, the first thing to do is stop, take a deep breath, and give yourself a break. Remember, it is ok to feel how you feel. You don’t need the extra burden of beating yourself up for feeling down, lonely, sad, anxious, or stressed. These are natural emotions that we all experience, so try to take a moment and just acknowledge how you feel.

Next, it is a good idea to check in with yourself to see why you are making this transition. Is this in pursuit of something you care about? Are you spending time with new people and making new connections? Are you taking a new class and learning something new? Perhaps you are starting a new job that you always thought could be interesting, but now you are worried about how difficult it might be. Hopefully you are transitioning into something for a reason to pursue a value of yours, whether it’s social connection, learning, or adventure. If this is the case, identify the value and put your whole heart and energy into it this Summer in order to get the most out of the experience. Don’t let anxiety hold you back.

If, on the other hand, the transition has been thrust upon you by the nature of your circumstances, this is where acceptance and action come into play. Acceptance is the willingness to take an open stance towards how you feel about the things that are out of control in your life. So, if your seasonal job has ended and now you find yourself with a lot of time on your hands, be sure to reflect on your values that led you to take the job in the first place, and try to foster some acceptance for the nature of the difficult circumstances that this must come to an end.

Acceptance is not an end goal in itself, but it frees us to put down the struggle with our emotions, and instead direct our energy into some productive action. So, now that you understand your circumstances and have made peace with them, what are the next steps to getting back on track with something you care about? Do you need to find a new hobby? Hike the Colorado trail? Go on a road trip? Find a volunteer opportunity or a Summer camp to work at?

The more you can make peace with your emotions, especially during stressful transitions, the better off you will be for taking on new challenges and getting the most out of new experiences. Not all transitions have to be bad, even if they are upsetting at first. Find the support you need and don’t waste a day not going after something to improve your life!

The post Are Transitions Causing You Stress and Anxiety this Summer? appeared first on Dr. David Shanley.


Using Mindfulness to Improve Dating and Relationships

Listen up men! A new study coming out of Australia indicates that women were more attracted to men who had higher levels of dispositional mindfulness. Men who on a character trait survey reported higher levels of mindfulness and mindful behaviors including attentiveness, focus, and nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, correlated with higher women’s preferences in [...] The post Using Mindfulness to Improve Dating and Relationships appeared first on Dr. David...

Listen up men! A new study coming out of Australia indicates that women were more attracted to men who had higher levels of dispositional mindfulness. Men who on a character trait survey reported higher levels of mindfulness and mindful behaviors including attentiveness, focus, and nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, correlated with higher women’s preferences in a speed-dating arena. Researchers controlled for physical attraction and were able to isolate mindfulness as an influential variable in women’s preferences in these short, first-time interactions in a dating setting.

Why would being mindful make a man more attractive to a woman? This question is the direction for future research, but current thought is that the men who reported higher levels of dispositional mindfulness may be more attentive and interested during these initial interactions with women. It is no surprise that a romantic partner would like to feel like they are appreciated and listened to. Another hypothesis is that the more mindful men are better able to allow distressing feelings of anxiety and self-consciousness to be there without becoming dysregulated by the emotions. They are using mindfulness as a strategy to help regulate their emotions in the challenging environment of speed dating, which the woman then observes as a relaxed, confident presentation.

Mindfulness has already been shown to help individuals reduce anxiety and depression, and improve their own lives as well as interpersonal relationships. Relationships can be difficult to navigate when there are inevitable differences in opinion, values, judgment, or behavior. Mindfulness offers a way of being where one can nonjudgmentally accept and appreciate the differences they have with their partner, and make room for discomfort, disappointment, or tension.

How often do relationships fall into a pattern of arguing, blaming, judging, resenting, and withdrawing/avoiding one’s partner? Being mindful is the best way to take a step back when getting drawn into an argument or fight, and instead acknowledge and allow the intense emotions to be there and then pass, without reacting to them. Knee jerk reactions when feeling angry, hurt, or frustrated can lead to further hurt and damage in a relationship. Remember that mindfulness, awareness, and acceptance are always alternative ways of responding in the moment.

For these reasons, as well as others not mentioned, increasing mindfulness is an easy and smart way to both improve yourself and relationships as well as increase your attractiveness to a potential mate. Slow down, smell the roses, enjoy life, let the distressing thoughts and feelings come and go, and take a committed step towards going after the relationship you want!

 

The post Using Mindfulness to Improve Dating and Relationships appeared first on Dr. David Shanley.


Spring forward with your life

Spring is here and with it comes the opportunity for new hope, new beginnings, and new activities. Perhaps you have been feeling some seasonal depression from the gloomy winter, or some anxiety about the stress of the holidays or the new year. Or maybe you are just feeling kind of bored or stagnant, or ready [...] The post Spring forward with your life appeared first on Dr. David...

Spring is here and with it comes the opportunity for new hope, new beginnings, and new activities. Perhaps you have been feeling some seasonal depression from the gloomy winter, or some anxiety about the stress of the holidays or the new year. Or maybe you are just feeling kind of bored or stagnant, or ready for a change.

Whatever the case, the time is now to seize the moment and figure out something new to improve your life. Maybe it’s time for a career change.   Or perhaps you want to get into a new relationship. It could also be that simply starting a new activity, hobby, club, or sport could be the ticket to lifting your mood this season.

Starting new things can be a challenging process. The key to success is to break it down into easy steps so that you can take that first step. Make a commitment to following through with something and stick with it. Your mind is going to give you plenty of reasons why you can’t, or you shouldn’t, or it’s too hard, or you’re not good enough, or it’s never going to work. That’s just what minds do. They generate lots of thoughts, a large portion of which are unhelpful. So let your mind do its thing, and take action instead.

Starting something new is a great way to overcome anxiety or depression. It gives you a sense of mastery and accomplishment, and it forces you to overcome self-defeating thoughts and conquer anxiety-provoking situations. And the benefit to this is that the next time you want to do something, it will be that much easier because you will have practice at going through this process.

So what are you going to try? Something outdoors? A new gym membership? Rock climbing gym? Hiking club? Kayaking? Basketball? Volleyball? Mountain biking? Physical exercise, sunlight, meaningful activity, and social connection are a few of the keys to overcoming depression (and anxiety). Why not knock out all of them at once by doing something fun, engaging, active, and social? Your body and mind will both thank you. Life is too short to be wasted away. There is so much the world, and Colorado in particular, has to offer. Get started now!

The post Spring forward with your life appeared first on Dr. David Shanley.


Practical Advice for Overcoming Shyness and Social Anxiety

Recently I was requested to be a guest speaker on a podcast discussing strategies for overcoming shyness and social anxiety. I would like to thank the hosts of "Shellbreakers," for having me on their show. We had a great discussion about the nature of shyness and social anxiety, how it looks different in different people, [...] The post Practical Advice for Overcoming Shyness and Social Anxiety appeared first on Dr. David...

Recently I was requested to be a guest speaker on a podcast discussing strategies for overcoming shyness and social anxiety. I would like to thank the hosts of “Shellbreakers,” for having me on their show. We had a great discussion about the nature of shyness and social anxiety, how it looks different in different people, and how to help people challenge their anxiety and go after the life and social life they want. Click on the link below to watch the full video.

By no means was this interview exhaustive of all the information about social anxiety and shyness. For such a difficult and often debilitating disorder, it can be helpful to seek out more information in books, online, or from a therapist, or click here to read more about it on this website. Both individual and group therapy can provide the space for individuals to focus on their own particular needs and struggles, and learn strategies to cope with anxiety. Contact Dr. Shanley today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.

The post Practical Advice for Overcoming Shyness and Social Anxiety appeared first on Dr. David Shanley.


Overcoming your fear of rejection

It's time to get good at getting rejected! What? That sounds like a terrible idea! If you’re like millions of Americans struggling with social anxiety, then you are probably thinking that there is no way you want to get good at getting rejected. The whole point is to avoid getting reject, right? I recently came across [...] The post Overcoming your fear of rejection appeared first on Dr. David...

It’s time to get good at getting rejected!

What? That sounds like a terrible idea! If you’re like millions of Americans struggling with social anxiety, then you are probably thinking that there is no way you want to get good at getting rejected. The whole point is to avoid getting reject, right?

I recently came across an inspiring NPR story about a man who decided to turn the rules of life on their head. He had been rejected by his spouse, and started isolating in his apartment and avoiding social contact all together. Like many people, he feared being rejected by others, and thus avoided social contact in order to avoid his anxiety. However, one night in his apartment he finally realized the toll this was taking on his life. He was alone, depressed, and miserable. So, he came up with a creative solution, which, spoiler alert, is exposure therapy!

This man’s idea was to come up with a game to intentionally get rejected as much as possible, in order to overcome his fear of getting rejected. If getting rejected no longer had to be something that he feared, then situations where he may get rejected no longer had to be something that he avoided.

This may sound difficult at first, and it was for this man as well. He compared overcoming his fear of rejection to a story about the fear soldiers experienced having to kill a rabid dog with a spade. Gruesome as it may be, the analogy vividly highlights just how powerful the fear of rejection feels. And yet despite the strength of that fear, it can still be overcome in exactly the way the man describes in the story.

Practice, practice, practice! One must learn that rejection is not death, as our minds may have us believe. Sure, rejection stings, but it does not have to be avoided at all costs. If one is willing to put themselves out there, or intentionally get rejected, one can learn that they can actually handle the feelings and experience of rejection when it comes, and bounce back. And, more importantly, they will now have the freedom to go after the things, people, relationships, jobs, and everything else in life that they want most. You only get one life, it’s time to make the most of it!

The post Overcoming your fear of rejection appeared first on Dr. David Shanley.


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